After spending 15 hours outside of Briarwood mall and 24 hours to sleep on it I have some definite observations on this Apple Launch Phenomenon. Leaving the mall with my new Iphone 5 I swore I would never do this again, but as time calms the weary mind and body I think it was pretty cool.
Is the hype and activity over the top. Absolutely. Its just a phone, or its just an Ipad. (Keep repeating that over and over). However its is just incredible how a company can market and instill in its employees and public such rabid devotion. Such devotion breeds camaradarie. What I will long remember from that long night is not the phone, but the friendships made and the absolutely eclectic assortment of individuals who shared the night together. As the Detroit News said, this was a cultural phenomenon as well as a marketing one.
I arrived at 6pm and was no. 8 out of eventually 160 or so brave souls. We refered to ourselves as the "original 8" as we were the first and foremost. Others soon joined, including one gentleman who brough his living room recliner in his mini van, or those who entombed themselves in full thermal body sleeping bags. One brought his living room throw rug! Everyone had an iphone, ipad, or macbook. Not a PC in sight. The true believers!
Apple employees came out twice during the night to supply us with snacks and drinks, while others ordered out from Jimmy Johns and gladly shared with others. My neighbor was a college student from U of M and an aspiring jazz musician, his neighbor was a Detroit Police officer. Even "the Russians" were there, as I am told every launch to send a few back to the homeland. As they would say большой!!!
I had great conversations with the head of security at the mall, Tom Fisher, who cruised around on his Segway, as did many of his other employees. He joined us at 1 am and was most genial and helpful. I just love Briarwood Mall, something about the nice fat lazy couches placed all over the place to chill in, the layout, Apple Store and the great employees. (not to mention easy access unlike 12 Oaks)
We were led into the mall and escorted one by one into the store at launch, to the thunderous applause and dancing of about 60 Apple employees and of course the crowd. Over the top sure, but as I keep saying a real neat experience.
Like Apple or not, they do it the right way. Customer service is unparalled. Not only can they take your top dollar, they get you to applaud yourself while doing so!
Oh by the way Gizem (my Turkish exchange student) was most "displeased' with me. I told her of the young man from U of M who was the aspiring jazz musician. She loves jazz. She asked me "how can you sit next to him for 15 hours and not get his phone number for me?" (Gizem is now the proud owner of my Iphone 4s) My only answer was I will get it when I see him next year...................at the launch of the Iphone 6.