By Jessica E. Vascellaro and Ian Sherr
When thousands of fans line up for Apple Inc.’s opening of its Grand Central Terminal store Friday, many won’t be queuing to ogle iPads.
They’ll be there for the T-shirts.
Since Apple opened its first stores in 2001, it has handed out tees sporting the new store’s name to the first 1,000 or so people through the door.
It is a ritual that is part of a cult around Apple’s T-shirts. Some fans on Friday will be seeking to add another store-opening shirt to collections they’ve assembled as if they were rare baseball cards.
Truly discriminating Apple-shirt connoisseurs like Christopher Harrington will also be envying the tees on the Grand Central store employees’ backs.
Mr. Harrington, a 40-year-old software designer, has endured freezing temperatures and hours-long lines to nab shirts from store openings on New York’s Fifth Avenue, in his hometown of Greenwich, Conn., and elsewhere.
But the most-prized items in his wardrobe are a couple of Apple tees he’s not really supposed to have: shirts that Apple’s retail employees have worn as uniforms.
(Published Dec. 9, 2011 on the front page of The Wall Street Journal.)