VGBlogger’s Search for a PS3

failure.jpgFor months my friend and I had planned the whole PlayStation 3 launch out to a T. We purchased some winter clothing, packed up our cars, and after work relaxed with some Gears of War before getting bundled up and heading out for a long wait.

Our plan was simple. First we would head to the local Meijer. Since they were open 24-hours it would be the perfect place to wait since we would be out of the normal Michigan elements. If for some reason the spots were already full we would then head to the nearby Target. After that our stores of choice were another Target across town, a Wal-Mart close to that, and finally a Best Buy as a last shot.

Through many communications with the store management and also reading the sign that had been on display for the previous four days, we knew that Meijer would not allow people to start lining up until 12:01 am on 11/16. So my friend and I left our houses at 11, swung by Target to see that there were already 15 people in line for 10 systems, ruling out plan B, and headed to the Meijer on S. Pennsylvania Ave in Lansing , MI. When we arrived we were excited to find that we were the first ones there. Within ten minutes the line had grown to ten deep when a manager came by and asked us to leave. This is the part of the story where I, and everyone else in line, got pissed.

Continue reading for the rest of our harrowing adventure.

The manager wasn’t asking us to leave because we were there prior to their 12:01 am start time, it was because the toy department manager had already given the systems away at 8:00 pm. Even though I called at 5:00 pm that evening to verify that nothing had changed, the manager of the toy department decided that she would create vouchers and give them to anyone that asked about the system starting at 8:00 pm. No one had to pay for the vouchers, so these people were free to leave the store, go wait in line somewhere else for a second system if they wanted, and then have a friend to go pick up the system at 12:01 am on the 17th.

Everyone in line was furious. Why put up a sign saying that the line would start at midnight on the 16th when the manager of the toy department could change the rules at any time she felt? I mentioned to the manager that the whole situation seemed fishy and it sounded like the toy manager called people to tell them to come in and she would give them a voucher for a PS3 so they could turn a profit on Ebay. The manager stated that she would never do anything like that, but refused to comment when I asked how many of the individuals that received these vouchers were store employees. After arguing with the store manager for fifteen minutes, it was obvious the store had reneged on their policy and had no intension on letting us stay there. One of the other people that showed up shortly after we got there yelled, “It sounds like we got hoed guys,” and left. Yes….hoed indeed.

Our search continued and resulted in the following disappointing discoveries:

People In Line / Allocated Systems – Location

15/10 – Target (Okemos, MI)
6/4 – Wal-Mart (Okemos, MI)
30/20 – Best Buy (Okemos, MI)

We ended up at the Meijer in Okemos, MI because they were still having a line form at midnight. They were raffling off the spots though, and there were nearly 200 people waiting for their ticket to be drawn for one of the four 60GB and two 20GB units. Whoever had a winning ticket would have 15 minutes to gather their things and get back in the entertainment section or else they would forfeit their spot. Also, each person would have a five minute bathroom break every two hours and a twenty minute lunch at the twelve hour mark. Also, if you left your seat to stand, or even fell asleep, you lost your spot in line.

Since I’m writing this now, obviously I didn’t win. My friend didn’t either and he promptly left to go home and play some Gears since he had today scheduled off work. I stuck around because I didn’t want to fight the masses to my car and saw one of the most interesting things of the night. About ten people that didn’t win a spot in line had set up seats and were lined up to take one of the six winners positions if any didn’t abide by Meijer’s rules. Now that is hard core.

Let this be a lesson to you. It seems that even waiting 24-hours inside, or even 32 outside in the rain will not cut it for the next next-generation system that will probably launch in five to six years. So if you want a system on launch day in 2011, be prepared to wait for three to four full days at least.

About the Author

Having over 25 years of gaming experience, Zach knows a thing or two when it comes to one of his favorite entertainment activities. Additionally, he has also written many articles previewing and reviewing titles which can be found in various places around the net, including VGBlogger.com.