|Posted on December 3, 2013 at 3:15 PM|
Or… How Physical Media is Alive and Well
Through a devilish cocktail that was both beautiful and horrible, crafted from equal parts boredom, morbid curiosity and my own thriftiness, shaken thoroughly in a crucible of suffering and then poured over icy despair into a crystal tumbler of misery, I found myself at a Super Wal-Mart this past Thursday – aka “Thanksgiving” – evening.
While you were likely spending time with loved ones, a warm fire gently crackling in the background as you are surrounded by the remnants of a picked clean turkey carcass and piles of dishes and sitting back in front of the gentle electronic phosphorescence of a flat panel TV and letting metabolism and liquor take their natural courses, I opted to spend over three hours – surrounded by thousands, and yet, alone – waiting for a slim shot at obtaining one of the pre-Black Friday mega door buster deals. (They had an HP laptop on sale for $178. Granted, this computer certainly wouldn’t have the prowess to run Maya, play God of War 2 or probably even run SMPL or Composer, but its specs were certainly up to the punishing amount of Pinterest, Instagram and e-mailing that my wife will be throwing at it. Also, my wife has been a real trooper about using my old, hand-me-down laptop that just might have fallen out of my backpack during CEDIA Atlanta and slid about 20 feet down the sidewalk and then had a full cup of coffee spilled on it and now runs with all the speed and fury of virus-laden Windows 95 machine with a fan that thinks it is part of an industrial kitchen’s convection oven.)
(Also, I might have gone out and watched Catching Fire just hours before my shopping trip to the Cornucopia which is our Super Wal-Mart. Part of some subliminal training and readiness plan to prepare to handle the crowds? Maybe. Either way, after watching Katniss for nearly three hours, I felt more than ready to go all Finnick on anyone that tried to stand in the way of securing that mega deal for my District!)
So, I find myself standing in line – sadly sans trident or sugar cubes – and find that it is a wonderful opportunity to people watch. Granted, the people you see on a pre-Black Friday sale at Wal-Mart are not what most would consider “salt of the earth,” but most also aren’t the trolls and monsters that the newscasts would lead you to believe are seeking to burst through the doors, trampling anyone into their path and willing to kill each other over some deeply discounted Roomba. While I did see one girl crying, and several people parading around with 32-inch flatscreens held high aloft above their heads like conquering District 1 careers returning from a successful marauding, for the most part people were pretty orderly and remained queued up. (Though, now that I think about it, the PA announcements could definitely be analogous to the cannon blasts, the sale fliers like the parachute rewards from sponsors, the Black Friday tip sites like mentors, the hourly sales shifting to different parts of the clock-faced arena, the store manager the gamemakers… My god! Wal-mart really is The Hunger Games!)
But while I’m standing in line, watching people shuffle with that feral, wild and hunted look in their eyes, I started to notice how many people have stacks of movies. Armloads of DVDs. Shopping carts full of Blu-rays. Piles and piles of movies being purchased by nearly every person that I saw.
When I finally secured the lime-green wristband guaranteeing me my laptop – the odds were ever in my favor! I got the 21st of 21 available laptops! – I headed over to the dairy section where the insidious gamemakers had (naturally) set up all the sale DVDs and Blu-ray discs.