San Francisco: Meet Charlie. From Monday, September 17 till about 7.30 in the morning of Friday, September 21, he spent all his waking and sleeping hours outside the Apple store on Stockton Street in downtown San Francisco. His job? Hold the first place in the queue for the person who wanted to be the first to get an Apple iPhone 5 when the store started selling them at 8 in the morning.
How did he happen to be filling in for the real buyer? 'I got the gig through Taskrabbit,' said Charlier, cooking himself a meal of noodles on a portable stove that he had brought along. 'I'm getting $ 1,500 for this.' Charlier is a regular bidder for tasks at Taskrabbit, where people can outsource personal chores to those willing to perform them for a fee.
The queue outside the Apple store was long but not restless. The social cachet of being among the first people on the west coast of the USA to own an iPhone 5 was enough to keep them waiting calmly. Several tents were on view, and the line of people were being ministered to by friendly staff from the Apple store, who came out, chatted, offered water, and kept them happy.
Shortly before 8 AM, a bunch of the shop staff came out and lined up, one to one, with the waiting buyers. Each of them chatted with a buyer, found out their requirements, handed them a card corresponding to their specs, and then personally ushered them in at the stroke of eight. As the rest of the staff cheered and chapped, Charlie's client proudly walked in to get his iPhone 5.