Sunday, July 22, 2007

buying harry potter seven

The plan was for a friend and I to get our wristbands around 7:30. Still, I was down by the Coop anyway--plus they promised gift bags to the first 500 people!--and so went around 5 to see what the line was like. The line started at the back entrance, and so I went out the back door. The line went down the entire alley, around the corner, down the street, around that corner, and around to the Coop's front entrance, a distance that Google Satellite suggests is maybe 800 feet.

Most of the queue were females between twelve and thirty. There were very few men over thirty standing by themselves in line, and those in line seemed far more embracing of their dorkitude than, for better or worse, I am. Even so, I stood at the end for a few moments, but then realized that standing in line was not only going to take a long time but that I was going standing behind this girl who was maybe a sophomore in high school and dressed in this costume that was a trollopy take on Nymphadora Tonks. Thus adding "feeling creepy" to the "feeling bored" and "feeling dorky" negative emotionality that standing in line would entail, I abandoned my place and went and got a chocolate-malt-with-extra-malt instead.

When I returned with my friend around 7:45, the line was about as long as it had been at 5. It also moved very slowly, in part because many people were holding places in line for friends, and by the end we did not get our wristbands until 8:45pm. The line had shortened by that point, but the people at the end still had a half hour if the line moved at the same pace. There were 3 people at the front who were looking up names on the list of reservations and handing out nametags, my own transaction was less than 20 seconds, and this went on for more than 4 straight hours.

The math suggested an extremely long wait at midnight. Rather than get in line at 10 and have to wait for 2 hours and then who knows how long, my friend and I decided to go to a bar and come back at 1. When we get there, the line was maybe 2/3 as long as the line we had gotten into for our wristbands. As soon as we got to the end, though, these South Americans came up with copies of the book that they said they had bought for $5 more at the Out Of Town Newstand across the street, which had no line and was even giving out free HP7 tote bags. We had nothing to lose and so went over there and, within five minutes, we were out of there with our books.

So all the reservations and waiting for line for wristbands and whatever was for naught, although I am always pleased when I recognize the sunk cost fallacy--in this case, not wasting more time in line just because I had already spent time to get my wristband--and do not succumb to it. Granted, it would have been far better to realize I didn't need the wristband, as the Harry Potter party that was being thrown in Harvard Yard looked great, with I'm sure the largest and most enthusiastic audience that Harry and the Potters will ever have for a show.


Gwen said...

I went the lame route. I didn't know if I would be fully into my house or right in the middle of moving this weekend, so I didn't know if I'd be up for waiting in line all night. And I couldn't find any locally-owned bookstores near me anyway--not surprisingly, Vegas doesn't seem to have a huge locally-owned/coop contingent. So I pre-ordered through Barnes & Noble and it arrived on my doorstep in the morning while I was out buying some stuff I needed. So my only real inconvenience was that I acted like a paranoid crazy person all Saturday morning to avoid maybe overhearing something about it. I wouldn't go too near other people or turn on the radio or in any way take a chance of having the ending ruined and therefore having to murder someone on a lovely Saturday morning.

Kieran said...

There were very few men over thirty standing by themselves in line, and those in line seemed far more embracing of their dorkitude than, for better or worse, I am.


Carol said...

Being the Mom of two young HP fans we arrived at our local Barnes and Noble at 9pm. The store was a madhouse -- a great number of kids but mostly young adults wearing their robes from their recent high school or college graduation. Because the line for a butter beer was about an hour we opted for a bottled root beer instead. The highlight for us was being sorted. A volunteer placed the hat on your head and you could hear the verdict. Although I assumed it was a random loop on a tape, in actuality it was someone from the next room using a walkie-talkie. My husband and I were sorted into Slytherin (!) while the boys were sorted into Ravenclaw. Starting at 10:45 we were told to go to our waiting area to start the line. Lucky for us we had a connection at BN and we were near the front of the line. We were back to our car with two books in hand by 12:06am. According to my source they made ~1200 transactions and sold ~2000 books, tapes, or CDs by 1am. I also heard that the single largest shipment that UPS has ever made was Book 7 to the West Madison BN. My 11 year-old finished his book by 5pm on Saturday and declared it “Awesome.”

(“Delurking” from Madison.)

Brock#20 said...

The wife and I toyed with the idea of driving into Cambridge to go, but passed. There was an accident that brought the Pike to a stand still from about 495 to 84. She called me from our local Barnes and Noble at about 5:15 to tell me that you needed a wristband for the midnight release, and I could tell she wanted to go. We went back about 7:45 to find that we were like 700th on the list. I said to my wife, “Wonder what’s with the wristbands?” to which the lady working said, “We went to them last year after…the incident.” (Insert very Scooby Doo looking over her shoulder like she didn’t want anyone to hear her.
I picked up our copies at 8:37 AM the next morning, no line. I made small talk with the list keeper while I waited for the next cashier. Again, she mentioned “the incident” and looked over her shoulders.

Now of course, it is a running joke in our house.

“You didn’t pick up the dry cleaning.”
“Well, I would have but (looks over shoulders) the incident prevented me.”

Really, least favorite is 5? I liked it, but maybe because that was the first that I got on the day of, so I was involved in the hype.

I still think 3 is the best.