Random thoughts from an unusual company

iPad opening day in London - I have people for that

Gabriella Davis  28 May 2010 11:17:30
I had plans.  They involved getting up at 5am and getting to the Regent St Apple Store (Apple's flagship store in the UK and the most profitable store per sq m in the country) by 6.30am to join the queue wanting iPads.  It's true Tim already has one, and my pre-ordered one arrived via UPS delivery yesterday (UPS man clearly knew what he had as he handed over the package smiling and saying "it's playtime!").  So why would I bother?  Well call it daughterly duty - my mother fell in love with the iPad when she saw it and since she's usually gadget averse and was very keen to get one "to take on holiday" it seemed the least I could do.

Sadly I'd forgotten I already had arranged someting for 8am this morning so there was no way I was going to make it to Regent Street, luckily Sam who works with us also wanted an iPad and, in return for the morning off to go to the Apple Store, he and his friend agreed to pick one up for me if they could.  Here's his story from this morning (Mum and I both thank you :-) )


I arrived outside the apple store at about 6am to join a queue of about 200 people, stretching around the corner into Hanover St. Joining a friend who had been there since just before 5am, we started chatting to the other people in the queue, many of whom, like us, didn't really want an iPad but seemed unable to avoid purchasing one anyway. At around 6:30, an hour and a half before opening, London was crawling along as usual with little to show for all our suppressed excitement. "Jack's Apps" had a bright green truck in attendance, proudly proclaiming their stock of the wackiest apps in town, and every fifteen minutes or so the Apple employees would bound out the shop, bright eyed and bushy tailed, handing out free bottles of water and stirring up what excitement we could all muster.

Corporate presence was rife, with Guinness Book of World Records trying to set a new record for the fastest one handed run through the alphabet on the iPad (6.6secs). Starbucks were handing out free coffee, and the lovely people from Pret a Manger across the road entertained themselves by intermittently throwing bananas at us. Around 7am there was a ripple of excitement as Stephen Fry appeared, despite having tweeted fifteen minutes beforehand that he was on a beach in Aruba. Those of us who were able to overcome the shock at having been lied to by twitter watched him amble past the crowds (already tapping his iPad, the smug g*t), closely followed by a horde of media people, who then spent an hour sliding up and down the queue filming those not too drunk or exhausted to give a coherent interview.

Finally a heady cheer came bouncing around the corner of the road, as the 500 assembled apple staff started cheering and clapping the first into the shop. We shuffled happily around the corner and were stopped by one almost unbelievably happy Apple employee, who gave the staff inside a countdown of "3, 2, 1 -YEAH!!", before pushing us into the fray to skip upstairs. It was a heady moment, being clapped at by several hundred strangers who were shouting out names that they thought might fit us. The initial rush was over in seconds though, before we were personally assigned a sales assistant who slapped our credit cards, gave us some boxes, shook our hands and pushed us back past the official tallest couple in the world (who were there for some reason) and back downstairs.

My friend couldn't resist standing for a moment at the top of the stairs, his arms aloft and iPad held proudly high, straddling the exuberant cheers from the cloud of blue-shirts below. I watched a small tear trickle down his cheek. We left, gave some quick interviews and were done, standing on a London pavement carrying the electronic equivalent of huge signs begging strangers to mug us.

Queuing time: 2 hours

Shopping time: 4 minutes

Overall a very good morning.


1Marie Scott  28/05/2010 13:03:59  iPad opening day in London - I have people for that

Yay! It helps to have people! :)