Sunday, December 10, 2006
Waiting in Line with Boys
I missed the shopping gene, it skipped straight from my mom to my daughter (which according to my rudimentary understanding of genetics means that it slumbers somewhere deep within me, long may it sleep). Woe is me if it ever wakes because I do not have the stamina of my mother or my daughter--labels do not impress me, hot trends do not even catch my eye, and the idea of shopping in a store having a major sales event to get the trendy labels for less... please!
Despite the fact I have raised three children through the gimme 80s and tech-crazed 90s, I pride myself that I never once stood in line. Not for a Cabbage Patch doll (a friend *and* his wife stood in separate long lines, got two dolls, and sold us the one that didn't look like their daughter--happy campers were we all). Not for Transformers. Not for a Talking Elmo. Not for a Playstation 1, 2, or 360.
My daughter now lives across the country. I thought I was safe. Until Nintendo came up with the Wii. My son is 20, so technically he should have been standing in line alone. However, he doesn't drive, and he doesn't have a credit card (and the people in the Playstation lines were robbed of their cash the week previous to the Wii coming out). Still, I thought he was more like me. When he wasn't able to pre-reserve a Wii (tried hard, but the pre-reservations were sold out within minutes of being available), I thought he'd be okay with waiting until they were in the stores. And then I heard him arranging with his younger brother, who does drive, when and how to get him to the stores to stand in line for a Wii. Keep in mind it is cold where we live.
I kept out of it, their strategy was good (younger brother, no dummy, would stay in the warm car and keep the cash behind locked doors). The night came; I insisted on snacks, warm clothes, and fully-charged cell phones for my fallen-too-far from the tree progeny. I admired them, in the same manner I admired those who camp out for concert tickets, or first run movie tickets (I grew up in the Star Wars era...though I did *not* see it the first week). Better them than me.
The first stop was the 24 hour Walmart. 20 chairs, all filled. On to the next store on his list, Best Buy...50 people already in line. On to the non-24 hour Walmart. 22 in line...only 20 tickets. Home he came, out of ideas (and, still my son, preferring a warm bed to further fruitless cold camping out).
Next morning, I caved. Younger brother had to work. Wii-craving son wanted to try a few more stores, so we turned out at 7 a.m. on Sunday and starting hunting. Sears...line of 3...they'd given their tickets out the night before. Circuit City...long line of very cold and cranky people. Sam's Club. Sam's Club? Oh, why not, they open at 10 and it's almost 8, I said with as much grace as I could muster. Besides, I had made a quick Starbucks stop. There was a line of six people at the door. Six machines. My son turned, dejected. "Wait," said one of those in line, then pointing at the boy next to him, he said cheerfully, "We're getting one machine, there's still one left for you."
Great! Wonderful! Fantastic! ...only two hours to stand in the cold at the front of the store. He had his Nintendo DS and played games with one of the other guys in line. I stayed in the car.
Two hours takes a long time to pass when you are a nervous mother sitting in a car in a nearly deserted parking lot and you keep running worst case scenarios through your head. What if the manager had counted wrong? What if a business member could get in earlier and circumvent the line? What if someone leaped in front of my son at the last minute? What if... well, really the possibilities were endless and it was a good thing we only had to wait two hours.
I think I understand why those who stand in line do it though, now that I've had a taste. I felt an incredible exhilaration as we rushed through the doors, price ticket in hand, disgruntled 7th placers behind us, paid out the $$ for the system and a game and left with huge grins on our faces--all in about ten minutes. So, total time in line for me? under three hours. My son? Eight hours. For eleven hours of our time, we got to pay full price for a system we could have walked in and bought off the shelf in a month or two. Was it worth it? Ummm, yes...but please don't tell my daughter I said that.
Posted by Kelly McClymer at 12:50 PM