Priorities: Hundreds of People Stand In Line For the New iPad Mini

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There have been lines for a lot of things in New York lately. Lines for people to have a turn charging their cell phones, so that they can get in touch with loved ones. Lines for people waiting for food and water. Lines that stretch for miles as cars wait to get gas. Lines for shuttle buses to take people to their jobs or back to their homes.

But today, in the greatest tradition of NYC consumerist glee, there was a line of more than 800 people waiting to get the new iPad mini. As the New York Magazine headline so perfectly read, “siri-ously?

Yup! Seriously. I guess New yorkers just have no better way to spend their time than by purchasing a slightly smaller version of their iPad. Or maybe it’s a slightly larger iPod Touch? Either way. It’s something to buy that will then immediately broadcast the kind of person you are to the world. And, right now, what the world really, really cares about is whether or not you own an iPad Mini.

The Wall Street Journal talked to one man who was standing on line, 43-year-old Eytan Friedman, who explained why he was there. “I’m down by Union Square, and there’s no electricity. [Without heat,] it’s just very hard to sleep, so I figured I’d get up early and get my new iPad rather than lie in bed and stare at the ceiling.”

Yeah, much better to catch up on your Netflix than just stare at the ceiling. It’s really a shame that there is no better use of Mr. Friedman’s time right now. I mean, perhaps he could be volunteering to help at one of the many, many places that need volunteers right now, but Netflix is important too!

I guess this is one of those signs, like the fact that the NYC Marathon will still be taking place, that we are “returning to normalcy.” But, maybe when “normalcy” involves queueing up in the freezing, pre-dawn hours to get a gadget that is only slightly different than its previous iterations, we might want to think long and hard about our idea of what’s normal.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen