|Photo: Paul Merrill|
It was like Christmas in July. The Colorado store is Ikea's 38th outlet in the U.S.; to celebrate, the company pledged to give each of the first 38 customers in line on Wednesday a free sofa. The next 100, a free armchair. Earliest birds on Thursday got a queen-sized mattress. Other eager beavers got gift cards, food vouchers, and the opportunity to be first to ooh and aah over the impressive displays of fine European design.
By Monday afternoon, more than 100 people were camping out in order to save their places in line.
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That night the roommate discussed the phenomenon of consumer camp-outs with friends in her book club. "How much would they have to PAY you to camp out for 48 hours like that?!" While some of them - like Deb - had done things like that in their youth, nowadays the discomfort and inconvenience of it leaves the adventure in the shade. "A quarter of a million dollars" was the figure they settled on.
Really? I was amazed. Nobody paid the people who camped out at Ikea, did they? Certainly not thousands of dollars. People who camp out for concert tickets, film debuts, and holiday sales are there for the privilege of SPENDING money - though maybe less than they would if they didn't camp out. They aren't being paid.
Readers, would you have to be paid? How much? Would a thousand dollars do it? Less? More? What retail opportunity or incentive would it take for you to spread out your sleeping bag on the sidewalk for a day or two?
P.S.: While this Ikea may be crowded for the next couple of weeks and weekends, the store is prepared. Lines to get in had died down by 11 am on opening day.