Skip to content
Subscriber Only

The Man Who Stands in Line for a Living

Robert Samuel will wait for anything ... for a price. 

Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

Unemployed and depressed, Robert Samuel turned to Craigslist. It was iPhone release day in 2012 and, looking to make a few bucks, he offered to hold an Apple loyalist's place in line for $100. Apple fever was strong, and Samuel quickly found a taker and rushed to the Fifth Avenue shop in New York. The man who hired him ended up being able to score the smart phone online but paid him anyway.

"I was going to leave," Samuel recalled. "It was actually a customer who prompted me to stay," proposing, "Why don't you sell your spot?"