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Indianapolis customers line up for Verizon iPhone

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Customers waiting outside the Verizon Wireless store in Castleton early Thursday wanted two things: iPhones and warmth.

The 10 people lined up 45 minutes before the earlier-than-normal 7 a.m. opening were tightly bundled. One woman waited in the warmth of her car while her son stood in line for her. The below-zero temperatures bit at the skin of those huddled outside.

So Mary Riley, a 13-year Verizon employee, brought out some hand warmers.

“Let’s keep you warm,” she said.

Inside waited Starbucks coffee and, of course, the iPhone 4. Verizon started selling the much-heralded smart phone in their stores Thursday after Apple’s exclusive deal with AT&T ended.

Indianapolis customer Meka Anderson, sheltered in a thick, orange jacket with a fur-lined hood, didn’t want to wait any longer than she’d already had to.

“I had Verizon before, and I’ve never, ever lost a call, so I didn’t want to pay the fee to switch over to AT&T,” said Anderson, 29.  “I thought it was going to be long lines, and I didn’t want it to be sold out and then wait weeks to get one.”

Ted Wendling, Verizon’s district manager of retail sales for northeast Indianapolis, said the frigid temperatures might have kept some people from lining up early. However, he doesn’t expect that to affect sales for the day.

“We know that there’s been a lot of pent-up demand for it, and we know that it’s going to be a popular choice amongst a lot of our customers,” said Wendling, an employee at Verizon for nearly 20 years. “They have been loyal to Verizon Wireless because they trust in the network reliability that we do offer. Now, we just have another device to add to our portfolio.”

Verizon began online iPhone sales for existing customers Feb. 3 and had to stop taking orders temporarily after selling out a limited supply. The company did not say how many devices had been ordered, but said it sold more phones in two hours than it had in the full day of any previous phone launch.

AT&T activated 15.2 million iPhones last year. Analyst estimates for Verizon iPhone sales this year vary widely, from 5 million to 13 million. Observers expect the sales to Verizon subscribers will be strong, but the big question is how many iPhone buyers will be jumping ship from other carriers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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  • Haha
    Standing out in below zero temps for an IPhone...i've got two words for those people...STUPID

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  1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.

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