UK: iPhone 5S release day queuing woes - VERY BAD!!

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by jimthing, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. jimthing, Sep 23, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013

    jimthing macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2011
    London, UK
    Just thought I'd add a couple of bloody awful Apple queuing experiences we had here in the UK.
    The thing that stands-out is how BADLY it has been organised, and how much Apple basically dicked-around the people in line, knowing MOST would not be getting one!!

    • Example 1... Brighton:

    - I was outside the Brighton store in the UK from around 4:30am, and was ~50th in line.
    (we have to stand outside the shopping centre until it opens at 7am, then we get walked-in in the same order by the Apple staff to queue directly outside the Apple Store itself inside).

    - The Apple staff actually appeared outside the shopping centre at 5am, and we all asked "what is stock like?"... their answer: "we can't tell you!". (also saying we could buy upto two 5S's per person, as per every year, &/or TEN 5C's — this should have set alarm bells ringing for everyone in line!!)

    - So we are all standing there (no free coffee/food BTW, as I hear the US stores get, but nevermind) until 7am (yes, TWO hours more waiting), and by now there are ~250 people in line, before then being lead inside the shopping centre by the staff in groups of 10, until most of the queue is now lined-up inside the centre directly outside the store.

    - Now we're directly lined-up outside the Apple store inside the centre, at 7:30am they FINALLY start going down the queue asking what people want and handing out the stock tickets! It very soon became apparent they had absolutely f*c* all 5S units in stock!

    Out of the first 30 people, I soon saw ~10 leave instantly they spoke to the manager who was making his way down the line handing-out the stock tickets as he spoke REALLY QUIETLY in hushed tones to each person individually inline, many people were rolling their eyes in surprise so I wondered what was going on. Then out of the next 20 just in front of me, another 5 left (one shouting "WTF, NO GOLDS AT ALL LEFT AFTER LESS THAN 30 PEOPLE!" As they stormed off).
    I wanted to hear it from the horses mouth, and a couple of mins later eventually the Apple manager got to me at ~50th in line and confirmed all golds had gone before me, as had all the white/silvers too, in fact all they had left was 16 & 32GB Black/Grey's!

    I thought about quizzing him about it, but he looked highly annoyed he was having to advise customers, and was apologising profusely about it, so as I wanted a gold 64GB (or at least a white one!) I just left the queue too without wasting time asking him anything more.

    However, out of interest I hung around for another 30mins (drinking a nearby self-bought coffee to perk-up a bit) and it was just plainly embarrassingly difficult for the Apple staff, as they had to advise queuers of ZERO 5S's left (after the few people behind me snapped-up the remaining black ones I had passed on).

    I literally watched as ~90% of the rest of the queue vanished as one-by-one each small group was advised no 5S's left, only 5C's, before I then left.

    On watching them all gradually being told 'no stock left', the more forceful queuers were asking the manager THREE questions which were really pissing everyone off, but got the stonewall treatment from Apple staff:

    1.) Why did they not tell people at 5am that they had low stocks?!

    2.) Given minimal stock, why did they not go down the line at 5am to hand-out the stock tickets to the first people in line, so others behind them did not have to waste their time and could have left a lot earlier, AND ORDERED ONLINE ASAP, instead of hanging around while the date slipped from "7-10 days" to just "October"?!

    3.) Given absolutely minimal stock, why were people allowed to buy TWO units each instead of a fairer ONE each?!

    • Example 2...London (Covent Garden):

    My brother was queuing outside the VERY LARGE London Covent Garden store (at ~400 in line) and he didn't even get ANY to chose from, nor did the previous 50 or so people in front of him, after he had queued from midnight to 8am!

    Being a very big store, there was at least ~1500 people still behind him as well! As they were also queuing for much much longer, on not getting one and realising there was no email list either to sign-up for unlike last year (no explanation given by Apple staff on why not?!), they were mostly VERY PISSED-OFF at being kept in line by Apple staff from 5am (when the staff first appeared, happy-clapping away, pissing everyone off with their shouting!) until the store opened at 8am (yep, they had to wait until the full opening time of 8am before the doors finally opened there!).
    Only for most of them to leave with ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, given nearly all understandably wanted an unlocked 5S!

    According to my brother, he and a hell of a lot of other people in line asked exactly the same questions as above, only for the Apple staff to refuse any sort of explanation to any of them!

    He said if it wasn't for the Police presence there, some of the tougher street kids would have kicked-off some violence, as they were shouting obscenities at the Apple managers on the door for around 20mins when the managers refused to answer anything, until the cops told them to move-on.

    I also have a friend who works at another smaller London branch of Apple Store, but wasn't working that day (final year PhD student, so they had to lower their work hours in order to finish the course properly!).
    It transpires that Apple HQ clearly advised store managers not to advise queuers that they had low stocks, and to not hand-out tickets until at or near the opening time, to make the queues look good for media coverage — so the people in line were effectively being used by Apple to make their "new iPhone release" look good! Why else would they not hand-out the stock tickets earlier?

    It's not the fact people didn't get a phone that highly annoys people, it's the fact Apple kept MASSES of people in line waiting outside stores, when they could have let people know at least TWO HOURS earlier by just handing-out the stock tickets THEN, rather than doing all the cheering-happy-clappy bollocks no one's even interested in.
    AND then, to cap it all off, they also failed to have a back-up email system, so people in line could at least be FIRST for physical store pickups (on others days, as and when more stock arrived) in the same order they queued up in!
    ...AND there's no UK system for online ordering for in-store reservation either (only the US gets this)!

    Never ever ever again queuing for me, that's all I'll say, and I've been to a couple before (my brother said the same; he was literally frightened a massive fight was going to break out around him!).

    Bad Apple, really bad. Leaves a really bad taste in the mouth how this is being handled. They have to improve on this system once and for all for next year, as this year was truly abysmal!
  2. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Stocks were relatively plentiful here in the US. The bottom line is that Apple owns the US market (they have 40%), so we get treated better than the rest of the world when it comes to iPhone launches.
  3. jimthing, Sep 23, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013

    jimthing thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2011
    London, UK
    They weren't plentiful in the US either, read the threads. Many US people in line didn't get them either on launch day.
    For example, I read one about a Chicago store where a team of thugs hustled into the front of the queue 30mins before opening, and despite protestations from other people in line who had been there for HOURS, the Apple staff still basically let them buy half of the stock available without doing anything about it. Not exactly fair line management was it.

    Anyway, as I clearly mentioned above, it's NOT about the actual numbers of units available, but rather the way it's being handled — it could and should have been handled a lot fairer, but certainly hasn't been.

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