comment_box_33-1I still remember standing in line for the O.G. iPhone. It was at the Oakbrook Apple Store which is actually inside of an outdoor mall which was perfect for lining up. I got there way earlier than I needed to the night before, and security really didn't know what to make of the gang of weirdos forming outside of the Apple Store. I've stood in line for every iOS release that didn't have online preorders since, with the most memorable being waiting for the iPhone 4 at The Cube in New York City- ...And that's probably only because the line was nothing short of mind boggling.

I walked up from the nearby subway station, saw the line, and thought to myself, "Oh hey, that's not bad," thinking that the line forming near the cube went through the line management maze of metal gates, and then in to the store. I asked someone nearby if this was the end of the line, they nodded, and I was pretty happy with my positioning. Then when they started asking everyone to take their chairs up and compress the line I noticed we were moving away from the line maze. I was in a line that stretched all the way around one New York City block before finally entering the massive line management maze, and then descending down in to the cube.

iphone-5-500x474It took forever, but it was an experience. It always is. Additionally, it always seems like you make those friends of necessity waiting in line for electronics, kind of like high school gym class buddies. You've got nothing in common other than the fact that you're standing there, for hours, together. Most recently for the iPhone 5s, my gang of friends were sandwiched between some Italian guys looking to buy as many iPhone 5s units they could before returning to Italy next week, and a mom, who didn't known anything about the iPhone other than the fact that her daughter wanted the gold one.

My most miserable line experience would have to be waiting in line to preorder the Nintendo Wii. It was a legendary line, in the middle of winter, and also marks the coldest I think I've ever been in my entire life. Essentially, I've waited in line for everything from game consoles to phones, and I always manage to have at least a decent time doing it. There's something about the excitement that builds when you're actively in a group of people waiting for something you really want.

As I get older, and the thought of staying up all night invokes more of an "ugh" and less of a "hell yeah," I tend to prefer ordering online whenever I can- Especially if release day delivery is a thing. But, when you've just got to have something, well, that's what energy drinks and camp chairs are for.

ifixit_telstra_iphone_5_lineWe were discussing this in the TouchArcade command center recently, and I'm really curious how our readers generally feel about camping out to buy new gizmos. What have you camped for? Was it worth it? And, if you've never waited in an overnight line for a gadget, what would it take to get you to do it? Or, maybe you won't wait for an iPhone, but you'll stand in line all day for a crack at buying concert tickets before they sell out, or something similar?

Share with us in the comments, and hey, while you're at it, if you've got any crazy "The Things I've Seen..." stories from grizzled line waiting veterans, let's hear 'em too.

[Images via Fortune, iFixit]

  • zergslayer69

    If there's a preorder option I will go with that. I can wait a week or two. If you have the patience and time to have the device in hand first in the world, more power to you but I personally rather go do other stuff, nap, play games, whatever.

    Edit: I did wait in line for the ipad 3 for a few hours, the feeling of not knowing if you'll get what you waited for really sucks. Unnecessary anxiety.

  • SyKot

    Yself, I don't find the need to be the first to get any gadget of any kind. And plus I like to have a more informed opinion, which usually involves waiting for reviews and opinion.

  • Topbeast

    Nothing, it's the same shit.

  • DMan2385

    It's partly based upon if your willing to wait a few weeks to get your iPhone or if you HAVE to be that person that has it on Day 1. For me, I LIKE to wait in line with my friends / family members. It becomes a community event for me and it's fun and exciting to be able to get the device on Day 1 and be able to be one of the first people to play / use a brand new device. But obviously, if waiting in line is too cumbersome for someone, there is always ordering it online and waiting a few weeks / month to get it. It all depends on what is MOST important to you!

    • DMan2385

      I have to add though, I don't understand the people who wait in line for an electronic device A WEEK ahead of time. That's just ridiculous.

      The several times that I've waited in line for a certain electronic device, (be it the Nintendo Wii, iPhone, or the Original PlayStation) as long as I've gotten to the store 3 to 4 hours BEFORE the store opens, I have always gotten what I wanted.

      But ya, those people that sit in line days on end are a bit crazy! (Although apparently some of them get compensated by other organizations / people to either get their companies name out there or be one of the first people to get a device) So "maybe" it's worth it (for someone that doesn't have a 9 to 5 job) but it's still pretty crazy.

  • ODMay

    Not worth it tbh.

    • Morgan01

      Second that.

      • {SQUEEK}

        Nope. Like waiting in a 2 hour line for the new coaster that lasts 10 secs. Excited when it happens but disappointment after.

      • anabolicMike

        I don't wait in lines. My gf says I suck but if there's even four people in front I won't do it lol

  • ngajoe

    ...that's whack.

    Glad you guys do it for me though! 😀

  • Himanshu Modi

    I just moved to USA. I knew people did queue up for new gadgets, but had no clue it would be that long queues. And that they come with chairs and stuff. So if I have not preordered a ps4, does it mean a long night out when it releases?

  • rewyan

    I was in NYC the day the Wii came out. It was insane, the lines for multiple stores wer

    • rewyan

      Sorry. I meant the lines for multiple stores, especially Toys R Us, were even longer than your line at the cube.

      • mudd

        I was doing a video shoot at that toys r us opening. That line went exactly around the block. I got inside right before they opened and a manager said, "you wanna set one of these aside for yourself?" And I said, "no, maybe I'll get one tomorrow". I couldn't get my hands on one for another 4 months.

  • renatpl

    I don't judge

  • Earth Vs. Me

    I was in line for 5 minutes at Subway just now, and I almost flipped out.

  • timmis6010

    I waited in line for only 3 hours for the 5S and even THAT sucked. I was sandwiched between some shady characters trying to buy up phones for resale or whatever and they asked me a few times if they could buy me and my buddy's ticket. And then they would yell back and forth to each other since they were in various positions in line. Guess I was unlucky in my spot but I kept thinking how can people do this overnight! More power to you if you do but I think I'd much rather pre-order. The only reason I did it was that I was doing the recycle program with my 4S. The upside was that they gave me $170 for it so my 5S was pretty much payed for 🙂

  • dariusjr98

    As a person that is still in school, I don't have time for stuff like that.

  • metalmandave83

    I got the 5S at 11 am on day one. No line. It's all about picking the right place. I knew to avoid the Apple Stores and chose to go to a Best Buy that was rarely busy.

  • neiliss

    I always try and go the next day to the Apple Store with little expectations on what stock they will have and haven't had to wait and got the one I was after every time. I did wait in line for the iPhone 4 release but that is because I got into the queue behind a bunch of really nice people, we chatted, had coffee and the store staff brought round cake and it was good fun. I am still in touch with one person from that experience.

  • scrotally

    I think it's extremely stupid. I would rather go to work and I hate going to work.

  • rabidnz

    You are an idiot waiting in line, the next day just go when there is no line, such an American trend.

    • Pheebers

      I thought I would be smart and do that...the NEXT day there was a line 2 hours long just to get into the store. I didn't bother. I'm fine getting it shipped, due to arrive early October.

      And I wouldn't put down Americans too much… We got the most phones of the original shipment 😉

    • chaos215bar2

      Yes, the next day when they have even less stock and there's still a line. You have to realize that not waiting in line doesn't always mean you can come back and buy the thing the next day or even the next week. I'm not a fan of waiting in line, but I can completely understand why some people are willing to do it.

    • themostunclean

      Take a look at the iPhone lines in China before making uninformed statements like that.

  • Mj1ggy

    I hate waiting in line for anything so there is no way I would ever wait in line for a phone that I don't even want that badly. That said, I understand that there are people who enjoy this kind of thing so I don't have a problem with it. In fact, I had a friend who enjoys Black Friday shopping pick me up a 360 a couple years back; I got a great deal and he got to enjoy the experience and get Best Buy points for the purchase.

  • Jake7905

    I'd rather just wait until it's in stock with no line, then to wait in line.

    • greatnoob

      So you'd rather buy the phone without a line and then buy the same phone again, in a line. What...?

  • Pray For Death

    I did it for an ipad once just for fun. Really enjoyed talking with the people in line, discussing various products and gadgets, and sharing stories. The Starbucks across the street offered everyone free coffee, and apple employees gave us umbrellas when it started to rain. Thankfully it was very light rain and it stopped after a few minutes.

    Overall I enjoyed the experience, and might do it again if I desperately need a new device for whatever reason.

  • anabolicMike

    I was going to get one. I put my name on the list and everything. Well. They only sent two to my entire city for bell. Two! Sure it's a small city. About 80,000 people. But two? In all bell stores just two? Needless to say since I was fifth on the list I didn't get one. I'm not due for an upgrade or anything either. Was gonna pay cash. 971 something for a 32gb. Anyway, if I order it now I can have it in 6 to 8 weeks. Well I'm assuming if they don't go on back order. I have the 5 already. I just like new gadgets, I only ever get the. As an impulse buy that I must have right then. I would pay the 971 in a heart beat of I get my phone that moment. But to wait months?!? I don't think I can do it. :/. Damn. Maybe ill just buy a new android tablet. The infinity two comes out soon. I have the infinity one and it's amazing. :/ lol

  • Adams Immersive

    It's fine if you're going on a trip, starting a new job/class, or for some other reason need to be rid of whatever wasn't working for you before.

    It's also fine if you just enjoy the social activity of it. Heck, I hear some people watch golf!

    But it's not for me. I'd rather wait in a longer--but virtual--line.

  • GamerGuy

    People in lines are so worried about status symbols., must have the latest and greatest to show off to friends...I just drove by in my Ferrari and laughed at them...

    • anabolicMike

      No you didn't.

  • philodygmn

    I custom engrave, so the whole point is impossible at retail.

  • NOEN

    I waited in line for 3 DAYS for the PS3 at a local Target. Lines were forming 5 days in advance around here, so I said screw it and stood in line 3 days before release. It was fun the first 2 days. It was like a huge party. The night before release, the manager came out and said they only had 10 units, so everybody after number 10, leave. I was number 9, so I was fine. It ended up turning into a riot and fights broke out, a few tents caught fire. Police came and kicked EVERYBODY out 2 hours before the store opened. We staked out the empty parking lot from across the street for the next hour and 50mins because police were waiting in the parking lot. You could see other people doing the same thing. We sat across the street with the car in gear and as soon as it hit 7:59am, about 30 cars come flying out of nowhere along with us all gunning it toward the front doors. I jumped the curb and drove my car up the sidewalk while my buddy pretty much jumped out of the moving car, commando rolled into the front door and into the store. It was definitely an experience that I'll never do again. Oh, I did get my PS3 though. There's my crazy "geek story". Never again!!

    • NOEN

      Oh, I forgot to mention this was at the end of November in Michigan and the highs were around 35 and it was in the 20s at night.

      • anabolicMike

        Not making yourself sound cool there buddy. Have you ever seen a girl naked? In real life?

  • ScotDamn

    Standing in line is for suckers.

  • awrobinson

    The only time I ever stood in line was when I was 16, I wanted a 32 inch TV (pre-HD, by the way). It was Black Friday. The TV was awesome for my PS2 & Dreamcast! So yeah...not so much anymore. The wait for iOS updates is excruciating enough!

    I'm old.

  • araczynski

    While I can understand the excitement necessary over something to do something like that, I will always equate the choice to do so with stupidity. I would never tell someone not to do it just because I think it's stupid though. My view on this (like many other things in life unfortunately) is tainted by growing up in a country/time when you had to stand in line in hopes of being able to redeem your weekly food ration 'coupons', if there was anything left by the time you were allowed into the store.

  • Lamar Taylor

    I actually paid a teenage neighbor $50 to stand in line for me so I could buy the iPhone 5s. I showed up about an hour before the Apple Store opened and met some cool people. It was a Friday so everyone was in a good mood because all the haters and folks who thought waiting in line was dumb...were all the folks stuck at work taking orders from their boss lol.

    I live in Los Angeles so I see people stand in line for sporting events, concerts, movies, and to buy food. Most of them go home empty handed but you don't see people teasing them so I don't feel bad about waiting for an iPhone. Most people here drive an hour to work in traffic and an hour home and they seem fine with it's all relative in the big picture.

  • defunct32

    If the gadget is worth it, why not? It's usually fun and you get to meet new people. I like to buy my expensive gadgets in store anyway, if there's anything defective we can change it on the spot.

  • cloudpuff

    There's only one thing I dislike more than queuing and that's people who push in or jump the queue, which often seems to happen to me regardless of the size of the queue, so I get hacked off queuing for groceries, don't think I could handle hours for a phone.

  • 28monkeys

    It is a freedom of action. Do what you love as long as it aint hurt nobody

  • heresandypandy

    Not something I'd do myself, but I've waited in line for plenty of gigs before and enjoyed the experience, so I understand the mentality, I just wouldn't personally do it for an electronic object as my passions don't lie there. To each their own.

  • RicoSuaveGuapo

    As a kid I would stand in line to buy concert tickets, so I get the "experience" thing. Today? I couldn't care less. I'll order online and wait a few days or walk in if it's convenient for me. There's only a handful of things I need to have *right now* (ER care, formula for a screaming baby, etc.), and gadgets aren't on that list.

  • lancheta

    The only time I waited for something was GTA III when it first went 3d for the PS2. It was already a pre-order purchase, and bought it at Gamestop. I believe it was a midnight release, and I got out of work two hours before to wait in line. When I arrived at the store there were already 15 people waiting there. It was pretty cool waiting there, but the sense of urgency wasn't there because I knew it was a guaranteed acquisition and I had the next day off.

    That feeling of opening the game and experiencing it for the first time in 3d was still a trip because I have been a fan of the series ever since. I haven't waited like that since, probably because I can just do the online thing. Good experience the first time around though.

    I did wait about 4 1/2 hours one time to ride a roller coaster that was debuting on a weekend. The ride was only about a minute long (Batman roller coaster at Magic Mountain, Valencia, CA). I will never, ever do that again.

  • gadgetfreaksta

    It's a joke.

  • pcburcham

    I'm too old and too busy to wait in some of those lines. I'm proud some of you can and do though. I like to get your impressions before dropping the cash. If I thought I needed a new gadget like I need a liver, I would just pay someone to camp out and get it for me. Like I said, too old and too busy.

  • MidianGTX

    There seem to be a few misconceptions about some of the people who choose to wait in line. Not all of them are doing it because they absolutely must have the latest gadget before everyone else; for many, it's just an event. I'm talking a few hours here, not a week. Standing around with like-minded people and discussing technology can be fun, then at the end you get a nice phone out of it. It's not quite as desperate as some of these comments are making out.

  • Tomate Diseño

    Never. It's a ridiculous thing to do with your limited time in this realm, especially when you can walk into the shop a couple of days later and buy the same item with no bother, and even more especially so when you can buy the same item on eBay a year later at half the price…

  • phonecats

    people get followed after they purchase at these events and get robbed.

  • trrll

    I waited in line for an iPad 3. I hadn't intended to. I'd been fool enough to believe the media pundits calling it a minor upgrade and predicting low demand. I thought that maybe I could just walk in and buy one. When I saw the line stretching around the block, I nearly walked away. But the day was nice, and Apple employees were circulating giving real-time updates on product availability and bringing refreshments, and I decided to hang around for a while. I had a book on my iPhone, and there were interesting people to talk to. A party atmosphere prevailed. Before I knew it, it was several hours later and I was being ushered into the Apple Store. I left with a launch day iPad. Not something I'd do routinely, but an enjoyable experience.

  • gmattergames

    It shows any naysayers, that Apple is just as much a force in the industry as it ever was. Imagine if the 5s actually had a "must have" feature.

  • bhornburg

    I personally think it's silly, getting a device now or two months from now makes little difference to me. Maybe if it was something really revolutionary, but the iterative upgrades to most technology these days will continue ad infinitum, and definitely wouldn't get me excited enough to camp outside a brick and mortar retail outlet.

    But I can understand if you do it as a social thing, sharing ones hobby with other enthusiasts is always enjoyable.

  • bones boy

    Waiting in line for things seems to be partly a social experience (not just a need to be the first to have things).

  • Kyle Trail

    I think I'll never do it again. I did it last for the iPhone 4. The next time around for me (that would be iPhone 5), I just woke myself up in the middle of the night and ordered mine to be shipped to me at work.

    I love people, but not that much. Jeesh!

  • flashbackflip

    Lame move imo..

    Have some pride - don't b a tech-junkie - buy a week/month later

  • pdSlooper

    I grew up on technological leftovers. I'd wait for my brothers to get tired of their radios, etc., and I'd take what they were bored off when they bought something new. This is also how the family got its first video game system when our uncle "upgraded" to the Atari 5200 from the VCS. (Haha!)

    The first time I decided to buy a piece of hardware, it was a Nintendo DS (original model, blue), 2 years after its initial release.

    I can't imagine buying hardware at release. Games, sure. I'm swimming in them. But I'd hate myself if I paid for a piece of tech that I wouldn't even miss till it's dropped in price hundreds of dollars (and gotten some design revisions to boot).

  • Darkmeteor

    I don't get it. An experience ? no it's not, it's waiting in line, or it's a shitty experience, yeah.

    I order things online, if I get them a week later, I'm fine with that.

  • blakedaking

    The only thing I used to wait in line for are video games. I have never done it for phones or consoles. The older I get, the longer I can wait.

    I have no problem waiting for phones, I do not feel the need to have the latest and greatest. As far as consoles go, I normally just wait for the first price group then catch up on the games I missed.

    • themostunclean

      Yup. That's the best way to get the most out of a new console. As soon as you buy it you have a great selection if games to choose from. I probably won't get the PS4 for at least a year. Sony has a good record of supporting older consoles even after the new one is out anyway.

  • fury

    I try to line up when I can--the model I want being available to buy is a big factor. I did not, for instance, line up for the 5 because it wasn't available in unlocked form. Besides that, I will line up. You never know what you might run into if you line up. As it turns out, there's actual people there in them lines. People that, as geeks, we might not otherwise meet and interact with, for whatever reason--be it our stuck-in-a-rut daily lives that don't have us running across many new people, or our social ineptitude. At a gadget line, we're surrounded by like-minded souls, and if not overtly normal-seeming, it's at least a place where we feel we belong to something larger than the sum of ourselves.