CHARLOTTE, N.C.—There was a tiny note at the bottom of IKEA’s advertisement in the Sunday paper that said, “Line up begins no earlier than February 16, 2009.” Who would have thought anyone would line up two days in advance of the store’s February 18 opening?
“I’m just here for the fun of it. I’m just here to have some fun…say ‘I did it.’ I like IKEA, been to a few stores, and I just said, ‘You know what? Why not?” Mark Whitten said.
He took two days off work from his job at the post office and arrived at 6 a.m. Monday. “Kind of early…just a wee bit,” he joked.
With him, Whitten had a tent, an air mattress, several layers of blankets, an iPod with speakers, a laptop and an internet connection.
One tent down, Yatzzili Arrayo had similar reinforcements. Rafael Smith, third in line, said his friends were bringing a Wii and a television. Fourth in line, Ruben Ortega didn’t have a tent.
“I guess I got caught up in the fanfare a little bit. I told my wife I was going to drive there and see if there is anybody there,” he said. “I got here right when they were running and putting their tents up. I thought…. guess I’ve gotta sit, and once I sat down it was like ah, well, can’t leave now.”
“It’s humbling and flattering that no matter where we go we have customers who are excited to open the stores,” IKEA’s Joseph Roth said. “We could have several hundred or several thousand people in line.”
The store is the first IKEA in the Carolinas. It opens Wednesday at 9 a.m.
IKEA’s ad says the first 100 kids in line will get a free toy. The first 100 adults will get an armchair valued at $199. The first 2,500 adults will receive a mystery gift and 10 people will win $1,000 gift cards.
[By Beth Shayne, Via WCNC.com]
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