Recently while traveling through Switzerland I decided to check if I can get a fresh, unlocked iPhone 4 from the local Apple Store in Zurich so I went there and to my amazement, there was a long line in front of the store to get the brand new phone from Steve Jobs:
After 3 hours of standing in line... I got my iPhone 4 - so I was a happy camper... but the experience wasn't as exciting as the ones I heard from my friends from the USA on the days of the iPhone launch there.
What's more - it wasn't an "iPhone 4 launch" kind of line... iPhone was already on the Swiss market - it was more of an "iPhone is in stock now" kind of line (because Apple can't keep up with the demand).
Here's my experience - the good, the bad and the ugly:
The good - there was hope
Apple can hardly keep up with the demand to get the iPhones out and it was a good thing that we knew the iPhones were there in stock on that day. An Apple Store manager even walked out to us to ask which iPhones we wanted and assured us there are enough to serve us all.
And of course - we were not standing there for no reason - we were supposed to buy the best smartphone ever on this planet... and we all wanted it very badly... so we stood there :-)
The bad - long processing time
The good thing with buying an iPhone in Switzerland is the fact, that you can get it unlocked and without any contract. And for a good price at that. This is why I was standing in this line in the first place. However the bad thing was (and I didn't expect it) that in the same line there were people who wanted to just buy the iPhone unlocked (that's me!) and who wanted to sign a contract with Swisscom... and signing a contract took lots of time.
I was surprised seeing a guy signing a contract a whole hour and then asking about the iPhone and its features.... why didn't they just sign the contract with him and moved him over to Genius bar about the questions about his iPhone? And why didn't they just have two lines - one for the buyers and one for the contract'ers (for the lack of better word)?
The ugly - no feedback from the store
Waiting was OK, but because the line took so long to move even an inch... and because next person sometimes had to wait 30 minutes to be allowed to get the iPhone... was frustrating. We just felt the Apple store employees are just taking their time and taking it slow why we stand in this line in front of the store and serve as their marketing tool like: "hey, these are the guys waiting in line here, let's see why they're doing that!"
I felt used - I felt that because when I wanted the iPhone I needed to pay the price of being a marketing toy for Apple and his Steveness.
"Waiting in line experience designed by Apple in California" - BAD
"iPhone 4 smartphone designed by Apple in California" - GREAT