On April 10th, I placed my order for a 42mm SS watch w/bright blue leather loop. I thought it was curious when the screen blinked from an early shipping date of 4/24-5/8 to 5/13-5/27, but no matter, I'd go for it anyway. I kept my fingers crossed for an early shipping date and had a bit of hope when I received confirmation of my order at 12:02am PST. Alas, most of us are now aware there very well may be a problem with leather loop orders, and my band choice was one of the most unfortunate where luck and "earlyish" shipments were concerned. Oh well, I'd just wait it out, even with a bitter taste slowly developing around this launch whenever I thought of the procession of celebrities brandishing their watches for all of the regular people (now, apparently, second-class citizens) to lust after. An extra dash of poor planning, poor communication, and the hint of customer disrespect didn't help matters. But I have thick skin, and after all a corporation is just that; they are neither family nor friend and they don't owe me anything other than what I pay for. Fast forward to April 23rd, yesterday, when I heard Maxfield in Los Angeles (an 18-minute drive from my house) would have stock available starting at 9:00am today. Reports varied regarding the breakdown of the inventory, but it seemed like something to consider since canceling my pre-order after a successful brick and mortar purchase would be easy enough. The potential line around the block though...that was just not my scene at all. Last night, I couldn't sleep. Too many visions of reluctant bright blue leather loops too shy to be seen wrapped around the wrists of the common man and woman ricocheting inside my head. I woke at 4:37am; slipped out of bed lest my wife confirm what she's always suspected, i.e., I'm just too geeky to share a life with; slipped into some warm clothes; put together a haphazard waiting-in-an-Apple-launch-line-bag filled with headphones, iPad, water, and snacks; and drove over to Melrose. The line waiting for me stretched around the building, but after a quick headcount, I guessed I was probably around the 100th to 120th person waiting for "my precious" in the darkness. To keep this from turning into the longest post ever (please don't let it be), I'll speed through what happened next: after seven hours in line and only about 60 people ahead of me having already purchased their watches, a rumor started to float that all 42mm SS watches had been sold out. I'll say this again in a different way. The only store in the United States where Apple made the decision to have stock available to the masses ran out of 42mm SS watches after 60 customers! And, surely, not all of those customers chose stainless steel watches as the majority were bubbling about their sport purchases while they walked past the lowly legion of losers who had just spent seven hours of their lives they'd never get back for nothing. Suffice it to say, I gave my ticket (yes, they issued tickets for order) to a fellow sufferer and left the line empty-handed. By the way, tickets in my position were selling to a sketchy band of Russians for $100-$300 a pop!!! The world has gone crazy. Well, it's not necessarily true that my wait was for nothing. I met a truly warm group of people during this time. From the Filipino-American psychology student; to the brother and sister duo respectively taking a break from his day at the advertising company and her J.D/M.B.A studies; to another young man from Guangzhou, China two years into his American adventure; to the ex-bookstore owner who years ago realized her business was doomed when she was playing with her iPhone and ended up on Amazon and considered purchasing a book there; to the 20 or 30something year-old Floridian pastor one month from becoming a father and who had travelled with a group of friends from West Covina; to the tall "Parenthood"/"Californication"cameraman. They made the last seven hours memorable. Apple, on the other hand, has seen better launches and my fingers are crossed (again) that they return to celebrating the process regular customers experience purchasing their products and give it the same import and priority as they seemingly have for the celebrities they shower with aluminum, steel, and gold. Have fun with your watches!