Our story starts at 12:30 on a Monday afternoon in Manhattan when NBC got the first spot in line for the Trump arraignment. Then, at 8 the next morning, the police distributed a stack of colored cards for access to the next line. The journalists’ goal was to be one of the 200 people allowed in the courtroom.
In the Miami arraignment, the sequence was similar. Extending through the night, you stood outside. Then, at 8:30 a.m., a select few moved indoors to a jury assembly room where they had to hand in cards or slips of paper with their names. The people that were allowed into the courtroom were just plain lucky, having had their names pulled out of the “hat” at 2 p.m. Otherwise, after all of that time, the “unchosen” had to watch the proceedings on closed circuit TV.
You can see that we are talking about more than 24 hours of waiting in line. However, many of the people that stood there (and slept there) were not the journalists. It was the line sitters that charged at least $50 an hour.
For the Manhattan arraignment, Adonis Porch, an employees of a line sitting firm, had his own food and sleeping set-up. The note on the chair indicates his employer was hired by The New York Post:
A Line Sitting Business
Saying “We wait for your wants,” a N.Y. firm called Same Ole Line Dudes has made line standing a profession. In 2012, its founder accidentally discovered that people would pay him to wait for a new iPhone and the rest of the story is history. We could even say that line sitting jobs mirror history. For Hamilton tickets, buying Cronuts, Sneaker drops, and new iPhones, people are willing to queue. Also though, the sellers like the popularity that their line conveys and feeds its length.
For hiring a Same Old Line Dude, basic prices begin with a two hour $50 minimum and then $25 for each extra hour. In addition, line sitting companies have their equivalent of surge pricing. The price goes up when it is very cold, very hot, raining, or snowing. Bursts of popularity and of danger also elevate rates.
If you peeked at their websites, you would see that there is much more to line sitting than we could imagine.
I’ve copied the first several lines of Same Old Line Dudes pricing policies. (I wonder if they might add air pollution levels.):
Our Bottom Line: Opportunity Cost
Time is what we trade off when we stand in a line. Defined as opportunity cost, the most valuable alternative is what we sacrifice when we stand in a line. For many of us, the opportunity cost of a line is the time we might have “spent” elsewhere. And where that time is too valuable, we use our money to avoid the line.
My sources and more; The New Yorker had the line sitting details for Manhattan and Miami. From there, The Washington Post had more facts as did a past econlife post. But if you want to price a line sitter, do take a look at the Same Ole Line Dudes website.
Please note that several of today’s sections were from a past econlife post.