Casey Neistat has produced the video (below), “iPhone 6 Lines and the Chinese Mafia,” which details an iPhone line outside Apple Store SoHo in New York City.
Neistat’s YouTube description states the situation rather concisely, “This entire experience was disheartening.”
Apple faces a public relations problem here. In person and via email, we’ve heard from many, many people who lined up hours early at their local Apple Retail Stores for iPhones on launch day only to find the place besieged by busloads of Chinese-speaking people who seemed motivated by something other than excitement to own Apple’s latest iPhones. Many of these were suburban Apple Retail Stores in the U.S., located far away from large cities. Very frequently these line-sitters had no English fluency whatsoever, so Apple Store employees and security personnel had a difficult/impossible time trying to manage the lines, maintain safety, assign digital numbers in the queue, etc. These were very obviously not tourists. They clearly did not live in the area. They were quite plainly bussed in to acquire the allotted two iPhones person that Apple allowed on launch day. Witnesses saw them arriving and leaving in crowded buses.
The actual Apple fans dispersed throughout the queue seemed dismayed, to say the least. Some were irate. Many discussed how they likely would not get the iPhone they wanted, that it would likely be winging its way back to China from whence it was assembled to fetch 3x times its retail price later that morning. Many complained that body odor was an issue. The place smelled bad and they wanted to leave. More than a few gave up and left the line and the Apple Store.
People used to line up at Apple Stores and they purposely didn’t preorder their iPhones. They didn’t have their iPhone shipped to their homes for a reason. They went to the Apple Store for the sense of community, for the camaraderie, for the party. At many Apple Retail Stores yesterday, this didn’t happen. If this continues, Apple is in danger of losing something special.
Here’s Apple’s problem in a nutshell: Loyal Apple customers at their local Apple Store had a BAD experience, were certainly NOT DELIGHTED, and left their local Apple Retail Store feeling DISHEARTENED and DISAPPOINTED.
This cannot be good for Apple.
What Apple can do about this is debatable, but something needs to be done. In the U.S., at least, you can’t discriminate. You can’t bar people who live 200 miles away from being bussed in to buy up all of the iPhones in order to smuggle them back into China. Therefore, having a simultaneous launch in China would likely go a long way towards mitigating this black market activity at Apple Stores and making what should be a fun experience into an AWFUL one. This seemed to help the situation last year with the release of the iPhone 5s and 5c which also launched in China on the same day. Or perhaps Apple should require that all launch day iPhone buyers have to sign a two-year contract or, at least, use Apple Pay or a credit card? Perhaps the lottery system that Apple employs in China to discourage scalpers needs to be placed in effect worldwide?
Does anybody have any other ideas?
Direct link to video here.
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