On the evening of November 18th, I called a friend of mine at about 6pm. It turned out he had just joined a growing line of folks outside a local Target. These people, including my friend, were lining up to buy the Nintendo Wii, which would first go on sale on November 19th. It was already suspected that demand would far outweigh supply, so people were lining up to make sure they got one. I wanted to be in line with them right then, but a previous, unbreakable commitment kept me from the line.
I told my friend of my predicament, and told him I’d probably join him by 11pm. He warned me that if I couldn’t get there earlier, it was possible I wouldn’t get one at all. Knowing that stores were likely to be out of stock of Wiis for weeks (and having strong competition for them until at least Christmas) I despaired. And then he did something wonderful, something sneaky, something I’m a bit ashamed of, something for which I will be forever indebted: he offered me a cheat code. An unofficial list of Wii-buyers had been started by a curly-haired guy near the front of the line, and roll call was being done by him at midnight to make sure folks who had lined up were still there and in the right order. I admit it: I accepted the offer, and my friend snuck my name on the list at position #73.
It worked flawlessly. I arrived at 10:30pm (with Starbucks for him and another linemate, of course) and had a seat on the cold, hard cement with over 120 other people. When roll call came at midnight, I learned that since we had a list of people in line, and knew their general order, it wasn’t extremely important to anyone around me that I stay in line the entire time. The line was static at this point, since we knew how many Wiis this Target had, and knew that no one who wasn’t in line would get one. So I went home, slept a few hours, and got back in line with my sleeping bag at about 5:15am, anticipating a 6am roll call.
At 6am, we were all asked to put our sleeping bags, seats, tents, extension cords, TVs (really!) and other extraneous equipment away (in our cars, mostly) and wait in a clearer, more orderly line. 7am came and our tickets to Wiidom were handed out; tickets that secured each holder one Wii when the store opened. I was so glad to have mine I took a picture of it, much like a valiant hunter might photograph himself kneeling beside his prize buck, slain in the grass. This was victory. An hour or two later, and a few hundred dollars lighter, I headed home with my Wii, three additional games, and some extra controllers. Christmas had come early for me this year.
Having done all that, I can say with certainty that I’m going to try much harder to pre-order next time, since spending that much time on the sidewalk wasn’t much fun, even if it was a reduced amount of time compared to other line members, or the weather was better than other places in the USA. Midnight sales are my 2nd choice.
Still, I’d do it all over again for the Wii. I’ll give you my brief impressions in another entry.