It seems to me that Apple, along with AT&T, could learn a lot from Chick-Fil-A.
Unlike those either on summer break with hours to kill or in possession of dozens of extra vacation days they want to dump, I was not going to wait in line for six hours on a summer Friday, no matter how life-altering the iPhone would be.
So, relying on my local AT&T store was the first tactical error, in that the carrier stores are clearly the ones that got the inventory shaft.
But don't worry, they're happy to reserve you a phone - and charge you a "shipping fee" of varying amounts depending on how soon you want it. That is, it will be shipped to the store (sounds like somebody's trying to make up some lost dollars in the Apple deal. Ahem!). Shipping to the store? Isn't that simply getting more inventory?
Chick-Fil-A was also having a promotion yesterday.
If you wore (or at least showed) the funny cow hat they handed out the week before, you could get a free entree. If you dressed entirely like a cow, your whole meal was on the house. (Nobody I saw dressed like a cow save for the mascot shaking hands with babies.)
Crowds of people gathered at the counter for much of the time I was at the mall. But the team behind the counter kept things moving. The inventory was piping hot and crispy. Activating the orders - unlike with the iPhone - was a snap. And they weren't trying to gouge anyone - in fact, the discounts were plentiful!
And when capped off with a shake - 700 calories of custardy fakeness (hey, I didn't have lunch, OK?) that makes it easy to forget that an iPhone was out of reach.
For the moment, at least.