Job of the Day: Professional Line Sitter

This week, the New York Times tells the story of Robert Samuel, a 39-year-old security guard who also earns money as a professional line sitter:

Two weeks ago, he waited in line for 38 hours at the Apple Store in the meatpacking district for the iPhone 6. He has risen at the crack of dawn for “Macbeth” tickets at the Park Avenue Armory, elbowed through sample sales for $750 Christian Louboutin heels, and bought enough Cronuts to feed a small army.

Why did Samuel decide to sell his time so that other people could better use theirs? Like many entreprenurial stories, he decided to become his own boss after losing a job — ironically enough, he was fired for being late one too many times. Now he’s up early, getting his place in line at 4 a.m. so that someone else can sleep.

If you’d like to become a professional line sitter, you can either use Craigslist, as Samuel does, or pick up line sitting jobs on gig economy sites like TaskRabbit. You can also think about the type of world in which we live, a world in which artificial product scarcity inflates customer expectation and creates high-profile “launch events” which provide opportunity for professional line-sitters to earn money in exchange for being a human marker. A world in which a man with a full-time job spends another 38 hours at his second job, except he has to do all 38 of those hours consecutively.

Samuel told the NYT that he charges “$25 for the first hour and $10 for each additional half-hour” (which seems to suggest that he finds his time less valuable as the hours stretch on) and that he accepts Chase QuickPay along with PayPal and Venmo.

Well, now we know who uses Venmo.