Pranksters-For-Hire To Help iPhone Buyers Sneak Ahead In Line - InformationWeek

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6/27/2007
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Pranksters-For-Hire To Help iPhone Buyers Sneak Ahead In Line

An outfit called "Over Here, Jerks!" will release a wild animal or do some other stunt that causes lines of iPhone buyers to disperse.

Worried about long lines to buy an iPhone on Friday? A San Francisco man said he and his band of pranksters will create a diversion to distract everybody else in line and allow you to slide right up to the front.

The company -- called "Over Here, Jerks!" -- will go to Apple or AT&T stores and release a wild animal, let loose a bad smell, or do something else disgusting, shocking, or scary. The plan: Everybody in line runs away, except for the company's client, who'll be first up for service.

"You might even have time to grab a few lawn chairs, sleeping bags, and sandwiches amid the mayhem!" according to the group's Craigslist ad.

The company will work Market Street in San Francisco, charging $50 for the first three attempts and $10 for each additional attempt. "It's like a text-messaging plan," said organizer Matt Grimmer of San Francisco, who works by day as a biologist and cancer researcher.

The group includes amateur magicians, people who work at a petting zoo, and people with skills in camouflage techniques.

The iPhone event is just the launch of the company, which plans to go into business creating divisions for other events, Grimmer said.

"If you're bad at chess, if you want to get your neighbor back for something, you can hire us," he said. "We won't get involved in a crime, but we'll create a diversion to give people an opportunity to do what they need to do."

This will be the company's professional debut at causing diversions. Past attempts, done for love rather than money, included dressing a man up in a banana suit and having him fake a seizure at a high school graduation, Grimmer said.

"We wanted to cause a goof to get people distracted to mess up the order of things while it was going on," Grimmer said. "When there's a number of people walking in a group, we thought we could throw one little hitch into the ceremony and the whole thing collapses."

He added, "It wasn't as successful as we'd like it to be, but we started talking about it, and we're confident we can do better."

For one thing, the company plans to incorporate animals into its diversions, rather than people in costumes. For another, it plans to cause multiple diversions in rapid succession.

"We'll put a dirty diaper on someone's back, and get someone to yell, then get something disgusting or frightening coming from another direction. Nothing harmful. Play on people's weaknesses for about 10 seconds, that's all it takes," Grimmer said.

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