Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How to Buy an iPhone - The Hard Way

OK, so I get this check from the government (stimulus money) and decide that I'm going to finally get an iPhone. How hard can that be, right? Harder than you might think.
First, I tried to buy one on Apple's site, but at the point where I chose a billing plan, the system said it couldn't process my request. OK, it's 3am, so maybe they're processing billing or something, right?

Next morning, I try again. Now it tells me that I have to pay $150 deposit (no credit history) and could I please come into the store to do that. Now, I live in Independence, MO, about 25 miles outside of Kansas City, and that means I have to drive all the way into town to the Apple Store.

Next, I know that Walmart is carrying the iPhone also, so I head to their website. They ask for my zip code to test for availability and then tell me that I can't use one in my zip code! What?!

Finally, I think, "There's an AT&T store over here across from the mall, I'll just go over there."
Turns out, they've got 4 people waiting before me, oh and by the way they only have the 32GB model ($100 more), "is that ok?" Well, I decide it's NOT ok, I'm on a limited budget. So I go back to the car. I'm sitting there and realize there's a Best Buy and they're carrying the iPhone, too, I've heard. So I go in there.

Best Buy's cell phone dept. has a nice young geek (not being mean, I'm a geek too), no business, so I plunk myself down in a chair and ask him if he's got any 16GB iPhones. He looks, says that he does, but all he has is black. Perfect, I tell him (I wouldn't be caught dead with white). He writes it up, is pleasant, and has me out of there in 20 minutes after activating the phone and making a point of telling me that I get 20% off iPhone stuff if I buy it with the phone, so I buy a slipcover and a new mic/earphone set for my dad's iPod Touch. In all, he spirits 277 bucks out of my wallet plus the $150 deposit. Good salesman. Brian Maupin @ the Independence Best Buy. If you're out that way, do yourself a favor and see him.

I've never been a huge fan of Best Buy (or Circuit City, when it was a real brick & mortar store) because they have a tendency to be high when it comes to hardware (compared to internet stores). But in this case, I needed someone who knew what he was doing and could sell it to me, and Brian was able to do that. Lately, I've wound up @ Best Buy more and more often. I think their people are stressing customer service more than most businesses, and unless that changes, I'll be shopping there.

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