Redwood City, CA — Only days after the press went bananas over Apple’s lost iPhone prototype, the copycats are out in force. A veritable flood of lost prototypes is hitting the same bar where Apple’s famously forgetful engineer made news on Monday.
The Redwood City beer garden, Gourmet Haus Staudt, has become ground zero for every company hoping to get the same buzz generated by Apple.
Bartender Todd Gretelmann says he’s never seen anything like it. “It’s getting tough to clean up around here at night. I’ve got more secret prototypes than I have empty steins.”
A Google engineer who “forgot” a secret Google tablet prototype last night explains, on condition of anonymity, “Apple makes a boatload of money from the buzz they generate — two can play at this game.”
A lot more than two, actually. Gretelmann says that in the three days since the iPhone prototype was left behind, engineers have abandoned so many prototypes, Gizmodo won’t even return his calls anymore. “We love our customers, but honestly, if this keeps up we’re going to have to enforce a ‘no prototypes allowed’ policy.”
According to Gretelmann, some of the companies are falling over each other, trying to have their prototypes “found” by the regular guests. He tells the story of one Palm engineer, blatantly wearing his Palm ID badge, who kept saying “I hope I remember to take my prototype home!” loudly enough that some actually moved away from his table.
A Dell engineer flew in from Austin, had one quick beer and then quickly left — his top-secret Vostro laptop prototype still running on the bar. “It’s a problem because I can’t get my customers to take the bait on the less popular prototypes. That Dell eyesore is still sitting in my office. I have four Kin prototypes that Microsoft won’t even take back.”
“What I may have to do is just go with the flow, and try to turn it into a positive,” says Gretelmann. “I’m thinking of turning Tuesdays into ‘Prototype Night,’ so all these companies can just get it out of their systems in a single night. I can get the Salvation Army truck here in the morning.”
Until then, at Gourmet Haus Staudt, every night is prototype night.