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Thursday, June 07, 2007, 09:00 am PT (12:00 pm ET)

AT&T hiring temps to control iPhone crowds at retail stores

Exclusive: Wireless carrier AT&T is taking no chances when it comes this month's Apple iPhone launch and is hiring temporary staff to manage, attend to, and control crowds at many of its 1800 retail stores nationwide.

One person familiar with the matter tells AppleInsider that he was originally recruited to fill one of the positions through an temp agency that was in contact with his college's career center.

"I was hired by AT&T to a Product Pro position for the summer," said the source. "However, it is not my job to sell the iPhone, but rather simply control the crowds."

Temp AT&T employees will reportedly be tasked with a few other duties, such as greeting customers, funneling the flow of non-iPhone traffic, and handling minor technical support issues. Their tenure will span early June through early August.

"It's estimated that the launch will hit us hard," the source said. "I will be making sure that waiting customers don't get angry."

Apple and AT&T retail locations are expecting a tremendous turnout come the June 29th iPhone launch, partly due to an Apple-stated policy that mandates the device be sold on a first come, first served basis.

Apple is actively enforcing the policy, said the source, who notes that even chief executive Steve Jobs is doing his part to assure everyone has a fair shot at iPhone come the final Friday of the month.

When Jobs learned that some AT&T stores had begun compiling unofficial waiting lists, he fired off a personal email to store managers informing them that this was a no-no.

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