Some customers that lined up outside Apple Stores in New York City for the in-store release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were not what you would expect. According to a short documentary, those who lined up were not just die hard Apple fans, but people who purchased the phones to sell to other buyers.
A short film by Casey Neistat shows that those waiting in line for the Apple Store to open looked indifferent before getting their hands on the gadget.
The short documentary film shows the experience of being on the iPhone 6 lines from multiple locations in New York City starting on Thursday, Sept 18 and for about 24 hours after.
"Gone was the spirit and excitement from years past," the film says. "These lines are about something else entirely."
The first person in line outside the SoHo Apple store is an older woman of Asian decent that seemed to not speak any English. The film shows many older people who spoke little English waiting in line.
A Mandarin translator was used to ask the people how long they had been in line, one annoyed man answered two days. The translator reported that all the Mandarin speaking people said they were buying for themselves or for loved ones.
People slept on sidewalks or on cardboard boxes in jackets and blankets. Surrounded by trash, some even slept in garbage bags. Patrolling police told those in lines that they needed to sit up if they wanted to wait in line and could not sleep on the sidewalks. "You people ever heard of soap?" one officer rudely asked.
At lease one person was arrested, but for reasons unknown. A woman is seen yelling and crying, as the cop struggles to handcuff her.
The film shows that certain people waited in the long lines just to sell the iPhone 6 for profit. Many customers purchased two iPhones in cash before handing them off to other buyers.
All transactions shown were done with cash, some people walking off to join others who also purchased two iPhones. "We never learned what happened to the iPhones that were purchased and quickly handed off but there were a few consistencies," the film says. The phones were always handed off to others, were inspected by the second person, some offer transpired and then the exchange was made.
The film suggests that it is the "Chinese mafia" that is behind the scheme, although there is no evidence to prove the allegation. Something does look strange, making it possible that some people in the line were there to buy iPhones for secondary markets. But altogether, the film is a bit heavy-handed. It seems a bit of jump to notice a group of non-English speaking customers and make the connection to organized crime. What the film does accurately show is the darker, gritter side to what is supposed to be harmless, happy brand loyalty.