There was a time when waiting in line for Apple’s latest iPhone meant you were a diehard fan who could think of nothing worse than not getting the device on launch day. Unfortunately, that’s no longer the case: Lines have already started forming for the iPhone 5 outside of Apple’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City, but the first two people in the queue are not diehard Apple fans.
Instead, they are there simply to promote their own products or services.
You see, being at the front of the queue — four days before the iPhone 5 actually goes on sale — brings a lot of attention. Everyone wants to hear your story and find out why you’re crazy enough to camp out in the street for a new smartphone. Some see this as an opportunity to shamelessly promote their latest product.
For example, Fortune reports that one of the two people at the front of the Fifth Avenue queue is there to promote a social media startup, while the other is plugging a company that buys old electronics — such as aging iPhones. As you might expect, one of them is blogging about the whole experience just in case no one else blogs about them.
Another two in the line are musicians hoping to promote themselves, while the fifth person in the queue is simply there in the hope that someone will offer him some cash for his spot. He’s literally camping there for four days just to sell his place in the queue. And it’s likely someone with more money then sense will pay him a lot for it, too.
Camping out for an iPhone has never been the coolest hobby, but at least in the early days it was exclusive to iPhone fans who genuinely wanted to be one of the first to get their hands on Apple’s latest masterpiece. Sure, there will still be people in line for that very reason. But they’ll be accompanied by shameless marketeers who are hoping to use the attention Apple launches bring for their own benefit.
How will you feel if you’re stuck behind a sea of promoters when you line up for the iPhone 5 on Friday?