Sleep on the Pavement, Piss in a Bottle

I am not going to talk about camping equipment. Or tents. Or camping trailers. I want to discuss people who camp out in front of businesses. If you have spent hours, days and nights in front of your local Apple store waiting for an iPhone 5, you should stop reading now because the rest of this post might offend you. Deeply.

Trader Joe’s opened it’s doors in Salt Lake City a few days ago. On the way home from work I passed by hundreds of people camping out in a semi-organized line in front of the store. People were anxiously waiting to get inside. They desired to be the first to raid the store.

My Excuse for Camping Out in Front of Stores

You see, where I come from people used to line up outside a store in order to get essential things, mostly food: bread, butter, milk, eggs. We had few excuses for our lines:

  1. We were hungry, and
  2. On normal days our stores did not have these essential goods, and
  3. We were lucky to find out about the availability of products. It did not happen often.

People never camped out over night due to a limited availability of goods. They would spend a night in front of a store because they knew that if they did rough it out, they might get some food that would last for a little while.

When you were hungry enough you could endure long lines. You wrote numbers on your palms to keep count of the people in line, and make sure that those who went on a bathroom break still had their chance to get back in line.

So there you have it. My excuses for standing in long lines were hunger and necessity.

Their Excuses for Camping Out in Front of Stores

What kind of excuses do these store campers have? Let me guess:

  1. They want “stuff.” I want “stuff all the time. But would I set up a tent in front of an Apple store to get the latest iPhone? The hell I would!
  2. They want to be the first. Who cares really if you have an iPhone 5 or an iPhone 3? I know I don’t care. Does your boss care? Your mom? Your neighbor? I doubt it.
  3. They want their “stuff” cheap. They don’t care if they get trampled by a mob over a $5 DVD player.
  4. They are having fun. I have to admit that the definition of fun is very subjective. I will leave it at this.

What I Don’t Get

You know what people in front of our Trader Joe’s got for camping out all night long? They got high fives and leis around their neck! WTF is wrong with you, people?! You were freezing your asses off for hours to get a high five from a Trader Joe’s employee? At least, the people in front of the Chick-fil-A got gift cards worth 52 free chicken sandwiches. That’s a lot of artery clogging chicken sandwiches to eat. But these people did not leave hungry with a fucking lei around their neck.

I don’t get it. I really don’t. What can possibly drive a person to sleep on the pavement and piss in a bottle? If you have a good explanation, please give it to me. Tell me what is this driving force that makes someone an idiot? I, most likely, will never understand the motivation behind the desire to sleep on the pavement and piss in a bottle while waiting in line for the best new thing that is absolutely (or almost) identical to the best old thing from six months ago.

Some people make money from selling their spots in line to fools who are ready to camp out in front of a store. And guess what? People pay money for a spot closer to the front door. What can I say? Some of us are idiots. Some of us are entrepreneurs.

16 thoughts on “Sleep on the Pavement, Piss in a Bottle”

  1. I’m with you. If you’re doing it as a necessity for something to do with basic survival, that’s one thing, but to camp out so that you can satisfy a ‘want’ just doesn’t make any sense. Many years back when the only way to get concert tickets was to wait in line, I did wake my self up in the middle of the night to go grab a spot in line, but I drew the line at anything that would involve more than a blanket and a few hours. When my wife told me that there were tents set up outside our local Best Buy several days before Thanksgiving, I wanted nothing more than to go get in the car, drive over, and berate them.

  2. It’s called capitalism….yuck….and you won’t find me camping out for anything that costs money!
    Consumerism is a disease and there’s no obvious cure. I’m afraid you live in one of the most money centred societies in the world where people think that life cna only make sense with money. I’m in a saner place where we still believe that some fo the best things in life…are free!!

  3. I don’t understand it either. I never understand why people camp out in front of stores, especially in anticipation for Black Friday. It’s really not that serious.

  4. This is the best post of the day. I am putting this one in my roundup. I have always wondered why people sit in lines to get something. I cannot understand why anyone would sit in line at a trader joes. I have one and I hope there on a regular basis, but the only line I stand in is the checkout line. You can’t fix stupid!

  5. In theory I agree and I sure as hell would never camp out in front of a store. But a friend of mine camped out in front of Best Buy for a night on Black Friday to get a huge TV for 75% off the original price. He did the math and figured he was saving/making $40/hr by standing in line. When he said it that way I had a different viewpoint on the whole thing. But I sure would never do it, I like my warm bed to much!

  6. Ugh. I know someone who camped out all night the night BEFORE Thanksgiving to get a disgustingly huge TV. When he already had a disgustingly huge TV that works just fine. And he lives paycheck to paycheck.

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  9. I never looked at the other side as having never been in that situation to camp out for the necessities…but to me I would rather spend an extra 100 than sit outside an entire day just for a tv…i think people have their priorities wrong when they would rather camp out on thanksgiving than spend time with family..

  10. Hahahaha, bravo. I’ve never seen one of these lines in person, let alone be a part of one, but I think my sentiment is pretty much the same as yours.

  11. I admire the marketing people who manage to manipulate consumers into behaving like well trained dogs anxiously waiting for a bone. Here in Guatemala, rich people actually go to Miami to buy an Iphone 5 before the launch date so they can hack it and brag.

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