Ordered one online on Wed: logged on 15 min early to make sure I was good to go, and saw that I could buy it already. Did, got the confirmation email, etc.
Late Thursday night (10 ish) I got a cancellation email. They said they would try to find a replacement, but I could try my luck at my local store. I set my alarm for 6, and figured I could drive by and see what the line looked like.
Showed up at Sams this morning at about 6:20, maybe 20 or so in line (hard to tell, as lots of people were holding spots for people in cars). The girl handing out tickets said they had 6, but weren't doing tickets for the TV. if they had, I think they would have all been gone already, and I would have been back in bed 10 minutes later. I asked her if there were 6 people in front of me who had already said they wanted the TV. She said "Um, either 5 or 6, I wasn't counting. It will be close". I think there were more like 8 or 9.
Got to go in the first wave (I think I was #31, after all the people came out of their cars at 6:59) but the guy counting at the door happened to be the guy I had been talking to on Wednesday when I went in to see if I could look at it in person, and we had chatted for a few minutes about the set. He recognized me, even gave me a wink and pointed to where they were, so he let me slide in. Or maybe I was number 30. All I know is that the guy behind me didn't get to go in the first wave.
People in front of me were all stopping to get flat carts to put the TV on. Big mistake.
Got to the TV, there was a small crowd of 8 people (quick head count) already crowded around the pile, but I couldn't tell how many TV's were spoken for (again, because there were couples- so were the 8 or so people wanting 8 TV's or just 4?) Anyhow- of the 6, 4 of them had someone holding them, two didn't yet. There were all the people who had stopped for carts coming up behind me still, so I reached in to get my hand on one. I then realized, why stand here trying to hold it, I'll just drag it out of the pile and be done with it, so I just pulled one of the two unclaimed ones out of the middle of the stack and started dragging it to the registers. I did not take one that anyone else had claimed, nor did I cut in front of anyone; I did have to step on someone's flat cart, but he had one claimed already- he just had his cart blocking the whole side of the pile, waiting for the people picking off the front of the stack to get out of his way. We acknowledged each other, and I made sure I wasn't taking his TV. I thought the whole thing was very civil.
Suddenly, it got ugly behind me- people on both sides of the stack were puling on the same sets, arguing over who was in line in front of whom, yelling. They had been waiting for people to load them off the front of the pile (I say pile but they were standing upright), but after I pulled mine out sideways, everyone else tried to do the same thing. On both sides, at the same time. A lady who had been behind me (because she stopped to get a cart) was trying to get the TV that the guy whose cart I had stepped over was already holding. These people had been chatting like old friends 2 minutes earlier, comrades in the battle against the elements, and suddenly they were ready to start swinging.
I kept walking. Hard. The registers were all open, and the kids working were actually cheering me on (not sure why, really- I guess seeing a 40 year old dude dragging a 65" TV through the store is entertaining). I was the first one to the registers, and the first one out the door (again, I was the last in my wave).
When I left, there was still half a dozen people, 1 TV and a store employee there, trying to resolve who got it. The guy at the door gave me a two big thumbs up, and told me to let him know what I thought of it next time I come in.
A lady who was 50 if she was a day old, who had only gone in to get the iTunes cards actually stopped and helped me load it in my vehicle (I underestimated how heavy it would be), even though it was cold as hell, and she looked like she just wanted to get home.
The whole thing makes me a little ill. I don't think I did anything wrong, but I feel...dirty.
I do feel a little better about my chances in a zombie apocalypse, though.