Normally, a group of geeks hanging out in front of the Apple store wouldn’t be much of a story. These geeks, however spent an entire week living on the sidewalk, and are less interested in snagging the newest iToy than they are in promoting their political agenda of “sustainability“. They call themselves Waiting for Apples
, and are affiliated with the somewhat more focused White House Organic Farm Project
Waiting for Apples decided that the launch of the new iPhone
was the perfect occasion to bring their message to the public. The plan was for the group of 10 activists (which quickly dwindled to 5) to show up at the Apple flagship store in New York City on July 4th, a full week before the release date thereby setting the world record for waiting in line. They borrowed a solar generator
from a local company, they brought a worm farm (which apparently freaked out normally unflappable New Yorkers who had to share the subway with it) so they could compost all their food scraps, they drank only NYC tap water, and of course they had lots of organic apples brought in from local farmers.
They invited the public to come by and visit them, as if their location on 5th avenue about a block from Central Park wasn’t going to bring ample foot traffic. On a rainy afternoon 2 days before the release date I decided to see exactly what these characters were up to. Something of a crowd had gathered, asking questions, mostly along the lines of “why?”. I snapped a few pictures and waited until they had answered all the tourists before introducing myself. Maybe it was the rain that dampened their spirits, or maybe after 5 days of explaining themselves to gawkers (they did sort of look like the “hippie” exhibit at some twisted zoo) they were just tired of reciting their spiel. Whatever reason they didn’t have much interest in talking to me. I left with no more understanding of what they hoped to accomplish or how they intended to do it than I had when I started. Maybe that’s because they didn't really know either.
On Friday, the iPhone finally became available for sale. A few news outlets came out to watch the Waiting for Apples crew (and the few hundred other people in line) end their long strange trip. Only when the time came, they didn’t even get their phones. Instead, they dumped a bucket of apples
into the crowd and were taken away by security. It seemed fitting to cap one poorly conceived publicity stunt with another. There were reports that they were later escorted into the store by police, but no one confirmed that they came out with iPhones. Regardless, they certainly didn't come out with much credibility.
We can all agree that responsible farming is important, particularly in light of recent events such as the tomato scare
. Perhaps it is time for our leaders to step up and be examples. But one has to ask, does a group of loosely organized hippies promoting a broad agenda such as “sustainability” really help the cause?