Waiting in Line for an iPhone: What Makes Some People Behave Like Cows

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There may be a psychological reason behind the willingness of many Apple lovers to wait in long lines to get their hands on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Most people claim to hate waiting in line, but that didn’t stop many Americans from waiting in line for hours, or sometimes even days, to purchase the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus on Friday.

Apple started taking pre-orders for the new iPhones on Sept. 12, selling 4 million phones in the first day, USA Today said. But with a backlog of pre-orders, some customers won’t actually receive their phone until October or November. So the most eager iPhone lovers opted to stand in long lines at Apple and wireless stores across the country and around the world in an effort to get their hands on the newest iPhone.

But waiting in line may be about more than snatching up the latest tech gadget. According to MarketWatch, “The shared experience of waiting is part of what’s driving consumer satisfaction.” If you’re shaking your head in confusion, you’re not alone. I don’t understand this myself.

Adam Hanft of Hanft Projects, a New York consulting firm, explained the concept to MarketWatch.

Hanft and other retail experts say that by standing in a crowd, be it for a smartphone or a Black Friday sale, shoppers see themselves as making the right buying decision — a concept known as “social proof.” And that holds true even in the face of considerable logic to the contrary; a name-brand television, for example, is actually more expensive on Black Friday than on several other holiday season shopping days, according to a Wall Street Journal study.

According to Business Insider, some consumers want to be a part of a hot trend. “Oftentimes there are trendy things, and people want to be seen in trendy lines,” said Richard Larson, director of the Center for Engineering Systems Fundamentals at MIT.

Business Insider said:

When you wait in line for something exciting, your identity becomes associated with the in crowd. For example, if you wait for hours to get the latest version of the iPhone, you signal that you are in the tech-savvy circle and therefore enjoy the experience of standing in line.

I despise waiting in line. And frankly, I can’t think of anything I’d ever be willing to spend hours of my time waiting in line for. I don’t need to see a movie, own a gadget, or attend a concert if it requires me to wait in line for hours.

Would you (or did you) wait in line to purchase the new iPhone? What have you waited in line for? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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