In search of an iPad 2 - a story of triumph, defeat, and elation.
This past weekend, a friend of mine really had an itch for the iPad 2. He'd been contemplating an iPad of various sorts since at least December of last year. After hearing rumors of a new iPad, he decided to wait and see what Apple announced.
For one reason or another, he didn't try to wait in line or order an iPad 2 when they went on sale. But as more of his friends kept getting iPads, his desire for one grew!
On Sunday, he started calling various stores to see if they had any in stock. Myself and others laughed. There's no way anyone was going to have any in stock. He dialed Best Buy, Radioshack (interestingly enough, they just started selling them yesterday), and even Apple. He even called a Verizon Wireless store. Surprisingly, they told him that they had "plenty of iPads in stock."
So, we loaded up a car and drove over to the nearest Verizon Store. On the drive there, we talked about what models he wanted -- black, 32GB, Verizon 3G. We were perplexed that they had plenty in stock -- had we stumbled upon some sort of unknown secret? We walked in and he excitedly asked where the iPad 2's were. The sales representative on the floor furrowed his brow and said, "sir, we haven't had iPad 2s in stock for two weeks."
The sales rep pointed to the original iPad display and said that they have plenty of those in stock. But my friend really wanted a 3G model -- and Verizon obviously doesn't sell the AT&T-only 3G iPad. They tried to persuade him to just buy an iPad with a Verizon MiFi. Meanwhile, I was in the corner of the store playing with the new Motorola Xoom and laughing. Both at the sales rep, and at the Motorola Xoom.
My friend went back and forth. After about 30 minutes in the store and playing with the original iPad, we decided to walk across the parking lot to the Best Buy, which probably still had original iPads in stock (and even the 3G model).
We walked over to the Apple section of the store and navigated around the mass of people playing with the iPad 2's on display. My friend asked the first representative he encountered whether they had any iPad 2's (it doesn't hurt to double check). He basically laughed. They get that question hundreds of times a day. No iPad 2's in stock and no idea when they'd be getting a new shipment.
My friend decided that the iPad 2 wasn't meant to be. He asked for the 32GB, 3G AT&T original iPad.
"Sure thing, right this way!" He followed the sales rep over to a kiosk where they keep everything locked up.
My girlfriend and I joked as they walked away. "How amazing would it be if they just randomly found one a left over iPad 2 the back room?"
Meanwhile, the Best Buy sales rep opens the kiosk and pulls a 3G AT&T iPad off the top of the pile.
"Wait a minute," he said and pulled out another iPad box that was sitting beneath the original. It had a yellow sticky attached to the front of it.
"RETURN - OPEN BOX"
Sitting in his hands was a black 32GB, Verizon iPad 2 that had just been returned not more than an hour before.
The Best Buy sales rep was as equally surprised as my friend was. He talked to his manager, to make sure it was okay to sell. After gaining proper approval, they opened the box and found an iPad 2 in mint condition and perfectly functional.
Because it was an open box item, they sold it to him at a discount and he received nearly $100 off the retail price of this particular iPad.
We drove back to his place and set up his new iPad without any trouble.
Meanwhile, millions of others around the world are still waiting in lines each day or anxiously checking their email for shipping confirmations yet my friend just strolled into a store and found one. Ridiculous. And victorious!
Do you have any crazy stories about trying to acquire an iPad 2?
My office colleague has had an iPad on her Wish List since the release of iPad Prime. To her delight, for her birthday last week, her boyfriend gave her the original iPad 16GB WiFi.
After just one day of use, she realized she really needed a 3G model. And, during that same day, her new 16GB screen suffered some superficial scratches in her bag. She visited our local Apple store (which is just a few blocks from our office), and learned she could not return her brand-new 16GB because it was damaged. She decided to list it on eBay and apply the sales proceeds toward her purchase of an iPad 2 3G. After playing with the iPad 2 at the Apple Store, she was sold on it. She decided to max out her features, so she ordered an AT&T iPad 2 64GB 3G online, with delivery expected in five to six weeks.
Meanwhile, my low-tech husband had been showing interest in using an iPad, so I offered to buy my colleague's 16GB for him, and she sold it to me for a discounted price rather than list it on eBay. The scratches weren't signficant, and my husband was thrilled.
I could tell my colleague was disappointed in the delivery wait for her iPad 2. The next morning, last Thursday, I joined in the line outside that Apple Store at 7:00 AM, to see if I could purchase that iPad 2 for her as a surprise, when the store opened at 9:00 AM. In line it was cold, it was drizzling, but my overall experience was a positive one. The folks in line with me were friendly, as were the Apple employees who periodically checked on us, answered questions, etc. before the store opened. In the line I confirmed my colleague could cancel her online order, since it hadn't shipped.
The Apple employees announced to the line which models they received that morning (no 16GBs, no WiFis) and distributed slips to us for our desired models. They announced they had received plenty of 32GB AT&T and Verizon models, in both black and white. While in the line, I decided to purchase an AT&T iPad 2 32GB for myself, as well as my colleague's model. We were limited to two purchases.
The doors opened at 9:00 AM. By 9:15 AM, I had both iPad 2s in hand, and my office colleague was more than thrilled that she had her birthday iPad 2.
I guess it is quite crazy to be able to get one so easily without having to wait in a line :)
At 5:30PM all models were sold out however.
This post has been removed.
On the 7th day I got another hit, this time saying there were 64GB white wifi iPads available. I really wanted a black one but decided I'd compromise for the £90 I'd save by buying one in the USA. This time I went on my own, leaving my daughter asleep with my wife. I got to the store and they had 4 in stock. I bought one, along with an HDMI adapter and answered a couple of questions from a German guy who was looking at the display. On the way back to the resort I stopped in at a second Target to buy a SmartCover.
I carried on checking stock levels for the rest of our trip to try to get another one for a work colleague but never got lucky again.