A blog whereby I motivate myself, and my readers, to punch me in the mouth.

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  "The consumate rocker's rocker. Charming, personable... a sucking void of inescapable inner turmoil."

Saturday, June 30, 2007

How getting the iPhones went down

As promised, here is a hopefully not-too-painful retelling of how getting the iPhones went down. See, my employers decided that everyone in the company should have an iPhone as a perk. I heartily agree with this idea. So at about 9:30am on Friday morning (the day the phones were released) we (everyone in the company) packed up the cars with reading material, games, chairs, umbrellas, and a big cooler, and hit the sidewalk in front of the local at&t/cingular store. This is a lot of the day's progress, as recorded by me on my laptop as events unfolded. Or failed to.

9:45am – And here we are, sitting outside the Cingular wireless store in Savoy, IL. The entire staff of Spinlight studio. Still waiting for Matt’s wife, Candy, to show up. She better be quick about it, too, because word is they’ve only got 20 phones—and there are 14 people in line right now.

I can’t get a wireless signal, or I’d be posting updates throughout the day. Instead, I’m just going to fire up the laptop every couple hours or so. Wouldn’t want the world to miss out on any of the exciting details of this saga! After it’s over.


10:32am – And here we still are. Candy made it in time to sit with us. We let one guy go ahead because he was trapped in the middle of our agency. We kind of figure it’s an all-or-nothing endeavor, so if that one guy sinks us, so be it.

In the last 45mins I’ve both learned how to play—and been badly beaten at—the Nintendo DS. It’s hard to see the screen out here in the sun. And I’ve introduced people to the wonders of Paste magazine.

Also, I’ve put on sunscreen. Lots of it. I’m not drinking anything yet. I see no need to speed up the inevitable. But the manager of this store came out and said we could use their bathroom and that they have water and stuff for us if we need it. Pretty nice. Unfortunately, he won’t tell us if they have enough phones for everyone, or if they have enough 8G phones for us. (The phones come in 8G and 4G version—I’ve already volunteered to accept the 4G version if it comes down to that.)

I wonder where we’re gonna get lunch?


11:48am – When I started working for this company, I had to pick a screen finish for the MacBook Pro that they were going to buy me—matte or glossy. I had no clue, but I knew I’d be spending a lot of hours with it, so I did some internet research. The number one complaint against the glossy screen was that you couldn’t use it in direct sunlight. People were seriously bent out of shape. But, they said, you couldn’t hardly use the matte screen in sunlight, either, so it wasn’t such a huge setback. I chose matte. Figured it would reduce the glare from the fluorescent lights that I would actually be working under, and not a problem for the direct sunlight under which I would not.

The sun has officially come out. And in addition to being pretty warm, as suns tend to be, it is also rendering my screen almost unreadable. Really, though, it’s pretty nice out here. I bet it’s only maybe 85 degrees, tops, and there’s a really nice breeze going most of the time. I haven’t even broken out the umbrella yet.

I’m slowly grinding my way through Paste. Matt, Candy, Jolene, Linda, and Chris are playing Euchre. Debby is reading a book and watching Euchre (this may well be the world’s worst spectator sport). Matt says, “Just think, In only three more hours, we’ll be halfway there!”

The FedEx truck showed up an hour or two ago. The guy walked in with two small boxes. Not even a dolly. We were not encouraged. BUT.. our account exec, Linda, came over her yesterday and talked to a manager, and he said they already had them. No clue if any of that is true. UPS just got here, and unloaded a whole cart, but word is the drop will be made only via FedEx.

THE LINE: The person at the head of the line actually slept here in a tent in the parking lot. Then a few of his friends. Then there are a couple other guys up there with a soccer ball. A volleyball, actually, which they’ve been playing soccer with over the line chain for most of the time we’ve been here. You would think if you were going to sit in line for 8 hours playing soccer, you’d rummage up a soccer ball. Then there’s a kid who’s parents are professors. He’s just hanging out. Writing in a journal, looks like. Then there’s an empty chair—the guy who we let in front of us. We think he’s maybe not going to be spending a lot of time in the actual line this afternoon. He started off first thing this morning making friends with everyone and giving people food and stuff. Then one of his homies showed up about 30 mins ago and he told us he was gonna run for a sec but he’d be right back. Tick, tick, tick… Behind us, there’s a guy who works at Provena who seems nice. Behind him there’s a trio of college guys who brought a grill (!) ..aww yeah.. and a cooler full of meat and drinks. They also sent a runner to the Schnucks behind us for a case of beer and some bag ice. They are living large. After that there’s a half dozen or so other people—some of whom know Matt & Debby. Nothing special going on back there. Looks like it’s a line of… 27?.. currently.

Turns out that we really have no idea how many phones they have. Somebody was messing with somebody. It’s all a mystery. The best pre-event intelligence we have suggested that each store would get 250 phones. No clue. Sure hope this pans out.

Candy, Linda, and Jolene just ran to A&W/KFC to pick up some lunch. Mmm… two things I’m doing today which Brant would do under no circumstances.

Actually, since I’m writing a book right now, anyway, I should go ahead and clear things up a bit. I am not paying for this phone.

So Brant would probably do this. So long as he didn’t have to eat the KFC.

The phone is being paid for—everyone at the office will have one. And for those of you saying, “YES! BUT IT’S NOT EVEN THE PHONE COST, THE PLAN WILL COST YOU A KAJILLION DOLLARS DON’T YOU KNOW CHILDREN ARE STARVING IN AFRICA!?!?” Um.. no.. actually, it won’t. Because that’s paid for, too. As is the KFC, and my salary for a day of sitting here on the sidewalk doing whatever I feel like, and hanging out with a group of people who’s company I genuinely enjoy and am immensely blessed to be associated with in any way.

Lunchtime! Later, y’all.

1:51pm – Oh man. I was hoping that when I powered up the laptop this time, it would tell me it’s 3 o’clock or so. It is not. Still, it’s not horrible. I had to hold the umbrella for about an hour of pretty intense sun, but now it’s overcast again. There were breezes all along, so not really bad at all.

The little manager man has been out to adjust the line. Linda went in & hassled them because there was a whole circle/line thing going on that was not at all cool. Made it very confusing to figure out who was where. I’m not sitting in line for 8hrs to see other people get the only phones. One of the first 2 guys girlfriend showed up. We’ll see if she’s gonna try to sneak in. There’s another one of their friends who’s here, too, but it’s hard to say whether or not he’s going to try it. There are at least 7 people here willing to call them on it. : ]] While manager dude was out here he walked all around and didn’t-answer questions. (“I don’t know what the device situation will be.”) Apparently, he isn’t allowed to use the word “phone.” Only “device.” He assures us, though, that if they run out of “devices”, that we can all order the phone here, and our orders will be given “priority”, because the Cingular store order comes “from the warehouse.” We have serious doubts about that. Don’t ALL the phones come from the warehouse?

Matt thinks that the guy tipped his hand, though. He told us they’d be open until at least 10pm. Seems unlikely that they’d keep the doors open until 10 to sell no phones, doesn’t it?

All talking has now ceased. People hae fallen into reading and doing puzzles and stuff. I think I’m going to work on that Paste magazine again.. Ooh! Now there’s a photographer here taking shots of the party. Probably for the News Gazette. There was already a radio guy here from WDWS. I have no doubt a camera crew from one of the local news channels will be by later in the day. Lookit us, Mom! We’re on the TV!

All for now.

3:22pm – Hot again. Had to get out the umbrella. I think I may make it through the whole Paste before the end of the day. Matt & Chris just went to get us ice cream. Gotta like that. I’m having black walnut flavor, which is something I learned from my Grandpa Brown. Good stuff. My back hurts, so I think I’ll go take a little walkaround. Only two and a half more hours to go. They had better have these phones.

4:00pm – They just locked up the store, so they can get ready for the big push. I went and took advantage of the facilities before they did so, and while I was in there I got to plunge their toilet! Yay! This is a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Sure enough, channel 3 news was here around 3:30, and now there’s another guy here with a notebook to talk to people. Gotta be a newspaper guy.

We figure that around 5 o’clock we’ll pack up the cooler, chairs, etc so we’re lean and mean and ready to go in. Deb has made us all promise that if she goes down before the big push, we’ll drag her body across the threshold behind us.

They were all out of black walnut, so I had cookies-n-cream, instead.

This has got to be the easiest line-sit ever. People were wearing astronaut diapers and sitting in 35-degreee rain at midnight to get a PS3. We haven’t even run out of cheetos yet.

Here are some pics I took w/ the MacBook camera.


4:54pm – Chris’s wife, Emelia is here hanging out with us now. The newspaper guy did turn out to be from the News Gazette, and he was very interested in the whole “entire company” angle. So we’ll probably get a little write-up out of it.

The Cingular staff is putting up new posters. The manager briefly put up a hand-drawn one that said, “SOLD OUT”. He so cra-zy!

Jamie Stout, the Mac sysadmin from Wolfram, showed up a few minutes ago. He said the word circulating there is that at&t stores in communities under 200,000 are guaranteed to have “at least” 6 phones. Over 200,000 “at least” 30 phones. And all Apples stores “at least” 30 phones.

I’m hanging on that “at least”.

A few people have been driving past and telling us to get lives, girlfriends, etc.. it’s a good time.

Gonna pack up the laptop now. If we actually get phones, it’ll be back to the studio to get things set up. If we don’t.. I don’t know. Probably have to get some kind of counseling or something. Or 8 hours of our lives back. Whichever is available.

PRETTY EXCITING STUFF, HUH!!?? Well, you ask for a description of 9hrs on a sidewalk and this is what you get.

I'm not sure how many phones they really did have, but it appeared they had 20 of the 8G version. I don't know how many 4s were tacked on after that. If Jamie was right, they would've only had another 10. Very sad for those behind us. I'm really glad we went when we did. And I'm really glad we went, in general. It was a good time with good people. I'm a lucky guy, indeed.

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At 8:30 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

John, I hung on each word of your minute-by-minute description of the line-sit. Incredible. You indeed must have the greatest job in the world. And that company you work for must be the greatest company in the world. Whatever you have to do to stay there, do it. And I want to play with your phone sometime.

At 10:01 AM, Blogger caparoon said...

Oh yeah. It was a real page-turner. I write for a living now, you know!

I do believe this is the greatest company in the world. And you, Dan Anderson, are more than welcome to play with my phone anytime you like.

At 10:20 AM, Blogger mr_eric said...

someone from dallas city has an iPhone?!?


At 3:51 PM, Blogger DKuriger said...

OK, I read your play-by-play and found it very informative, but I think I can safely say that I speak for everyone when I say we have but one very important question: Were you the cause of the AT&T toilet needing to be plunged or were you just a helpful guy that knows his way around a toilet?

At 4:17 PM, Blogger caparoon said...

The latter. ;-)

At 6:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I feel like I don't have enough detail here regarding how you got your iPhone.

I need more.


At 7:20 PM, Blogger caparoon said...

Brant, Brant... (shakes head)

This post is not about the destination, man. It's about the *journey*.

I really expected better out of you, of all people.

Also, my iPhone is super cool.

At 8:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe its just because I was there but I thoroughly enjoyed the recap. I don't know what Deb was talking about ;) I laughed out loud.


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