It's not a Party till the Cops Show Up

by James Duncan Davidson

As part of the release of Jaguar (Mac OS X 10.2), Apple kept their stores open late until midnight on Friday night. And, like the sucker I am, I went to see the mass of Mac users descend on the local Palo Alto store. It was quite a sight to see, complete with a line that wrapped, literally, around the block. I can't give exact numbers, but I'm guessing that it was about 1000 people long, give or take. And the line didn't seem to shrink at all for hours.

In fact at one point the police showed up to do a little crowd control and keep people from spilling over into University Street. We used to say in college, "It's not a party till the cops show up." I guess by that measure, this event qualified. Also funny were all the people walking by asking "So, what's everyone doing here on a Friday night?" There were even people yelling from cars as they drove by. Silly I tell you.

There was one snafu to the evening. Eleo decided it was time to switch, so she and I stood in line so that we could buy her a brand new 17 inch iMac. After winding our way into the store and through the lines to the cash register, we were found out that there were no 17 inch iMacs in stock. Oops. There were a few moments of confusion, but luckily Megan (the manager) stepped in and made sure that things were as right as they could be considering that they couldn't give us a computer that they didn't have in stock.

Oh, about that whole closing at midnight thing. Turns out that there were so many people that came out that they decided to keep the store open and make sure everyone got a chance to get in. From what the employees said, the Soho store was open till 1:30am. Tyson's Corner till 1. And Palo Alto... well, it was still full of people at 2am when we left.

Nuts I tell you. Nuts.

Were you silly enough to stand in line as well? Tell your story.


2002-08-26 02:21:18
I guess I really am nuts!
I've been to the Apple store in Palo Alto a few times, but I had missed the grand opening, so I figured I was going to drive about an hour to go see what it was like on a special event night. Boy, did I ever find out. I was hoping to get there a little early so I wouldn't have to wait too long, but I didn't get there until 10:45pm.

I was excited to see the crowds of people in front of the store looking in and was a bit confused at first, wondering if I was supposed to just join the mob to get in. Then I looked again and saw a line of people patiently waiting to get in. No problem, it went down the street a ways and I'd just have to take my place at the back. Only problem was I couldn't find the back of the line - it just kind of stretched off into the darkness. I was really curious to know how many people were there, so I started a rough estimate as I walked toward the ever distant end of the line.

As I approached the end of the block, I kind of smiled to myself in astonishment as I realized the line went around the corner. I got to the corner and kept on going and so did the line. It stretched nearly to the end of that block. By the time I got to the end, I came up with a rough figure of close to 1000 people ahead of me and I was worried I wouldn't be able to get in. After an Apple employee walked down the line and assured us they'd stay open until everyone got into the store, I began to worry about whether there were enough copies of Jaguar in the store. Someone who looked like a manager came by and apologized for the wait and assured us that we'd all be able to buy our copies of Jaguar that evening. He also estimated that there were about 3000 people going through the store that night.

I didn't get into the store until about 1:15am, roughly 2-1/2 hours in line. It would have been a drag except for the good company I was in. I met some really nice Mac users and we kept ourselves entertaining throughout the cold, dark, slow trek into the store. It was quite an event and looking back at it, I really must be nuts, but it was fun AND I got my copy of Jaguar, so I'm happy.

However, I didn't get out of the store until 1:45am and after driving the hour to get back home, I decided to go to bed and save the Jaguar installation until morning... er... the afternoon.