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How to Survive the Snapchat Spectacles Line

Take these tips with you if you plan on visiting the Snapchat Spectacles pop-up store in New York City.
Image: Xavier Harding/Motherboard

It's not enough that we have numerous cameras in our pocket at all times, we need them on our faces too. Snapchat's first hardware product are camera-equipped sunglasses named Spectacles. Which is aptly named for the spectacle the product's launch has caused.

Snapchat's Spectacles let you record circular video: view it inside the company's app and pan around the scene simply by rotating your phone. Yesterday Spectacles' Twitter account sounded off with its vending bot's latest location. Though unlike the Tulsa, Oklahoma or Venice Beach drops, New York City gets an actual store (on 59th street and 5th Avenue). If you can even call a giant white room with a googly-eyed robot and cult-like gathering a store. By the time I was blessed with my pair I was left frozen and starving with an uncharged phone. Here's how to survive the Snapchat Spectacles line like a pro:


Expect A 5-Hour Wait, And Bring Backup

Your Snapchat photos may last 10 seconds or less, but your experience buying Spectacles won't be nearly as quick. I joined the line on opening day at 8:30am, less than three hours after the location had been announced, and the line was curved around the block. When I finally reached the machine it was 1:40pm. And this was before most people even knew about the Snapchat pop-up shop.

Have lunch beforehand. The new store hours are Monday through Friday, 4-10pm and Saturday through Sunday 6am-12pm. You'll want to have breakfast and lunch if you can, as well as pack snacks or a thermos of hot cocoa if you can. It'll be cold so make sure to pack any hats, gloves, blankets, etc. to stay toasty. Maybe even a foldable chair and laptop if you want to bring new meaning to Netflix and Chill.

And bring a person with you for support, extra storage and cuddling for warmth. And forget what I said before about Netflix and Chill while in line. Don't take things that far.

Don't Expect To Get Into The Store If You Don't Get A Wristband

Once you're inside the store, each person on line in front of you will take one-to-two minutes to complete their purchase. Meaning since the line is about 150-200 people deep, you'll have a couple more hours ahead of you. If you get into the store, that is.

On Snapchat's first day in New York, the company handed out wristbands to line-standers, ensuring they enter the store. Though folks guaranteed not to enter the store were still kept on line. If it's near closing time, and the Snapchat employees aren't even making an effort to hand out wristbands, you may want to cut your losses and regroup the following day.


Call Your Bank

While the Snapchat vending bot will live in New York City until New Year's Eve (only closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day), the robot still hails from California. Meaning when you buy Snapchat's Spectacles, it will appear as a purchase from California. Depending on your bank account settings, it may not let you buy to prevent any potential for fraud.

The Snapchat Spectacles bot does not take cash.

You'll want to give your bank a heads-up in advanced. Or when you make a purchase, and it doesn't go through text or call your bank to thumbs-up the purchase. It will take about five minutes until you're clear.

This is common—just yesterday it happened to Motherboard's own Nicholas Deleon. Luckily the folks at Snapchat won't have you go back to the end of the line. You'll be sent to the side of the line. Once five minutes have passed you'll be able to "skip" the line and properly make your purchase.

Visit The Phone-Charging Station

This is where having back up comes in handy. When you finally do enter the store to your left will be two tables. Each has a Mophie battery pack with an iPhone charging cable, Android charging cable and Spectacles charging cable. One of you can hold a spot on the indoor line while the other charges devices. Or just bring your own portable chargers.

You May Want To Buy Two…

Of the folks that purchased Spectacles on the first day, very few walked out with just one. Considering eBay posts like this, and this and all of these have the Spectacles going for $500-$2,000 or more, you may be able to get your money back by selling a second pair online. Or if no one bites and you literally want your money back, Snapchat offers a 30-day return policy. Buyers can purchase two Snapchat Spectacles per credit/debit card.

Image: Xavier Harding/Motherboard

You're Ready!

Is it annoying that, in the entire store, there's only one vending machine serving up Spectacles? Sure. Will you be alive to tell the tale of the Snapchat line once you get your glasses? Who knows. But at the very least, you went in prepared. Happy snapping.