I swore that I would never do another midnight launch event, only because, I honestly think I’m just too old to do them anymore. I usually just order all my stuff on Amazon these days and just have them delivered to me on release day. Even with such an anticipated console like the PlayStation 4, I was just going to order it on Amazon, but that never happened. Amazon had a limited number of pre-orders and I missed out on that boat so I had to make the decision of either trying my luck Friday morning or attempting a midnight launch somewhere. I decided to do midnight launch for a higher chance of actually being able to find one and where did I decide to do it at? Best Buy.
So my plan was to head on over to Best Buy around 10:00pm with my cousin who was also going to be purchasing one figuring that 10pm was a good time. We also decided not to head to our local Best Buy and instead go to one about 30 minutes away from us in which I had heard that they would have way more supply than a lot of the other Best Buy stores near us. However, when we reached our destination, we were greeted by what looked like well over 100-200 people standing in a line that wrapped around the corner of the building. At that point, we were a little worried that we might not get one, but we decided to try our luck anyways and stand in line.
Now, let me tell you about how organized this Best Buy was, which by the way, was the Best Buy in Doral, for those of you who live in Miami, FL. They had 2 lines set up, one for pre-orders and one for those who didn’t. The pre-order line was super short with what I counted as less than 10. The other line however was very long. I would later find out that a lot of those people had been waiting in line since noon. When we got to the back of the line, we met up with one guy who we discovered actually worked at this Best Buy location, and had to wait in line like everyone else. We chatted for a bit before he left to go find out from the manager exactly how many units they had in stock. He came back, head high, and told us that they had well over 400+ units! Our hopes were quickly raised that we would definitely be getting one.
About half an hour later, a Best Buy employee came out explaining how they were handling the launch and distribution of PS4 consoles. Basically, everyone in line would receive a “ticket” with a number on it. They would then let everyone in line enter the store early before midnight in order to pre-purchase the console. They were letting people in in groups and you were able to buy the console and whatever accessories and games you needed. You got to keep the accessories and games, but would have to either wait in a second line outside to pick up your console after midnight, or come back tomorrow morning. Each console was given a number which corresponded to a numbered ticket that they gave to you after payment.
Well, we got our tickets a few minutes later and waited patiently in line as they let small groups in. When it was finally our turn, we entered the store and were ready to pay but instead were told that we would have to jump through a few hoops before being able to purchase. First we had to try on some Turtle Beach headsets at some display they had and tell them how “awesome” they were. Then they stamped our tickets that we had. Next we had to stop at a router stand in which they were trying to sell us wireless routers. We said no and got our second stamp. The stand we arrived us had some guy talking to us about Best Buy’s exclusive $800 bundle package which included way too many things to even list here and too many things we didn’t even want. After saying no to that too, we got our last and final stamp and were able to pay for our PS4 consoles.
At checkout, they had stacks and stacks of PS4’s there. You would pay for yours, they would stick a number on the box that you paid for and give you a ticket with the corresponding number. Because it wasn’t midnight yet, we couldn’t just grab ours and go. Instead, we had to go back outside and stand in a second line with everyone else who had just purchased their PS4’s.
As midnight rolled around, the original line was stopped temporarily and they could no longer pay for their PlayStation 4 console. Why? Well, in order to let the second line of those who had already purchased pick up their waiting consoles so they could go home. Again, groups of people were let back into the store so we could give them our tickets and have them retrieve our units from the back room. It was a painless process and we were both in and out within a matter of minutes.
Once everyone who had pre-paid for their consoles was done, then Best Buy started letting in the other line again to purchase what they had left. By then it was time to leave. I did make sure however to open up my PS4 box before I left, just to make sure I wasn’t leaving home with a box of bricks instead of a PS4.
Overall, this was one of the most organized and pleasant launch events I had been to with no one screaming foul at people cutting in line or crying over not being able to secure a console. Also, I’m so glad Best Buy limited each customer to only 1 console per person, which helped as I know many would have bought multiple units if they could. With that said, if I were to ever do another midnight launch, I would not hesitate to do it at this Best Buy location thanks in part to their organization and the fact that they actually got a ton of stock, unlike some other places.