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iN line for the iPhone

As one who doesn’t like to leave the house, I am a big fan of the internet. In truth, I can hardly speak a negative word about it. The web has given us unfettered access to news and information, consumer goods, visions pleasing to the eye, sounds pleasing to the ear, easy communication one step removed. I can’t say I miss a single thing about the “good ol’ days.” Except waiting in line for concert tickets.

I love live music. I’ve been to zillions of concerts. In fact, I am going to a 2-day concert event in Denver this weekend. The headliners are Tom Petty and the Dave Matthews Band (woot! woot!). Over the years I’ve seen the Stones, the Who, the Grateful Dead, Elton John, Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Michael Jackson — the list goes on and on. And, so I don’t date myself too closely, I’ve even seen ‘N Sync and James Blunt.

Raised in an environment of easy internet access, my poor darling children have never had to stand in line for anything. Until last week when the new iPhone was to be released. After I made the big mistake of describing the many reasons I was considering an iPhone purchase, they decided that their future health and happiness was predicated on having 16GB iPhones. With no advice from me, they decided that they had to get to the store very early or risk failure.

They got to the AT&T store at 1 a.m. They were 22nd and 23rd in line. By the time Eric and I arrived shortly before 8, there were 100 people in line. There were camping chairs and coolers, even a gas grill. Decks of cards, pop cans and water bottles, fast food litter. I imagine there were a few dead soldiers (uh, empty beer containers) although I didn’t see any. The atmosphere was convivial. The camaraderie palpable.

They allowed people into the store 6 at a time. As each lucky buyer emerged, a bright orange AT&T bag signaling victory, their fellow consumers clapped and yelled in celebration.

We (read: they) left with our iPhones at 8:30. I later read that they’d sold out in 40 minutes — many campers went home empty-handed. But my two lucky ducks were thrilled with their phones, made all the more precious by the procurement experience.

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