OK, I called the Apple Store in Washington Square today, the actual retail location, not the online store, and asked them if they’ve received any iPod Shuffles from Apple yet. They were supposed to have shipped out on Saturday. I’d been reading reports on the internets that some stores had gotten some in and promptly sold out. I didn’t expect the store to have any in stock, I just wanted to know if they were arriving now.

The salesman who answered the phone said, yes, they’d got them in and sold them out almost immediately. He didn’t remember how many they got, he just said, “a LOT” and he seemed pretty impressed with it all.

(As a side note, they also got some of the Mac Minis in, and sold most of them; he said they had some of the lower-end model in stock. When I get one, I’m getting the one with the SuperDrive DVD-burning monster, so that was less important to me.)

I did, however, forget to ask him if they’d gotten both the 512 MB and 1 GB models in. I’m 87.73% sure I’m getting the 1 GB model, just ’cause it’s only $49 more for double the space. I’ve checked my favorite playlists, and they’re all more than a gig, though, so I’ll still have to cut down what I listen to.

So… the online Apple Store is showing a 4- to 6-week shipping time for orders placed today for the iPod Shuffle. On the other hand, how long will I have to wait for the demand to die down at the retail locations before I can walk in and pick one up… without having to camp out at the door?

Decisions… decisions… I’d prefer to have my “Must! Have! One! NOW!” impulse satisfied quickly, by plunking down the benjamins and walking away with one in my hot grasp… but there’s also something to be said for not having to stalk the poor Apple retail salesfolk until I can get one.

Still not sure which path to take… but the pressure of consumerism, combined with the nice weather and my new expectation of being able to run with music, will probably force my hand into ordering one online this week. We’ll see if I can hold out longer than that.

But signs, as they say, don’t look good.

OH! And, get this: my old iBook has the old, slow, USB, not the super-fast USB 2.0 that the iPod Shuffle uses. So, when I get it, it’s going to take frickin’ for-ever to fill it up. So, until I get that Mac Mini, I’m not going to be changing the playlist on my Shuffle very often. Do you see just how insidious Apple and Steve Jobs are? It’s like they’re forcing me to upgrade!

Curse you, Steve Jobs!!

I’d make a comment about Apple owning my soul, but I don’t believe I have one in the first place, so, y’know, it’s all good.