July 20, 2007
Queuing for Potter
Posted by Gordon Smith

Pottermania began this morning in the Smith household. The nearest bookstore, Barnes & Noble, is employing a distribution system that is ostensibly designed to eliminate the need to stand in lines. (At least that's what the store's employees claimed.) The bookstore began distributing wristbands this morning at 9 am, and those wristbands will determine purchasing priority for the midnight sale.

Of course, this system didn't eliminate lines. When my daughter and I arrived at the store at 7:30 am, a healthy line (100 or so people) had already formed, and it more than doubled by the time the doors opened. We are in group BB. "It's like boarding a plane," the B&N employee proclaimed.

Oh, and don't bother going to the party at the store. They will shoo everyone out at 11 pm to prepare for the sale, then reopen again around 11:45 pm ... allowing staggered entries by the designated groups.

This is my fourth midnight with Harry Potter, but I have never seen a system quite like this. Is this a Utah thing? I ask only because BYU was forever trying innovative ticket distribution schemes during my undergraduate years, and most of the schemes were disastrous. None more than the time they decided to eliminate lines by announcing the location of the ticket office for a concert on the radio at 9 am. Of course, everyone was prowling the campus in cars or bikes waiting for the announcement. No one was killed in the ensuring stampede, but several people were injured.

Finally, we prepared for the event tonight by going to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Lots of great actors, but all in all, a pretty forgettable movie. Like the books, I'm afraid.

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