I pre-ordered from my local Best Buy (Sherman Oaks, CA) this morning and had a fairly similar experience to the first post on this thread. I first went into the computer department where I had to wait around for a little while for a salesperson to be available. While waiting, I looked around and found no reference to the TouchPad anywhere. The store did not have one of the HP displays like we have seen in the pictures online.
When I finally got a salesperson to help me out, he had never heard of the TouchPad before and told me he was uncertain whether they would even carry it. I told him that I knew from the HP press release that Best Buy would carry them in store starting on July 1st and that pre-orders were supposed to start today. He finally checked in the computer and couldn't find anything. He then suggested that I ask over in the mobile phone department as they handled some tablet models.
The salesperson in the mobile department seemed to be vaguely aware of the TouchPad, but didn't know that pre-orders were supposed to start today. She also checked in the computer and couldn't find the information, although she did confirm that online pre-orders had started (which I already knew). She finally said that it was possible that the information would show up in the system later in the day, but that she couldn't find it yet. I then headed off to do some other, unrelated shopping in another section of the store.
As we were heading out the door about 15 minutes or so later, the salesperson from the mobile department chased us down and let me know that she had kept searching and finally managed to find the pre-order forms in the system. She had printed out the forms for both the 16GB and 32GB models, so I then filled out an order for the 32GB. Same as the first poster in the thread, she had me purchase a $50 gift card to secure the reservation. She said that I should expect them to call me on June 30th to set up an appointment time to pick it up.
All this took place during the first half hour that the store was opened this morning, so I feel pretty confident that mine was the first (only?) pre-order at that store. That should at least ensure me getting one on launch date, assuming that the store gets any of them in at all.
HP clearly does need to move quickly on getting some training for in-store salespeople, though. I really appreciated the extra effort that the salesperson in the mobile department went through (particularly since it technically wasn't an item her department handled), but the staff in the computer department should certainly have been fully informed on the product and the pre-order process.