Italians are flocking to snap up vuvuzelas being given away free in the northern city of Milan although World Cup footballers and broadcasters may detest the drone of vuvuzela horns in South Africa.
"The absurd thing is that everyone hates them, but everyone wants them," a spokeswoman for the South African tourism board in Italy told AFP.
AdvertisementAbout 250 people lined up Friday outside a temporary store that the board set up in central Milan, some arriving more than an hour before opening time to grab their own vuvuzela, which has become a symbol of the World Cup in South Africa.
Police looked on as the orderly queue moved along, with 20 people being allowed in at a time. "It's children, but also older people, who say, 'It's for my grandchildren'," the spokeswoman said.
When the tournament began, passers-by stopped for a free glass of South African wine or to watch a World Cup game on the store's large screens, but they were not keen on the complimentary vuvuzela at first, stand workers said.
But since the horn started making so much noise and headlines around the world, they have been giving away about 1,000 vuvuzelas a day, and with 10,000 of the plastic horns in stock, the rush is on to get one.
The controversial plastic horns have annoyed players and television commentators, but they are selling fast in supermarkets in Britain, and manufacturers in China are struggling to keep up with demand.