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.