Are early-adopters of computer hardware a bit, well, odd?

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There are plenty of things I don’t understand about human behaviour.

A fanaticism over religion or being a grown man and crying when your title-chasing Premier League football team lose against Swansea City being just two of a reasonably long list.

But what remains a constant source of amazement to me is the desire for people to queue up at midnight to buy electrical goods.

Now, I’m not slating the process of queuing. Or indeed a commitment to buy something.

After all, to nab tickets to any major event these days, even with the blessing of the internet, it requires a certain element of commitment.

Plus, I’m old enough to remember having to write off whole mornings and re-dialling box offices until my fingers ached, in a bid to secure a seat at a major venue to watch an overpaid pop star earn even more money by strumming out a few well known hits and getting the audience to sing half the words.

But that can all be done from the comfort of your living room or by avoiding the gaze of senior management in the office.

What’s more, there has traditionally always been more of an emotional bond between an artist and their admirer.

Yet heading off into the cold night to buy, say, the latest incarnation of Apple’s iPad, or a shiny new games console – or even more baffling, a new game – leaves me scratching my head and wondering quite why.

I appreciate there is an element of fun being among the first to own something. And I appreciate that some people develop a bizarre relationship with electronics companies, akin to that football fans have to their clubs.

However, I still keep returning to the same argument.

If a friend of mine spent hours to buy a new iPad3 they would not ring me at five past midnight to tell me they had one. I’d be asleep.

By the time they could ring me and boast, it would be at a sensible time in the morning. And they’d probably be asleep.

So by the time we finally spoke to one another the reality is that I could have woken, had a leisurely breakfast, strolled to the shop myself, and bought one. What’s more, as they caught up on their sleep before calling me, I’d have had time to faff about with the aforementioned piece of kit to my heart’s content.

The result? Twelve hours after its release, we both own it, both played on it, but one of us hasn’t had their sleep pattern disturbed for the rest of the week.

The only possible advantage is that you can then boast to all and sundry about how you joined a line of people in the middle of the night to spend £400 on some hardware. Which for many isn’t necessarily something to boast about.


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