The Great Apple Store Opening of 2008

Oh hey, did you hear they opened a new Apple store on Ste. Catherine Street downtown on Friday? I don’t think anyone noticed the opening event but me.

I started work at 6:30 on Friday, so I figured I’d stop by and see all the commotion around the new Apple Store on Ste. Catherine Street. It wasn’t the store itself I was interested in, as much as the crowd that gathered to worship it.

So many people showed up that a barricade had to be setup to the corner of Crescent Street and then at least halfway up the block toward de Maisonneuve. Even an hour after the store opened, the line continued around the block.

Apple Store doors open at 5pm

Apple Store doors open at 5pm

At 5pm (just moments after I arrived), the doors opened and people who had been waiting since as early as 7am got ushered in.

A customer is handed swag and cheered as he walks in

A customer is handed swag and cheered as he walks in

As each customer entered, they were handed swag (more on that below), and gleefully cheered at by over a dozen employees in blue and orange t-shirts.

Store employees cheer on customers

Store employees cheer on customers

The group kept this up for thousands of customers over at least an hour, cheering for each of them as if … uhh … what would cause you to cheer enthusiastically for someone you’ve never met?

Well-wishers on the second floor

Well-wishers on the second floor

The second floor, which houses the genius bar among other things, was packed with people looking outside taking photos. Many of them are already on flickr.

Gazette photographer Dave Sidaway takes a shot of the employees

Gazette photographer Dave Sidaway takes a shot of the employees

The media were there in full force, taking pictures and doing interviews. Most came by earlier for a “pre-opening” exclusive to the media, but stuck around for the craziness. Gazette photographer Dave Sidaway put together a photo gallery. Reporter Roberto Rocha has a video.

I managed to capture a few of them on camera. Full points if you can recognize all five:

NNNNNNERRRRRDDSSSS!

NNNNNNERRRRRDDSSSS!

Perhaps the only thing more pathetic than the people waiting in line to go into a store were the people who came up with excuses on how to cut in line. Just about every excuse in the book came out. Some claimed they were just inside, others wanted to meet family members, or just go in for a second, or wanted special privileges because they were tired. Many just said they didn’t notice there was a huge line right behind them that snaked around the block.

"I forgot a shirt"

"I was just inside. I forgot to get a shirt"

This guy, for example, nearly assaulted the security guard to get in after his friend tried excuses of his own. His efforts failed.

Honk honk

Honk honk

This fire truck happened by, and its occupants rubber-necked at the commotion. The driver happily obliged the store employees who urged him to give a celebratory honk.

The loot

This is what thousands of t-shirts in Apple boxes looks like

This is what thousands of t-shirts in Apple boxes looks like

For the opening, the store rounded up 2,500 t-shirts, each in its individual Apple-branded box, to be given to the first 2,500 customers. A side-effect (whether intended or not) was that rumours abounded about what was in the boxes. Were they giving out iPhones? iPods? A rumour that they contained free iPod shuffles made the rounds, thanks to some devious rumour-spreading on my part. It seemed just plausible enough.

The loot

The loot

As my lovely assistant demonstrates, the swag was pretty standard fare. A one-size-fits-most t-shirt, a pamphlet, and some cards.

Apple Store Opening t-shirt

Apple Store Opening t-shirt

The t-shirt is blue, with a graphic of a hockey stick with iPod earphones wrapped around it. Someone apparently told Apple’s marketing department that we like hockey here.

Apple Store t-shirt: Back detail of date

Apple Store t-shirt: Back detail of date

On the back, near the collar, is some text reminding people of the event in question, so you can one day tell your grandkids about it.

This is the box the t-shirt came in

This is the box the t-shirt came in

The box the t-shirt came in (was a box really necessary here?) was folded in a funky way, which also made it cool because it was Apple.

Bright at night

Apple Store at night

Apple Store at night

I went by after my shift ended late at night, and noticed that the store was extremely bright. Not only did that waste a lot of electricity, but it had a side-effect of attracting bugs:

A bug on the Apple Store window at night

A bug on the Apple Store window at night

The bugs attached themselves to the outer window, apparently confusing the bright lights inside with the light of the sun and/or moon.

The empty Apple Store at night

The empty Apple Store at night

It also presented my first opportunity to get a clear view inside. Computers and iPods on display, unsurprisingly.

Upcoming events at the Apple Store

Upcoming events at the Apple Store

The store is ccelebrating by having über-cool artists come and play there. Anik Jean and David Usher are among those scheduled this week.

23 thoughts on “The Great Apple Store Opening of 2008

  1. Pingback: Mac Store Opens In Montreal and I Have an Epiphany « Darkly Dreaming David

  2. Christelle

    Yea, they said the store would be like the NYC one or so? I imagined it much bigger! :P Nice reportage, crazyness and buzz… Could people actually buy stuff in that crazyness opening day? Or was it just for the show?

    Reply
  3. Josh

    Perhaps the only thing more pathetic than the people waiting in line to go into a store were the people who came up with excuses on how to cut in line.

    What about the people hanging around so they could write about it for their blogs?

    Reply
  4. Hey Losers

    There’s a second floor with a large wall full of software, peripheral gadgets, and..and..and.. probably lots of other stuff that I couldn’t see because it was crowded!
    Don’t get me started on those assistant pics.

    Reply
  5. Eric

    “so you can one day tell your grandkids about it.” That’s a scary thought, these people reproducing. Their product lineup is hardly worth having a store never mind wasting a day of your life to see it.

    Now, lets see if you have any fanboys that visit the site…

    Reply
  6. Fagstein Post author

    What about the people hanging around so they could write about it for their blogs?

    They’re even more pathetic.

    Hey, wait a second…

    Reply
  7. Shawn

    The staff at the iBoutique in Westmount are nice and helpful. I’m just as likely to keep going there.

    Reply
  8. Karine

    I couldn’t understand what the commotion was about when I walked by on Friday. In fact, I don’t understand the Apple worship period.

    Reply
  9. Observer

    Great post on the Apple opening day! I was there myself and I got the free T-shirt. Before opening the box, I thought that it’s a free iPhone! hehehe

    Reply
  10. Saraline

    Isn’t there already an Apple store on Parc? And aren’t all of the Apple products already available at several stores in Montreal?

    Reply
  11. Fagstein Post author

    The place on Parc is Micro-Boutique, with is an authorized reseller but isn’t a Mac store. The closest thing to an Apple store is in Carrefour Laval, but that’s not a “flagship” store (“flagship” apparently being defined as having a second level).

    And yes, you can get everything there at Future Shop or any other electronics place, but Apple is all about branding, not common sense.

    Reply
  12. Pingback: Retour sur l’ouverture de l’Apple Store de Montréal | La grenouille givrée

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