It’s been a wild few weeks. Highs and lows and everything in between. This isn’t an entry about the bad though. I’m in a rather good mood so I’ll regale you with the tale of how I lucked out and got my hands on a Nintendo Wii.
Saturday, November 19, 2006. Mi Tia and I went to a new Best Buy (which is right next door to a Target). It has only been open for a few weeks, and most people I’m sure didn’t even know that. So yeah, we were there and I, even though it was painful, browsed over to the video game section and checked out the Wii stuff. They didn’t have the systems on display obviously, but a few games and the accessories were all lined up and ready for the next day. I picked up a newsletter that “informed me” (I knew everything in there already) of the launch, launch titles, accessories and everything else having to do with the Wii. As my heart was slowly breaking over my despair, not having a pre-order is painful yo, a friendly employee asked me if I needed any help. I responded with a jovial comment along the lines of, “only if you have a Wii you can sell me!” and to my surprise he told me a story that brought the light back into my darkened eyes.
This Best Buy (and maybe all of them) didn’t accept pre-orders for the Wii and they planned on having “quite a few” the next day. They were also going to open at 8 (an hour earlier) and guess what? No one has lined up (it was maybe 8:30 at night), which perplexed this jolly employee. “Hmm, I guess people don’t know we’re open. You’ll probably have a good chance to get one here tomorrow.” That’s all I needed to hear.
But wait, I wasn’t guaranteed one yet… The biggest problem would be getting back up there the next day. My dad had the car (working on Sunday? Blasphemy!) and I couldn’t wait at the curb for him to get off at noon. Woe was me. So close to a chance and yet so far away. I told Tia about it and she, being the awesomely nice and caring person she is, offered to take me up there if I had no other way. Well, I didn’t. I took a chance (took me a while to get crazy enough to ask because I didn’t want to draw her into this fanboy insanity… well, at first) and she said she’d take me! What time? Too early is, well, too early and too late would destroy my chances at getting one until the end of December. I picked 6 (two hours before the 8a.m. opening time) and prayed before grabbing a few hours of sleep.
I woke up at 5. Who can sleep when they are so close to getting one? Exactly. I started getting ready, all the while hoping I would be the lucky owner of a Wii by the end of the day. It’s one of those moments where one moment you’re higher than high, sure of your future accomplishment and dream come true, while the next you’re so worried you’re sick; almost ready to give up because you “know” you’re not lucky enough to get a break with something this important.
At 5:30 I gave Tia her wake up call and sat in my PC chair, legs vibrating from the anxiousness, while I waited for 6 to come. It felt like hours, but zero hour arrived and I hopped in her car as we sped off, racing against the dawn to Best Buy early Sunday morning. As we arrived, I noticed a line; a rather long line and I almost gave up. We parked anyway and headed to the line.
The line of hopefuls was just as colorful as you’d imagine. There were the two friends that looked like bums, torn pants and tangled mop-like hair included. The “big guy” that didn’t look like he’d be one to line up. That guy you knew a few years back that just happened to be the person in front of you in line: you have to talk to him, but you really don’t want to. His friend. The obligatory quiet black guy (not being racist you PC jerks, it’s always true) at the front of the line. And a few others that I don’t care to explain.
We took our place in line, made some small talk, asked how many they’d have and when we could get them. Big Guy said, “They told us first they’d have 30 but they just came out and said they only have 24.” Everyone started complaining, me included, cursing the employees for secretly taking the Wiis we rightfully lined up to purchase. “They should get in line if they want one. That’s a rip. Not cool, man!” This went on for a while and everyone quieted down. Tia went to Wataburger (burger joint in the same shopping center area) and came back with a breakfast taquito and some orange juice. We put down a few towels she always seems to conveniently have in the trunk of her car and had a seat against the wall to enjoy some warm breakfast. We ate, sat and waited. More people joined the line. Those directly behind us were the father and young son line stereotype. Tia and the father struck up a conversation about kids and raising them, etc.
I turned my attention to the ongoing conversation of the others ahead of me in line. The “old acquaintance” and another were talking about pirating XP and why Vista is going to suck… predictable. The Big Guy was still talking about the employees stealing his Wii. “I’ve been here since 11 last night!”, he kept saying. He had a super-coffee and a big can of energy drink. Also, he had to go to the bathroom. Too much information? Fret not, this will come in to play later on in my tale.
Anyway, it was about 7:15a.m. and one person in line said he was going over to Target to check out the line. He came back a few minutes later with a voucher. It gave a number (turned out to be 1-40) and stated something along the lines of “this voucher is good for one Wii. Come in before noon, pick up your games and accessories and hand this voucher to the attendant and you’ll get your Wii.” They were going to hold 40 Wiis for each voucher-holder until noon. So, you were guaranteed a Wii as long as you got there before noon. Keep that in mind. Tia stayed in line and I went over to Target and got a voucher. I was number 22. Great! Now, short of a catastrophe, I pretty much had a Wii. Playing it safe, we stayed in the Best Buy line.
By 8:15, the “old friend” had his Target Wii, the father and son went to the Target (quite a few of us had Target vouchers) and a few others; bum boys, the quiet black guy (who stayed in line for Zelda. His girlfriend scored a Wii earlier) had a Wii. Well, that moved me up to around 10 in line. Sweet. A new line guy showed up, and he is my favorite: the genuine dedicated fan.
The Genuine Dedicated Fan is not a fanboy, blindly following anything the company can throw at him. He is a fan of the brand, he’s honest and kind, and he has a genuine love for whatever it is (in this case, the Wii). His story is even more “touching” because he was in line at 11 the night before with Big Guy and the quiet black guy, but his “evil father” called him and forced him to go home. “You’re crazy if you think you’re going to wait in line for that thing!” his father said. So he stayed up all night, too anxious to sleep and got his mom to take him back. He got in line in front of me. I didn’t mind, I was 10th! We talked a bit, I caught him up on the situation and about this time the Best Buy employees came out.
They were going to pass out vouchers. They had 25. A “presentation” outside is on it’s way. And one last thing, once you got a voucher, you couldn’t leave the line. The reason for this was “if you leave, we won’t know if you were originally in line or not.” I guess those vouchers you can find anywhere… the real reason was they didn’t want to let people leave was because of Target’s 40 Wiis. Whatever, as long as I got my Wii; Or as we said, “Zelda, man. Zelda.” Or “it’s all for Zelda.” So Big Guy got a kick out of that. He had to wee but then he’d loose his Wii. HA! We had fun poking fun at the Best Buy and it’s crazy rules as we waited for the vouchers. They came out again, passed out the vouchers, a “packet” and this wiener employee began his presentation of the accessories.
The problem was, the wiener didn’t know squat about the Wii. I had to correct him on multiple occasions. He said the Wiimote was $19.99, when it was actually $39. He said the Nintendo brand SD card was the only SD card the Wii accepts, not true. That’s all I remember now, but there were a few other mistakes. The employees went back into the warmth of their store as we waited in line.
Mi Tia was about to get one; caught up in the moment. She decided against it though, which for them, was probably the better choice, and headed to shop at Target. That means I now held 3 Wii vouchers. Big Guy, Genuine Dedicated Fan, myself and a few nameless others circled around and talked about the awesomeness of the Wii, what games we’re getting, the accessories, etc. We even commented on how the PS3 people were robbing and killing and rioting, while the Wii people are gathered in a circle all peaceful-like. HA! So true, so true.
So it was 8:45 and some straggler came up to the line asking if there were any left. Quiet black guy offered his voucher (since he was only there for Zelda) for $50 bucks. The weasel came up with the cash, and paid. I told him after the fact that I would’ve sold one of mine for $45. The look on his face! Priceless, and I didn’t even need a MasterCard. Another came up asking the same, and I told him I’d sell mine for $45. He said, “pfft I’m not going to buy it” and started at me. “Fine, have fun at the back of the line,” I responded and he stood in disbelief as we started talking again. By now the line had at least 40 people in it. Chump.
Genuine Dedicated Fan said he knew a friend of his that wanted a Wii, but wasn’t able to find one. I told him to call her up and I’d sell her mine for $45. He called, and she answered. She had to wake up her mother to ask. It was really funny because he’d get quiet and have that “waiting” look. Later he told me he was listening to her say, “Mom… mom… mommie… mom… Can I get a Wii?... A Wii…. A video game system… Yeah… $250… It’s worth it… I want Zelda… What?... Zelda… a game… can I get it?” Funny stuff. Ultimately, she got the OK and headed to us. Genuine Dedicated Fan said she’d be about 45 minutes… I told him I didn’t want to wait too long. Just then, it was our turn to enter the store! I showed my voucher, returned the other Best Buy voucher and entered.
They had a table in front of the seatbelt lines (those expandable build-a-line dealys that have that seatbelt strip that clips into others) with the games and accessories. I picked up Zelda: Twilight Princess first and Trauma Center: Second Opinion second. To the lines!
Genuine Dedicated Fan was in front of me in that line and we looked at the stack of Wiis behind the counter, then at each other and started smiling. We laughed at that. We smiled because it finally was “real”. We were getting a Wii! When my turn came I headed to the line, handed over my voucher. The cashier got my Wii and set it in front of me. At that moment, time stood still. All that remained was me and my Wii. Angels came down from on high and celebrated with song. The purest of light beamed down onto the packaging… then I fainted, twice. OK, not really. I’m pretty sure I was drooling. Well, yeah. Purchased, bagged and in my arms. I left and waited outside for Genuine Dedicated Fan. We met up and he said he’d pay me the 45 so I could go on with my life. He did and I handed him the Target voucher. Two minutes later I re-entered the Best Buy (passing all the drooling Johnny-come-latelys on my way) and picked up a second Wiimote with my $45 “bonus”.
I met up with Tia, we headed home and I was giggling all the way. Immediately, just as I entered my room, I was opening the packaging and setting everything up. Awesome.
Great story, huh? I’m loving my Wii and Zelda and Trauma Center and even WiiSports. I’m also ready to play more, so that’s all for now.
Save Hyrule, Gundam!