careful, your mascara is running.

I avoided looking at the display model iPhones on the way in, and averted my gaze from everyone elses iPhones. I wanted to enrich the experience of opening my own iPhone 5, and make it more special than it already would be…

You know you’re a pampered, entitled little whiner when you go to buy a new iPhone and feel compelled to write a tear-soaked blog post on how the AT&T rep “ruined” your first impressions of the phone by carelessly unwrapping everything prior to setting it up. ZOMG! He didn’t leave the protective film on it so I could peel it off in a quasi-religious trance! He unwrapped my USB cord so I was deprived of the experience! WAAAA! This is followed by a list of “How To” tips that outline how the experience should have gone. (In this kid’s ideal world, the salesguy should practically avoid eye contact and treat you like you’re in a bank opening a precious lockbox.)

The folks at the phone store don’t have the time to let every customer spend fifteen minutes ritually unpacking and getting to know their new iPhone. On iPhone launch day, these places are wall-to-wall with hipster kids looking to pick up their new phones between hitting Starbucks and pretending to go to class. You don’t want to make them late for their Ethnic Basketweaving 101 class so you can smell the packaging on your new iPhone.

16 thoughts on “careful, your mascara is running.

  1. Ah the cult of Apple! If Sun Myung Moon followers were derisively known as “moonies”, would that make iPhone cultists “Phonies” ? Just wondering…

  2. More likely the new phone should presented like a servant approaching the Pharaohs of Egypt, on one’s knees with head bowed and arms raised. “Oh Great Master this unworthy one presents the Iphone 5!”

  3. This appears to be a lightweight variant of “unboxing”, if I have that right, where military persons “unbox” their new weapons. Just be glad your i-thing MKwhatever isn’t stuffed with cosmoline.

  4. There is something to be said for the experience of unpacking a special item. Think fine cigars, jewelry, keepsakes or handcrafted items. I guess the question amounts to how you see the phone in question. Is it a utility commodity just like any other phone or is it a special item akin to how we might think of a custom firearm, one you have waited for and looked forward to opening yourself.

    • There is something to be said for the experience of unpacking a special item. Think fine cigars, jewelry, keepsakes or handcrafted items…

      …or mass-produced Chicom consumer electronics. 😉

  5. That being said, Apple does do an absolutely masterful job of their packaging and boxing, I remember my macbook pro years ago, and being impressed, it had obviously been thought through to the n-th degree.

    This wasn’t some job handled to a box-guy in shanghai, with a 5 dollar budget. The whole thing from the finish on the cardboard, etc… had obviously been studied and made to feel like you were opening something cool and valuable.

    I will expose myself to ridicule, I suppose but the experience of “great box design” certainly gave me warm fuzzies about the product ( which also had a lot of nice little design features NOTABLY absent in PC’s of the epoch. )

    Hey, if they spent time and money on the box…imagine that they did to the computer…

    Very clever psychology.

  6. Fred,

    See, I get exactly the opposite of warm fuzzies.

    “Hey, if they wasted this much time and money on the box. . . imagine that they left off or cut corners on in the computer. . . ”

    See, I’m pretty sure that any resources used on excessive pretty didn’t come out of the “profit” columns on the project spreadsheet – although, as your comment illustrates, it may well be classified as “marketing”.

  7. What Fred said – but also what Marko said.

    I like stuff. I even like unwrapping stuff, if it’s well wrapped – and Apple damn near invented “well wrapped” in this usage, in the consumer electronics context. (Or at least was the first to do Everything like that, and sell enough Everything that more than a few hundred people saw it…)

    But sobbing about your unbox experience being ruined by the guy at the store?


    (If you care that much?

    Order it from Apple. Then set it up yourself.

    That’s what I did with my 4S, and it was even set up to automatically transfer my phone number from my old phone to the new one…)

  8. I’m with Geodkyte here. When I discovered my cell phone had games on it, I wondered if they did that so you’d have something to do when you noticed reception was uniformly bad.