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Sleep on the Pavement, Piss in a Bottle

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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.

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