Call it the sidewalk economy of the iPhone. Or more appropriate for Chicago: iPhone dibs.
Apple fans across the country have proven they're willing to stand in line for days to be among the first to hold the latest iPhone iterations. Armed with blankets, chairs and a team of rotating seat-savers, Chicagoans have waited for snow, rain and this week's unseasonable chill to get their fix.
Chicagoan Julian Diggs showed up outside the Apple store on Michigan Avenue at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, days before the Friday release of the iPhone5. Diggs made the same trek last year for the iPhone 4S and was first in line then too.
Diggs considers his place in line more than a chance to be first at the register, though. His seat is potentially for sale.
"I already got an offer for $500 ... but I declined," he said. "I told him to call me back if you have $1,000, so we'll see. As the line gets longer, I'm sure I'll get some better offers."
Diggs isn't actively seeking buyers -- they come to him and the 11 or so other waiting it out. By Thursday morning, several passersby approached the group to make an offer.
"Obviously if the right offer comes along, I would definitely take it," said Gregory Thornton, a friend of Diggs.' But he said he really wants the phone.
Louis Vanarsdale, a senior at Columbia College, has the same plan in mind.
"I already preordered [the phone]," Vanarsdale said. "I'm selling my seat. I figure I sell my seat, it pays for my phone and I can go get the iPad 3."
His starting offer is $1,000, and if he doesn't get it, he'll drop the price from there.
"I used to do this for the Jordans [shoes], so people always show up hours before and they get impatient and start offering a lot of money. ... Either way I came for the experience. "
They still want the phone, though. And if push comes to shove and the offer isn't big enough, they'll still make the purchase.
"It looks like I'll probably just get the phone," Diggs said.