The email came on Friday.
“As promised, we are emailing you with a Webkinz update. Based on our UPS tracking information, we expect to have Webkinz available on Tuesday morning at 10:00 am. We are only getting about 90 in this shipment and expect that they will be gone in a blink of an eye.”
Score! I can swing by before work on Tuesday and hopefully snag a few of the coveted items for my niece and nephew before they are all gone. I’ve been on a waiting list for almost a month now, alerted by my New Jerseyite sister to be on the lookout for a prized “Pegasus Pony” or a “Pink Poodle.”
At 9:50 I sidle up to the store front, hot coffee grasped in my hand, hoping to look like a casual passerby. Two well dressed women stand in front of the door chatting. To the people walking by they probably look like friends who just ran into each other. I can tell that they are here for the same reason as me. They keep darting their eyes towards the back of the store, hoping to spot some movement.
“She’s here!” one lady gasps excitedly.
The store owner is slowly turning on the lights in the store, carefully not looking in our direction. Eventually she walks to the front, pushing an outdoor display. The two other ladies almost trip over themselves in their haste to help her. In minutes we are all in the store. Three grown women pretending to not be making a bee line for a tiny display in the middle of the store. The “Limit 5 Per Customer” sign glares down from the top shelf, sending one lady into a panic.
“But I’m picking some up for a friend!” she agonizes.
The sales girl reassures her and tells her she can take 10. I can’t help but laugh as I reach for a pink pony. It’s not the Pegasus. Crud. Time to call my sister for further instructions. I try her home and her cell, but there’s no answer. By the time I turn back to the display I realize that I should probably claim a pink pony anyway. One of the women is piling up her spoils on the counter at an alarming rate.
I clutch the prized pony at the same time as my sister calls back. I don’t even wait for introductions.
“The Pegasus has been discontinued. I can get her a pink pony instead, what do you think?” While she confers with her daughter I walk around the display and spot a sweet little polar bear. I snatch it up, it’s perfect for my nephew.
“The pink pony is fine.” My sister comes back on the line. “It’s almost like Pegasus.”
I gather my pony and polar bear and start to walk over to the cash register. Out of the corner of my eye I spot a cute little pig towards the bottom of the display. I blame the store imposed limit and the buying frenzy of my two co-shoppers as I snatch him up. The need to buy it is stronger than I can say, and after all, I have another niece. She might be only 6 months old and definitely doesn’t spend any time on the computer, but why shouldn’t she have her own Webkinz?
The counter is covered in Webkinz, one shopper is counting them over and over, the other is agonizing over her choice. I hand over my credit card quickly. Who knows what I might do if I stay any longer. As I turn to leave the store I glance back at the small display, the three of us have decimated it. I know that by the end of the day there won’t be a single stuffed animal left. That’s OK, I overheard the store owner say that she had another 5000 on order, I can always go back.