Friday morning should have been a joyous moment for Jennifer LaFleur, a recent convert to the cult of iPhone.
But for all the money saved on past upgrades and new models, her greenness in the subject left LaFleur wanting Friday morning: She simply didn't know where to go to buy a new iPhone 5.
The Homeland resident tried her luck at the Radio Shack near Giant on York Road in Towson, only to find that the store was closed and would not be getting the AT&T model she needs.
"They told me when I called AT&T, 'Don't preorder because the back order is three weeks.' " she said. "They told me to just go to a store.
"Now," she said, "I have to research."
That research was conducted on the spot, on a first-generation iPhone, a device borrowed from a friend after her own phone's fatal run-in with a cup of coffee. (She said that when she brought that first iPhone back to the Apple store to activate it, the staff treated it as if it were an antique.)
First, she tried to call the downtown Best Buy store, though the numbers she found didn't work because the store closed earlier this year.
"I'm not in the mood to run around all day for it," she warned.
After unsuccessfully trying to get the number for the Radio Shack in the Rotunda — a problem she attributed to the slow browsing capabilities on the old iPhone — an employee at the Towson branch called his counterpart at the Rotunda, only to find out that their shipment hadn't come in and the employee was unsure of whether they would have AT&T phones.
The Apple store at the Towson Town Center mall was her next thought, though she quickly decided it was probably too crowded. Her thought process about the AT&T store and Best Buy in Timonium went the same way.
"Those are going to be packed," she said. "I'm looking for smaller neighborhoods."
Ultimately, LaFleur decided she'd check out either the Port Covington AT&T store or one just off Fleet Street in Harbor East.
Until then, though, her Friday morning quest would focus on more pressing business.
LaFleur, in a black T-shirt and yoga pants with blond hair beneath a pair of sunglasses, walked back to her car and made a solitary bold declaration in a morning of anticipation and uncertainty: "I'm going to go home and take a shower."