The line starts here...

Iphone_l_4The iPhone went on sale last Friday. Easily the most hyped product this year, the latest gadget from the wizardly engineers and designers at Apple — they dropped the Computer from their name a few months ago — is a hybrid mobile phone/Web browser/iPod. (Reviews for the $500-$600 device have been mostly favorable. We’ll have a review of the iPhone on later today.)

But what I want to talk about are the lines of customers who waited to buy these iPhones — some of whom had staked out their places 100 hours (that’s more than 4 days!) before they went on sale. This has been something of a common occurrence over the past 9 months: hordes of anxious fans who choose to brave the elements, forgo sleep and showers (granted, not an undue hardship for a few), and endure the wondering stares of bemused passers-by. All for the chance to be among the happy few to walk out with an expensive new toy. It happened with the Nintendo Wii, the Sony PlayStation 3 (which also drew an enterprising butcriminal element), and now, the iPhone.

Waiting in lines is, for the most part, a grim and monotonous experience. It practically defined life in late-era Communist Russia. But it is also is a pretty good test of one’s commitment and level of enthusiasm. Okay, so here are my questions. What’s the longest you’ve ever waited in line to make an entertainment-related purchase? And have you ever waited in line — for, say, more than 30 minutes — to buy something other than movie or concert tickets? 

addCredit(“Michael Nagle/Getty Images”)

Comments (69 total) Add your comment
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  • Brian Z

    I believe the longest for me was 4 hours for the fifth Harry Potter book. I didn’t get a reserve since I was out of town visiting a friend. It was fun though, less a line and more everyone hanging out at a bookstore for hours.

  • Patty

    I once waited in line for about 4-5 hrs to get free tickets to see Bill Clinton speak. It was worth it.

  • FLGrl

    No. My time is valuable.

  • Auriana

    I got up at 3 a.m. and headed to Walmart for the Wii launch. After waiting for 5 hours in the cold I discovered that they only had 22 Wiis…I was number 24 in line. So we ran over to Best Buy which was opening later and waited in line for an hour or two there. Still missed it. Finally, in February, I called ahead to Toys R Us, got there at 7 and waited in line till it opened to finally gather my much desired Wii. It was worth it.

  • Auriana

    I also have waited in line for Star Wars tickets and seats. For an opening night I’d usually get there 2-3 hours in advance to ensure a good seat.

  • GingerCat

    I also waited in line for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but my store was really organized about it, so I was only actually on line for about 20 minutes.

  • txgrl99

    In high school (circa 1989), I slept in front of a Foley’s dept store to get George Michael tickets. 5 PM on Friday to 10 AM the next day. The show sold out in 15 minutes, so only those of us who spent the night got tickets at all. Totally worth it.

  • Ceballos

    I actually kinda have to disagree that waiting in line is a “grim, monotonous experience.”
    I mean, I guess it can be if you’re not prepared (I always bring a chair and a good book just in case), but in my experience I’ve found a cool sense of communion with the other people in line waiting for whatever it is we’re all waiting for. Even in the wee hours of the morning, you can chat somebody up, trade stories about whatever it is you’re all there for in the first place (an anticipated movie/book, whatever).
    I wait outside of Best Buy overnight the day after Thanksgiving to get all my X-mas shopping done (I’m usually there about 7 or 8 hours) and one of the coolest side effects is everyone binding together and absolutely not letting anyone cut in line. It’s like, “we’ve been out here since last night, there’s no f—ing way you’re cutting!” Good times.

  • evie

    I feel like waiting in line is becoming a passtime for a geeky few. Because it’s not like people who showed up at 6 p.m. on Friday didn’t get iPhones. So why wait for four days? It’s kind of sad when waiting in line is the best ploy you have in your arsenal of getting attention.

  • aramis

    The iPhone launch was my first trek into Geekdome. I waited six hours (small town, Meridian, MS, so no real need to rush any sooner) for the phone. But if you count the wait time on the activation (thanks, AT&T…not!) I waited a total of 54 hours to use this phone.
    Yay me. I love this phone by the way, that is, if you can stomach the activation nightmare.

  • GingerCat

    Oh, wait, I forgot–I waited on line for about six hours outside Kevin Smith’s comic book store to purchase some swag, meet Kevin and Jay Mewes, and get them to sign my stuff. That was totally worth it.

  • Wrongway

    I waited in line for 2+ hours to have Neil Gaiman sign some stuff. It was worth it, though.
    I notice how everyone decided to ignore the whole “to buy something other than movie or concert tickets” part. I would never wait in line more than 15 minutes to spend money. What difference does it make if you’re the first one? Nobody cares.

  • kats

    A couple of hours I think for “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”. Went to Barnes & Noble and waited to get my copy at midnight. Also got a polaroid of me and a big HP cardboard cutout. Nice. It’s hanging on my fridge.

  • plushpuppy

    Never would I wait in line that long for anything. Just wait a few weeks and get it then.

  • Nick

    I waited 10 hours in line at a general admission NO DOUBT show. so worth it

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