I was trying to get an iPad 2 for my daughter's birthday but of course nothing was available so I have been periodically checking the Apple stores and to hedge my bets placed an online order with Apple, which promised shipment around April 21st (the online order was made around March 19th).
So yesterday (Saturday April 3rd) I figured I would try the Apple store in Smith Haven Mall again. I got there around 8:45am. There was a smallish line of about 4 customers, 1 apple employee a mall rent-a-cop and an open Apple store with at least a dozen customers already inside. The Apple employee said that the only iPads left were 64gb Verizon models which I did not want.
I was asking the Apple employee why they just couldn't be honest about when the store opens. The listed opening time is 10am - when I went to the store two weeks earlier, it was at 9:15am and the store was clearly already open and doing business. An employee then told me that they sometimes open at 9am to take Genius Bar appointments except now it was 8:45am and the store was swinging.
While I was talking to the Apple employee, a lady came out of the store, walked over to us and said "Does anyone want a 32gb Wifi iPad"? I suspected that she had just bought it and was looking to make a quick profit, but I told her "Yes, I'm interested".
She handed me two white, 2" square pieces of cardboard on which were printed Ipad 2 Black Wifi 32Gb. Apparently Apple hands out these cards, with the kind of iPad that you wish to buy, to people waiting on line. I told the lady "Thank you" she said something about not being able to (or needing to) send it to China and walked off. The Apple employee who had witnessed the whole transaction said that I could now enter the queue and wait on the (now empty) line to get my iPad 2. He did ask me if I wanted 2 iPads and I said "no" just one and I handed him the other white card.
An employee walked out of the store and ushered me in to the store to get an iPad 2. As I was finishing up actually buying my iPad I saw the lady who had given me the card, come back into the Apple store, accompanied by a man this time and they headed over to the Genius bar which was about 10 feet behind where I was standing. So, when I finished buying the iPad I walked back over to her, showed her the bag and thanked her again.
I asked her name and she said it was Kitty - I told her this was for my daughter's birthday and she would be very happy not having to wait almost 5 weeks after her birthday to get her present. Kitty said "I hope it brings your daughter a lot of luck" and then asked me if I had been waiting long. I told her no I had just come up to the store about ten minutes earlier, thinking that the store only opened at 9am. Kitty said that she had been waiting at the store since 4AM! So much for my 9AM 'early' visit - who knew that the mall would even open up their doors at that time!
Anyway, Thank you again Kitty - my daughter and her iPad have been pretty much inseparable all weekend :-)