Friday, November 17, 2006

Chillin' for a PlayStation 3

Parker, Penn, Jonathan and Steven with their friends and new found acquaintances braved Nashville's wet and cold weather to be first in line to buy a new Sony PlayStation 3 -- all that and the $600 cost of the much hyped video game console.

Back in the seventies, I remembered camping out in line overnight at the Omni in Atlanta for four tickets to see Beatle George Harrison. The tour was subsequently cancelled as he lost his voice during the tour. And it was cold!

The other time was to see the Rolling Stones at the Fox Theatre, also in Atlanta. That was more fun. It was on a Saturday morning plus I drove a Chevy Van at the time with a sectional couch inside, and so the wait was comfortable. My friend Stan had enough administrative skills to buy a roll of tickets to set up a voucher system. Thus, we could mill around, leave and come back as the crowd consensus was to line up in order two hours before the tickets went on sale.

Tonight, I wasn't aware that people were in line for the PlayStation 3... I'm not a gamer, so those video game systems don't catch my attention. And for one good reason: I don't need to get hooked on playing video games.

Sony with production delays and software glitches released 400,000 machines for sale. In West Nashville, 27 machines were up for grabs.

9:30 pm: On the way to Sam's Wholesale Club for some last minute purchases, they were closed.

That's when I met Parker and Penn, two Vanderbilt students camping out since 3:30 Wednesday. Since there was only one PlayStation 3 available, they were able to turn away any potential campers. I ask if they had a business membership that allows entrance into Sam's early. Got it covered. They were watching "Lost" on the laptop in the car to pass the time...

10:15 pm: I went up the road to Circuit City, where there were six PlayStations 3 for sale. AND just for concise clarification, there was no Room at the Inn for the seventh person.

They too had been camping out for a total of 36 hours... You gotta do the time in line if you wanna play! Propane heaters, iPods, pizza delivery, Mountain Dew and visions of eBay return on investment would carry them through until 8 am when all six would walk away with their golden prize.

I asked Steven if he ever waited in line before. "Absolutely! X-Box, PS 2, Nintendo's..."

"How about Titans' tickets? Would you wait in line for those?" I asked.

"Are you kidding? At 2 and 7, no way!"

10:50 pm: The Super Wal-Mart on Charlotte Pike was an interesting scene as only ten PlayStations 3's were available.

The other thirty or so were in line for rain checks. The upside of waiting at Wal-Mart was being able to purchase one at 12:01 midnight.

Camping out at Wal-Mart seem to be desirable with outside electrical outlets, security, restrooms, groceries and camping supplies available. All at low, low prices too! Also a pharmacy for treatment of excess car exhaust.

Spoke to one of the managers on duty at Wal-Mart about what he thought about the gathering outside: "...It was capitalism's finest hour."

"The pre-manufactured hype, pent up demand to be the first, opportunities to cash in on eBay or Craigslist... if people would just wait, they could save themselves the time and trouble." He had seen it all -- Tickle Me Elmo's, Cabbage Patch dolls, X Boxes...

11:30 pm: My final stop was at Target. Now all eleven in line were circled around a large propane heater with a large tarp on tripods serving as a windbreaker. Jonathan was really pumped being first in line having waited since 2:30 pm Wednesday.

This group of eleven college students was pretty impressive having been together as group since 4:30 pm Wednesday. They were having fun, sharing the heat, surfing the web on the laptop and excited to be part of something big -- some having never met each other -- and they were certainly accommodating to see their pictures with the professional Target "The line starts here!" placard enshrined at Flickr. They wanted to give a big shout out to the Target manager... Rick was the man! Apparently the other managers had some issues, but we won't go there.

If you missed out on getting a PlayStation 3, don't despair. Nintendo's Wii, will go on sale Sunday. Weather forecast looks better.

Chillin' for a PlayStation 3 Flickr set

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I saw a news story last night out here in CA about a gaming store in Sacramento that was robbed of its Playstation 3 inventory yesterday. So the kids who pre-ordered theirs won't be getting one for quite some time... until a new shipment arrives.