A small group of people began forming a line in New York City on Monday to ensure they'll be among the first to get their hands on an Apple iPhone.
Ice, Water, And Potato Chips
In a glittering black dress, Mia Bleyman emerged from the GM building, where she works for a cosmetics company, to bring the small group a bucket of ice, paper cups, water, and potato chips. She delivered donations in response to a plea for support that 43-year-old Greg Packer had written in marker on a small poster beside his lawn chair.
"I was on the Internet and saw the pictures and that they needed food and stuff," Bleyman said. "I'm going to be in line on Thursday."
Bleyman said she planned to spend Thursday night waiting in line for an iPhone, and that the 24-hour security in the area should make it pretty safe.
First in line, Packer, a retired highway maintenance worker, appreciated the gesture and exchanged information with Bleyman. He estimated that he had been interviewed by 10 to 20 journalists. It wasn't the first time. He's a veteran when it comes to queuing up, and he's been interviewed before as an early-bird for tickets to concerts, games, and parades.
Packer said he doesn't have an iPod, but he wishes he did. He doesn't have a Mac. His cell phone is Verizon and prepaid. He said he doesn't plan to sell his iPhone on eBay or any other way.
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More iPhone fans join the line outside of an Apple story on Wednesday morning in Manhattan.
"I wanted to be amongst the first people to get an iPhone," he said. "I live out on Long Island and I don't think the malls are letting people camp out. The iPhone is supposed to put everything right at your fingertips. I wanted to see for myself. I'm trying to be a gadget person. It's the way we live, so I'm trying real hard to keep up with the times."
Just when Packer was telling a reporter that no one had offered him money for a phone or the first spot in line yet, a young man approached Packer in his lawn chair and offered a $100 profit on the phone. Packer fanned himself and declined. He encouraged the man to check back later, saying maybe someone else would do it.
"Now, if somebody wants to come and offer me $10,000, I ain't gonna say no to that," he said, laughing.
Geoff Arnold, dressed in khakis and a perfectly pressed blue button-down shirt, stood with a friend watching the people in line for a few minutes, then asked: "Hey, are you able to get wireless Internet here?"
No, but the Apple Store just a few feet away offers free Internet access and air conditioning. It also promises demos when the store opens for iPhone sales at 6 p.m. Friday, after a four-hour closure in preparation for an iPhone frenzy.
Twenty-four-year-old Jessica Rodriguez, third in line, took advantage of the facilities in the Apple Store for a short bathroom break. Packer and Clayman watched her seat. Then Rodriguez held Clayman's seat as he went off looking for a cap to help beat the heat.
Mueller, who owns an iPod shuffle, communicated with friends via his Samsung cell phone. His friends delivered the latest pricing and technical information. Then Mueller got an e-mail about the hot weather from a friend who wrote: "You're going to die."
Mueller laughed but soon gave up and left the line, hoping to return later. Business beckoned at his graphic design company in the Financial District a few miles downtown. He predicted he could end up being number 1,000 by the time he got back in line.
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