Caught up in a consumer frenzy.

3 December 2007

It happened last summer.  I was at target probably buying some sort of versatile solution for modern living. I walked past that technology corner where they have all the televisions on the back wall, and all the alarm clocks going off from some prankster who thought it would be funny to set them simultaneously. “Only one per person!” the floor manager or captain or what ever title they give to low level retail managers to make them feel important, just enough to stop them from continually stealing the merchandise. “Keep the glass locked and do not hold any behind the counter!”

flickr: carlojai

I looked around and saw the panic on the faces of the clerks. It was early, the store had just opened and maybe it was their red shirts, but I felt compelled to buy one of the coveted Nintendo Wiis, placed behind their glass protective alter. There was a noticeable change in my body chemistry. My brain kicked into overdrive as my sympathetic nervous system amped up to combat any perceived threat to my survivability. Ten minutes and almost $500 dollars later I was closing the trunk of my car. In a dream like haze I pulled onto the seven lane highway turning north. I still had to pick my wife up from Trader Joe’s, it’s common for us to split the errands when they’re so close together. It cuts down our time, and allows us to be back home by noon before it gets too busy all across town.

“I just bought us a Wii.” I told her. We had extra money and had mentioned getting on eventually maybe like three times ever. “It was $400 something dollars, we can return it if you don’t want it.” This was my out. I explained the story to her, hoping that she would want to take it home, try it out, then fall hopelessly in love with it unable to orphan it up. Somehow I could justify to myself that if she allowed it, blowing the money would be a shared burden. There was a moment of silence. Both of our mouths hung open. Finally she said in a stunned sort of way “We can’t get a wii.”

Phew.

I was relived to return it to target. When the clerk asked why I was returning it all I could say was “It was an impulse buy. I don’t really need it.”

Needless to say in a classic dues ex machina we were gifted a wii months later, now less than a week ago and the universe has return to normalcy.