Saturday, June 21, 2003

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Okay, so I had (and have) no intention of buying the new Harry Potter book for myself, although I do intend to read it, whether borrowing it from the library or a friend. But I don enjoy public spectacles of this nature, so tonight at about 9:30 I went to the Barnes & Noble here in Sioux Falls with my copy of Ida Goerres' The Hidden Face: A Study of Therese of Lisieux (it's the library's original english edition, which has been republished by Ignatius Press [here's the Amazon link]).

When I arrived, I found out that once all of the pre-order customers got their copies after midnight, about 500 other copies of the book would be sold to anyone who wanted them. I knew that my neighbor and coworker wanted a copy, so I decided that I might hang around till 1 or 1:30 to get him a copy, knowing that I'd be able to sit back and people-watch in the meantime, beside reading my own book.

As midnight approached, the already-crowded store (it's a pretty good sized B&N, especially for a city the size of SF) got even more crowded, and everytime there was an announcement, a hush fell over the crowd -- I have to say, it was pretty amusing, seeing so many families, kids, and adults so excited about such a fat book.

At about a quarter to midnight, I'd decided that I probably wasn't going to stick around until 1. I talked to Bob, and he didn't care either way. Only a few minutes later I overheard someone say that they were going to go to the Walmart next door to see if they had any copies.

Somehow, I never thought to consider that other places of business which are normally open at midnight might be selling the book. Nonetheless, I decided to stay at B&N, at least until the books started to flow. Sure enough, at 12:01 am, the announcement was made (to a hushed and then applauding crowd), the directions were given, and the books started to flow. At about five after, I decided I'd had enough, and walked out to go home. As I left the store, I saw two girls walking in with a bag with what appeared to be the book; I asked them where they got it, and they directed me to the Walgreens across the street, which was selling it for $24.

Now my coworker had been clear: buy the book if you can for under $20. Walgreens was over-budget, but if they had it, Walmart had to have it. So I indeed went to America's #1 retailer, and as I was walking in, I saw a gentleman with the text in hand, asked him what he paid, and heard this price: $17.14. Ah-ha! I go in the store, ask another patron with two copies in hand where I could find them, and go down the aisle, walk up to a Walmart employee, receive my copy, pay, and leave! No waiting at B&N until 1 or later for this boy! I was out of the store with my copy (well, soon to be my neighbor's copy, once the money & text are exchanged) by 1:15!

Now I have 20 hours to read it before I have to give it to him... ;-)

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