At first, the scene started off like any other highly anticipated product launch: would-be customers queued for hours in the freezing cold, complete with sleeping bags and folding chairs. But hours of waiting were unexpectedly in vain when, minutes after the expected 7 a.m. launch, Apple employees decided to cancel the store’s opening, fearing the thousand-strong crowd would lead to riotous conditions inside the store. Instead, they got riotous conditions outside. At 7:15 a.m., an employee, by way of bullhorn, announced to the masses that the store, located in Beijing’s trendy Sanlitun district, would not open as planned. This didn’t sit well with the hundreds that still remained.
The result, as Techland reported, was a mess, resulting in eggs getting pelted at the Apple store’s gleaming plate-glass window.
The closure was in response to fighting that broke out hours earlier, when a crush of people broke through the orderly line, Reuters reports. Police were summoned to quell the rage, and a source told Reuters that it was the police that ordered the store closed.
(PHOTOS: Beijing’s Apple Store Frenzy)
Tamer conditions at Apple’s four other Chinese stores allowed those outlets to open as planned. The 2,000 iPhones in stock at Beijing’s second Apple Store in Xidan reportedly sold out in just two hours. But after Apple received wind of the sticky situation in Sanlitun, they decided to halt remaining sales across the country. In a statement, Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu said, “the iPhone will not be available in our retail stores in Beijing and Shanghai for the time being.” But iPhone cravers can still get their hands on the coveted device online through phone carrier China Unicom, and there’s a bonus: they won’t have to deal with any lines (or egg yolk).