I remember as a kid seeing people in tents lining up to buy tickets for a performer they were dying to see, but since then it’s only really been tech fans lining up for gadgets.
But there is a new kid on the block – someone who can compete with Apple so see how many people they can attract to stand in a line to purchase a product.
They call this new obsession ‘Zara’ – a Spanish fashion house that opened its second Australian store in Melbourne this week. Yes, fashion, not gadgets … you read right.
Which got me thinking, why would people line up at a chilly four degrees in Melbourne for phones and clothes? Packing your food to sit in a line sounds a little funny.
You know there is a great chance you will miss out on what you’re coming to get, and you know supply will be limited, so why not wait and order what you’re after in the warmth of your house or office?
Is it the bragging rights that you were one of hundreds, if not thousands, to get your hands on that new piece of technology or fashion? But you’re one of many.
Is it a story that, when you grow older, you’ll tell your kids or grandkids? I don’t think so.
I’m no Apple fan girl, and I love my fashion (I have over 130 pairs of shoes) and never thought I would line up.
However, when the iPhone was first released in Australia I remember spending the Friday morning at my desk ringing every Optus store in Melbourne to see if, by chance, they would put one aside for me. After many calls a small local outlet helped me. I got lucky.
And when the first iPad came out, we got them delivered to the office and, yes, we squealed like children on Christmas morning when we saw those brown boxes arrive.
But I have a confession.
On a cold Thursday evening last year Xavier, our former Online Editor, and I met up outside the Telstra and Optus stores on Bourke St at 11pm. When I saw the line of people snaking up Bourke St and around into Russell St I was so shocked. I’d seen images of this before but hadn’t expected it.
I was soon caught up in the exciting, almost overwhelming, atmosphere and the adrenaline kept me going until 3am, when I found myself driving home, wide awake, with my new iPhone 4. I didn’t sleep that night – I set up my new iPhone, showered and headed into work, ready to start the Friday.
I don’t think I’ve seen or heard people lining up for a new MacBook or iMac, so why just the iPads and iPhones?
Is it that you get your 15 minutes of fame because people come up to you on the street or train saying, “OMG, you have the new iPhone?” Or is it just the thrill of being first in anything? Or spending some time with like-minded Apple nuts?
Yeah yeah, OK … I kind of get it. And it must be the same with the Zara crowd, where you can be the most fashion-conscious of your group of friends.
But there is one more thing that Zara and Apple have in common – over half of the people lining up this week were using an iPhone or iPad to kill some time!