The iPhone 5s launched last Friday to a frenzy of buyers. Due to anticipated shortages, lines were long in many locations. Mashable waited for over 12 hours at the flagship New York City location, and had to be exposed to Carson Daily. Several of our own people woke up in the early hours of Friday to get in line for the greatest incremental upgrade in the history of Apple. We observed some people having very bad days, and not because they were in a brawl. No, these people seemingly reserved an iPhone 5s and then were denied their phones.
We were lucky enough to be in position #2 and #3 at our local Verizon Wireless store. The morning was organized very effectively, with staff handing out tickets and pulling our accounts before the store even opened. No transactions could occur before 8:00am, but they were ready to go to move people along as quickly as possible.
When we left the store, we encountered a woman who was very upset with the store manager. She was holding what appeared to be a business card in her hands with some scribbled information on them. According to her, she was told to show up at the store at 8:15am and that she would be allowed to purchase an iPhone 5s. She was asked by the store manager if she had a ticket. Since she did not have a ticket, she huffed away and returned to her vehicle.
Later in the day we had an executive in Michigan share a story where he was promised to have an iPhone 5s in hand at 6:30am. While he did show up at that time, he waited until later and was still not given the opportunity to purchase a phone.
We even heard of a story where a woman was promised a particular color iPhone 5s from a rep within 48 hours if she showed up at a particular time. Not only was that color unavailable within that 48 hour time-frame, she was told it wouldn’t be available to ship for nearly a month.
We are unsure if representatives really did not understand how limited quantity these phones would be available in, or if some representatives just didn’t care. It seems far-fetched that they were completely clueless until the night before, especially considering Apple did not allow pre-orders. However, Apple is trying to be more secretive these days and it some think that the shortages were just hype to create lines.