Yes, I was one of the lucky ones who managed to register my interest for Apple’s new iPhone 6 and book an appointment before everything ran out of stock.

I’m a longstanding SingTel customer and while my experience with them in the past has been a bit mixed, I have to say that this time, things were very organised.  But as a customer competing with many others for a coveted product, you also have to be pretty much on the ball.

Firstly, it does pay to be ‘kiasu’. If SingTel tells you to log in ‘from 3pm’ to book an appointment, you do it as soon as you can. I had a technical hitch but managed to reload my page, so it was probably at 3.01pm that I managed to lock in my appointment slot.  Those who logged in several minutes later apparently found that stocks had already run out.

I chose to collect my iPhone 6 (space grey, 128GB) this Saturday from 2 to 4pm. It was a good idea for SingTel to book a large venue – in this case, Hall A at Marina Bay Sands (MBS).  Despite ongoing Formula 1 activities in the area, the  open air car park and MBS car park had many spaces available.

My husband and I arrived at 2pm sharp and there was already a queue just to get in. Fortunately, things moved quickly and I managed to verify my details and get a proper queue number… with 110 people ahead of me.

However, things moved quickly as there were 60 counters.  Each counter had two staff – one to verify your details (again) and let you inspect your new iPhone, and the other to re-contract your phone line.

So every minute you would hear a ringing sound indicating that a new customer could be served.  There were other things to do too, like playing with samples of the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and getting free Nescafe coffee.  SingTel Prestige customers were treated like VIPs, with their own separate section where light refreshments were served.

There were also other partners around, promoting their products in conjunction with the iPhone 6 launch. I made use of my waiting time to sign up for Standard Chartered’s Dash service, which immediately gives new users $5 + $5 which you can use to pay for your new iPhone’s accessories. However they originally wanted me to collect my new iPhone, install the Dash app, activate my Dash account and then purchase the accessory using my new iPhone. I thought that was a little inflexible and not the most efficient use of customers’ time. Fortunately the cashier managed to let me purchase an iPhone 6 case with the $10 rebate before I collected the new iPhone.

So… right after I purchased my new case, my queue number was called! Perfect timing. Everything went smoothly except that the re-contracting took a while due to the system being ‘slow’. Then we were told to go to the nearest cashier, where we paid up and collected the iPhone 6 in question.

Total time from start to finish: 2pm to about 3.15pm.  Which seems long but given the hordes of customers involved, it wasn’t too bad at all.  However, when we walked out of the Hall, we noticed there was no longer a queue to get in. So ironically, arriving at the later end of your time slot might save you some waiting time. But you cannot miss your appointment as you may not be given a replacement slot.

Thanks to Ron for patiently waiting with me (although I’m sure he was just as excited to see the new iPhone 6 as I was!).