The first person in the queue had been in line since just before 9:00am that morning (that’s THIRTY hours before the store opening!!!).
Why did dozens of people camp out over night just to attend a retail store opening? It certainly wasn’t just for the free T-shirt that Apple handed out to the first 2500 people through the doors; Nor was it to actually purchase something. Neither was it to see a new, previously unseen product, like the iPhone 3G… in fact many of those who queued up for the Apple Store Opening will re-queue for the July 11th launch of the iPhone 3G… Their reason was for the social aspect and just to experience being there; and as someone said on the Whirlpool forums:
“If you have to ask the question, ‘Why?’, then you won’t understand the answer!”
There are many photos covering the queue and video footage of the event which was aired on national news services.
Whilst in queue, a few people caught sight of an Apple Executive over from the US using an iPhone 3G to take photos… it was quickly recognised and as such she made a mad dash back inside the store 😉
So after queuing overnight for up to 30 hours, how did the people in line find the Apple Store once inside? Many reported that they felt elated and mild shock from the never ending screaming and hi-5’s from all the Apple staff as everyone walked through the door. They found all the staff extremely friendly and helpful. After about 20 minutes the store became far too crowded to move around easily and see many of the displays. This was a disappointment for some – those who had queued for so long overnight, or even since early morning, didn’t get much extra time in store before the “late comer hordes invaded”. Those who didn’t arrive until late afternoon or even after 5pm still got into the store within the first hour and they then overcrowded the store.
Apple have also had a history at other “Flagship” store opening of providing special “swag bags” for those who queued overnight that have contained surprises like iPods, AirPort Express units and even MacBooks and although there was never any hint that Apple would do that here; there was a disappointment that there wasn’t something extra special for those who help generate a mass of free media coverage for Apple… the media who attended the Preview Tour the day before even got a $25 iTunes Gift Card and exclusive access to the store – Surely Apple could have allowed the first 50 or 100 people that had queued for 12 or more hours at least half an hour exclusive access to the store before crushing as many in as possible.
That said, the Apple staff were extremely friendly and talkative to the first 50 or so people in the queue during the day. They provided free umbrella’s for those who were there on Wednesday afternoon when it looked like it was going rain. Then they asked the overnighters what they’d like for breakfast – and then arranged for the requested Kripsy Kreme donuts. Later in the day they supplied a quantity of Apples (the fruit) for a more healthy snack.
In the late afternoon all the Apple staff did a walk along the queue thanking those who had queued for so long and then leading the crowd in chants of APPLE! APPLE! APPLE!
About the Sydney Store
The Sydney store is a true “flagship” class of store; being the second largest Apple store in the world and boasting a number of special features including;
- The World’s Largest Apple Logo
- The World’s Largest Sheets of Plate Glass (15sqm each)
- The World’s Longest Genius Bar
The Sydney Store is located on the corner of George & King Streets in the heart of the Sydney CBD. It is spread over three floors with the entire ground floor dedicated to the Mac computer. You have to head up the trademark glass staircase to the second floor to find an incredible range of iPods and associated accessories. The third floor contains the Genius Bar, where you can get free Tech Support for all things related to Apple.
There will be exclusive events, seminars and workshops – most will be free of charge, but you can pay for one-on-one training sessions.
Chadstone Store Opening
It is rumored that Apple will be opening a “Mall Class” Apple Store in Chadstone later this year, and many of those who queued for Sydney will queue overnight for that opening as well – Out in line at Sydney, the first person was from Melbourne, as was the 6th and 8th. Most of the first 50 were from places other than Sydney including those from far flung places such as: Brisbane, Norway and California.
There are number related links to articles;
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Article © June 2008, Nicholas Pyers
Images © June 2008, Ben O’Malley