• Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
sunshine & unicorns: a blog about love, learning, and life in the upper midwest

08 February 2009

this is the story of how i became a consumer whore in just 2 hours' time

You know how people will camp out in tents, in subzero weather, outside of electronics stores for days before a new game console is released, just so they can hope to be among the first to get their hands on it? How every year after black Friday, someone's trampled, beat up, or killed over something as trivial as a child's Christmas present? Or even how people will show up at stores before they open, hovering around the locked entrances, waiting to get inside and be first to shop? I've never understood why. Why would anyone go through such paces just to spend money on some random item(s)? Why not just wait 'till the hype slows down, or simply order it on the Internet? Sure, you might have to pay a couple of extra dollars and wait a few extra days, but at least you won't be a part of that "I must have it now" mob-mentality.

Now -- with that in mind -- begins my story. A few days ago, we bought a Nintendo Wii. Bf and I had a little extra money and wanted to get ourselves something fun for Valentine's day (thin excuse, I know). Being the technophiles that we are, it was a crime that we didn't have any sort of gaming console in our house at all. So, now we have a Wii.

The Wii isn't really the issue here at all; it's the Wii Fit. Wii Fit is a fitness/strength/balance game for the Wii console. I had read about them and knew I wanted one, and I saw one at the store where I bought the console. It was kind of expensive, and I wanted to discuss the purchase with Bf first. I did, and we agreed that I should get it. So I went back to the store... and it was gone. In the 2 hours I'd been away, someone else had bought it, and they were out of stock. No big deal right? There were a few other stores in town where I could get it. I went over to Best Buy. Nothing. Walmart. Nothing. Sears. Nothing. No one had one. Some said it was back-ordered from the distributor. Though two hours prior, I'd passed it up as a "Would be fun/I'll think about it" item... suddenly, I NEEDED ONE RIGHT NOW OMG. The consensus from the salesmen was that the Wii Fit was in high demand, and very hard to locate.

But. I had just. Seen. One. (Why oh why hadn't I just [made a big fat impulse purchase without consulting my better half] bought it!)

Bf was frustrated that I hadn't found one, too. On Saturday (after staying up till 2 playing MarioKart and Super Smash Bros), we got up early and decided that We Were Going To Get A Wii Fit. Bf made a bunch of phone calls and finally found one store 75 miles away that had four of them in stock. Of course, they could not hold one for us (jerks). So we did what any perfectly normal [insane, video game-hungry] people would do: we jumped in the car and cruised over to that store at 80 mph.

So yesterday, before 11 in the morning, I found myself jogging through a Target store in an unfamiliar city in another state, feeling tempted to shove innocent shoppers out of the way so that I could GET MY Wii FIT RIGHT NOW, Mmmmkay?! I rounded the aisle where I knew I would find my Wii Fit (because I Was Going. To. Get. One.), and I saw the box, there on the shelf! ...Just as another woman was taking it by its handle. And that was the last of the four. The others had been sold earlier that morning.

And I was so ANGRY! And so was Bf. We were seriously pissed! Pissed about a video game that we knew we could easily go home and order off of Amazon! Pissed at that woman! How dare she take MY game! We NEEDED IT TO SURVIVE! Like SERIOUSLY COME ON WE WERE GOING TO DIE IF WE DIDN'T GET THAT GAME RIGHT THAT MINUTE HOLY CRAP! We stalked her around the store as she shopped, hoping she'd change her mind and put the game back. She didn't. We watched her buy it. We hated her. We went back to our car. We very grumpily drove around the city and looked for other stores that might sell the game. Bf would drop me off at the door, and I'd run in, case the electronics section, drop an f-bomb, and go back outside to be picked up. I went in probably a dozen stores yesterday, including four Walmarts [*shudder*] in two states. No Wii Fit.

We were already 75 miles from home, and Bf asked, "Do you want to go to Major City*? It's only another 3.5 hours' drive." And we considered it. We seriously considered driving to Major City, hundreds of miles away, with the hope of finding this elusive Wii Fit that had been sold out in every store we'd been to. This Wii Fit that we really didn't even need that day for any major reason, that I had previously (before the consuming-madness started) thought would be 'pretty fun to have'. Yes, we considered making a 9+ hour round-trip to an unfamiliar metropolitan area so that we could hopefully buy a DVD and a battery-powered plastic board.

There was some sanity left in us after all, I guess: we decided against it. Our decision was largely common sense, but it was also partly due to a glimmer of hope seeded by an employee of one of our local stores. He said that Nintendo stuff often comes in overnight on Saturday night, and that we should check Sunday. (And yes, we knew this BEFORE we did the 150 mile round trip, but whaddya gonna do about it?!) With our tails between our legs, we drove home and pigged out on Chinese buffet, then played Need for Speed and MarioKart until nearly 2 am. Sunday would be Wii Fit Day. We. Would. Get. Our. Wii Fit. On Sunday.

Sunday morning found us hovering outside a local store before the doors unlocked. We'd become what we'd always hated**: the loitering customers, poised for the prize and chanting "must consume, must consume..." And guess what we found when we got inside. No Wii Fits on the shelf. They didn't get any in. While I'm sure that employee hadn't intentionally lied to us about the Saturday Nintendo shipment, I was mad at him. He had given me false hope.

Though we felt it futile, we drove to another nearby store, just to check one more time. Sitting in the car in the parking lot, we discussed what we'd do after this: perhaps indulge in some sympathy cookies before going home to place our Amazon order. As we were chatting, Bf stopped me mid-sentence as a woman emerged from the sliding doors. "She has a Wii Fit!" he exclaimed, already half-way out of the car. He made a bee-line for the entrance, and I fiddled with the radio (anyone else out there think Sirius sucks versus XM?), trying not to get my hopes up. I saw another person, and another, and another, each exiting with a Wii Fit. After the longest five minutes ever, Bf emerged with a big smile on his face. Due to all of the cars between us in the crowded lot, I couldn't see his hands: I couldn't discern whether his smile was due to triumph, or if he was simply expressing the darkly comedic sensation that washes over a person when they've been narrowly defeated over and over again. When he finally came in to full view though, I saw it. The Wii Fit. The Precious. The store had gotten a big shipment of the games, he said, and people were snapping them up like crazy. The store had only been open for about twenty minutes, and already 3/4 of the boxes had been claimed. Nearly everyone in line was buying one, he said.

We finally had our Wii Fit. And we took it home and played with it. And we bought cookies anyway (gotta offset the Wii Fit-ness somehow, right?). And the cookies had pink frosting. And all was right with the world.

The End.

::Epilogue::
I can't tell you came over us that made us need that toy so badly, but it sure wasn't pretty. I can, however, tell you how lucky I feel to have a Bf with whom I am so in tune that when I go crazy over something trivial and want to spend lots of time and money obsessing over it, he's right there beside me, enthusiastic and helpful -- definitely my partner in crime!




*City name changed, obviously.
**Bonus points if you know the artist/song from which I paraphrased this lyric.