Take a deep breath. Can you smell it? That’s the smell of rampant consumerism and the smell will only get stronger as we approach the holidays. It was a holiday for Apple recently when they became the first company on earth to be valued at over $1 trillion. Shortly after that, they had their release day (another holiday-like event in the Apple camp), where they unveiled shiny new products that people around the world and back were tripping over each other to shell out thousands of dollars for.
Topping Apple’s newly minted trillion-dollar valuation is the projected amount of consumer debt by the end of the year: a record-breaking $4 trillion. While people are stacking up trillions in debt, they’re still finding a way get their paws on the new iPhone. How far are they willing to go, you ask? Let’s head to Russia.
Days before the September 28 release of Apple’s iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, people were lining up outside of central Moscow’s Apple store. While only 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates, Apple is leaning back and letting people line up for days on end. The weather had been miserable in Moscow, too, complete with cold winds and whipping rain. Nonetheless, these Apple enthusiasts were braving the elements to make Apple’s valuation spike even higher. Or were they?
In the elements, awaiting the release, the first eight people in line in Moscow were actually professional queue-standers. That is a thing. The first person in line was attempting to sell the spot for 450,000 roubles, about $7,500. Hoping for real Apple enthusiasts to buy the prime line spaces, spots one through eight all haggled to no avail. They tore up their tickets and left the queue empty-handed. While most companies are out there worrying about effective customer engagement and keeping their reputation held to the highest degree, Apple has people selling their spots in line for a product they know millions of others will want. Talk about market dominance.
The ninth person in line is named Valery. He didn’t leave the line. When the doors opened and they called for ticket numbers, the ninth in line was the first one to enter the store. To great fanfare and spectacle, as Apple does, Valery triumphantly entered the store. But, there was a problem. After milling around the place, it was apparent that he wasn’t going to buy an iPhone. He had actually paid for his spot in line for about $762 in hopes that he’d be able to turn a profit, just like the eight in front of him had hoped. Instead of leaving early, he went into the store anyway but left without a new phone because he didn’t have the money for it. He’s since become a viral sensation in memes around Russia.
The person who actually got the first iPhone in the store was a man named Anatoly. What did he do? He got in line a mere two and a half hours before the store opened on release day. Simple as that.
But, hey, schemers gonna scheme.