I incorrectly surmised that 7 AM would be early enough. Turns out that was wrong. 6:30 would have been fine.
I started at Target Greatlands. Almost within seconds of getting in line, they came out and handed out tickets. They had a rather staggering 51 systems to sell. Unfortunately I was 58th in line.
Next I went to Circuit City. The last person in line told me they'd already gotten tickets so I was out of luck. There were probably 25 people there.
So it goes.
Next I went to Toys R Us. The last person in line was a father/daughter pair. "Just so you know", said the daughter in a friendly, sympathetic voice, "They only have 12 systems. We're 13th in line, but we're holding out because one of the kids in line has a parent at Target, and if she gets a system he won't need his ticket."
Best of luck.
Next I went to the other South Target. There was a small crowd there waiting to get in. No one said anything to me, so I took that as a good sign. After a few minutes I asked someone if they gave out all the tickets. "Yeah, they only had 15 systems. Sorry."
Next I went to Best Buy, even though I didn't think they were getting systems. About 8 people were waiting, all young, cheerful and woefully misinformed.
Me: What are you guys waiting for?
Girl: The Wiis.
Me: I went to Target, Circuit City, and Toys R Us, and they all had huge lines.
Guy: Yeah, well, unless you paid really close attention to the rumor sites on the internet and such, you wouldn't have heard about Best Buy, cuz they they didn't put anything in their ads.
Me: How long have you guys been waiting?
Girl: since 5.
Me: Cool. Well, I've got nothing better to do.
Guy & Girl: heh.
I go to the end of the small line. One minute later:
Girl: They just came out and said they didn't have any Wiis.
Me: Ah, that sucks.
I feel the worst for the people at Best Buy. If they'd gone to either of the Targets, Circuit City, or Toys R Us at 5 they would've been just fine.
At this point I figured I was screwed, and I'd only wasted 40 minutes. But strangely I was having fun. Actually, after Circuit City I started to get a little upset, but I gave myself a pep talk. "Roy, this is fucking ridiculous. Don't get upset over a hyped up piece of hardware." After that I started to just enjoy the quest/spectacle of it all. Realistically, after Best Buy I should've gone home, but I wanted to see it through to the bitter end.
Anyhow, time to move on.
I went north, which I know was foolish, because the heart of Tech Austin lies north. I went to the Target on 183. That Target opens at 8, so I got to go in and watch people with tickets buy their Wiis. They were handling ticket 16 when I walked up. I talked to one guy with a Wii in a bag briefly.
Me: How many tickets did they hand out?
Me: How long did you wait?
Guy: Well, I got here at about 7.
Damn. So if I'd gone straight there, I would've been fine. I lingered for a bit and left, walking around people with Wii-laden bags picking out games and accessories.
Good for them.
Finally, I went to Circuit City, the one near Dave & Busters. There were 37 people in front of me. I figured it was a long-shot, considering that the other Circuit City had only 20+ systems. The people in front of me were a really nice, vaguely hip couple. They were engaged, it turned out. The guy behind me was middle-aged and very very talkative. He called his wife, and she said that Circuit City had told her they were getting 50 systems, so there was at least some hope. No one in the line knew anything definite beyond the fact that they were going to come out in an hour to issue bands/tickets. But no one knew for sure how many systems they had.
The 4 of us talked about a lot of things, including:
*Kaci's love of Batman, and the fact that she stayed up too late watch old Batman TV episodes and didn't go on the quest with me (indie guy said that she was "a keeper" for being so cool, and I agreed heartily)
*the man, keeping us down.
*The Prestige vs. The Illusionist
*Happy Feet, which the guy behind me insisted was a great movie, and which he swore up and down contained less Robin Williams than I'd expect
*The intelligence of bears vs. people waiting in line in the cold for a gaming system (bears win)
*The merits of Starbucks and various other coffeeshops. They all liked Starbucks quite a bit. I did my bit and told them about SummerMoon.
The coffee conversation prompted the girl to go for coffee, so I gave her some money and she bought me back a large (or grande, I guess) coffee. It kept me warm.
Eventually a manager came out and announced to the now 60+ line of people that they had 11 systems. He also said something like: "I don't like it anymore than you do. I want to buy one, too. They keep us in the dark about how many we're getting and when we're getting them in. Also, they didn't give us ANY extra controllers or nunchucks. All we have are the rubber covers for the controllers. Game-wise, they sent us 4 copies of Zelda, 4 copies of Red Steel, some other random games, and 1 copy of Monkey Ball." Someone said that they had had to share with another Circuit City that hadn't gotten any for some reason.
I was actually a little sad to see the cool people in front of me go. They were good folks. But how do you ask for someone's number/e-mail without being a creep?
I went home in surprisingly high spirits. For completeness, I called some Targets in San Marcos and New Braunsfels, but they were sold out too.
And then I typed this, fueled by a major Starbucks caffeine high.
I hear that Wal-mart is selling their stock of Wiis on the 6th. I may not bother. The stupid fact about all of this is that while the Wii sounds cool, I'm really not much of a gamer. I've just got too much to do so I feel guilty playing games for long. I mean, I'll buy one, but there's no need to obsess. But this morning was really fun somehow.
My biggest regret in all of this is that I didn't have a stack of AIC tickets to hand out to the lines. The people in line seemed to hit our demographic pretty well, and I'm sure they would have appreciated free shit. What we should have done is come by with hot cocoa and tickets. That would have been some mighty PR.