Image: Courtesy of WPCentral

Microsoft Stores quietly offer Surface RT vouchers

Your local Microsoft Store may have a stash of secret vouchers that let you jump the line to buy a Surface with Windows RT (Surface RT) tablet on launch day, October 26, the same day Windows 8 launches.

The vouchers first became public after WPCentral forums user jdevenberg posted photos, including the one above, of a certificate online. The photograph is pretty clear about what the voucher is good for: it guarantees you the ability to buy a Surface in-store if you show up before noon on October 26 at the Microsoft Store location where you received the voucher.

The vouchers do not appear to be part of a pre-order program as has been reported. The certificate is called a Surface reservation pass, according to the photograph in the forum posting.

See the manager

Microsoft Store in Colorado
A Microsoft store in Colorado

So what’s the deal? Does every Microsoft Store have vouchers that you can grab? Possibly, but if you go into your local Microsoft Store you’ll have to talk to the store manager about the vouchers. That’s what PCWorld was told repeatedly during several calls to Microsoft Store locations.

Some of the customer representatives said they didn’t know any specific details about the vouchers, while others said they couldn’t even confirm the Surface reservation pass existed.

One Microsoft Store representative said the certificates should not have become public knowledge. This representative then said that the vouchers were handed out at the manager’s discretion. The Microsoft Store employee didn’t know much about the details of the vouchers, but did describe in general terms what was posted to the WPCentral forums: namely, that the vouchers let you purchase a Surface, but had a specific cut-off time.

Surface RT sales

Sales for Microsoft’s Surface RT appear to be off to a good start.

The 32GB Surface RT for $500 on Microsoft’s online store is already on back order for the next three weeks after going up for pre-order on Tuesday. The $600 32GB and $700 Surface with black Touch Cover are still available for delivery by October 26. You can also pre-order a Surface RT over the phone or in person at any Microsoft Store location. Several Microsoft Store representatives told PCWorld that in-store and telephone pre-orders are for home delivery only, not in-store pickup on launch day.

Microsoft’s Surface RT features a 10.6-inch display with a resolution of 1366 pixels by 768 pixels, 2GB of RAM, an Nvidia quad-core Tegra 3 processor, 32GB or 64GB of onboard storage, front- and rear-facing cameras, a USB 2.0 port, a microSDXC card reader, and a micro HD out. The tablet measures 0.37-inches thick and weighs nearly 1.5 pounds.

The Surface reservation pass was first reported by WPCentral.

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