30 years ago people lined up outside Studio 54 to buy expensive drinks and snort coke with famous people, today they are lined up outside the Apple Store at the Garden State plaza in Paramus to get the latest in technological wizardry: The iPhone. Outside both venues is the rope, which was made legendary buy the NY club, but I was shocked to see it outside the Apple store.
I arrived at the mall at about 10:30am, it had just recently opened and the Saturday mall crowd had not yet arrived. But as I approached the Apple Store, I saw the line that started behind a small velvet rope and snaked out of sight.
I talked to the guy who was next online and asked him what was going on. He told me he was on line for the iPhone. He explained the system to me, which seemed to be the low-tech method used by bakeries and deli counter for years, except the numbers were dispensed by an attractive girl with a headset instead of a machine inviting you to “take a number.” He told me he got there at 9:00 and seemed pleased that he was on the verge of iPhone possession. When I told him I was interested in purchasing an iPhone too, he looked over his shoulder, assessed the line and estimated the wait time at 4 hours. “Thanks”, I told him “I don’t need one that bad.”
Not being able to buy one online and certainly not willing to line up for the priviledge, I don’t know if I will buy one now. I was sure I would when I left the house this morning but now I’m not so sure. It’s interesting how Apple is using distribution (or the lack of it) to create buzz. The big question for me is whether my patience will survive this marketing tactic.