Oh man, I totally sympathize, that was absolutely disastrous.
I used to manage, in previous lives, a call center for a major long distance company (T) during the crazy days of the 90s, where switching carriers was commonplace -and you could even score some decent cash, if you knew how to play the switchback game. But I digress, where was I?
Oh yeah, that definitely sounded like an outsourced center, and they have absolutely no idea about this whole TouchPad pre-order deal.
I'd say unless anything develops until the launch date, the brick and mortar option seems the safest option -provided there's enough stock to go around and the darn TouchPad is on hand on July 1st.
These next two weeks will be incredibly nerve wrecking...
PS: this is my actual plan, FWIW... I'm going to either order from HP or Amazon, just anywhere I can order with free shipping and no tax, which is the case with both vendors. (Probably HP, due to their pre-order deal)
But that means I'll have the TouchPad on or after the 5th, which is unacceptable, for me.
So, beginning at the launch week, I (and everybody else, really) will have an idea on how to get a TouchPad on July 1st, either at a midnight sale on Walmart or at Best Buy at 10am. If that works, I'll have an entire 3-day weekend to play with my new TouchPad and I'll simply return the online ordered one.
If it doesn't, then I'll wait for the Fedex/UPS guy at work on Tuesday. Either way, I'm guaranteed to have a TouchPad on launch day. :-)