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.



JoAnn Ross said...

Kelly, great story, and congratulations! My kid's been lusting for the Wii after seeing it at that big tech show they have in Las Vegas every year. He just bought one -- allegedly for my grandbabies -- but I do wonder if he'll actually let them play. He also ended up paying a premium E-bay price.

Given that my inner child seems to be a thirteen year old boy, I'm a huge gamer (I never go ANYWHERE without my PSP, but that's partly because I can also take Jack Sparrow with me, lol), so I can foresee a lot of visits to his house this next year. Not solely to play with the grandbabies' new toy, of course. But hey, while I'm there, if someone just happens to bring out a controller, it'd be impolite to say no. Right?

Amie Stuart said...

LOL My son decided AFTER they went on sale he wanted one. I scoured Ebay and finally got lucky. Must admit after seeing the commercials I want one as bad as he does.

Of course after pulling his iPod out of the dryer (yes washed, dried and cling freed) I'm almost tempted to keep it for myself and watch him suffer.

I was talking to a friend this morning and she'd heard about people following UPS trucks. The Gamestop near her got six and there were six people waiting. LOL Gone in seconds.

Anonymous said...

Great story, Kelly. I love the Wii commercials, too; and yeah, when I saw it the first time, I wanted one.

Not enough to stand in line, though. lol.


Nancy Morse said...

Wii? Is that anything like WMD? Goes to show you how out of touch with technical reality I am. Don't even own an iPod. PSP? Isn't that something you add on to the bottom of a letter? I've seen on TV the hoards of people sleeping in front of the stores so that they can stampede in when the doors open to get the hot stuff. I don't care if they're giving the stuff away for free, there's something about hundreds of crazed people trampling over each other that scares me.

Christie Craig said...


Love the story. I think deep down I missed on the shopping gene, too.
My first thought/comment about this reminds me of what everyone says to me when I tell them that I cooked three different types of dressings, and two different types of gravy for Thanksgiving. They say..."You must really love them." And you must really love your son to go to this trouble.

You're a good mom.

Kalen Hughes said...

I too missed the shopping gene (I’m of the “I’d rather pay full price and have it over with in minutes” variety of shoppers). And I'm missing the gaming gene as well! My brother is appalled that the last game I played was Frogger, that I didn’t even make it to Centipede or Space Invaders. LOL! When push comes to shove I’m just not going to waste precious book-reading (or writing!) time playing video games.

Tori Scott said...

My son had to have a Wii too, to go along with the PS 1, PS 2, X-Box, and Game Cube he has, not to mention the 4 different variations of Game Boys. But he did manage to wait a few days after they came out and was able to just walk into the store and buy one.

I remember the days of standing in line for Cabbage Patch kids. My kids all still have theirs, including an original adopted from the "hospital." But I've managed to avoid the temptation to do something like that again. I've decided nothing is so important that it can't wait.