Last night I spent a lot of money at 3AM in my underpants. I was not alone.
The concept of waking up at a godforsaken hour to pre-order a new cell phone seemed normal yesterday. Or at least, normal-ish. I spent the evening triple-checking the sign-in credentials for my AT&T and Apple accounts, ensuring they wouldn't fail me at the crucial moment of purchase. I made sure my mobile contract was due for an upgrade. I poured a glass of water and set it alongside my laptop, so I wouldn't be thirsty.
At midnight, I set my alarm for 2:50AM, then went to sleep like a boy on Christmas Eve, slowly and stubbornly. But when my phone buzzed, it was clear this wasn't a holiday. There was work to be done.
After a mental pep talk, I plucked sleep from my eyes, booted my laptop and used the restroom. Then I booted my wife's laptop and our iPad Mini. I loaded AT&T's homepage on my computer, the Apple Store on my wife's and the Apple Store app on the Mini, because at 2:55AM the idea that one, two or even three Apple devices could fail me in the purchase of another Apple device seemed logical.
At 2:58AM, an iPhone 6 vanilla-flavor appeared on the AT&T page for delivery on September 19, but — because I am a sucker for new, large things — I decided to wait for an iPhone 6 Plus. Unfortunately, AT&T wouldn't be able to send a Plus for 15-20 business days. A gambling man, I chose to play the odds on Apple's storefront.
At 3:01AM, Apple's online store was down.
At 3:02AM, Apple's online store was down.
At 3:03AM, Apple's online store was down.
At 3:04AM, Apple's online store was down.
At 3:05AM, Apple's online store was down.
At 3:06AM, Apple's online store was down.
At 3:07AM, Apple's online store was down and I considered just ordering an iPhone 6 vanilla off AT&T. I no longer felt like the only person on the internet. I sensed I was surrounded by thousands of other cold bodies refreshing and refreshing and refreshing.
At 3:08AM, Apple's online store was down and so was AT&T's online store.
At 3:09AM, I accepted that refreshing websites on three different devices would be my foreseeable future, so I turned to Twitter and Slack, Vox Media's preferred chat client, where I found colleagues to commiserate with.
At 3:14AM, Casey Newton ordered an iPhone 6 and I immediately regretted my decision to go for a 6 Plus.
(•_•) <) )╯ORDERED / \ \(•_•) ( (> MY / \ (•_•) <) )> GOLD 64GB iPHONE 6 / \— Casey Newton (@CaseyNewton) September 12, 2014
At 3:20AM, the AT&T store loaded in my browser and I again considered buying an iPhone 6 vanilla to just end this experience, because what the hell is wrong with me.
At 3:23AM, the AT&T online store failed to load my order page for an iPhone 6.
At 3:25AM, the iPhone 6 Plus appeared for sale on the Apple Store app, so I clicked order without any real thought. The page disappeared, reappeared, and then I had a confirmation in my inbox, informing me that my new phone should arrive next Friday.
But I couldn't go to sleep. Now I was energized. I was part of a moment, a really silly moment. Not to mention I'd spent a ton of money. Oh, no, I'd spent a ton of money. Why did I do that?
Naturally, I stuck around Twitter and trolled Sam Sheffer, our resident Apple hypebeast.
At 3:35AM the absurdity of thousands of adults sitting in the dark in their underwear trying desperately to spend hundreds of dollars and being constantly rebuked by Apple, because the company knows you riffraff will buy whatever it dangles in front of us, really overwhelmed me.
Then came the monetary guilt trip. I ordered the 128 GB iPhone 6 Plus on contract, so the half grand price tag seemed fine, but as my friends at The Verge explained, I'd essentially gone all out and bought what would be a $1000 phone off contract. That people had to explain the oddity of this has me, this morning, questioning my relationship with money and my consuming habits.
Just kidding, I'm an addict and I'll never change.
And I'm not alone. If you're still here, reading this morbid account, you too may be one such bag of flesh, sitting in your boxers, slouched over a laptop at 3:40AM in the morning, typing softly so as not to wake your more well-adjusted spouse.
At 3:45AM, I fell asleep at my desk.
At 4:03AM, I woke up, crawled into bed and my wife murmured something in her sleep about pancakes, and I imagine her dream world must be pretty nice.
At 7:00AM, the alarm went off for the second time and I woke with the gnarliest hangover. I need a bacon, egg and cheese, and an iced coffee. But I'll probably take a free yogurt from the office fridge. I'm on a budget.