There are thousands of die hard Apple iPhone fans waiting in line to purchase the smartphone that went on sale Friday morning at 8am. But alongside those die hard fans waiting in line are hundreds of people getting paid to wait in line.
More than 200 people are expected to hold places in line for strangers at stores around New York and the San Francisco bay area for the iPhone 5, Bloomberg.com reported on its Tech Blog. Most of these arrangements were made on the website TaskRabbit Inc., where a user can find workers to do odd jobs like, have them wait in line for four hours.
TaskRabbit is charging clients $55 to have someone wait in line for them for four hours. The company then takes an 18% “service fee” and leaves workers with $45.10 for hours worth of work.
But young people are also finding these odd jobs through Craiglist and other arrangements.
By noon Thursday, there were eight people in line outside the Union Square store, but many more were expected before Friday morning. Right behind Hufnagel was Christian Soto, 19, who was being paid $12 an hour by his employer, Compupod, a Mission District iPhone repair service. Soto got in line Tuesday and planned to get two or three phones, including a black 32-GB model for himself.
“I’m getting paid and I’m getting the phone, so it works out,” Soto said from inside his bright green tent.
“Who can blame this guy? It’s an established fact that black and brown customers are leading smartphone adoption in the U.S. but that also exists alongside the reality that more people of color of living in poverty these days and that a vast majority of young adults are under or unemployed,” says Jamilah King, Colorlines.com’s news editor and technology reporter. “We live in a consumer society. And this guy clearly had to get his hustle to make things happen.”
In addition to TaskRabbit, the listings website Craigslist has dozens of posts in major U.S. cities from people seeking or offering line-waiting services.
After posting a Craigslist ad, Juan De Pablo, 25, is getting paid $150 to arrive at the Third Street Promenade Apple store in Santa Monica by 8 p.m. Thursday. “I kind of have a lot of free time on my hands,” Pablo told the L.A. Times.