I just got back to my Uptown New Orleans apartment from the 5300 Tchoupitoulas St. Cingular store, where I was unable to buy the last 4 gig iPhone. Why? I do not have an American social security number yet as I’ve just arrived to the States 2 weeks ago and applied for the SSN last week and it takes about 30 days (don’t ask me why) to get one. And without an SSN you are nothing in the United States of America in the eye of an administrative person, or for a Cingular shop assistant. From the web it seemed to me, that an SSN is not compulsory for an iPhone, and as good capitalitsts Apple and Cingular only care about my money. But there are deeper considerations here.
So I had been there at the store at around 5.45 PM. and I was the 42nd in the line. Rumor was that only 40 iPhone had been shipped to that store and the rumor turned true. 2 men left, so I happened to be the last person (around 30 people behind me came for nothing) who was offered a 4 gig iPhone, as the 8 gig versions were sold out first, not surprisingly. But I said yes even to the 4 gig last one. Then the assistant asked me about my driving license or “social”…in brief, I was lost. When they saw that I am just newcomer here only with a reference number waiting for the Social Security Number, the white-orange iPhone pocket quickly disappeared in the hand of the higher rank shop assistant. Not quickly, rather as quick as lightning and without any papers and help I took my bike to home. (I even showed up my Motorola phone, which I just bought last Friday in the downtown Cingular store without any urgent need of my social security number.)
And why it is not problem for me after all:
– I wanted to buy an 8 gig one, as a 4 gig storage is nonsense, anyway.
– The newcomer family budget was rescued this way until next payroll cheque.
– I have to book flight tickets instead for California to visit the Sci Foo Camp at the Googleplex where people are concerned about my thoughts, not about my social security number.
– And some real technological arguments last, but not least: Why I am Going To Wait to Buy an iPhone