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November 20, 2006

Waiting for the Wii

On Saturday night, I did something very nerdy and completely insane. But it was also entirely worth it. I camped out overnight to buy a Nintendo Wii.

I was kind of hoping to avoid the complete camp out. The local Walmart was having a midnight launch and I thought if I got over there at 4 PM I could wait around for 8 hours and pick one up. After all, Nintendo was releasing a million of these little white boxes of fun, right?

Wrong, at 1:30 the Walmart already had 28 people waiting. The Walmart employee told me they only had 30 consoles. WHAT? And the party I was going to roll with was 4 people strong. When my son Ollie heard this, he said, "But Daddy, there are other big stores you can go to, right?" So, it was overnight at Target for my boy. (and maybe a little for me).

Bryan, Joe, Luke and I left my house at 4.30ish, heading for the Target on Route 202 in Brandywine. Luke had a Gamecube setup in his car, so it was quickly apparent that we made the right choice of vehicle as Joe and I played Mario Soccer on our way up I-95.

We got to Target at 5.30 PM. There were 13 people in line in front of us. One guy had been there since 8 AM. Mind you, this target wasn't going to open until 8 AM the next day. He certainly deserved his Wii.

Apparently the Brandywine Target is an extremely successful Target, so much so that it sells the most of any Target on the whole East Coast. No lie, I heard this from an older gentleman who was waiting behind us. When you sit in the cold and wait for hours upon hours you hear a lot of things. Because of this, this Target was going to get 210 consoles. Eat that, Walmart.

So, coming unprepared because I knew I was going to be outside of a Target (which closed at 10), I bought a tent and a sleeping bag. And a Nintendo DS because mine was lost. (What a horrible time to lose one, the wireless multiplayer Mario Kart games we played that night were legendary).

The people in front of us were so-so nice. One girl helped us set up our newly purchased tent, which was very nice. One guy joined our wireless DS bowling game, which was kind of nice. One tent of guys had a football and beat us in an impromptu midnight game. Not so nice.

The people waiting behind us were extremely nice. There was James, a hardcore gamer who publishes a cool magazine called Eerie Pennsylvania, all about paranormal activities around the grand state of PA. No, for some reason I didn't tell him about our short film. Too busy trying to get first place in Mario Kart I suppose.

Chris and his wife Ruth stopped by around 9 to give us some hot chocolate. Very nice of them. We cajoled Chris into staying! Such fun. Only the Wii could take Chris from a date with his beautiful wife into a tent with 4 other guys.

There was the 67 year old grandmother who was waiting in line to purchase a Wii for her 15 year old autistic grand son. Yes, think about that. She was an absolute saint, and the nicest lady. On Sunday, she left the Target and went straight to teaching special ed classes at the local Catholic school.

The group behind the people behind us were bad people. I think the one man was a rapist, or a pedophile, and most likely both. No lie. For some reason Joe talked to him for awhile around 4 am.

It's amazing how often you have to go to the bathroom when you just sit around and talk in 38 degree weather. I had to run to this special spot between bushes and trees in a median between 2 roads about 5 times through the night.

Bryan is a professional tailgater because he has season tickets to the redskins. Because of him we ruled the line with his 12 x 12 foot canopy. (not yet setup) Seriously, we looked like the absolute kings there.

Here was our lovely home away from home, in which we got probably between 45 and 90 minutes of sleep. It was a tiring night.

As dawn broke, the sky was extremely beautiful, and I made the joke that even Jesus was coming to get a Wii. At this point, the line had stretched to many more then 210, and someone asked me if I'd give Jesus my place in line. I had to point out that Jesus spent the night in heaven, and I spent it on a cold sidewalk outside of Target. I think we know who deserves that Wii.

By 6AM, the line had grown very long indeed, and people from the back were constantly conducting censuses, counting to the front. One boy had finished the count and said to us, "I think I'm number 210, do you think I'll be ok." We knew this Target had exactly that number, and we told him to run back to his spot and pray. Bryan thinks we made him cry.

A night without sleep made us start doing loopy things, like push Luke around in a shopping cart. You wouldn't believe how many people would stop and ask what we were waiting for. One man stopped and we told him, and he proceeded to lecture us all, "Only in America, in other countries people wait in lines for a single grain of rice, and here we wait all night for a toy." He couldn't be more wrong. The Wii isn't a toy. It's a high precision instrument specially designed to allow for virtual manipulation of simulated digital environments. And really, a grain of rice is not filling, even if you're starving. That man was ridiculous. Plus he had a big dog. The money he spends on feeding that big dog could save like 15 kids in a 3rd World nation. Stuff it, hypocrite.

Finally, the Target security guards appeared and handed out the tickets needed to purchase the coveted toy. . .err. . .precision instrument. I was number 17. At this point, about 45 people went away empty-handed. One kid in front of us sold his ticket for $20. We told him he sold himself short. Sure enough, a couple people came by later saying they would pay $50 to $100 for a ticket. The kid audibly groaned. Because he was on the team that beat us in football, I didn't feel too bad for him honestly.

You wouldn't believe how badly we all had to go to the bathroom at this point. Because the sun had risen and now there were many cars driving by, all our outside hidden spots were now in such plain view that using them would only get us arrested for public indecency. We talked about leaving and going to Panera's across the street since we had our ticket, but we were afraid that Target would open early and we'd be out of Wii's. So we hopped around and waited for 8, checking our ticket every 10 seconds, afraid it might blow away or inexplicably disappear.

Finally, the appointed hour arrived, and Target handled the actually buying process very well, even giving us all a free Wii T-Shirt. Success.

Quick review of the machine itself. It's honestly all I was hoping for, and my regret is I haven't been able to play with it enough. On Sunday I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open and I went to bed at 7. Today I had a huge assignment due for my class at UCLA so I couldn't put in any major time. But already my wife is playing it, and her mother played it too, and they both enjoyed it. That has never happened before. Never.

So viva la wii! If you can snag one, get it. You won't regret it.

And long after the next generation of consoles comes and passes into the dustbin of history, I'll remember this long night hanging out with good friends. So originally I was hoping to avoid the camp out, but now I'm glad stupid Walmart only had 30 units. It was a blast.

Posted by jason on November 20, 2006 11:59 PM


Duuuudde... that brings back those memories of us waiting around in the FREEZING cold for the PS2 outside of Best Buy. Of course, we only had sleeping bags and we were the 90-something people in line (Actually I had ticket 100).
I just couldn't do it this time. The Wii hath not excited me. That and I was in the middle of KENTUCKY where they had a line of people at the local Walmart Supercenter, and they forced them to camp out in the garden center. (yea, I looked) If you think about it, camping in the garden center isn't that bad-- you could get a few bags of mulch and sit on those and not get that cold from the sidewalk....

Posted by: Holly on November 21, 2006 08:28 AM

And jase... in that last pic of you with the ticket... why are you glowing as if someone mystical was splitting you in two?

Posted by: Holly on November 21, 2006 08:29 AM

Man, what a great story jase. I laughed a lot while reading this.

I would like to add this note. The Wii comes with several sports games that are awesome. Now, I am not a gamer at all, but I played the Wii and I loved it! The way it measures all of your movements so precisely and projects them into the game is fascinating and addicting. Bowling, Boxing, Baseball, tennis, even golf!!!! They are all so fun.

Posted by: Collin-Band Member on November 21, 2006 10:00 AM

Jase -- your story was all I was hoping it to be! You should make a short film about waiting in lines for stuff like this.

Posted by: Jonathan on November 21, 2006 10:39 AM

I think my coat had some strip of safety reflective tape on it. Seeing the picture, I feel very very safe indeed.

Posted by: jason on November 21, 2006 11:26 AM

thats such a great story.. I'm excited for you to finally have your Wii

sony = doesn't get it
nintendo = new hotness

Posted by: jaysonjaz on November 21, 2006 01:06 PM

For the record I talked to the "rapist" at 4am because my DS had no more battery power, there were no more camp chairs left, and frankly i was curious and wanted to figure that guy out.

Posted by: joe on November 21, 2006 02:00 PM

So, Joe...was he a rapist or what?

Posted by: curious georgeanne on November 22, 2006 05:51 PM

Just misunderztood.

Posted by: joe on November 24, 2006 01:06 PM

Posted by: aka_loshok on March 30, 2007 02:20 AM

Posted by: ebuyty on March 30, 2007 07:08 PM

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