The last book in the Harry Potter series was being released on the East Coast at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, but lines for bookstores are usually really long on the first night of the release, and you usually have to pre-order the book in order to even stand in the line.
I also knew from previous experience that I could get the book for about half the price at Wal-Mart, only $18, as opposed to the $35 retail price in the real bookstores. Briefly, I had considered ordering it online ahead of time, but even with a 30% discount, it would come to almost $35 with shipping - somewhat unreasonable, no matter how good this book is.
Friday morning I called the Naugatuck Wal-Mart to make sure they weren't going to have a midnight event. They were not. However, they were opening at 7 a.m. on Saturday - an hour earlier than I had first thought. If I wanted to get it a midnight, they said, I would have to go to the 24-hour Wal-Mart in Wallingford.
I decided that I would either stay up until 7 a.m. (I get home from work about 2 a.m. and usually don't go to sleep until 4 a.m.) or get three hours of sleep and then go get the book.
As I was driving home from work around midnight Friday, I began to see flaws in my plan. Would I REALLY drag myself out of bed at 7 a.m.? And would I REALLY be going to go back to sleep after I had the final chapters in my hand, or would I stay up all day reading, and then not being able to function for work the next day?
No, it would be much better to get the book now, I thought, at midnight, when I was wide awake and would have several hours available for reading before I passed out.
I called a co-worker and asked her to look up the address for Wallingford's Wal-Mart. It was on Route 5, she said, and I was vaguely familiar with the area.
Forty minutes later, I was driving north on Route 5, having passed through the center of Wallingford and going several miles north of town. There was no Wal-Mart in sight. I was doubting my direction skills, thinking that perhaps I should just turn around and go south on Route 5 instead. But I didn't want to give up so easily, so I called my boyfriend and asked him to look up the exact location. Perhaps he could tell me if I had gone too far.
While he was looking it up, I pulled over into a parking lot on my right, think I would just wait it out. I didn't want to go in either direction, in case it was the wrong one.
A few minutes later, my boyfriend said "it looks like it's north of Wallingford." I got back out on Route 5, and the first thing I see on my right is the big blue sign for Wal-Mart. "Good thing I didn't turn around!" I said and hung up the phone.
I quickly parked and walked inside the double doors. The store was huge, much bigger than any other Wal-Mart I have ever seen. I started wandering around, trying to figure out where they kept the books. It was almost 1 a.m. by then, and I was hoping they still had books left. My roommate needed a copy too, and I had promised to get her one if I could.
Finally giving up, I stopped a young attendant and asked him where to find books, THE book.
"See that line when you came in?" he said.
"Nope," I said, thinking "oh, shit. They will definitely be out of books before I get there."
The young man walked me past the registers and back to the entrance. He stopped and looked confused.
"Oh," he said. "Well, there WAS a line."
He then pointed toward Customer Service and I ran up to the first available cashier. There were stacks of books along the side, and about 15 cashiers working on just selling Harry Potter.
I got my two copies and rushed home. It's been hard to get anything else done since. The new book is fantastic. Although I've only read about 200 pages so far about the 749-page masterpiece (work got in the way), I am sure I will be done with it before the week is over.
My roommate has been plowing throught it at every waking moment, and she only has about 200 pages left. Luckily, we both have tomorrow off. Wanna guess what we'll be doing?