Tuesday, May 21st, 2024



Yes, I was one of those people who stood in a queue for an iPhone. The plan was:

  • Leave house at 7:15, arriving Cambridge City at 7:30. Go to Grafton Centre Store. The Grafton Centre is a total dive in Cambridge, but the O2 store isn’t as busy, plus the staff historically there are excellent (I think the manager has been there for a while)
  • Grab coffee and Croissant at Starbucks
  • Get in queue for ~7:35

In practice, I wasn’t expecting the house to be so warm that I had to set up the aircon, and then have to iron clothes as I realised I had a customer meeting.

So, I arrived outside the O2 store at ~7:57. Not too bad. Few people in queue outside store, but nothing bad.

8:00 came and the manager came out, indicated we’d all get a ‘phone, there were 3 people processing contracts. I asked average time, told 10-15 mins. About 10 mins later the first people left the store, I felt confident. Actually, nobody in the queue outside the store irritated me (unusual for Cambridge), although in typical Cambridge style nobody actually talked to each other ! Contrast this to the great conversation I once had outside the Apple Store in London with a Korean Student.

As I stood, more and more people came onto the queue, but the front wasn’t moving quite as fast. By 9AM I was getting a little irritated. There was an office-girl couple of people behind me. She clearly hadn’t expected to be queuing for more than 1hr and needed to get to work. By about 9:25, realised I wasn’t going to make my 10AM meeting, so texted colleague to say I would be late. Stupid me doesn’t make up some nonsense excuse, but gives honest reason (comes back to bite me throughout the day by random bumping into people across the business who all knew that I queued for an iPhone).

About 9:35 got into the store. Few minutes later, office-girl gets into store- she’s really late now. She then asks if anyone would let her going in front. I’m feeling generous, besides she’s stood for 1.5hrs so it’s a shame if she has to go- also she isn’t going to mess around and so I’d be delayed by a few mins. I say yes. At this point Mr Cambridge Asshole (not British) who’s immediately behind me decides he’s going to be ¬†difficult. He then indicates to me that I should let him go in front. I explain that this isn’t British queuing style (I make the choice of giving up my place, nobody else). Not to self- the nonsense book people have to read for British residency should have a chapter on queuing. He just tuts and I decide I’m going to counter him in being a total asshole and stand my ground.

I then go to be served and he tuts again and makes some comment. Overall no surprise- the Cambridge experience once again. If that was in a civilised place such as London or any proper city people would have been jovial and happy- not Cambridge. Apparently there was around 100 people outside the Apple Store and random rushes to try and beat people- typical middle classes.

Now if you think that standing outside a store is something that is limited to gadget lovers, think not. I took this picture last Saturday in Oxford Street London:

Yep, people queuing outside a clothes shop !

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