Yesterday was the first day you were able to purchase Apple’s new creation, the iPhone4, in stores. My husband and I had reservations, thankfully.
That didn’t save us from a 3 hour long wait. Think that’s bad? The group of people behind us, who did not secure a reservation, were in line for 12 hours. I am not kidding.
I don’t work, and my husband didn’t want to take the entire day off of work in order to make the lines. So we decided to wait until later in the day, after the majority of the Apple obsessed throngs of consumers were already happily home, enjoying their new toy. He left work around 1:30 and we ended up in line at 2:15. By that time, the lines were already out of the parking lot, and the lines of people along the street outside our local mall were already through with their purchase. We had about 250 people in front of us. The Apple store manager told me that there was about 1000 people in that line when they opened at 7 am. And that was the reservations only line. Especially devoted iPhone enthusiasts camped out the night before. I heard that people began showing up around 6 pm, sleeping bags, books and snacks in tow. One guy we met who did not have a reservation ended his shift at midnight at PF Changs at midnight and said the line for non-reservations was already out of the mall. He went home, slept a few hours, and returned to join the line at 4 am. At 6:30 am, the Apple store employees handed out tickets to the line of people without reservations. By 7 am, they ran out of tickets for the 16 gb and began handing out tickets for the 32 gb. People didn’t care which they got, as long as they got one. They ran out of tickets at 7:15 am. Anyone past that point in line were told they would not be able to make a purchase. Most left. Some stayed and begged for tickets from people who ran out of patience and left throughout the day.
So, our decision to wait until later in the day was a good one.
I have to give major props to the Apple store manager and employees for their organization in handling the lines. There were two lines, one for people with reservations and one for the people with tickets. They allowed 15 people with reservations to enter the main line, then 5 with a ticket. They were cheerful, friendly and helpful. They gave us all handheld fans – even though it was after 2 pm, this is Miami, and its an outdoor mall. It was excruciatingly hot. As I stood with a breeze blowing against me, with my handheld fan blowing on my face, I could feel the droplets of sweat running down my back and thighs. Oh, the lengths we will go to for new technology…
They also handed out lots of bottled water, umbrellas for those in the line that happened to fall directly in the sun’s path, and around 5 pm, they ordered pizza and fed us all dinner. Along with these helpful tactics, they also hooked up an iPod and played music, although you could only hear it once you got to the last 100 people in the line. At one point, they began taking requests. It was almost fun.
I mentioned to my husband after our ordeal was over that I was surprised at how friendly the people in line around us
were. We live in Miami. Friendliness isn’t something we encounter on a daily basis. We were laughing, joking, exchanging stories within half an hour of getting in line. It made waiting in that line enjoyable. I began thinking about what it must have been like in the 80’s and 90’s, before Ticketmaster took over concert ticket sales and everything was sold online. I’ve never stood in a line more than 20 minutes to get something prior to yesterday.
Each time the line inched forward, our heartbeats quickened. Once we wound our way through the mall and could actually see the Apple store line, I had butterflies in my stomach. As we were ushered into the Apple store, into that sweet, sweet, air conditioned store, jokes were told about finally reaching the promised land.
As soon as we had our iPhone4 in our hands, we ran out of the store and joined the previous consumers mulling around playing with – and showing off – our new toys. We spent the rest of the night syncing, playing, discovering. I may or may not have already shot footage of my dog playing with the cat. We tested the new Facetime feature – PS, it totally rocks!