St. Louis Waits for the iPad

I’ve never been to a mall this early before in my life.

It’s 6:45am and I’m walking in to the West County Mall with a b-line for the Apple store.  The glass front of the Apple store is shrouded in darkness with black curtains covering the front of the store while I can only assume the little Apple elves are scurrying around sprinkling the last bits of magic dust on the iPads. I will be only the third person in the “reservation” line, but counting the other line of unwashed “no reservation” people I’m probably closer to the 30 or 40th person total. The guys ahead of me are claiming they were in line at 11pm last night, which at the time I found hard to believe. Later on I found that the two of them and their dog slept in a car parked in the mall lot and walked in when the mall opened at 5am.  An hour later I find out that one of the two guys ahead of me is just along for the ride, making me the second iPad purchaser in line. So close to #1! I don’t feel bad being bested by the guy though, he has waited in line for the iPhone and Xbox 360 previously. He’s a pro.

I didn’t have the guts to stray too far from my spot so the other line remains a mystery to me especially considering these people had the wherewithal to show up at a mall in the wee hours of the morning but not take the 15 seconds to reserve one online.

The line has received a few odd looks from mall walkers, but honestly are we any more weird than someone that wakes up at 5am for no reason other than to put on a garish sweatsuit and walk around in a mall with no stores open? All in all though, people are quite nice to us line people. Apple employees bring us water, a fellow line-mate brought 2 dozen doughnuts to share. California Pizza Kitchen came by offering breakfast pizza. No one knows if it’s free or not. No one takes any.

Soon after we get the first contact from Apple. Apple-guy tells us they will give us line-people free coffee. I don’t drink coffee. A guy two down from me toting a Windows laptop, which to me is a turd in the Apple punchbowl today, high-fived him over…wait for it…the availability of cases.

Soon we enter to the cheers and high-fives of Apple’s employees and, though I can’t hear them, my credit card company executives.

Oh, and the iPad is great.

For more info check out the video below as well as the twitter streams of @mikeflynn_ and @jdspyers, one of my line mates.