Around Town

Pursuit of happiness makes mom go

Amy Rosen

I was recently shocked to hear news stories of long lines and people camping out to get the new PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii game systems. One individual was even robbed while waiting on line for a system.

A week later our 12-year-old son told us what he wanted for Hanukkah – a Wii. Given the reports of limited supplies, we could not make any promises.

After researching the game system, I admit it piqued my interest. The controllers respond to movement, allowing players to realistically play tennis, bowling and other sports. A video game system that gets more than just his thumbs moving? Not bad!

I made some calls and got inside information that a local store would have them on sale the following Sunday. I was advised to get there early. I was torn. Years ago when parents were waiting on line for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I did not cave in to the pressure for my two older sons. But with this tip, I felt compelled to follow up on the lead.

I woke up early that day and tried to quietly sneak out of the house – well, not too quietly.

“Where are you going?” my husband asked sleepily.

“I’m just going to wait on line for the Wii. Go back to sleep,” I said sweetly. “By the way, where are the folding chairs? My back hurts and I can’t stand too long.”

“Are you seriously going to do that?” he asked.

“I know it’s crazy, but I just want to check it out. Go back to sleep, I’ll be fine. Don’t worry about the reports of people being robbed on line.”

That got him. “I’ll go,” he said.

“Oh, really? We can go together. I have coffee and bagels ready to take with us!”

When we got there, the line was almost around the corner. I guess others had received my inside info, too.

We learned the people at the front of the line, many of whom camped out all night, had already been issued tickets for the 50 Wii units that were in stock.

We wondered why there were still more than 50 people on line if there were no units left. The people ahead of us said they stayed because the person in front of them stayed – “just in case.” So we stayed “just in case,” chatting with others and hearing stories of close encounters with the Wii.

It was actually quite pleasant, until a Wii scalper pulled up in an Infinity and offered a $250 Wii for $450. The conversation at that point ranged from outrage over people trying to make a quick buck to how much extra they would be willing to pay to have one in their hands.

One lady yelled, “Nobody buy it from him, it’s disgusting,” while one man went over to negotiate with him.

Mr. Inifinity drove away without any takers. We left without a Wii.

The rest of the week consisted of making calls and visiting local stores to find out when the next shipment was expected. My two older sons thought I was nuts, and so did I, but I was now caught up in the frenzy and there was no turning back.

I got the scoop that a local video game store might be getting an order sometime that week and I should “keep calling.”

I couldn’t get through by phone, so I asked my eldest son to stop by before his class and check out the situation. He was greeted by harried employees who told him in no uncertain terms they were not getting a shipment that day. They said the phone did not stop ringing and they could not stand it anymore!

He fled to the safety of his car and vowed to never again be involved in my folly for a Wii.

The following Sunday my husband and I set off for the toy store only to find that we missed the issuing of the tickets by 10 minutes. The gleeful holders of the golden tickets were happy to pass on information about the next place to check – a sort of passing of the torch.

In my next endeavor to bag a Wii I shanghaied my middle son into visiting a local department store that opened at 7 a.m. When he got there at 5:30 a.m., rumor had it that the seven units were already promised to the people who had camped out. At 6:30 a.m. the store manager confirmed the rumors. The day’s shipment of the Wii was already spoken for.

My son said I was insane and implored me to stop chasing a Wii. I, too, had had enough, but something (more like someone) kept driving at me to continue.

I called the video game store one last time and was told, “Come in tomorrow.” I could not believe my ears! The next morning I went there and was greeted by three other moms who said, “You’re No. 4. We’re waiting for the UPS man. Welcome.” The store manager confirmed they would definitely be getting six units that day. So I waited for the UPS man to arrive.

When I was handed a ticket with No. 4, I could almost hear the trumpets playing in my head. I had made it! I had a golden ticket! While waiting, No. 5 and No. 6 arrived. We traded Wii-searching war stories and celebrated our good fortune.

As others arrived, we told them six were definitely coming, but they could wait, “just in case.” We recognized others whom we had met on other lines and greeted each other. They congratulated us and we passed the inside information torch.

I was impressed with a young lady (No. 5) who was on a mission, assigned by her mother, to pick up several Wii (Wiis?) for her cousins. She had already bagged two and was about to get her third. She was my idol. After a while, her mom came to relieve her of her place in line.

Three hours later the UPS man finally snuck up to the back of the store like a rock star. The six Wiis had arrived.

There was a feeling of euphoria as we wished each other well and joked about a reunion next year. I walked off feeling as if I had won the lottery.

I came out of this experience with something more important than a Wii. Through it all what amazes me is that not one of the moms I met was buying it for herself. The lengths that moms will go to ensure their family’s happiness is amazing.

This little Wii experience cemented my faith in the basic goodness that I always knew existed in most people – but especially in moms like me.

I pass the torch to my fellow searchers. It’s time for this little shopper to go Wii, Wii, Wii all the way home.

Amy Rosen is a staff writer for Greater Media Newspapers.