I drag my mom and foster sister out at 12:00 midnight this morning to Barnes and Noble for their promised Harry Potter party. There’s a big sign up and everything. I figure I’ll have to wait in line a looooooong time, but that’s okay, 'cause my fingers are itching to fondle the latest book and slurp up the Rowling goodness. I will happily fork over the $30 to get one to call my own.
We get in and find a sleepy mob of people. There’s no real line, but hey, we’re all in a good mood. I’m a little stumped, because three minutes before midnight, there isn’t an Order of the Phoenix book in sight, just people standing around. There’s a happy little countdown, and then . . . nothing.
No books, just people standing around, sleepy and a little confused.
Okay, well, there’s kind of a line that’s heading from the counters into the deep wilds of Animals (Dogs), so I drag my mom over there. Strange thing, all the people have stickers with numbers on them. Oh! We must take a number! What a sensible thing to do, and I’ve no complain to getting a big number, because I did come rather late. So, I drag the mother back to the front table, where the lady who pointed out the line to me still stands. She’s in charge of the stickers, so I ask for one. She checks her list.
A list? Oh, dear, must be for those who prepaid. Looks like my number will be rather large indeed, and I can see the first one on her pile is 274. There’s going to be a wait.
Except, no, unless I prepaid, I can’t get a number at all. Which means I can’t get in line, which means I can’t buy a book. I have just wasted a half an hour of my mom’s time when she could be sound asleep, snoring like a congested wolverine. Would I like to put my name down on the list for the next batch of books? Certainly. Put me down for two, that way I can pick up my mom’s copy without dragging her down here again. And I can get them in the morning, right?
No, they be here in a week and a half.
Now, dear readers, please understand that while I do have a temper, I try very hard not to take it out on underlings. I think my blood pressure rose about fifty points while I tried to get my brain around the concept of a chain bookstore that:
advertises a midnight party, which other than a large number of people bears no resemblance to anything I’ve ever seen referred to as a party
will only sell books to those who prepaid
and didn’t advertise that fact
has only stocked enough books of the most heavily hyped book since the New Testament to cover their pre-paid customers
had only two lone, frightened coffeesurfs at the Starbucks kiosk and two people on register
actually expects me to wait a week and a half in a major metropolitan center to get a book that will be carried by every merchant except the “Fundies R Us” store across the way, and even that manager has a spare copy he might part with if you paid him in Jack Chick pamphlets
I smiled politely, dragged my mom and foster sister back out, apologized profusely, and we went home to get some sleep.
This morning, at 9:00, I stopped by Target, grabbed two of the hundreds of copies off the third endcap by their registers and paid nearly 40% less than what Barnes and Noble was asking for them. From car door to car door, it took me five minutes.
I’m writing a letter to your CEO, you big poopy heads!