Just got back from purchasing my iPad 2. Only spent about 1.5 hours in total on this exercise.
I first went to my local Best Buy store which is less than a mile from my house. I had called the day before to get a feel for their expected supply and was told they had 20 pieces of multiple sizes to sell. Armed with this information I took a chance. Well I arrive and am told at 4 pm they have 10 and are already sold out! I then go to the back of the store and ask to speak to a manager for clarification. There were already 20 people in line that had been waiting since 12 pm! I start asking questions about their expected stock and they can’t answer and don’t know anything. They then said that if I kept asking questions they would escort me from the store!
Best Buy, your customer service is horrendous. You should be able to answer basic questions without threatening your customers. Give people enough information to make informed decisions. Stringing people along is not beneficial to your business or customers. If it’s too much for your business to handle something like this then just don’t bother.
So, I abandoned this Best Buy failure and headed to my local Target store less than a quarter mile away.
I arrived to find that they only had 5 of the 32 gb model. I only wanted the 16 gb model but adapted to this new reality. I want to give high kudos to the Target staff in Wheaton, MD who were courteous and and honestly answered questions without equivocation. I later learned that they had been trained by their management for this occasion. It showed and is appreciated by this customer. Being honest with your customers is the only proper and appropriate way to behave. Target understands this – Best Buy does not.
I was fourth in line and so I was able to purchase an iPad 2 without drama and was on my way by 5:10 pm.
If I had gone to one of the two Apple stores in my area, I would still be in line waiting although it has been stated online that Apple stores have plenty of supply.
I think the very small allocation to the non-Apple stores is poor planning by Apple and is mostly an exercise in frustration for customers. Either ship sufficient stock to partner stores or just only sell them at Apple. Apple could do better but it is a game they seem to enjoy playing?
Update: I just saw this article that points to Best Buy sales shenanigans and Apple being none too pleased. If this article is accurate, it explains my experience and further reinforces my belief that Best Buy is on a downward spiral and will fail in the not too distant future.