It’s 40 degrees outside on November 11th, 2010, and I can hear the crowds before I see them. They chant, “H&M! H&M” methodically as if to a prompter. I round the bend and see barriers holding back flailing teens – is Justin Bieber here? Confused tourists and passerby look around in bewildered states and wonder what the fuss is about.
The line wraps completely around the block and disappears. Every time I think I discover the end of the line, I am directed further and further back, an entire 6 city block lengths before the true end of the line. Some people have been waiting here since the night before at 10 or 11pm; while others hoped for a decent place in line at 6am. I show up an hour before the 12 noon opening and think I’m doing well! There is more H&M chanting at the entrance and loud hip hop music coming from an unknown origin.
The countdown to the door opening at noon is dramatic: the crowds funnel into the shiny new space, and the line moves forward for about five minutes before coming back to a screeching halt. As I figured, the store has already reached capacity. I move the length of one block every 20-25 minutes and wonder if I will ever get in. After another hour in line, I still have not gotten inside! I abandon the wait and the hunt for cheap clothes so that I can go to work. I will be back, and maybe I will actually buy something If they didn’t already run out of every item in the store!
H&M at Pioneer Place
700 SW Fifth Avenue