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While the rest of the Mac|Life staff heads for the downtown San Francisco Apple Store to check out the iPhone festivities, I decided to stake out an AT&T store.
The Apple Store is surely the place to be, but I'm leery of crowds. Perhaps the AT&T store would be best for what I want to do: Get my iPhone and get back to the office. On iPhone Eve, I convinced myself to go to the Apple Store, but Friday morning, I drove by the AT&T store in Daly City, CA. There was no line. I changed my mind to the AT&T store. I'll leave the office at 2 p.m. and get in line.
2:20 p.m.: I didn't leave the office on time. Twenty minutes could make the difference between getting an iPhone or not. Argh.
2:30 p.m.: I get to the Daly City AT&T store and there are about 30 people in line. I curse myself for not leaving sooner.
Here's the conundrum. Rumor has it that the AT&T stores will get about 20 iPhones. The number was never confirmed, but it influenced my thinking. I may end up with nothing here. Three-plus hours for nothing. It might make for a good story, but I want a phone, dammit.
I had directions to two other AT&T stores, both within five miles of the Daly City store. The next store is in Colma, known as the cemetary capital of the Bay Area. There are more dead people buried in Colma than living.
Should I stay here and get in line or try the Colma store? I can't decide, so I flip a coin. I'm heading to Colma.
2:45 p.m.: As I make the left turn into the Colma Metro Mall, I try to spot the store. Can't see it. As I drive around the parking lot, I barely miss a pedestrian looking for her parked car. I see the store, and there's a line, but it's not as long as the line at the Daly City store.
The AT&T Store in Colma, CA.
2:48 p.m.: I'm number 21 in line. I like my odds. I feel like I made the right decision, and I pat myself on the back for not going to the Apple Store.
2:49 p.m.: I check in with Leslie, let her know what's up. She tells me she heard that the line at the Apple Store is at 200 now. That's fewer than I expected. I have pictures in my head of a giant truck full o' iPhones parked next to the Apple Store, and store clerks rushing in and out, trying to keep up with the customer demand. Maybe waiting in line for hours isn't necessary.
3:10 p.m.: Two guys in front of me joke about the uncertainty of available stock for sale. "Wouldn't it be funny if the FedEx guy came here with one small envelope?" We all laugh, but it's a nervous laughter. What if?
Challenge: How many words can you make out of the letters in "Quiznos Subs"? Plurals count. I came up with 21.
Next: the final 90 minutes.