iPhone 5S on sale today: Want to make a quick £500? Join the queue
Jamie Lewis uncovers the lucrative business of being at the front of the Apple store line
A woman poked her head through the outer shell of our tent. “Are you waiting for the new iPhone?” My companion’s response was emphatic: “No.”
I spent two nights on the cold pavement outside Apple’s Regent Street store with the hardcore queuers, camping out to be the first to get their hand on the highly-anticipated iPhone 5S, which goes on sale at 8am this morning.
Photos of queueing consumers have become a familiar part of the hype surrounding any Apple launch, usually accompanied by expressions of amazement at the devotion of the tech firm’s so-called “fanboys”, or derision at their willingness to give up days of their lives to get gadgets slightly earlier than their friends.
But my investigation, unscientific as it may have been, suggests many Apple queuers have just as much interest in making a quick buck as they do in exploring the iPhone 5S’s new features. The frenzy surrounding the launch offers plenty of opportunities for money-making – not least from selling your place in the queue to wealthier Apple devotees unwilling to spend days waiting in the September cold.
The queue outside the flagship Regent Street store consists of two lines. Directly outside the Apple store is the first part, where the first eight people are allowed to queue. The second part lies a few dozen yards up the road and round a corner.
Apple privately hire out use of this road and its cycle lane in anticipation of queuers, the majority of whom arrive around 12 hours before the device is actually available. Those in the second queue are likely to receive the phone just a few hours after those at the front.
The first queue is where the money lies. A few people talk to the frontrunners, looking to get themselves a phone at a massively inflated cost. Rumours of a man who sold his seat as the frontrunner a few years ago for an astonishing £8,000 resonate in the ears of those nearer the Apple store’s doors.
One such “broker” offered a queuer £5,000 for two phones on the condition he did eventually manage to sell them. There was no money up front to be bartered for. Of course, he was turned down but more came with offers of money in the thousands to the select few nearest the store doors.
I was placed sixth in the queue, and was offered £500 to give up my seat 30 minutes before the store opened.
Beyond the actual phones, the number of other brands couriering free food was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Food from Greggs, Dominos, Nandos, Subway was shipped in. A drinks company had sent round two crates of their product. All in the hope that a press photographer would snap the queuers consuming their produce.
Noah Green, 17, the man at the front of the queue today, was wearing a bright orange shirt which advertises an app. He was paid a three-figure sum to get the brand some free marketing.
Two others, second and third in the queue, are running a liveblog for the Daily Mirror’s website on their progress. They are also getting paid.
The media will, as they do every year, label these people as fanboys to be shunned by society, because that’s what sells papers. From what I can see, they are simply young men that meet once a product launch to drink beer, discuss video games and make some money at the same time.
Life & Style blogs
Everyone should watch this boy's reaction to learning he will be a big brother
No, a porn star wasn't tricked into performing a sex act on her brother
What do the emojis on Snapchat mean?
Ashley Madison hack: Just three in every 10,000 female accounts on infidelity website are real
A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
- 1 Allonautilus scrobiculatus: World's 'rarest' creature spotted for only the third time ever
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 Jozef Wesołowski: Former Catholic archbishop found dead ahead of child sexual abuse trial
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...
£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leader in the e-cigarette ...
£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With extensive experience and a...