Thursday, December 25, 2008

Who wants to know my PIN?

Here's a blog I wrote on December 10th. For obvious reasons, I was unable to publish it at the time:

Last year I planned to buy all my children a Wii for Christmas. Simple and sure to please. Not. I'm sure they would have been pleased, but simple it was not. Due to brilliantly successful marketing, people had to be willing to stand in line most of the night in order to score one. I wasn't willing. The kids got socks.

Once again this year I planned to buy 2 Wii's for my away-from-home children. (Jed uses mine, and I had other plans for him this year.) After my simple and successful procuring of my own Wii and Wii Fit (see my bog entries in October) I thought once again I was on to something simple, brilliant and sure to please. I saw them on in October, but since I was off work and it was a bit early to finish my Christmas shopping I decided I wouldn't order them just yet.

Bad decision. Nintendo's marketing is proving brilliant; even after more than three years on the market it's one of the most sought after items. I am absolutely certain there are hundreds of thousands of these gaming devices sitting in warehouses somewhere between here and China but releasing only limited numbers each week has managed to maintain the "gotta have" attitude in a substantial number of North Americans, myself included.

I have spent the last 6 weeks phoning Walmart in the middle of the night and Superstore at opening at 7am. The answer to my question, "Do you have any Wii consoles?" is always either a flat out, "No." or "Try next Saturday."

One morning at 7:01AM the Superstore clerk said, "Yes!" My heart leaped with joy until he followed it up with, "But don't bother getting dressed because my line-up is longer than the number of Wii's I got in."

I decided then that I would just use my usual trick of "psyche boxes" this year at Christmas. My kids have learned to never get excited when they open a present and see the box because I often wrap things inside "psyche boxes" to psyche them out. It's a cheap thrill I know, but I still love it every time. I thought I'd just use my empty Wii and Wii Fit boxes and tuck socks or chocolates or something inside, along with some cash, and tell the kids they could do their own shopping in January or February.

Wednesday is "run around" day for me. It's my day off and I always have a gazillion things to do. Today was no different. About noon I was heading towards the grocery store but decided to just drive on by and go home to unload my car and make some lunch - I have to think that God was choosing to bless me this day and manipulated my thoughts and plans.

I went home and didn't arrive at Superstore until after 2 o'clock. As I passed the electronics department, out of habit I glanced at the shelves behind the counter. I spied a Wii! I could hardly contain myself as I pulled into the line behind 2 elderly women, praying and hoping all the while that neither of them was there for my Wii. They were both developing films. (Truly I didn't realize people still did that, but I blessed them all the same.)

It was my turn and I pointed and sputtered out, "I'll take that Wii." The girl reached down into a box at her feet and set one on the counter.

"You have more? I want two." By this point I was nearly peeing my pants with uncontained excitement.

"Sorry, I can only sell you one," she responded.

Meanwhile the other clerk behind the counter announces in a loud voice, "We put these out at 2 and the Wii's are nearly gone. Only 5 left."

"Shut up!" I thought. "There's no need to announce it to everyone that you have them."

Then I b-lined for the aisles. I have never been in Superstore and not run into at least one person I know. I'll find someone I know and hand them my bank card and beg them to run to the electronics department for me. Oh what glee I felt as I raced up and down the aisles in search of a recognizable face. Twice I circled the store and found no one. No one!

I even started to look into the eyes of complete strangers trying to determine if I could trust them enough to hand them my bank card and PIN number. Seriously. I did. But then I held myself in check and calmed down. I could just go with my original psyche plan for one of the kids. (at that point I wasn't willing to decide which one would have to wait)

I began my regular grocery shopping but my mind wasn't really on it and my eye was still glancing about for someone I know. Then I spied Lori from church. The poor woman. I basically bowled her over while I shoved my bank card in her face while chanting my PIN number. And off she ran.

About 15 minutes had passed since I had made my purchase. I stood around the corner and waited without a lot of hope for Lori to return. She emerged and triumphantly held up the bag saying, "I got the last one!"

Not only had I managed to score my sought after Wii's, I got coupons for free turkeys along with them. I danced my way through the rest of my shopping not really considering the fact that I had just spent nearly a thousand dollars in a grocery store. All I could think was, Thank you Jesus... and happy birthday.

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