It was a bright morning last June – the new iPhone 4 had launched a few days earlier and getting a lift in with my boss – himself an apple ‘devotee’, we were discussing when each of us was going to get the new iPhone.
As we had a habit of going in particularly early, we agreed we’d round up our old iPhone3 (in his case 3gs) boxes and phones in case the opportunity presented itself and the O2 shops in Derby got some more stock in.
So 7.30am, driving through Derby, he suddenly swung the wheel round and headed for the town centre car park.
When we got to the O2 store, a small queue of around 50 people was already there. We took one look and decided to leave it until later.
There was a certain fever – checking website updates for more stock arriving etc – receiving text alerts and generally watching the local chatter on twitter for a whiff of any stock suddenly being available.
One good thing about being ‘in on it’ with the boss is that when he announced later that morning that he was fed up with waiting and was going to try the shop again, I got invited along.
So we queued – around 20 of us (much to the amusement of passing shoppers) and then the doors re-opened and an O2 staff member came out to announce they’d only got limited amounts (around 25 phones) and he would presently come out with numbered cards to save anyone wasting a wait.
So we queued, we chatted with other Apple devotees, a rumour started that the other O2 shop had stock and had opened doors – my boss went to check it out whilst I kept our queue places (and those ‘golden tickets’ should they be allocated).
He eventually came back to report if the other shop had opened, it had quickly shut again. We waited.
Some 2 hours later, the doors opened and they started taking in people from the front of the queue – two at a time. Since it took around 20 mins to process two customers, we realised we weren’t going to be going anywhere fast – but at least we had our numbered slips so we were assured to get a new phone that day.
Of course, eventually it was our turn to be ushered into the ‘hallowed turf’, where we were given a demo of the phones new features…(grrrr just give me the phone), and then it was ‘flash your cash’ and sign your life away (well to O2 anyway).
We left, clutching out little O2 string handled, iPhone 4 paper bags, and wearing smiles as big as the Rock of Gibraltar.
Back to work 3 hours later, and of course the first thing we did was set up our new shiny iPhones for use.
It’s amusing to read todays (Friday 14th Oct) accounts of people who also queued for the latest phone from Apple – the iPhone 4s – and also the ‘rants’ of people who, much like those shoppers we encountered, are amused that anyone would queue for a mere phone.
Having been there and done it (so to speak), I can say it was an experience for sure. An almost war like mentality of gentlemanly conduct as we quietly queued that morning, no pushing in, no impatience, just good humour and bon ami abound.
And why not queue for a particular phone / gadget? Plenty of people – far greater numbers in fact – queue for music concert tickets every day or the premiere of new films. Not to mention the numbers that travel around the UK (or the globe) for sporting events. Are they all nerdy or odd? I think not.
So why aren’t i queueing this time? Well, it was tempting – very tempting – but with my phone contract due renewal in a months time (earliest upgrade point), I’m going to wait until then, providing all those disgruntled blackberry users haven’t snaffled up all the available stocks of iPhone 4s. i think even I can wait a month and there are other benefits in letting others destruct test a new model before you purchase – plenty of time to iron out any kinks etc.
No, I can wait (repeat to one’s self 100 times), but the wait will be worth it…. I can wait (repeat 100 times)….
photo credit: herry lawford