Buy one, get one free, $25 off $100 purchase, and 50 percent off are just a few of the spectacular offers boasted by retailers hoping to bring in consumers during the wee hours of the morning for the annual holiday shopping extravaganza that is Black Friday.
This year, some shoppers were able to take advantage of the amazing discounts stores were offering without having to set their alarms early enough to get a good spot in line before the doors opened. As exposed by MONEY, many people instead chose to hire professionals to hold their place in line for them, quickly tapping in as the pro sitters reached the front.
Several companies have emerged over the last decade that have dispatched professional sitters for a number of queue-inducing events, such as the release of the latest iPhone, event tickets or hot restaurant reservations. The holiday season, however, is their busiest time of year.
"People don't have a lot of time," said Jennifer Goff, founder and CEO of one of Skip the Line, a company that provides line sitters for those not interested in taking on the task themselves. "This is a service that really helps them be able to do what they want to do."One of the most notorious line sitting businesses is New York City's Same Ole Line Dudes, which was founded by Robert Samuel in 2012 after he "accidentally" made a quick $325 when he advertised his services on Craigslist to people hoping to score the newest iPhone at the time. Six years later, Same Ole Line Dudes turned into a full fledged business, and charges a minimum $45 for two hours. Goff's company, Skip the Line, was founded in Washington, D.C., in 2017 to relieve people of their seemingly endless wait for entry into the Game of Thrones pop-up bar. He charges an hourly price of $30-$35. Both companies also have also have price gouging variables, such as bad weather, event popularity, or delivery options.
And now that the busy season has rolled around, line-sitters have an opportunity for an even bigger profit. Same Ole Line Dudes, MONEY reported, charged 1.5 times their price for yesterday's Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade because it was a holiday.Those looking to get in on arguably one of the easiest gigs around need to have only two qualifications: a lot of free time and patience. And though a number of shoppers have opted to wait until Cyber Monday rolls around to do their shopping, many still enjoy the thrill of scoring the deals in person, which to them is well worth the $100 fee they pay to have their spots saved for the annual Black Friday event.
"We all know we can shop online, but there are a lot of stores that only offer in-store deals," InLine4U app's founder Darren Hromadka said. "TV sets, iPhones, tablets -- the bigger items that people have to come into the brick-and-mortars to get -- that's where you're going to see the service most on Black Friday."