Friday, November 27, 2009

    Toys R Us - Minutes to Midnight

    Linkin Park's song "Minutes to Midnight" would have been a fitting accompaniment as Dalynn and I were preparing to rush in to the Virginia Beach Toys R Us tonight at the stroke of 12 am. My heart was pumping and I was curious as to whether or not I would have to do battle to get through the door and claim our spoils.

    Yes, Dalynn and I went to a midnight Black Friday event at Toys R Us, and boy, was it something!

    Waiting in line was an event all in itself and quite festive. There were a ton of teenagers in line, all waiting to secure their $199 iTouch 8GB with a $50 gift card attached. There were a lot of parents mine and Dalynn's ages. There were also plenty of people missing teeth. Quite an eclectic crowd.

    And the smoke! Seemed like every 5th person was puffing away, one after the other. I've never been outside and felt like I was in a pool hall before.

    Then the line started to move and in we went! It was a bit like going over the drop on a roller coaster. As we rolled through the front entrance we realized that the line actually wrapped completely around the building, back to the front entrance. This is basically a strip mall, the line was ginormous!

    I did not, in fact, have to do battle to claim my spoils. Being prepared to wait was more the order of the day. We waited in line outside (see above) from 10:45 til 12, then waited in line inside the store (see below) as people piled up trying to get to one thing or the other. The biggest traffic jam occurred at the electronics station and it backed traffic up to the front of the store.

    The layout of the store was completely insane. Imagine the main aisles of a Toys R Us being turned into one-way streets and you might have a good approximation of what it was like. Everyone was funneled in the same direction, with people branching out to claim a prize then merging back in to the main flow. And nothing was moving quickly. You basically had one chance to grab what you wanted and then hunt for the checkout.

    And hunting for checkout was the truth! Once you had claimed your spoils you had to venture against the flow of traffic, back to the middle of the store. The exact middle. From there a line ran out to the front of the store where you could pay for your spoils. I've never seen a bigger cluster in my life!

    We made it out, having paid half of what we would have, to see that a rain storm had passed while we were inside. The line still wrapped around the building and people were soddenly and vainly hoping to make it inside for the real deals.

    It was actually really fun! I imagine that we might do it again.