So Bill Gates just called up to tell me about his next FUD campaign. He says his favorite line out of all the coverage was in this story from the Saturday New York Times where some moron named Norbert who’d waited on line outside the Fifth Avenue shrine since Wednesday was struck by this huge revelation: “I guess I didn’t need to get in line because they have thousands of them in there.” Ahem. Yeah. We didn’t want to ruin it for the campers but there really wasn’t any need to line up like that. All you had to do was wait until Friday night, walk into the store, and get one. Oops. Sorry.
So Gates says Microsoft’s black ops PR folk are going to start working this story — that the kind of people who use iPhone are people who would wait in line for days to get a mass-market product that isn’t in short supply. And the kind of people who don’t even know what the iPhone is but they fall for every fad that comes along. Lemmings, in other words. But not just ordinary lemmings. Pretentious lemmings who think they’re cooler than everyone else. People who are so stupid that even after it becomes obvious that they needn’t have waited all that time they don’t feel sheepish about it. In fact they’re all proud of themselves.
“We’re going to create a character called Norbert who thinks he’s cool and who camps out in front of stores even though he doesn’t need to,” Gates says. “Like he’ll go to the mall and camp outside Abercrombie and Fitch, while other customers walk in and walk out. Or he’ll go camp outside a Toyota dealer for a week. Norbert and his loser friend will sit on folding chairs out front, thinking they’re really cool and using iPhones to order pizza deliveries and using the Web to configure options for the car they want to buy. Only it takes two minutes for the browser to pull up a Web page, and their calls keep getting dropped. Meanwhile the sales guy keeps coming out and telling them if they want to buy a car they can just come in and get one, and they say no, they’re going to wait for a few more days. When they do buy their car, the salesman will say the price is $21,595, but Norbert will insist on paying $30,000. Then Norbert will say, `So this is a one-of-a-kind car, right? Nobody else in the whole world has this exact configuration right?’ The sales guy will explain that in fact Toyota sells thousands of cars exactly like this every week. ‘Cooool,’ says clueless Norbert, knowingly nodding to his pal. ‘Yeah, totally,’ says his loser friend. ‘Dude, it was so worth the wait.’ Then we’ll put up a slogan: Apple — for people who wait in line even when they don’t need to. Or, Apple — for people who pay more because it makes them feel special.”
Bill’s like, “Hilarious, right? And we’re going to hire Justin Long to play Norbert.”
Okay, Gates. I get it. You’re jealous. You’d give your left nut to have customers show one-tenth the enthusiasm for your products that they show for mine. Anyway, your idea isn’t even funny. But knock yourself out.