Be careful about getting it from an AT&T store out of town. If you have a problem with it, you have to go back to THAT AT&T store to get it dealt with unless you take it to an Apple store or mail it to Apple.Yep. They don't give a crap because the 3GS is so hot right now they don't really need to make any effort to sell them. It sells itself and they're getting their commissions or their target monthly sales or whatever. The stores are getting small shipments in every week.
My next plan is to call all the AT&T stores on Tuesday afternoon that are on my route home (10 hour drive) to see who has one and try to convince the employee to keep one for me until the next morning. I'll just time my drive to be the first customer there in the morning.
Any other ideas out there that could help me get an iPhone?
I'd recommend getting it from an Apple store or the Apple online store rather than an AT&T store, based on my experience. Apple will tell you before they charge your card if you have to pay the full price, which is only the case if A) you already have AT&T service and it hasn't been at least 12 months since your last phone subsidy, or B) you don't want to activate AT&T service on it at the time of sale. If you're a new customer starting a new number or transferring from another carrier, they'll only charge the $199 or $299.
The online store will ship it straight to your place, whereas if you get it from the retail store, you can walk out the store with it activated and ready to use. You just gotta make sure it's in stock before you go. Apple stores get them in every day, as far as I know, so check every day early morning.