I get to Apple Store North County at 10 o'clock sharp. No iPhones. I go out to my car and start calling every Apple Store within a 50 mile radius. Hold times are bad, and it takes a fair amount of time. Again, no iPhones.
When I finally leave, I hit a long red light for the onramp to the freeway. While waiting, I see a Fedex truck in my rearview mirror getting off the freeway, seemingly heading to the mall. I have a strong hunch about this.
I make an illegal u-turn, and tail the Fedex truck. My hopes are lifting.
The truck parks next to the loading dock located right behind the Apple store. I approach the driver and inquirer who the delivery is for. He says that it's for Apple. Jackpot.
I quickly walk back into the Apple Store and tell the same employee that I had spoken with earlier that I realize they told me they were out of stock, but there was a shipment being received as we speak. The employee understands what I am saying, but gets a manager to confirm the contents of the shipment and whether or not they will be able to sell them today.
Bad news. He doesn't confirm nor deny that those were pallets of iPhones being unloaded outside, but says that even if they were, he cannot sell them at this time due to the fact that new stock is being reserved for the 10 PM preorders every night. Very bad news.
I get back to my car and call the North County Apple Store again, blocking my number and altering my voice, just to confirm that this wasn't some cruel trick that they were playing. Once again: out of stock, try the 10 PM preorder.
While driving away, I decide to visit the nearest AT&T store to check inventory, seeing that I was unable to get through to a human being while calling them earlier. Sold out. While I am there, I decide to check on plan options for my future iPhone. A bad customer experience was had here.
Leaving the AT&T store, I make sure not to venture too far, as I will be using their Wi-Fi to search other store's phone numbers in order to check their iPhone 5 stock. AT&T stores county wide were out, and were not afraid to be terse about it. I dislike AT&T.
I walk to the Best Buy in the same shopping center to make sure if they even carried it or not. They did, however (I hope you're seeing the recurring theme here) they too were out of stock. Instead of calling the remaining Best Buy stores, an employee does a search through the computer. In regards to Best Buy's availability, the whole county is dry.
I am back in my car in the AT&T parking lot. I remember one last effort that I had used to great effect in the past. Radio Shack.
I start calling. And calling. And calling. One would be surprised how many locations a failing electronics chain still has in this region. Half way through my telephone inquiries I hit a flicker of hope. They had one, the exact one I wanted, but it was being held on reserve for someone else. They said they would call that person to see if they could get it taken off of reserves for me. They will call me back.
I keep calling until I've reached the end of this particular list. I wait. Radio Shack calls back. They have it, and I can pick it up. I drive to Oceanside.
I get there. I buy it.
We open it up to activate it. Devastating... I notice that on my beautifully crafted, brilliantly designed, new iPhone, there is an imperfection. A non-trivial one. It looks as if someone had lightly taken a Dremel tool to the aluminum chamfer on the left hand side of my iPhone. Super bad news.
I am anal retentive, and a perfectionist, however I would like to think that a normal person would see this as a situation that results in only one possible resolution: Ask for a replacement.
I wish I was afforded that luxury. There were no replacements. It was this or nothing. I made a very hard decision. After holding my new phone for only a few seconds, I put it back in the box and did not accept it. The employee was sympathetic and did not fight this.
My options were exhausted. I was defeated. I write this now without my new phone.