Each time a new iPhone is set to hit the shelves, I get my pre-order in nice and early. Waiting in line is for chumps, right?
Then Launch Day Eve rolls around, and I end up carting myself off to the Valley Fair Apple Store and camping out for 14+ hours anyway. Not for the product, mind you — it’s more so to surround myself with eccentric people and see what the hardcore early adopter/Apple fanbase looks like. You know, for science or something. Friends and family call me crazy. (“You’re going to sleep in a mall?!” they’ll say. “For a whole night?!” as if Valley Fair transforms from a posh shopping mall to an in-door version of the streets of Compton as soon as the sun goes down. )
I’ve got nothing on this guy, though. He’ll be camping out for the iPhone 5 (which, of course, hasn’t actually been announced yet) for over a month, and has turned his would-be time-wasting into an entrepreneurial experiment of sorts.
Meet Rob Shoesmith, a marketer (of course!) from the UK. Realizing that an abundance of public power outlets and WiFi hotspots would allow him to do his job from just about anywhere, he decided to do what any sane person would do: live in a tent outside of an Apple Store in London’s Covent Garden district. For over a month.
His quest isn’t just for the iPhone 5, though — in fact, Apple’s latest handset seems to be more of a secondary objective at this point. Taking advantage of all of the attention that comes with being that-guy, he chose to leave all of his cash at home and rely instead on gifts and sponsorships.. and it’s working. The amount he’s received varies depending on who you’re talking to (largely because some details are getting lost in the back-and-forth currency translations, and because some of the “sponsorships” [like access to a car] are loans rather than permanent presents), but it’s easily in the range of tens of thousands of dollars.
So far, he’s received everything from Solar-powered iPhone chargers and web cams to shampoo, aftershave, massive boxes of candy, and uh.. a box full of garden gnomes. His next goal? A security guard to watch his stuff while he sleeps.
Imagine the laugh we’ll all get if Apple doesn’t launch the iPhone 5 in September! Then imagine him laughing as he trucks his mountain of sponsorship gear back to his flat, and how he can forever pitch himself as the guy who got an insane amount of press coverage for sitting on the street. iPhone or no iPhone, this guy wins.
You can find Robert’s blog (where he seems to be blogging less about his adventures in living on the street and more about the free stuff he’s getting) here and follow him on Twitter here.
Update: Updated for clarity — while Robert plans on being out there for weeks on end, he’s not out campin’ on the sidewalk just yet. Which, to be honest, makes all the swag he’s received thus far that much crazier.