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Best Buy iPad 2 Buying Experience Great & Not Great

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I got my 64GB White AT&T 3G iPad 2 today at the Best Buy store in Hickory, NC. My friend Paul and I arrived at about 1:00 just to see how it was working before getting some lunch. At about 2:0o PM we returned to find no one in line yet.

We talked to the General Manager of our store. First, let me say that my friend Paul knows him because a friend worked for him. His friend said Bobby is a great GM and from our experience I would say he likely is. I’ve been a loyal customer of this location and he bends over backwards to help customers. A really great guy! But there is one customer who would disagree.

Getting in Line

After we looked around the store for awhile we saw a lady waiting at the front door. That is where I was a little disappointed. Apple required that they have people wait outside which supports my belief that Apple engineered this whole launch to ensure lines outside stores. We decided to get in line. We were 2nd and 3rd. She told us her husband was coming and we agreed that he could cut in line ahead of her since he didn’t want the same kind of iPad 2 we wanted. He arrived about 45 minutes later when there were still only about six people in line and they agreed too.

Let me say that the folks we met were really nice. I made a couple of friends in the line behind us.

Best Buy’s Efficient System

Fast forward to about 3:30 when an assistant manager came out and explained carefully that at 4;30 we would be asked what kind of iPad 2 we wanted and given a corresponding marked sheet of paper. Our “ticket” ensured that we would get on iPad.

At 4:30 Bobby brought his crew out and we were given our tickets. It was handled efficiently and professionally. Much better than my experience at the Apple store in Greensboro last summer to get an iPhone 4. Our friends in front of us wanted a 16GB Verizon iPad in White and a 16GB AT&T iPad in Black. Not sure why a married couple is divorced in their cell contracts, but not my business. Sadly our Best Buy store had no 16GB AT&T Black iPads at all in its initial shipment, so our friend settled for the 32GB model. Her husband was given a ticket for what he wanted.

In the Store, Out of the Cold

At that moment we were free to enter the store and look around. It was chilly and windy so were glad to get out of the cold. We were surprised that another line was forming inside for “accessories” so we queued up again. I was hoping to get a red leather Smart Cover. They didn’t get any leather covers at all. But we did  get an HDMI adapter and a nice blue cover. However, a third line formed to actually get the iPad 2 box and to pay. This was not the way it was supposed to work but the GM quickly fixed it by directing extra sales associates to open registers. We were through our third line in about fifteen minutes despite being about 30 back.

I Got an iPad 2

I got a 3G iPad and wanted to activate it in the store because we were told Best Buy and AT&T had a deal that if you activate today in the store there is no activation fee and  you get a free month of 2GB 3G service. While mine was being activated our friend in front of us showed up needing to get hers activated in a different location, after paying. It took quite awhile for the sales associate to just get someone to activate because the hold times with AT&T were so long. That’s when the husband showed up quite unhappy.

The Bad News

“Josh isn’t getting an iPad today,” he said in disgust. Since he didn’t line up immediately inside he was towards the end of where they actually handed out the iPads to those with tickets and let us pay. He said he gave the associate his ticket for the 16GB Verizon 3G iPad. They didn’t have one! They only got 5 in the shipment and gave his to someone else who changed his or her mind at the cash register opting for a 3G instead of a Wi-Fi only. Big mistake because the first person in line didn’t get an iPad. They were all gone!

To make up for it the man was given a free cover, an HDMI connector and a screen protector gratis along with a promise that they would call him the minute one arrived. The manager had no idea when this would be. Sadly, this very good manager was the victim of an honest mistake by a less than perfect employee. And our new friend in line paid the price by not being able to pay for a 16GB Verizon 3G iPad 2 . He’s likely to get one eventually, but since they are sold out online and not shipping for a few weeks now, it is possible that he might not get one till late March. Apple might have set aside some for in-store sales at their partner retailers like Best Buy. That’s his only hope.

One Kid’s Experience at an Apple Store

Target Left Out of Day One Fun

By the way, the Target is right next door to our Best Buy. There were no lines. But that’s because they had no iPads to sell, despite what I was told earlier in the week.

Other GBM iPad 2 Launch Day Experiences

Check out our other Gottabemobile writer’s and their experiences today with the iPad 2 launch from all over the country:

Josh Smith interviews people online in Ohio at the Apple store.

Warner Crocker’s friend unboxes his iPad from WalMart.

Xavier sees a long line at the San Francisco Apple Store near him.

Kevin loves notebooks, tablets, gadgets and photography. He grew up with computers starting out on a Vic 20 and Commodore 64. The first computer he owned himself was an 8086 Compaq Deskpro. His foray into tablet computing began when he bought a Samsung Q1 Ultra. The smartphone market opened up for him with his Palm Treo 600.

27 Comments

  1. Henrymediagroup

    03/12/2011 at 4:11 am

    I Waited In Line At An ‘Apple Store’ For 2 1/2 Hours Before Getting To The Door and Being Told They Were Completely SOLD OUT!! I Then Went To My Local ‘Best Buy,’ and Was In-N-Out In Less Then 5-Minutes With My New iPad2!!! I Love It!!!!

    • research papers

      03/12/2011 at 10:42 am

      really? you spend so muh time staying in a line for this device? i thought that it is a kind of a rumour and in real life people do not do things like this… i am surprised to find out that i was wrong… shame..

    • Tommy Lien

      03/13/2011 at 6:26 pm

      DO NOT BUY IT AT BEST BUY.I was at my local bestbuy and they had only 20. Other Best Buy won’t even tell you how many they have in stock. I waited at the end of the line at the Apple Store for 3 hours on launch day and I was still able to get the Ipad 2 I wanted.

  2. RevelationArtist

    03/12/2011 at 5:23 am

    TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE FOR NOTHING! At BestBuy in Greensburg, PA it was frigid cold outside with snow blowing, and we were still made to wait outside! Got there at about 3:50 PM today. There were about 30 people in front of me, about 10 behind. Was told that numbers would be handed out at 4:30 and iPads would go on sale at 5. Sure enough after freezing for 40 minutes store personnel came out and announced that all they got in their shipment were 20 wi-fi models. NO 3Gs! Over half the frozen line-waiters, including me, left in disgust. Even the ones who did get numbers, were handing their number sheets back and leaving. I just can’t understand how a big company like Apple can be so stupid in anticipating and planning for sales when their new products come out. Surely they know how large the demand was for the first iPad! I just know that this is their way of controlling people, just because they can.

  3. Pidot

    03/12/2011 at 5:43 am

    apple sucks. Disorganize and what a shame for taking advantage of advertising and ended up nothing to sell. It is a launch date and it would be better if they ended up with more inventories left rather than sending people home.

    • ADarkKnight

      03/12/2011 at 5:26 pm

      You fool they had as much stock as they could, but there’s just too many people that wanna buy it. How the frick it Apple’s fault? DISORGANIZED??? Have you ever STEPPED inside the Apple Store? It is the best experience in a store you’ll ever have.

  4. Pcs524

    03/12/2011 at 7:15 am

    I had the unfortunate experience of trying to buy my new iPad 2 at Best Buy in Centennial Colorado today. According to the GM, it was the only location to to receive their shipment. The first 70 or so people ( me included) just revived paper vouchers to get one tomorrow if the order comes in.

    They only were getting Non G3 units anyway.

  5. Bobby

    03/12/2011 at 8:31 am

    Here in Minnesota some of the Best Buys were letting people wait inside to avoid the lines. If Apple required the lines to be outside than I’m glad some managers were smart enough to realize that was a dumb idea.

  6. Dmiles36

    03/12/2011 at 9:02 am

    I had the unfortunate experience of trying to source my iPad 2 from the Millenia store in Orlando. I’m upgrading from the 1st generation I purchased about three weeks ago. I happened to speak to three of the most pea brained associates within the chain. They said my system was damaged and would not upgrade me. After going around for 30 minutes with these idiots, the main idiot supervisor – I think Bryan from Magnolia said if I go to another store that would take it. I did, showed the manager what they called damage and they replaced unit with the iPad 2.0 without hesitation. Bottom line… When ever you have a 30-40 year old who’s overweight, works retail and lacks mental agility… They make bad emotional decisions as a defense mechanism for their lack for their position in life. Hurt people, hurt people.

    I’ll still by from Best Buy – just a different location where the employees aren’t as smug and unhappy.

  7. Mtnmvr

    03/12/2011 at 12:16 pm

    The line outside Charlotte/Concord Mills Mall wasn’t bad I arrived at 3:30 and was number 20 in line. We got our vouchers (they had 50 in stock) at 4:30 and went to another line inside and proceeded to wait another hour because Att required in store activation. I had a Verizon but they did know Verizon didn’t require activation. They brought us chairs and drinks. I asked for a discount on accessories but nada.

  8. John in Norway

    03/12/2011 at 1:32 pm

    I’ve been waiting over 20 hours outside in freezing temperatures for our local store to open. Finally, at 9am, a bored looking shop person strolled over and opened the door. I was the only one in line, if you don’t count the dog that occasionally walked by. Anyway, the young kid looked me up and down and asked me what I was doing. ‘I’m waiting to get the new ipad 2,’ I managed to say between the shivers. ‘ipad 2, what’s that?’ He said. ‘It’s the new ipad! It’s out today. The internet told me,’ I replied. He shook his head. ‘I don’t know about that,’ he said, ‘we’ve only been selling the original for 6 months.’ Just then the manager came out to see what all the fuss was about. ‘Oh, you’ve been misinformed,’ he said. ‘It’s only out in America. We won’t be getting it for another 6 months, at least. Why don’t you buy one of the old models, they’re still only three times the price of what they are in America, and they’re only obsolete over there.’ Needless to say I left, reminding myself that I’ve never bought an Apple product anyway and probably never will.

  9. Sc

    03/13/2011 at 6:17 am

    I’m waiting for the iPad3 wich should be out before ipad2 orders are fulfilled…..
    Order online from att they 100 bucks less with free month, if you want the 3G

    • pkasson

      03/27/2011 at 11:05 am

      Sorry, iPad 3 will be next year …

  10. Anonymous

    03/13/2011 at 9:18 am

    It is a pain in the ass trying to get one. I still don’t have one GEEZ! I can’t get a Xoom because it’s crap according to my bro

  11. best ipad 2 case

    03/13/2011 at 1:33 pm

    Be calm my friends. At last, we will all be buying our new Apple gadget. iPad 2 is super by the way :)

  12. Robyaly

    03/14/2011 at 4:28 am

    I will likw to change my Ipad 2 for 3G, and any best buy of CA have in stock, was a litle pleople to buy the Ipad and they don’t have they need $100.00 to order and they don’t know when you receive mmmm so I just have 14 days to change or returnded mmmm

  13. Mentor9

    03/15/2011 at 11:45 pm

    Well I do plan on buying, but I consider it an insult to be asked to wait on line like some star struck Harry Potter fan. If they don’t have enough for everyone that wants to purchase maybe it could have been handled in a more professional manner. I would have gladly purchased on line before the launch date, but that was not an option. Ask yourself, was this planned amway type of launch just to build hype and profit, or rooted in customer satisfaction…

  14. Rodbender

    03/16/2011 at 3:36 pm

    I don’t get it. I mean ipads are cool and all, but to stand in line for hours like you’re in a third world country getting water is ridiculous. Wait a month and just order one or buy one in the store, no fuss, no muss. I love how everyone plays right into apple’s orchestrated hysteria. They do this on purpose to create a buzz. Stop being their pawn.

  15. Bormand28

    03/16/2011 at 10:45 pm

    Kevin,
    This is the GM of the Hickory store. I really liked the write up on the experience. I wanted to update you and all the readers that Josh picked up his Ipad 2 yesterday. Luckily we were able to get one for him and he is very happy that we were able to take care of him so fast.

    Thanks

    Bobby

    • Kevin Purcell

      03/29/2011 at 11:47 pm

      Thanks Bobby. You are a class act. Really appreciate it!!

  16. Nameless

    04/05/2011 at 7:03 am

    i went to best buy that weekend ( made NO line) and they were sold out but was able to reserve it with 100$ so i did, it arrived in 1 week and a half. :)

  17. Gabriel Martin

    04/15/2011 at 12:24 am

    I like to shout or be mad now…
    Its been more than a month when I gave my $200 in best buy for pre-order of 2 pcs. ipad 2 ( ipad 2 black 16bg and ipad 2 white 32gb) in 2 different best buy location.
    It was March 11, when i paid that amount in 2 best buy storeS & until now they never called me if they receive any ipad 2 ( about my order ).
    To add to the insult, in my city thereS 15 or more walmart & they are selling ipad 2 in first come per serve basis per store (most often time they have 1-3 stock) EVERYDAY – ALL OF THEIR STORES… thats why you just need to be early in going to walmart or call them between 9:30-10:00am everyday and they will have it.
    I just found out from my friend who is the store manager in walmart – I didnt bother to ask him about that before as I know best buy has always more stock of ipad 2 than any stores in the USA.
    This is the first time in my life that I pre order for APPLE product from Best Buy and its horrible & unexpected.
    Not only me is pissed of, because many times i visit best buy to ask about my pre-order, you will see 2-5 people asking about their orders & you will hear them yakking & saying some words you cant swallow. It is more than one month now since we pre-order but until now we didn’t receive anything & when we called this morning, all stores in the city – 8 stores – doesn’t have one and nothing in transit (delivery). CALL ANY BEST BUY STORES IN YOUR STATE, THEY DON’T HAVE ONE…
    I think APPLE should stop to sell their products in Best Buy – just give it to TARGET & WALMART as they will sell it right away when they have one in stock and they have more people coming everyday in their store (more buyers).
    If ever i can punch anybody from best buy that doing this mess, i will haunt him/her down.
    This is too much & its not acceptable anymore.
    Please tell APPLE to stop making business with best buy & theres more known brick & mortar store that have nationwide stores too.
    Im so mad & angry now to them – BEST BUY…
    STOP FOOLING US – ENOUGH IS ENOUGH…

  18. Nobody

    11/19/2011 at 7:01 am

    Typical American Product buy anything is half done, to make it useable you will have to keep spend spend spend and spend endlessly and such kind of product sells in US only.First sight Fall is always ends like this.

  19. Onojas

    12/30/2011 at 12:51 pm

    i went to buy my ipad 2 but this shit isnt working with wifi. REturn it!

  20. Pingback: iPad Air Available at Best Buy on Release Day at 8 AM

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