Today sees the actual-you-can-walk-into-a-shop-and-buy-one launch of the iPhone 4s (as opposed to the look-at-this-you-can’t-have-it-yet launch which will go down in history only for being a couple of days before Steve Jobs passed away) to what would seem to be a muted response.

The event does give me an excuse to blog about what happened to me on the day of the iPhone 4 release though…

Having been keen to get an iPhone, waiting only for the launch of the newer model after my previous contract expired, but being very lazy I had intended just to get one whenever they weren’t in short supply in future, but thanks to my hatred for the Spanish on the day I decided I wasn’t letting any of them buy one before me. Thus off I went to Braehead at 09:30 on the basis that the Vodafone representative in the shop who I’d spoken to the week before had said that they wouldn’t be on sale until 10:00. The Vodafone shop looked empty although there was a massive queue outside the other phone shops (except Orange where there was one guy on his own) and a huge crowd at the lifts adjacent to it which made me assume the customers had been told to wait there instead of blocking the shop entrance.
I thought, I can’t do this, wait in this queue and get back inside an hour, as I walked past it and back down the length of the shopping centre, but I popped into Vodafone on the way back out and asked the guy at the door where the queue started.
“Right here”, he said and put my details into a machine that generated a numbered ticket like you get at the deli counter. (Number 011, just so you know.) There was a telly displaying the waiting time and it said serving 7 and that there were so many minutes to wait, so I went over to sit down and then he comes up with one of the assistants and says “told you I wouldn’t keep you long”.

So I went over to the sales desk and the guy was really helpful. Turns out I’d got the prices wrong during my investigations and could get the 32Gb on a £35, two-year contract for what I thought I’d be paying for the 16Gb. Then the sales guy says, “did you consider a business plan?” and I’m like, “I assumed you’d need to be… I dunno… a business and have a VAT number or be buying 10 at a time or something…” and he’s like, “no we just do the same ID check we do for the personal contracts and it might work out cheaper depending on what you want to use the phone for, do you want to have a look..?”

So I say yes, and the prices (albeit excluding VAT) for the 32Gb on the same contract are cheaper. Cheaper, in fact, than the 16Gb on a personal contract. So neither of us can believe this and he goes away to check with regional office, which took a while (probably paying me back for skipping the queue) and during that time they call my 011 ticket number, but I don’t say anything because while I’ve been glancing out into the shopping centre and this fat lad, looking like James Corden but with a bit of beard growth has bowled up into the shop and engaged the ticket machine greeter in conversation.
“I’d like and iPhone, please”, he says, “like everyone else in here” he continues cause, fat people like to be funny, “a 32Gb one.”
“You’re in luck” the greeter says, “we only have one left”, and my guy wanders back over and says “no there isn’t, I’m selling it to this guy here…”, so the fat lad says to me “I’ll give you £100 for it” and I’m like, “I can’t sell it I technically haven’t bought it yet…” and he says “no £100 to take your place in the queue…”

So I’m looking at the guy serving me and he’s looking back at me and we’re like ‘seriously?’ to each other. And the fat lad says, “No, really, I’ve been everywhere nobody has one left, can you check the stock in the back, I’ll pay extra…” but he’s shit of luck apparently. The moral here being if you don’t spend as long eating breakfast, you can get into the shops in time to get the limited stock, I think.
Also, I don’t find James Corden particularly funny, so even though I only wanted a 16Gb this morning, I wasn’t prepared to cut him a break.


Anyhow, after all that it turns out the business prices are correct. Downside is, only 250 texts a month, but you get unlimited free calls to landlines. Fair enough, I stand by my calculation that I sent less than 1000 texts in 18 months on current handset figure, even assuming I did go delete crazy at some point and clear out a couple of hundred, so I ask if I can be cheeky and get him to check the cost of the handset on the £30 per month business contract. Slight increase, but still less inclusive of VAT than the 16Gb personal deal.


So, it’s all done, right? I’ve got my phone and he’s let me pick my number from a list of one’s available and he puts it through the till. Except. Except it turns out there’s a deal on unlimited texts at the moment. Today has been full of win.


In the end it was £180 for a 32Gb iPhone4, on a 24 month contract at £30 per month, with unlimited texts, unlimited land line calls, 600 minutes to mobiles and 1Gb of data use. I think the guy did me a good deal. It may turn out to be a mistake, but my contract is signed so they can’t change it for 2 years.


Also, I’ve tried the “no signal when you touch the phone thing” that the Register is reporting. My signal strength goes up, so it’s obvious that Vodafone are a lot better than the US networks. If only I wasn’t scared to touch it…

Only time will tell if today will see such queues for the new product, but to be honest I think this time Fat Lad will be in luck…


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