Strawberry Frog and iPhone shoppers

A few days ago a couple folks over at Strawberry Frog‘s blog Viva la Revolución posted a video of people waiting in line for the iPhone in NYC.

This brings to light a few intersecting themes… the cult of the brand, of course, but also a shopping culture that brings people to buy the same product after waiting in line for 12 hours when they could do so a day later in only 15 minutes. One guy brought the significance to life when he said,

“This moment here is going to be very important. How we feel about this, spending 4, 5, 600 dollars, we’d better be satisfied because if not there’s going to be no other reason to buy it.”

What separates these retail first movers from the rest of us? Do they share the same DNA as people waiting in line for the newest Star Wars movie? Are they simply collecting another merit badge for the Mac Scouts?

I find this type of devoted shopper behavior to be more significant than, say, waiting for a concert ticket or storming the sales at 5:00am on Black Friday. There is a justification for those behaviors because it’s a simple supply and demand issue. But in this case there was meaning and significance in the act itself. Imagine how much sweeter unpacking the new iPhone would be if it was accompanied by war stories of missed showers and a sore back from sleeping on the sidewalk?

Maybe this is an example of people creating scarcity and tension where there is none. I suppose you could call it manufactured adversity. In other words, they are creating drama, a story, and a role for themselves in that story.

Sounds a lot more fun than just running out to pick up some stamps, milk, beer and an iPhone, doesn’t it?