Here's the deal. I am a new AT&T customer and as such needed a credit check. I went to a store a few weeks ago and had them run it just to see if I qualified, and sure enough I have to pay a 500 dollar deposit. Because of this, I have to deal with AT&T only. Obviously no paid deposit = no phone, and I've been told that the ONLY way to pay this deposit is at the time of purchase, in an AT&T store. Pre-orders were ****ed, and I wasn't lucky enough to get on that boat. So up until a few hours ago, I was planning on camping out on the 23rd and paying the deposit, opening a plan, and getting my phone, as a walk-in customer (no other options). Now, I won't be able to do that. So, before I completely give up hope and resign myself to waiting till the 29th, I have some questions (hopefully someone who works for AT&T or has had a similar experience, can answer them): 1. The way I see it, my only hopes of getting an iphone on the 24th, not having a reservation, is to buy from a retailer other than AT&T. But because of the deposit, I can't do this. SO, is it at all possible, in any way shape or form, to pay this deposit PRIOR to opening a plan/buying a phone, so that when I go to the Apple store, for instance, and they check my credit, it says that I've paid the deposit, and they can proceed with the transaction? 2. There was a thread that said something about people who used the employee/student discount with AT&T were not forced to undergo a credit check. Can someone confirm this, and if true, would I be able to go to an Apple store on the 24th and open an account as a "premier" customer and thereby skip the credit check? 3. What would actually happen if I camped out at an Apple store, got inside and started the transaction, to have them see that I owe a deposit? Is it true that I can only pay it at an AT&T store? I was under the impression that the whole service/activation thing goes through AT&T's network anyway, regardless of the physical location. Would they really shrug and say "sorry" and show me the door? 4. This BS with AT&T (and I guess, Apple) makes me want to rethink becoming a customer to begin with. If I were to buy a phone without a contract, would it be possible to unlock the phone right away? Is there an unlock already released? Also, can walk-in customers buy no-contract iPhones on the 24th at Apple stores for instance? Sorry for the long post and numerous questions, but hopefully someone has the time to help me out. Thanks very much in advance!