(PASADENA, Calif.) — As long lines formed outside Apple stores across the country Friday, tempers flared at one in Pasadena, Calif., where homeless people from Skid Row said they were bused in and paid to save spots on line.
“They came by and they said they needed people to sit in line for the opening of the new i[Phone]5, and would we be willing to do it, and I just heard it and I came down and said, ‘Sure, why not?’” Mickey from downtown Los Angeles told KABC.
“I’m here, got nothing else to do. It’s my husband’s birthday so it’s money,” she said.
Heather told KABC that she and roughly 80 to 100 others from Skid Row came to the Apple store. It wasn’t immediately clear who coordinated the efforts to bus the people in.
One homeless man interviewed by Rich DeMuro of KTLA Morning News said he was promised $20 per phone but was miffed as he hadn’t been paid. Apple is allowing customers to buy only two phones per person on launch day.
Other people in line complained about the situation. Dariel Johnson, who said she had been waiting in line overnight said, “It’s a lot of drama, almost fighting. So, it’s an unpleasant experience.”
Minor scuffles broke out at the store overnight and two men were arrested, said Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson. George Westbrook, 23, of Compton, and Lamar Mitchell, 43, of Pasadena, were arrested for fighting in line outside of the store, Clawson said.
About 200 people were waiting outside the store through the night, Clawson said, noting that officers had been dispatched to patrol the crowd.
The Skid Row recruits weren’t the only ones who were hoping for a pay day for waiting in line. Joseph Cruz, 20, and Brain Ceballo, 19, were paid $800 to wear shirts from a company called SYM.com (Sell Your Mac), after being first in line outside Apple’s iconic Cube store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
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