Notes from the line

I slept surprisingly well, considering that I am not accustomed to sleeping on the street. Team Blogger came prepared:


. . . though we were not prepared for the guy in the chair next to us, who snored with impressive volume and consistency.

I was awoken at 6:15 by a nice man from the Apple Store explaining what documentation we needed (driver's license, credit card, knowledge of our social security number--things without which no American is legally allowed to leave the couch these days). By then Peter had already woken up, gone to Starbucks for coffee, started blogging, and presumably, saved several Guatamalan orphans from an earthquake. He looks fresh as a daisy. I look like a candidate for Extreme Makeover.

Apparently, I also missed the first market transaction: someone who arrived here yesterday around six pm had sold their place in line for a rumored price of $100. This seems extraordinarily low to me, and indeed, he seemed to feel that way himself--reportedly, the negotiations included multiple exclamations of, "that's like $2 an hour man!" At $100, the hourly rate still isn't good, especially considering it involved sleeping upright in a chair--something less than $10.

Of course, whatever the inconvenience, you can only charge what the market will bear. But methinks he sold too soon. The line started growing sometime in the wee sma' hours when we were still in dreamland. My father reports that as of 6:15 am, the line at the AT&T store at 95th and Broadway, one block from my childhood home, was growing at 2 or 3 a minute. We're not doing that well, but it's still expanding at a pretty healthy clip, and I expect by 8, it will be fairly impressive. Nearer to the time will be the best time to sell--when the delta between the wait at the front and the wait at the back will be the largest. There is also a healthy market in quarters for the parking meters, since the cops have threatened to tow anyone who overstays their time by a minute.

But Peter and I have a healthy supply of quarters, and a premium place in line; these are the people ahead of us:


The line's a little disorderly, but no matter, because in a touching display of spontaneous order, the first people here started a paper list to keep track. Of course, I shouldn't be surprised--there's a Cato intern who's been here since 7 pm.