Although IKEA didn't even allow people to start lining up outside its doors for Wednesday's grand opening until 9 o'clock this morning, it's been more than 30 hours since the line effectively started forming in the parking lot across the street. The Swedish home-ware retailer, of course, is offering a sofa to the first 38 people in line and a chair to the next 100, and by mid-morning, a good two thirds of that was spoken for. Even now, they sit, braving the heat and only short bathroom breaks; there are line-monitors checking to make sure you don't just stake out a spot and take off -- and, just by the way, bathrooms are not provided.
Most, it seems, didn't really know what they were getting into when they showed up to check out the scene -- that includes Sally Overs, the first person in line, who arrived yesterday at 8 a.m. "I didn't set out to be number 1," she claims. "I just kind of drove by to check things out."
As it turns out, there was one person already there: Cory Archuleta, a KBPI intern who was sent out by his pitiless bosses even earlier that morning to assure that he would make the first purchase; since he's a member of the media, however, he doesn't technically count as number 1, and he's ineligible for the free stuff. "I got here, and Cory was like, hey, if you stay right now, you could be the first in line," recalls Overs, who hails from all the way up in Boulder. So impulsively, she decided to go ahead and just do it ("my husband is going to bring me some stuff," she says). By 9 a.m., it was a full-on party. Some 24 hours later, with the problem of how to get the group that had gathered across the street over to the actual line in an orderly fashion looming, Archuleta devised and implemented an numbering system so that it would go fairly. Now assuredly staked out, all they have to do is weather the heat and the discomfort (and possibly, tonight, the rain) for the long haul. But they'll have a lot of company. Further along -- around the corner and mercifully out of the sun -- Taylor Kaiser and Matt Bufe, numbers 72 and 73, respectively, were bringing up the current rear; both said they'd gotten there around 9:30 this morning, which'll no doubt make for a more reasonable wait (although, that far back, they're contending for only a chair).
"I was just going to scope it out, maybe set up a tent and just come back later," says Taylor, "but they're not letting you do that, so I decided to stay." She doesn't have to work until Friday, but she notes that she's also dog-sitting, so that'll be a problem to work out. For Matt's part, he's unemployed, so in the absence of much else to do, he's pulling to get the chair for a birthday present to his mom.
But with some three hours down and another roughly 45 to go, is it worth it? Taylor's not quite committal: "I keep asking myself that," she quips.
Stay tuned tomorrow, when we'll send Cory Lamz to stake out our own spot and give us a play-by-play!
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