Why finder.com.au is helping this man camp out for two weeks to buy the first iPhone 6s

Angus Kidman 21 September 2015 NEWS

A non-Apple user is camping out to snag the first iPhone 6s to raise money for Mission Australia. But what happens when he needs to go to the toilet?

Lindsay Handmer is halfway through a charity sleep-out outside Apple's George Street, Sydney store in a bid to raise money for charity Mission Australia, and finder.com.au is proud to help sponsor his efforts.

Handmer's job is to secure the first iPhone 6S going on-sale locally. He's just crossed the mid-point of his mission, telling finder.com.au that although Apple usually separates the announcement of a new iPhone and its on-sale date by about ten days, this time it has gone for sixteen days. That makes his camp-out just that bit longer, he said.

A tech journalist and budding web-entrepreneur by trade, Handmer came up with the idea of the sleep-out when he was tossing around ideas to promote a concept he had for an online auction site aimed at tech-savvy buyers.

"I was sick of eBay's high fees, and so I thought I should build my own classifieds website to sell tech gear," he said. "I came up with the idea to camp outside the Apple store to get the first 6s as a way of promoting my site. Then my partner suggested that I should do it to support a charity. "

finder.com.au has come on board as a foundation sponsor for his bid, locking in a second 6s Plus whose proceeds will also go to charity.

Lindsay's iPhone 6s auction is now live -- place a bid for your chance to get the phone on launch day!
Handmer said he hit on Mission Australia as the charity of choice because it supports homeless people. "I wanted to get people thinking about what it's like to live rough by camping out for a $1000 phone," he said.

Somewhat ironically, Handmer isn't an Apple user, instead relying on a Dell laptop and an HTC Android phone, something he said gets him "death stares" from some of the workers at the Apple store. "I think it makes Apple a bit sad," he said. "They don't interact with me that much."

Dealing with the challenges associated with the sleep-out haven't been as difficult as he initially thought. Internet connectivity comes from the free Wi-Fi spilling out of the Apple store, while the Telstra shop across the road allows him to charge his devices, along with a series of powerbanks that he's got to keep everything ticking along.

"There's a 24-hour McDonalds right next door, so I use the bathrooms there," he said. "I think those toilets have seen some atrocities, but generally they keep it pretty clean."

Personal hygiene is taken care of via a two-week membership at a nearby gym. He pops in there to do some exercise (when he can get someone to sit in his chair outside the Apple store for him) as well as to shower.

"I've had heaps of friends and family come by to keep me company," he said. "They bring me coffee and food and mind the seat if I need to use the bathroom or something like that."

The seat is a comfortable camping chair, while his tent, a tiny pop-up, is folded away every day when he wakes up. There's also an air-mattress, a sleeping bag to keep him warm at night and a sign explaining why he's camping out.

He said he's generally had positive reactions from passers-by, although there has been some heckling from people who assume he's just an over-amped fan-boy trying to secure iPhone 6s number one.

Camping in the city lends itself to some strange sights. Handmer said his favourite is the roller-skate crew who come through from time to time. "I reckon they're pretty awesome." Then there was the time, just after he'd set up shop, when he thought the police were going to move him along.

"I'd just set up and five minutes later the cops come along. I thought it was all over, but they didn't give me a second glance," he said. "They just got out of their car and went into the Maccas for food."

The usual cavalcade of people who have had a skin-full can make sleeping a challenge, but he said they're generally pretty cool, he said, with one drunk buying him a McDonald's McFlurry, and another purchasing him a bar of chocolate.

The best reaction, however, came at 3am over the last weekend. His fiancé decided to join him for the night and there was a knock on the tent. "They got pretty excited that I had a girl in there," he said. "Generally people are interested in what I am doing and they're usually pretty nice too."

Handmer is doing all the fund-raising through a third party website, www.clubbid.com.au, which he said makes things more legitimate than handling the money through his own website. "They are more experienced, and I don't want to come between the money and the charity," he said.

The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus go on sale September 25. Handmer will be first in line.

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