What do you know, I’m actually on the vanguard for once.
I skipped the first generation of the iPad because “circumstances” were not propitious for the investment in an unknown technology. Or, to put it another way, I simply didn’t have a way to justify the cost… with uncertain “benefit” to counter $500-$800 in outlay.
(Compare and contrast with my my lack of an iPhone – mostly a result of my strong dislike of at&t and its predecessors – although not of course helped by the costs for the device and the required data plans.)
But having passed up the iPhone, I did decide that the second-gen iPad was a worthwhile investment. Made a bit easier by paying with our 21st century equivalent of S&H Green Stamps, credit card points.
So, I admit to scheduling a trip down to the Back Bay on 11 March, the day of the unveiling, and I don’t have to describe for anyone the sheepish “late to the party” feeling of seeing the lines down Boylston Street block, the a block of Fairfield, and then a significant remaining queue down Newbury. Okay, yes, I didn’t get there for almost a full hour since the lines opened, but still…
As my friend Linda might have put it, “dontcha want it just a bit too much?”. She would, of course, be correct. But I had to do something…
Here’s the question I asked (ignorant, of course, as to how constrained the supply would be, even weeks later): how long am I willing to stand in line for this? Seriously, though I thought at the time the choice was only between waiting a few more days, if I wanted one more quickly was I willing to wait? And if so, what would be the best strategy?
Here is what I decided: I would be willing to experience the delight of cooling my heels for 90 minutes, but no more. After all, I’d never been at an Apple launch before… but given what I saw that Friday, I suspected that any Saturday line would be seriously longer than that hour and a half.
The optimization I arrived at was that I would spend that 90 minutes waiting for the store to open Saturday morning. I would get there at 0830 for the 1000 opening; if the line then seemed to me to be more than minimal I would just forego the thrill. (I did make one adjustment: normally I would never drive downtown, but I realized that with a 20 minute investment in an easy drive I could cut my losses if there turned out to be a raving horde.)
There was no horde. I got there a bit earlier than planned (because of the drive vs. the T), and found myself #15 in line.
It turned out to be exactly two hours to wait and then complete the transaction, getting just in under the parking meter. Good strategy – and pretty happy customer. I’m not usually the guy with the newest, shiniest kit, but for once it’s nice to be there.