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How to make thousands of dollars just by standing in line for the iPhone 6

Published Sep 4th, 2014 11:50AM EDT
Apple iPhone 6 Lines

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Earlier this week, we all had a good laugh at the seemingly sheepish iPhone fans who were standing in line outside the Apple Store on 5th Avenue in New York to wait for the iPhone 6 days before it’s even set to be announced. It turns out, however, that those alleged “iSheep” are a lot smarter than we thought and will themselves be laughing all the way to the bank.

FROM EARLIER: Apple fans are already lining up to buy a phone that hasn’t even been announced yet

Quartz did some good detective work on the four people who were caught on camera this week camping outside the New York Apple Store and learned that they were actually being paid to stand there as part of a guerilla marketing tactic to gin up publicity for their companies.

“Joseph Cruz and Brian Ceballo arrived in front of Apple’s glass cube on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan on Sunday, August 31st,” Quartz reports. “They brought tarps, chairs, sleeping bags, and lots of T-shirts for BuyBackWorld, an online electronics retailer. BuyBackWorld is picking up their food bill for the three-week urban campout. The company is also paying for the iPhone 6 of their choice, assuming that’s what Apple unveils at its event next week and begins selling, as expected, on Friday, Sept. 19th.”

In addition to getting free food and a free iPhone 6, Cruz and Ceballo also figured out how to score an additional $2,500 from a company called Video Medicine, which Quartz reports sent two people of their own to wait outside the store. Video Medicine apparently thought it had sent its two people up early enough to be first in line for the iPhone 6, but lo and behold, Cruz and Ceballo were already camping out by the time they arrived. The company decided it was worth it to pay the two $2,500 just so its own people could jump ahead of them in line by one spot.

So all told, it looks like the iPhone fans who are queueing up already for the iPhone 6 are getting paid for their efforts. However, this doesn’t change the fact that we’ve seen some pretty ridiculous behavior from iPhone fans in the past — witness, for instance, the insane dedication of Japanese Apple fans who suffered through a typhoon last year while waiting outside for the iPhone 5s.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.