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First Look: Gold iPhone 5s unpacking (and Verizon "SIM not valid" crisis)

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
Here's a first look at a particularly rare bird: the Gold iPhone 5s, as well as a problem that's apparently not as uncommon: dealing with a huge activation hassle to set it up.

Gold iPhone 5s


[Update / Synopsis: Some users who paid full price for an unlocked new Verizon iPhone 5s were experiencing "SIM not valid" issues during activation. The problem (which now appears to be resolved) was a known issue that Apple and Verizon have been working to resolve. Verizon's internal issue ticket number for this is 6504781, which you can supply when calling to skip over the remedial troubleshooting to get a status update on the problem.

The issue apparently involved IMEI numbers for certain devices that have not yet made it from Apple to Verizon, making it impossible to properly activate those devices. This is a temporary backend problem that should now be resolved, restoring really fast, beautiful "iPod touch" into the functioning iPhone 5s you paid for - DED]

Obtaining one of the roughly 20 Gold iPhone 5s available for sale at San Francisco's Union Square flagship Apple Store wasn't too difficult, if you don't mind spending the night on a sidewalk that smells like everyone who spends their nights on the sidewalk. If that sounds less than appealing, there's (fortunately) an app for that: TaskRabbit, which lets you pay somebody else to do things for you, like wait in line overnight to save your place. The going rate appeared to be around $100.

Upon arriving at 5AM, there were already 150 people in line. After about an hour of waiting, a representative of the store came by to inform those waiting that the 16 and 32GB versions of Gold iPhones were sold out. A bit later, another came by to apologize that all the Gold models had been claimed.

Fortunately, a colleague had used TaskRabbit to help obtain a prime spot in line, and had reserved a voucher for both himself and for one me, upgrading the situation. Voucher in hand (below), it was simply a matter of waiting another two hours for the store to actually open. Until then, Apple staffers came by with free bottles of water, coffee and snacks for those waiting.



Also priming the line with snacks was Gazelle, a used device trade-in site offering to sell previous iPhones (which promoted itself with a t-shirt on the first buyer of a Gold iPhone, who was interviewed by various members of the media, below). There was also a free agent offering top dollar trade-in cash on the spot, noting that she could offer more for an AT&T or Verizon model than a Sprint or T-Mobile trade in, which has less value (but still more than an Android phone, which loses nearly all of its value in the first year)

Gold iPhone 5s


Apple also offers its own recycling service, which typically gives you less back, but lets you conveniently transfer the value of your old iPhone to the new one on the spot, with the additional caveats that you must sign up for new service and that your new phone apparently gets flagged as non-returnable.

Once the store opened, Apple staffers began servicing the line with the expedient efficiency of disaster relief workers doing triage in a war zone. Each customer gets walked to a different spot in the store for a fairly painless transaction conducted on a mobile EasyPay register. Upon leaving the Apple Store, the line of people waiting for remaining iPhone 5s models reached around the block to the cable cars on Powell Street.

Gold iPhone 5s


Gold iPhone 5s


Because I elected to upgrade via a full priced phone (saving my unlimited data plan from 2010), I was given the still shrink-wrapped phone to take home and set up. The new box design is virtually identical to iPhone 5, except that the product shot is designed to show off the new iOS 7, rather than the shiny chamfered edges of the phone as was the case last year. Next step: knife open that plastic and see what's inside.

Gold iPhone 5s


Gold iPhone 5s


The new phone ships with the same USB block, Lightning cable and EarPod headphones within a carrying case. Among the papers included are stickers, a regulatory sheet, and a spartan manual that is essentially a card with a labeled picture of the device, with instructions on the back that explain to simply to turn it on and start using it.

Gold iPhone 5s


Gold iPhone 5s


Plugged in, the device starts a setup session that asks for the language, region, requests to optionally connect to WiFi, then activates. In my case however, I got an error message saying the SIM card was not valid.

Gold iPhone 5s


Plugged into iTunes, I could go no further than the same error. Entering DFU mode (turn off the phone, then back on with Home held down and plugged into iTunes), I got the same problem. An online live chat session with Verizon Wireless said the problem was "really weird," then verified the SIM by asking me to switch SIM cards with my existing phone (same problem), then manually checked my SIM by its number. SIM was deemed valid and now active.

Same problem continued. I was given the number for technical support, but realized my old phone had stopped working. Asked the agent to restore my previous service, which she did. Then called back to be told by the automated phone tree assistant I should call from another line. The chat agent suggested I go to "my local store." At least the Gold iPhone 5s is nice to look at.

Gold iPhone 5s


After finally getting a live person on the phone, I was asked for the IMEI number of the phone, which I was told should start with some number that mine didn't start with. After being assured that it did in fact ship with a Verizon SIM, I was told the problem was being worked on by three people and put on hold. It was finally resolved by taking out the SIM, which at this point did allow me to skip past the activation without the SIM installed. I was also prompted to update iOS, but the update refused to complete.

I completed setup through iTunes, restoring the backup of my existing phone, then updated carrier settings, then began setting up the phone, which involved entering the passcode, entering the iCloud account. Without mobile service, I opened up Twitter, which told me to enter my Twitter password, which was interrupted by a request to enter my Facebook password, which was interrupted by a separate request to enter the password for something else (i forget. I also forgot the password for one of my Twitter accounts. What happened to iCloud Keychain?)

I was also told two more times that there were new carrier settings available, and, after installing them, that the installation was successful. At this point I tried to re-insert my SIM card, which interrupted the system and notified me that I needed to activate. This again failed with "SIM not valid." At least the Gold iPhone 5s is nice to look at.

Gold iPhone 5s


I could now install the iOS 7.0.1 update, which I figured might resolve the issue. After installing I was again prompted to install a carrier settings update, which again said it was successful. I was also again prompted to log into iCloud with my password. Once welcomed back to the Home screen, I inserted my SIM card again and was again told validation was needed, and once again that the SIM was not valid.

At this point, the setup has consumed nearly as many hours as the wait in line. I was also again informed, for the second time by iTunes, that four apps I'd previously deleted were not able to be copied over because they couldn't be found. At least the Gold iPhone 5s is nice to look at.

Gold iPhone 5s


Following activation instructions on Verizon's website, I entered the new phone's IMEI number and was instructed to swap SIM cards. Upon doing this, I was again told validation was needed, and once again that the SIM was not valid. This apparently will require a trip to a Verizon Wireless Store.
post #2 of 47

Simgate.

An Apple man since 1977
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An Apple man since 1977
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post #3 of 47
Am I missing something? I am upgrading from iPhone 4 to iPhone 5s with Verizon but I've always though that Verizon didn't use SIM cards...?
post #4 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satalite View Post

Am I missing something? I am upgrading from iPhone 4 to iPhone 5s with Verizon but I've always though that Verizon didn't use SIM cards...?

 The first version iPhone 4 for Verizon was SIM-less.  Subsequent phone versions require a SIM.

post #5 of 47

Today I was amusingly reminded of all the comments we've read on here and elsewhere for months...

 

"a gold iPhone? blolol"

 

"Apple would not do a gold iPhone"

 

"Apple should not do a gold iPhone"

 

"will mostly sell well in China."

 

"not for the US market"

 

Let me tell you people how wrong you were. If the online ordering stats and reports didn't clue you in...let this be what does:

 

Every single person in line at Apple today wanted Gold. Every. Single. One. They of course got exactly ZERO units at the store, which was awesome planning on Apple's part.

 

But, amazingly, everyone wanted a gold iPhone. The blog whiners were wrong. Again.

 

Oh, and sucks to hear about your Verizon iPhone. That's why I have AT&T. Muhahaha.

post #6 of 47
Sounds like karma for using a scalper service.
post #7 of 47
Well, at least the Gold iPhone 5s is nice to look at. 1smile.gif good luck!
post #8 of 47
So I guess my question is....is the gold iPhone nice to look at?
;-)
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post #9 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satalite View Post

Am I missing something? I am upgrading from iPhone 4 to iPhone 5s with Verizon but I've always though that Verizon didn't use SIM cards...?

 

Verizon SIM cards started with iPhone 5 (the 4s used SIM for roaming only I believe). When I got my Verizon iPhone 5 replaced few months ago at an Apple store the employee told me that Sprint iPhone 5 requires them to call Sprint to activate it but with Verizon you can just swap SIM cards. I wonder it buying an Verizon iPhone 5S at full price (off contract) requires new SIM and activation fee. Can you just move the old SIM from the old iPhone 5 to the new iPhone 5s?

post #10 of 47

I had to make do with the Silver, I just popped the SIM out of my old iPhone and activated it then did the update at the store.

 

I've already customised my case, like I did with my iPad cover but the leather is different and can't get the same shine:-

 

 

I'm trying for a battered old briefcase kind of look.

Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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post #11 of 47
Cool! A golden iPod!
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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post #12 of 47
FYI - in-person you can barely notice the gold coloring. At least in a naturally lit situation. In the Apple store I picked up the gold one, and then put it back down thinking I had grabbed the silver one. It's much more like a nickel-finish you see on kitchen hardware. Seems like a waste of manufacturing that it isn't noticeably gold %u2013 whether it were dull, yellow, or rose gold.
post #13 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satalite View Post

Am I missing something? I am upgrading from iPhone 4 to iPhone 5s with Verizon but I've always though that Verizon didn't use SIM cards...?

 

I believe SIM cards are a mandatory part of the LTE standard. (by contrast, they are also mandatory for GSM, but optional for CDMA).

 
The iPhone 4 shipped in a separate CDMA-only version for Verizon that did not include a SIM card slot.
 
The iPhone 4s shipped as a single device for all carriers that included a SIM slot, but I'm not sure if there was any card in it if you were on Verizon.
 
The iPhone 5 shipped as separate CDMA and GSM devices, but the CDMA versions had both LTE and full GSM support (e.g., you could pop in an AT&T or other SIM card and it would just work). It uses a Verizon SIM card, but also seems to have a separate permanent activation step to register with the CDMA network (still used for voice calls). When I had to get my defective Verizon iPhone 5 replaced, the new model had a screen on first boot that displayed a list of all CDMA carriers in the US (that the iPhone supports) and asked me to pick one, warning that this was a permanent choice that could not be changed even with a full restore. I did not get this screen when I originally bought my Verizon iPhone 5, so I'm assuming the retail versions are pre-activated for the correct CDMA network, but the replacement units are a blank slate.
post #14 of 47

 

Ted Bundy unboxing.jpg

post #15 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post
 

Every single person in line at Apple today wanted Gold. Every. Single. One. They of course got exactly ZERO units at the store, which was awesome planning on Apple's part.

How exactly is this awesome planning?  it's a commodity item.  If you're going to offer a color, stock the damn thing.  Apple does more market research than listening to chat forum cranks, so they knew that there would be an interest in a gold iPhone.

post #16 of 47
I swear that is the EXACT same thing that happened to me when I picked up my launch day Verizon iPad 3. It took several phone calls and finally they updated my IMEI or whatever and it worked. Still I was not able to manage my account for weeks in the settings app and they finally told me it was activated wrong and started me on a new plan.

Good luck on that.
post #17 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post
 

Today I was amusingly reminded of all the comments we've read on here and elsewhere for months...

 

"a gold iPhone? blolol"

 

"Apple would not do a gold iPhone"

 

"Apple should not do a gold iPhone"

 

"will mostly sell well in China."

 

"not for the US market"

 

Let me tell you people how wrong you were. If the online ordering stats and reports didn't clue you in...let this be what does:

 

Every single person in line at Apple today wanted Gold. Every. Single. One. They of course got exactly ZERO units at the store, which was awesome planning on Apple's part.

 

But, amazingly, everyone wanted a gold iPhone. The blog whiners were wrong. Again.

 

Oh, and sucks to hear about your Verizon iPhone. That's why I have AT&T. Muhahaha.

 

What's even more funny is those wannabe-know-it-alls that were preaching that are strangely quiet now.  Where are they?  Five minutes and checking.... a trip down memory lane of those a$$hats that frankly should keep their mouth shut...
 

http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/159113/apples-new-gold-option-for-iphone-5s-described-as-an-elegant-shade-of-champagne

http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/159087/supposed-gold-color-variant-of-next-iphone-shown-off-in-pictures

That's just for starters...

 

 

 

post #18 of 47
Most people will put a case over the "gold" iPhone. Well, at least the "gold" won't be scratched.
post #19 of 47

It's finally here: The Gatsby iPhone

 

 Reports indicate strong demand for the iPhone 5S — particularly the one that comes in the new gold color. Long lines formed at several of the company’s retail stores, which has become typical of Apple’s high-profile product launches, though some analysts warn that line size does not always provide a strong read-through to long-term demand.

Questions also remain about available supply of the device, given rumors of production challenges related to the new fingerprint-scanning feature. Limited supply of the 5S could affect sales over the launch weekend, which Apple is expected to disclose on Monday.


http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apple-kicks-off-new-iphone-...

Now, it's left me wondering: Isn't this just too tacky. An iPhone clothed in the same "mineral" colors as the ultimate symbol of ersatz phoniness (sic!) as Gatsby when in chapter five he turns up to meet Daisy again,

An hour later the front door opened nervously, and Gatsby, in a white flannel suit, silver shirt, and gold-colored tie, hurried in. He was pale, and there were dark signs of sleeplessness beneath his eyes..

post #20 of 47
At least the Gold iPhone 5s is nice to look at.

As for me / rest of us here in Canada, they were all sold-out. 1frown.gif

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....the lack of properly optimized apps is one of the reasons "why the experience on Android tablets is so crappy".

Tim Cook ~ The Wall Street Journal - February 7, 2014

Inside Google! 

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post #21 of 47
This is bs. They will keep the gold option scarce just for the hype. I'm not playing into it. Next week you'll read some bull**** about how the gold process is REALLY demanding on the manufacturer and that demand has out paced effing supply. Kiss my a**!
I bet I find some d-bag selling his gold iPhone on ebay for 10 times the retail price this weekend.
post #22 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satalite View Post

Am I missing something? I am upgrading from iPhone 4 to iPhone 5s with Verizon but I've always though that Verizon didn't use SIM cards...?

It's for the LTE part of the phone. LTE is GSM based so it needs a SIM card to work. Phone calls are still handled by the CDMA part which doesn't need a SIM. The 4/4S weren't LTE so they didn't need a SIM.
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"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #23 of 47
You said the verizon iPhone 5S at full price is unlocked? Would it be possible to unlock it with a t-mobile sim card?
post #24 of 47
Originally Posted by BBQZ View Post
You said the verizon iPhone 5S at full price is unlocked? Would it be possible to unlock it with a t-mobile sim card?

 

The iPhones activated on Verizon and Sprint are done so via CDMA. The GSM aspect of said phones is unlocked for use with any SIM, worldwide. Open the SIM slot, put in any SIM, use.

post #25 of 47
I skipped the line. Ordered from AT&T online. Capital One flagged the order as a fraud and denied it. I got the call from Capital One about it. I authorized the charge. They called AT&T to resolve it. On hold forever. Finally I told him of the email from AT&T with a different telephone number. We got through and had a conference call. AT&T said no problem. Great! Then I get an email that I was not eligible for an upgrade because I had upgraded within the past 24 hours. I called them and explained. The AT&T Prime service couldn't fix it so she transferred me to customer service. Who was I talking to anyway?. Now the customer service tries to reorder and can't. She doesn't understand why not. For the millionth time I told her but to no avail. I had spent hours on this and finally she said I should go to a store. Order cancelled. Twice for sure, maybe even three times! Someday I will be "permitted" to order!
post #26 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

The iPhones activated on Verizon and Sprint are done so via CDMA. The GSM aspect of said phones is unlocked for use with any SIM, worldwide. Open the SIM slot, put in any SIM, use.

This specific problem is the LTE SIM not being able to be activated in conjunction with the CDMA part, but you are correct if the phone is going to be used overseas and only on a GSM network.
Edited by dasanman69 - 9/20/13 at 6:01pm
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post #27 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by maccherry View Post

This is bs. They will keep the gold option scarce just for the hype. I'm not playing into it. Next week you'll read some bull**** about how the gold process is REALLY demanding on the manufacturer and that demand has out paced effing supply. Kiss my a**!
I bet I find some d-bag selling his gold iPhone on ebay for 10 times the retail price this weekend.

Didn't Samsung announce a 32GB 4S?

I wonder what happened there.
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post #28 of 47

I had exact problem on VZ space grey 32 I got at apple store.  Went home and spent 45 min with verizon tech support. Nothing worked, went back to apple store, they gave me new one that activated without a hitch. They let me keep charger, cable and headphones for my troubles... Nice gesture and I really appreciate, but was very unnerving, After having the 5s all day I can say WOW! the phone is awesome!

post #29 of 47
Ack no one with any sense would use a CDMA network like Verizon. Switch to GSM.
post #30 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by silver5S View Post

I skipped the line. Ordered from AT&T online. Capital One flagged the order as a fraud and denied it. I got the call from Capital One about it. I authorized the charge. They called AT&T to resolve it. On hold forever. Finally I told him of the email from AT&T with a different telephone number. We got through and had a conference call. AT&T said no problem. Great! Then I get an email that I was not eligible for an upgrade because I had upgraded within the past 24 hours. I called them and explained. The AT&T Prime service couldn't fix it so she transferred me to customer service. Who was I talking to anyway?. Now the customer service tries to reorder and can't. She doesn't understand why not. For the millionth time I told her but to no avail. I had spent hours on this and finally she said I should go to a store. Order cancelled. Twice for sure, maybe even three times! Someday I will be "permitted" to order!

The real problem is Capital One - they are fk'n scumbags!
post #31 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


Didn't Samsung announce a 32GB 4S?

I wonder what happened there.

 

????

 
Just curious... are you comparing Apple to Samsung?
Hmmmmmm...
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Hmmmmmm...
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post #32 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by maccherry View Post

This is bs. They will keep the gold option scarce just for the hype. I'm not playing into it. Next week you'll read some bull**** about how the gold process is REALLY demanding on the manufacturer and that demand has out paced effing supply. Kiss my a**!
I bet I find some d-bag selling his gold iPhone on ebay for 10 times the retail price this weekend.

 

Apple seems to be the main culprit in enabling the analysts to downgrade AAPL.

Hmmmmmm...
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Hmmmmmm...
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post #33 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by maccherry View Post

This is bs. They will keep the gold option scarce just for the hype. I'm not playing into it. Next week you'll read some bull**** about how the gold process is REALLY demanding on the manufacturer and that demand has out paced effing supply. Kiss my a**!
I bet I find some d-bag selling his gold iPhone on ebay for 10 times the retail price this weekend.

Yep.  And the news media will keep doing stories on the "rare" iPhones availability, giving Apple millions in free advertising.

 

Gotta hand it to them, they play everyone for chumps and never get called on it.  And the funny thing is, their products are good enough that they don't even need manufactured hype. 

post #34 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


Didn't Samsung announce a 32GB 4S?

I wonder what happened there.

The S4 has a card slot.  Add what you want. 

post #35 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by silver5S View Post

I skipped the line. Ordered from AT&T online. Capital One flagged the order as a fraud and denied it. I got the call from Capital One about it. I authorized the charge. They called AT&T to resolve it. On hold forever. Finally I told him of the email from AT&T with a different telephone number. We got through and had a conference call. AT&T said no problem. Great! Then I get an email that I was not eligible for an upgrade because I had upgraded within the past 24 hours. I called them and explained. The AT&T Prime service couldn't fix it so she transferred me to customer service. Who was I talking to anyway?. Now the customer service tries to reorder and can't. She doesn't understand why not. For the millionth time I told her but to no avail. I had spent hours on this and finally she said I should go to a store. Order cancelled. Twice for sure, maybe even three times! Someday I will be "permitted" to order!

In my experience this is par for the course with AT&T. As a result, I order directly from the Apple Store online. Sadly, although I considered moving to a different carrier I remained with AT&T because they have:
  • widespread LTE network second only to Verizon in the United States (AT&T claims 400 markets)
  • excellent fallback HSPA+ 21Mbps network with exceptional coverage (versus the absolute crap that passes for a fallback network for Verizon and Sprint)
  • greatest amount of backhaul other than T-Mobile with which they are tied

Edited by MacBook Pro - 9/21/13 at 6:51am
post #36 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Conrail View Post

How exactly is this awesome planning?  it's a commodity item.  If you're going to offer a color, stock the damn thing.  Apple does more market research than listening to chat forum cranks, so they knew that there would be an interest in a gold iPhone.
Sarcasm
post #37 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

Sarcasm

I am not so certain since he continues to write this tripe.
post #38 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post


I am not so certain since he continues to write this tripe.

 

Why is that tripe?

Hmmmmmm...
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Hmmmmmm...
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post #39 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by BBQZ View Post

You said the verizon iPhone 5S at full price is unlocked? Would it be possible to unlock it with a t-mobile sim card?

 

I've been running a Verizon iPhone 5 (bought at full price) using an AT&T SIM card since December of last year.  Never ran it on Verizon.   Bought it to run on AT&T since I was paying full price and LTE was not in my area yet anyway and the Verizon 5 (not 5s) had "better" LTE bands for outside the USA use, and it was an interesting experiment.  The Verizon iPhone 5 (and presumably 5s) have an unlocked SIM card. Scuttlebutt on the internet said it was part of an FCC agreement on "Neutrality" or something to open up the 700mhz band they had.  It should work find with your T-Mobile card, though, my iPhone 5 did not have an IMEI number AT&T recognized so their system, when I went to get a SIM card for it (since my AT&T 4S I had used a mini SIM), set it up as a generic "smartphone" and my visual voicemail wouldn't work. I got it to work by putting the SIM back in my 4S, calling up AT&T, telling them it was not working, and having them set up my account as an iPhone 4S account again, and then just moving the SIM over to the iPhone 5 without telling them again...

post #40 of 47
People still standing in line? I thought the internet solved that issue.

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