My friend Reid and I lined up for 11 hours in front of the Apple store in Yorkdale Mall on the day the iPad 2 launched in Toronto. So did 400 other people, according to an Apple employee I talked with when I made my purchase.
Some may think we were crazy. A friend of ours has pointed out that there were no line-ups (or very short) at the Best Buy outlets in the city. Others were asking why we didn't just order them online and have them delivered. From another: "Didn't you just buy an iPad?"
While I understand where these comments were coming from, I need to clarify: I wasn't just lining up at Yorkdale for an iPad 2. I was there for the whole experience: to be right in the middle of all that rabid excitement and anticipation, to be hanging out with people who were as iPad-obsessed as I am. It wasn't just about the iPad 2 -- it was about everything this event represented.
But I'm getting ahead of myself...
More about the excitement about the event...
I feel the same way about movie premieres where the movie is one I'm really, really hyped about. Like when the Lord of the Rings movies came out! Lining up for hours with equally obsessed fans was part of the experience. I wrote a comic about the experience and have started a new one about the lineup for the upcoming The Hobbit movie.
Yes, I'm lucky to be getting an iPad; not everyone can afford one. I also know I'm not a typical female consumer -- I dislike shopping for clothes and shoes, only doing it when absolutely necessary. If given a choice, I'd opt for computer hardware over jewelry any day.
Anyway, my iPad 2 is Jeff's birthday present for me this year. The deal: I'd have to line up for it, and get his as well. Sounded like a great arrangement to me!
Reid picked me up at about 5:30 a.m. Reid and I have been friends for a long time. Reid, his wife Luisa, Jeff and I all met back at the University of Toronto. Reid was my first boyfriend (Luisa and Jeff were both seeing other people at the time); the four of us are still friends, and Luisa is one of my closest pals.
I mention this because I think it's kind of cool that some of my nerdy group of pals back in university are just as nerdy many years later. I know that more of them would have been in line with us if they didn't have to be at work that day.
As soon as we arrived and said hello to the others in line, they let us know that we were supposed to get a numbered ticket from the security guard. Then they lowered the voices and whispered, "Ask him about the rules!"
So we asked. And here were the rules that Yorkdale Mall had for those waiting in line:
1. No sitting (squatting ok).
2. No leaving the line except for washroom breaks.
3. No photography.
4. No rowdiness.
5. Rule-breakers would be ejected from the line. Apparently someone had already been ejected earlier that morning.
I was floored. The mall knew that the Apple store wasn't going to start selling iPads until 5 pm. They expected us to STAND FOR 11 HOURS??!??
I asked the guard whether people who had trouble standing that long could occasionally sit on the floor. He shook his head and said that only people who could stand were allowed to be in the line. I asked him about handicapped people...surely they'd be permitted to join the line.
The guard repeated that only people who could stand could be in the line. English was not the guard's first language, so I'm ASSUMING that he didn't really mean this.
Shortly after, the guard collected all the numbered tickets, saying that we were to memorize our numbers.
As soon as the night guard left and before the morning guard arrived, we all took advantage of the chance to sit:
Then the first Apple employees began to arrive, and they immediately handed out cookies:
and bottled water:
We told the Apple guys about the no sitting policy, and they said that unfortunately they had to adhere to Yorkdale Mall's rules. Apparently at last year's iPhone 4 launch, it was way too chaotic, with people in line grabbing chairs from nearby restaurants as well as sprawling out into the aisles, making it difficult for other mall patrons to pass by.
This was confirmed by a fellow I met at the Second Cup (which was smart enough to open before the rest of the mall opened). He said he was one of the first people to get an iPhone from the Apple store in Yorkdale last year, and the line got out of hand.
Meanwhile, the day security guard(s) showed up, and one of them told us that we would be permitted to sit until the mall opened at 10 am. After that, we'd have to stand.
I blog about the iPad, e-books and digital publishing, children's e-book apps and apps for creative people at iPadGirl and I tweet from @iPadGirl. You can find out more about my other projects at DebbieOhi.com.