I’ve been very excited about upgrading my iPhone to the new iPhone 3G. This morning, I called the Apple Store at the Syracuse, NY mall to see if any were in stock. Lo, 16GB Whites were in stock. So, I packed up the family for a trip to the mall and drove the 2 hours to Syracuse. Eagerly, I went into the Apple store and boldly asked, “Please, sell me an iPhone.”

This is where it all goes wrong. I have $299 plus tax in hand. Apple has an iPhone in stock. Why didn’t I walk out of the store with $300 less in pocket and an iPhone richer? Utter disregard for customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and a Byzantine delusion that by rigidly controlling access to your product that somehow you will profit.

The problem, it seems, is that I have a family plan with AT&T and that my mother, who works for a college with a contract with AT&T and receives a discount adds a mysterious ‘IFU’ tag to my account. Now, I cannot buy the phone from Apple, I must buy it from AT&T.

“AT&T is sold out nationwide,” I say.

“We know,” says Apple.

I asked if I could buy the phone and take it to the AT&T kiosk just down the hallway.

“No,” says Apple.

I asked if I could bring an AT&T representative up to the Apple store to work out the kinks and let me somehow purchase the phone.

“No,” says Apple.

I asked if Apple could sell this iPhone to the AT&T kiosk and let AT&T sort out the details.

“No,” says Apple.

Why I can’t purchase the phone, I can’t imagine. This kind of corporate arrogance drives me nuts. My current iPhone is mine. I can do with it what I want. The new iPhone 3G should be mine as well, but apparently Apple doesn’t want my business.

This is all very frustrating, because unlike so many others, I’m playing by the rules. I’m not unlocking my iPhone and switching carriers. Apple’s rules are wrong, don’t get me wrong; but I’m willing to play by them in order to get access to the device. At the point when Apple has changed the rules so much that I can’t even enter the playing field?

I’m buying my iPhone 3G unlocked from China.