clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Banned For Life: Blogger Violates Two-iPads-Per-Person Limit

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Blogger Protocol Snow was only buying iPads for his gaming buddies out of the goodness of his heart when retail hawks at Apple swooped down and put a swift stop to his spending-too-much-at-the-Apple-store shenanigans:

When Apple delayed the international iPad launch by a month, early adopters worldwide started to panic. Since my nearby Apple store initially had plenty of stock, I offered to purchase and ship iPads internationally for members of the NeoGAF gaming forum. I was doing this as a favor, unlike hoarders who were unloading iPads on eBay to cash in on the $150+ markup. Instead, my asking prices were very reasonable, just enough to cover all the tax, international express shipping, and Paypal fees with a little left over for gas and my time.
When he tried to buy his 6th iPad, Protocol Snow was stonewalled at Apple, and told that he'd reached his "lifetime limit" in iPads.

That lifetime limit? Two.

This is kind of like the scene in Pretty Woman where the snobby salespeople don't let Julia Roberts shop in their fancy Rodeo Drive store. Except opposite.

Apple store

I walk into the store today and ask somebody where I can pick up my iPad reservation. He notes my name and says he’ll be back, going behind closed doors to the stockroom.

I take advantage of this opportunity to place another iPad reservation using a store PowerBook. There are a couple more NeoGAF people considering a purchase, but they haven’t paid me yet. Oh well, by the time this reservation comes in, one of them should have made up his mind and sent payment.

But drats, reservations are limited to one per iTunes account. Luckily I have a second account so I used that to place the reservation. No sweat.

The employee emerges a few minutes later with the iPad and I hand over my credit card. If you’ve never been to an Apple store before, instead of checking customers out at a register, the employees use hand-held credit card terminals to ring up purchases. Adds to the hip factor, I suppose.

Apple ipad tablet slate shopping genius bar store

But instead of using his handheld device, he walks to the back of the store where the “Genius Bar” is. Naught a word spoken. There are registers here but this area is used mainly for technical support. I follow the guy there. He still hasn’t said anything to me. He gives my credit card to one of the staff there and says, “I want you to help me ring up this purchase.”

Guy #2 (looking at the handheld terminal) — “Why don’t you just use that?”

Guy #1 — “I need to check the card for? uh, pre-authorization.”

Guy #2 — “Ok.”

He swipes my card and they click around for about half a minute while looking at their monitor and whispering. Meanwhile, I’m standing on the other side of the Genius Bar, only half paying attention to these two guys. Instead I was curiously watching an employee ask a girl what she loves most about Apple.

Guy #2 (murmuring) — “?yeah, the 14th.”

My attention snaps back when I catch this snippet. April 14th was my last trip to the Apple store, and I had bought 2 iPads that day. When I walked to the Genius Bar, I hadn’t suspected anything out of the ordinary. But now I suddenly realize I will not be walking out of here with an iPad today.

Guy #1 says to Guy #2 — “Hold on, I’ll be right back” and disappears to the stockroom again. Guy #2 is still clicking around, not looking at me.

Me (nonchalantly) — “Is there an issue?”

He’s still staring at his monitor and a few seconds pass before Guy #2 carefully says, “There is a limit to the number of iPads that customers can buy.”

Me (playing dumb) — “Oh, is that right? What’s the limit?”

Guy #2 — “Only 2 per customer.”

Apple ipad tablet slate shopping genius bar store

Ok, so the gig is up. I stand around waiting for a bit and was preparing to leave when Guy #1 returns.

Guy #1 — “I’m sorry sir, but you have reached your lifetime limit of iPad purchases and will not be allowed to buy any more.”

Me (anticipating that statement) — “Is the iPad limit per person? Per credit card? Per household?”

Guy #1 — “All I can say is that you have reached your lifetime limit.”

Me — “What does that mean? Can I use a different credit card to buy it? I’m buying this for a friend.”

Guy #1 — “You are not allowed to buy this iPad.”

Me — “Uhh? is it ok if I have a family member or friend come to buy it for me? My reservation doesn’t expire until 6:00 PM.”

Guy #1 — “All I can say is that you have reached your lifetime limit.”

Me (suddenly realizing what he’s saying) — “Wait, what? Lifetime? What does that mean?”

Guy #1 — “All I can say is that you have reached your lifetime limit of iPads and will not be allowed to buy any more.”

Me — “I’m banned from buying iPads? I know there’s a shortage right now, but I can’t buy any more once there’s plenty of stock?”

Guy #1 — “All I can say is that you have reached your lifetime limit.”

I pause and look at him with incredulity undoubtedly written all over my face. Everybody tells me I have the worst poker face. Hey asshole, nice job with the passive aggressiveness, but who do you think you’re talking to? I’m from Los Angeles; nobody does passive-aggressive like we do!

Me — “Ok buddy, I’m not going to make a scene so I’m leaving. How many iPads is the limit by the way?”

Guy #1 — “That information is not available.”

Me (looking at Guy #2, who has been silent this whole time) — “He tells me that the limit is two.”

Guy #1 — “I wish I could say but I do not have that information.”

Me — “I’ve already purchased more than 2 iPads. Why didn’t anybody else stop me in the past?”

Guy #1 — “I wish I could say but I do not have that information.”

Me — “Alright, I’ve had enough. Have a good day.”

The icing on the cake? When I came home, I found an email from Apple waiting for me. It was an update about my reservation, the one I had placed today in the store using my 2nd account!

· How I went from Apple store newbie to lifetime ban in one week [Protocol Snow]
· Apple Bans Man From Ever Buying Another iPad [Consumerist]