A mythical, magical, sparkly unicorn who is made of magic.
Kayso, here’s the story:
My precious, precious iPhone 4 which has been my constant companion for the past two and a half years is dead. Well, not exactly. But it does have narcolepsy. Which would be alright if I didn’t actually want to use it for stuff on any kind of consistent basis.
It’s sad because my relationship with my iPhone is quite possibly the most successful relationship I’ve ever had. [Cue nostalgic happy music.]
Me: Hey iPhone, what do you want to do today?
iP: Well, I could confer with Australian Paul (my drunken, Foster’s-swilling, Aussie GPS voice), map out the most roundabout way to get to someplace awesome, download a bunch of audiobooks and you could drive me around for hours and hours?
Me: That’s a great idea! I love you, iPhone.
iP: You’re my number one bitch too, Sarah.
But lately things have become somewhat strained.
Me: Come on iPhone, let’s go on a road trip!
iP: I don’t wanna.
Me: Sure you do! It’ll be so much fun! We can drive around all day, rock out to some sweet tunes, take lots of pictures…
iP: I suppose you’re going to want him to come with us?
Me: Who? Australian Paul? We always take Paul with us on road trips. He’s literally the navigator.
iP: Ugh, that guy is so exhausting. He’s one of those people who sucks up all of your energy, you know? And once he gets going, he never knows when to shut the hell up.
Me: He does talk a lot, but he’s never gotten us lost. Except for every time we pass through the wasteland that is Jersey, but I don’t think that’s AP’s fault…
iP: But he’s such an asshole!
Me: I know, but your map app isn’t that great and-
iP: You take that back! My maps are fine! They’re better than that drunken Aussie with his mostly accurate directions and his pansy accent. It’s the accent, isn’t it?
Me: The accent is pretty hot, but my relationship with Paul is purely navigational.
Me: *stares blankly and waits for iPhone to see reason*
iP: I suppose you expect me to keep you two entertained the whole time with tunes and audiobooks and podcasts?
iP: No, thanks. I think I’m gonna chill here and take a nap.
Me: You do know that I can pick you up and make you come on this road trip, right?
iP: You wouldn’t.
Me: I would.
iP: Don’t you fucking dare…
Me: You’re taking me on a road trip and goddamn it, you’re gonna like it! Now go get Australian Paul. Let’s hear what he has to say about this.
Me: DO IT!
iP: FUCK YOU!
Then comes the part when my phone crashes and scares the hell out of me by playing dead for a little while. It always wakes up though.
Me: I’m sorry.
iP: Me too.
Me: We can’t go on like this.
iP: I know.
Me: Do you think we need to go to counseling?
iP: Look, it’s been a long day and I’m exhausted, can we talk about this later?
Me: You always say that and later never comes.
iP: Jesus woman, I said we’d talk about it later! Now bring me a friggin’ beer already.
iP: *plops down on the couch, puts feet up on the coffee table and zones out in front of the tv*
Clearly, this has become a toxic relationship. Which is why, when Apple announced that they were releasing a shiny new iPhone, I got kind of excited.
As with all new tech purchases, I like to do a lot of research first, so I called Verizon (my wireless provider) to find out if I was eligible for an upgrade. I was. More importantly, I learned that I essentially have the rent controlled apartment of data plans. Unlimited data, talk and text. Apparently, just after I purchased my first iPhone, Verizon did away with their unlimited data plans and switched to a tiered fee structure. Which is bullshit. From the consumer point of view anyway.
The kicker is, the only way I can hang on to my amazing plan is to never renew my contract and the only way to get a discounted price on a new phone is to sign up for a new 2-yr non-unlimited data plan contract. Meaning, if I wanted both a new iPhone and an amazing data plan, I needed to buy a full price iPhone from the Apple Store.
For most people, this isn’t really an issue because most people don’t use that much data and they don’t need an unlimited plan. The dude at Verizon foolishly thought I was one of those people.
Verizon Guy: For like, ninety percent of people, 2GB of data per month is more than enough.
VG: I’ve got wi-fi at home and here at work so I rarely have to use any of my data.
Me: That’s adorable.
VG: So yeah, I’ll just look up your actual data usage per month and… Oh. That…that’s a lot of data.
VG: What are you doing with this phone? Running the international space station?
Me: No. But I do stream internet radio and podcasts 8-12 hours a day.
VG: That would do it.
Me: Yeah. So I need to hang on to this plan with the icy grip of grim death, right?
VG: Yes. You never want to lose this plan.
Me: That’s what I thought.
I did the math and figured that even if I bought the most expensive version of the iPhone at full price (which I fully intended to do), over the course of of the two year contract I would still save about a thousand dollars compared to the more expensive data plan.
That settled, my only problem was how to acquire said iPhone. My deadbeat phone was becoming more and more uncooperative with each passing day, but I wasn’t about to queue up with the rest of the assholes waiting on line all night at the Apple Store. That’s just silly.
So last Saturday, I was out shopping with one of my roomies and my phone died. The battery didn’t die. It still had half a charge. It just gave up. Our last conversation went like this:
Me: Hey iPhone, can I look something up real quick?
Me: Come on. I’ll be super fast.
iP: LEAVE ME ALONE!
Me: You’re being decidedly unhelpful.
iP: That’s it. I’m sick of your bitching. I’m out.
And it was. I mean, for a phone that was more than two years old, lived through a couple of jailbreaks and hadn’t been powered off in several months, it had a good run.
I borrowed my roommate’s phone and called the nearest Apple Store. By this point, the new iPhone had been out for a week and I figured the fervor would’ve died down a bit.
I figured wrong.
The next fifteen minutes were spent in conversation with a thoroughly delightful Apple customer service rep I’ll call Steve.
Steve: This is Steve, how can I help you?
Me: Hello, Steve. Here’s the thing: my phone has got the AIDS and I’m unna need a new one like, yesterday and… Oh god, I’m sorry. You probably think I’m awful now. I’m really not. I’m a good person, I swear. Just horribly, horribly inappropriate sometimes. I seriously don’t know why I say these things. I mean, Family Guy said it was okay to start joking about AIDS now so I went for it, but it still feels really wrong and now I feel terrible. I should really stop talking. I’m gonna stop talking now.
S: (laughing – thank god) It’s alright. I’m pretty inappropriate myself so your sense of humor is appreciated here.
Me: Excellent. Now that we’ve dispensed with the joking-about-horrific-diseases portion of the conversation…I’ve heard a lot about this new-fangled iPhone dealie and I’m wondering how I might go about acquiring one.
S: Yeah, you and everybody else.
There was more banter. I went on to explain that I was hesitant to order online because I was afraid that I would screw it up and accidentally get suckered in to signing a new contract and losing my most epic of cell phone plans. He helpfully offered to talk me through the process over the phone, which would have been great, but there was a three week wait for online orders at that time.
Me: Three weeks?!? For a phone? That’s bananas.
S: People really seem to like them.
Me: I guess. So, let’s say I order online and wait a million years for this phone to come in…can I have it delivered to the store and pick it up there? I don’t want it delivered to my apartment because I live in the ghetto and all of our packages always get stolen.
S: Um…we don’t really do that.
Me: Ugh. Ok. I guess I’ll have to brave the store then?
S: That’s probably your best bet.
Me: I don’t wanna wait in a long line like an asshole though.
S: Well, what do you consider a long wait?
Me: I don’t know…more than five minutes?
S: Ah. Then I should probably tell you that we still have people lining up overnight to be the first person in the store in the morning. Because that’s pretty much the only way you’ll get one right now. And even then it’s not a guarantee.
Me: Seriously? Come on. I bet there’s a secret back room full of iPhones and you’re all just hoarding them to create a scarcity.
S: Oh there’s a back room, but you don’t want to know what goes on in there…
Me: Really? Cause now I kinda do…
S: My boss just walked by and told me I was going to hell.
Me: Based solely on the contents of this conversation – you probably are.
Me: How long before the craziness dies down?
S: Last time, for iPhone 5, it took about a month.
Me: A month!
It didn’t look like I’d be getting a new phone any time soon. But since my roommate was still shopping, my phone was deader than disco, and I had nothing better to do, Steve and I kept talking. I told him about the specific phone I wanted – 5s, white and silver, 64GB – and he told me that it was super cool and he’d just gotten it in black. We talked about all sorts of things. Flirted a little. He seemed like a great guy.
Then he said he had to put me on hold for a minute. I said ok. When he came back on the line, there was a certain urgency in his tone.
S: Where are you right now?
Me: Uh..upper west side. 79th, I think?
S: How quickly could you get to the store?
Me: Ten-ish minutes?
S: Go there right now. I can’t make any promises, but there might be a white 64GB iPhone 5s with your name on it if you can get there right now.
Me: Are you kidding me?
S: Listen, I’m not in the store right now. I’m at an off-site call center, but here’s what you do…
I’m not going to tell you what he told me, because I don’t want to get Steve in trouble. It was totally a ‘knock three times and ask for Joe’ kind of deal though. I clearly had to go find out if it would actually work, if for no other reason than it sounded totally awesome.
My roommate wasn’t finished shopping yet so this was going to be a solo mish. Which seemed oddly appropriate.
After thanking Steve profusely, I hung up the phone, returned it to my roomie and high-tailed it over to the Apple Store.
It was mobbed when I got there, but thankfully there was no line and I walked right up to the first available Apple specialist I could find.
Me: Hello. I’d like an iPhone please.
Apple Employee: I’m sorry. We didn’t get any phones in our shipment today, but I’d be happy to help you order one online. Or you could try back tomorrow.
Me: Um…what if I told you that my name is Sarah and that Steve McFakeLastName said that if I told you [insert stuff I’m not gonna tell you here] that you might find one in the back with my name on it?
She stared at me blankly for what felt like a solid minute.
AE: Uh…I don’t know. I’ll have to ask someone about this.
Then she disappeared into the back room.
She came back five minutes later and there was someone else with her. A management type.
My heart sank a little.
Then I saw it – a small white box carefully concealed in her hand.
AE1: I honestly have no idea how you did this. I didn’t think we had any phones back there.
AE2: Yeah. How do you know Steve?
Me: I don’t. We’ve never even met.
And I explained all about our little chat earlier that evening. Incidentally, I also inquired whether or not Steve was single. Word on the street is that he is. More on that later.
AE1: You know, you’re probably the only person in New York City who didn’t have to wait on line for this.
Me: The only person who doesn’t work for Apple you mean.
AE1: No! We don’t get preference. Not when it’s something like this. I don’t know how Steve managed it.
AE2: Seriously. You’re like, the unicorn of iPhone buyers.
Me: Am I? Awesome.
So even though it cost me almost my entire paycheck at full price, how was I supposed to walk away from a deal like that? I obviously wasn’t. I’m convinced it was a sign from Jesus (and possibly Steve Jobs) that I was supposed to have this phone.
Isn’t it pretty?
I can’t tell you how great it is to have a fully functioning phone again. I don’t think I’m even going to bother jailbreaking this one because it already does pretty much everything that I had to jailbreak my old phone to do.
So bring me all of the Nutella and pretzels in the land! For I am a magical unicorn who used her sparkly unicorn magic to magic a heretofore nonexistent iPhone into existence! Hooray for success and winning!
[Sorry for the uber-smug (and mildly offensive) post, but there’s not a lot going on in my life right now so I’ve got to celebrate the small victories, you know?]
Update: I have since been back to that particular Apple Store twice since last week in an attempt to thank Steve in person, but I’ve had no luck. Yesterday I only missed him by an hour. I’ll keep trying. I feel like I should get him something, but what do you get for someone you’ve never met and know nothing about? An iTunes gift card? A bottle of wine? A hand written note and a heartfelt hug? Suggestions welcome.