I'm in Canada... (Note that the unofficial release date here was the 10th.)
I called EB Games and asked if they had the HD DVD drive in stock, and they gave me the same story... First he said they had lots of the 360 hard drive in stock. Uh, no thanks. Then tried to sell me a PS3 pre-order "because it is the only console to play HD DVD". I asked them to check their computer. "Oh, I didn't know about that. It's being shipped from our distribution centre and should arrive next week."
I then went to Future Shop near work, and asked for the drive. Of course, I was shown the same 360 hard drive. However, he asked his coworker, who knew what it was, but said they didn't have any yet.
Then I went to Best Buy nearby. Same thing. After showing me the hard drive, two of the sales guys tried to get me to come back a week later for the PS3, cuz that's the "only console that will play back hi-def DVD". Of course I politely informed them that the 360 HD DVD drive exists and it's right on their website, and no, the PS3 does not play HD DVD. So they look online and can't find it, so they ask me to search for it on their site, looking at me as if I was some crazed customer who didn't know WTF he was talking about. Wouldn't ya know it... It's gone from the website! Dunno why, but it just wasn't there. I did show them the drive on Xbox.com though, so at least they realized I wasn't crazy.
Finally they found a guy who knew about it, but informed me it hadn't arrived yet but was on its way.
The common theme here is that it seems that Sony has done a much better job of educating/hyping their product to the retailers. I don't know how retail works, but I was a little surprised that so few knew about the HD DVD drive, since it's a heluvalot more interesting (to me) than a wireless steering wheel or whatever.
Then again, when I called the Best Buy closest to my home:
Eug: Do you have the Xbox 3....
Salesgirl: Oh, you're calling about the HD DVD drive right?
Eug: <<Shocked>> Wha'? How'd you know?
Salesgirl: We've had a LOT of people coming in or calling to ask about it.
Eug: Cool. So, do you have it?
Salesgirl: Well, it's on its way here, but if we don't get it today, it might not be until Monday.
Eug: Are you taking pre-orders, and if so, am I too late to get one?
Salesgirl: We aren't taking pre-orders, and there's a lot of interest, but you should be able to get one if you come in fairly soon after the shipment arrives. Not sure when the shipment arrives, maybe today, or maybe Monday, but we're getting 60
of them at this store.
Eug: <<Shocked again>>