Hundreds of young people said “adios” to any Tuesday morning plans they might have had (like… work) to queue for two hours to eat a burger they probably wouldn’t even get to eat.
Why? Because news had just broken that In-N-Out – the Californian burger chain with a cult following – was back in town with another pop-up. (With a red carpet, of course.)
From 9am, Melbourne’s Chapel St had sprouted a heaving line of people, The Age reports.
Well that escalated quickly. If you didn’t hear the news, @innout quietly popped up in Windsor today, taking over the kitchen at @lover3181. And the response was…out of control. People were queuing on deck chairs from 9am this morning. Seriously. If you missed out, hit up @californiaburgersmelb or @laburgersaus for the next best thing ???? @courtneykingphoto #urbanlisted
Only the first 300 were guaranteed a feed (with wristbands!). At 11am, the pop-up started serving their meat treats. By 11.15am, they were sold out.
The kicker? Instead of people dawdling away with a shrug and a sigh, they… stayed. When The Age reporter Liam Mannix rocked up at noon, there were still at least 200 people queuing.
That’s 200 people with precisely zero chance of getting their paws on that prized loot. Why did they hang around? Even they couldn’t explain the mysterious behaviour.
In-N-Out is one of those mystical brands that, through clever marketing, managed to nail that holy balance between the scarcity and bandwagon effects. The harder it is to get your hands on something, the more desirable it is. In-N-Out stores only exist in six US states and the international pop-ups always have a very limited amount of burgers. YOLO and FOMO might feel like outdated terms – but these are the precise sentiments In-N-Out arouses.
It also has a “secret menu” that only those who are truly in-the-know (and have Google Search skills) can order from. Add its Instagram appeal to the mix, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for millennial mecca. Yesterday, social media was suddenly brimming with people sharing photos with their perfectly-packaged burgers. The validation you get from getting 100 Instagram ‘likes’ make the line all worth it.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that millennials love food. And queuing for food. I’m one of them. It’s part of the experience.
I have Uber Eats on speed dial. I buy $22 poached eggs most Saturdays. I wait hours to eat schmancy pad thai at Chin Chin. I get tingles when I find a bar located behind a fridge door in a laneway. I’m one of those knobheads.
But this is a step too far. Mostly because my In-N-Out burger experiences have been flat-out disappointing compared to our Australian offerings. The sauce is drab, the lettuce is floppy, and could those patties be any thinner and drier? They are, quite simply, not that good. Meanwhile our Aussie restaurants have been making heavenly, locally-sourced burgers for years now. And I know for a fact there are at least three killer burger joints just a short walk from the In-N-Out pop-up on Chapel St (trust me, I’ve tried them all).
Today, Gen X-ers are quietly scoffing at my generation for blindly getting sucked into the hype only to leave with an empty stomach.
Next time, instead of staying for hours in a line for an average burger with little to no chance of actually eating one, I’d recommend get a truly decent (and sure, Insta-worthy) burger from one of the restaurants on this list. You’ll be able to eat 10 in that time. And have fries with that, please.
Would you queue for two hours to eat a burger with slim to zero chance you’d actually be served one? Tell us in the comments below.
You can follow Sophie Aubrey on Twitter.
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