After the fact reviews – I review something old and dusty, tell you why it’s great and share how I got it for free.
I got my Playstation 3 for free. Again, by free I mean, I exchanged my time for it instead of my cold hard cash. Before I get into how I got it for free, I want to explain why it’s so awesome. I can stream netflix, I can stream hulu, I can browse the internet, the online gaming is FREE, blu ray rocks, way better exclusive line up than any other platform (God of War, Uncharted, Little Big Planet, Heavy Rain, Infamous, Ratchet and Clank, Demons Souls etc..). Okay, you got me, “Playstation Home” is stupid. Lets not forget that thanks to Blockbuster’s awesome netflixesque service, I get all the games and movies I want each month for only $10 per month.
I should mention that I actually own 2 PS3s, both of which I traded time for (this story is only about my 1st free PS3, I’ll share the story of the 2nd PS3 at a later date). No I didn’t labor in someone’s back yard for a week. I didn’t clean any toilets. I just used some ingenuity.
The first PS3 came into my life on launch day November 11th, 2006 but lets back up a few days. I’d just moved out to Colorado and I was a kid of 24. I had made a couple grand buying and selling Xbox 360s one year prior when they released. I thought it’d be simple to replicate the process with the PS3 – NOT SO. Retailers were already talking doom and gloom about expected delivery numbers. It was estimated that Best Buy would see units in the low double digits but everyone else (including GameStop) would get only 3 or 4 tops. Worst of all, no one was taking pre orders. That meant my only option was to camp. That’s right, I was one of those crazy guys camping outside Best Buy waiting for a PS3. But I wasn’t just any camper, I was dubbed Best Buy’s “King of the Line”. More on that later.
Just camping by myself only assured me one PS3. I knew I would never make a killer profit with just one system. This is where my plan started to take shape. I’d hire several of my new Colorado friends to wait with me. I’d provide tents, food, water and some hackey sack fun while we waited the 36 hours for the units to go on sale. That’s right 36 HOURS (don’t even try to complain about the wait for your favorite roller coaster at Six Flags..). I deduced that wnyone else who knew there were no PS3 preorders also knew that launch day was their only shot at getting one. I also deduced there would be a crowd of a line and I was right.
My clan arrived at Best Buy at 7PM on November 9th (36 hours before launch day, Nov 11th). It was freezing cold and we immediately began setting up camp right outside the front doors. We were greeted by a manager who told us that we were not permitted to camp yet. I looked into the parking lot and saw a few twenty somethings waiting in their cars who were no doubt told the same thing only moments earlier. I pointed to the 6 or 7 people waiting in their cars and painted a picture for the manager “Do you realize the anarchy you’re going to have when there are 200 people in their cars and they all get out at once and make a beeline to get in line?” He said “It’s not my problem” and retreated into the warmth of the store.
I’m not the type to take no for an answer. My friends and I set up camp in an empty section of the frigid, November parking lot. Sure enough the guys who had been waiting in their cars approached us and attempted to establish that this was their territory. My mane wafted in the breeze as I let out a mighty roar. I let them know that the store in question had at least 22 PS3 units and so the 13 of us were guaranteed a unit as long as we worked together. They agreed. I pulled out my handy notebook and we began to keep a list of everyone and their position “in line”.
Hour by hour more and more people showed up. Hour by hour it got colder and colder. As PS3 hopefuls arrived, they were directed by others “in line” to go to me to put their names down. At midnight we were given the green light to move off the frostbit parking lot and onto the sidewalk beside the store. I took my rightful place at the front of the line followed by my 5 friends, who were immediately followed by the 6 guys who’d been waiting in their car when we arrived. With my handy notebook, I walked down the line calling out the names to make sure everyone was in line in the order that they’d arrived in. As the night went on, more and more people showed up and were directed to check in with me. Soon people started saying, “go see the King, he’s at the front of the line.”
In my car I had a huge stash of tents, food and water that I’d bought from walmart and costco to keep us fed and happy. There was more than enough snacks and water to feed an army so I graciously distributed it down the line to anyone who needed something (gotta keep the subjects in line after all).
By sun up Nov 10th there were about 50 people waiting, all with their names on my list. The morning manager arrived and approached me with a big smile on his face. There were still 24 hours before the release of the PS3 and this manager had heard that every other Best Buy was in state of anarchy. No lines, no order, people arguing, fighting, pushing, yelling, etc… I showed him my list and let him know that we were in control. He was so grateful that I was managing the line he offered me a job. I politely refused and got back to my hackey sack.
As the day went on people continued to arrive and thankfully, the sun warmed us up. I and the top 10 in the line were seated in our camping chairs in a semi circle fashion when 4 guys walked up and presented a man before me. They were holding his wrists as though he’d just committed a crime. “He left the line at 1 oclock this morning and just came back now, what should we do with him?” “Off with his head!” I declared. I stood up looked at the self appointed “line police” and said, “honestly, what do you think we should do?”. We all agreed that he’d be pushed to the back of the line. No one else left the line without permission.
By night fall we were all relatively acquainted with one another. We debated politics and religion, we laughed, some cried (no kidding, but I think alcohol played a part). All the while it got colder and colder. At around 9PM a TV news crew pulled up and of course they were directed to talk to me. I told them my secrets to creating an orderly line. They congratulated me for keeping the peace and were on their way.
Sometime later, a propane heater ended up in our chilly semi-circle and we all took refuge around it. I eventually fell sleeping comfy and warm in my camping chair. The sun rose in the morning, warming up a group of exhausted, dedicated line waiters.
After asking me to conduct a quick line check with my list, Best Buy opened their doors and the deed was done.
I had paid each of my guys $150 for waiting, Best Buy charged $600 per system, then there was the food, tents and water I’d purchased. In the end each of the 6 PS3s I bought averaged out at about $830 which includes tax. I headed home with my trophies, listed them on eBay and sold 5 of them for an average of $1000 each (after fees). With a profit of nearly $850 for 36 hours of heavy duty line waiting, I opted to keep system 6 for myself.
What’s this all boil down to? I earned $850 and a free PS3. Yes, you could say that the 6th PS3 actually costed me the $1000 I would have earned by selling it, but it was mine free and clear. I did with it as I pleased
As of this writing Wii U is coming out in a year or so… Now you go do it!