I pulled up at 6:35 am and there were between 150 and 200 people there. The manager was just starting to hand out tickets. He handed out tickets to anybody that came until 6:55 am when the drawing was held.
Needless to say, I wasn't one of the lucky ones, but I did get a few decent pictures and I learned some valuable information.
First of all, only 412 PS3s were shipped to the entirety of Fred Meyer stores. They have 85 stores throughout the NW. The manager told me that they were originally told they'd get 12. They had 4. That's a third of the original shipment.
I talked to some other people standing in line who had been on an all-night hunt. One guy said that the Best Buy (the one we visited last night) handed out raffle tickets at 10:00 pm and had 32 units. The Circuit City nearby had 25 units, but were supposed to get 40. I know from my own experience that my local Baggages (EB Games) was supposed to get 12 and ended up with 5. That's pretty dismal. Sony did not deliver and more than that, they lied about how many systems they had.
Speaking with the manager, I discovered that this same store that only received 4 PS3s is getting 75 Wiis. That's right, 75 Wiis! Think about that. 85 Fred Meyers got a total of 412 PS3s. One of their stores is getting 75 Wiis. Go Nintendo!
Back to the PS3 saga...while waiting for the raffle to begin I overheard a group of three moms who thought they were buying the "Nintendo 3". One said, "No, I'm sure it's Nintendo. That's what I heard on the news." Then, when the manager was explaining that they had two 20 GB and two 60 GB systems the moms said, "what's the difference?"
The raffle soon began. The first one went to a guy who looked to be about 55. The moms, of course, knew that this was Dave from some lame Portland radio morning show. They were so angry that a "celebrity" got one. The next system went to another 55 year old. The third system went to...one of the moms! Arrrrrgggghhhhhh! They thought they were buying a Nintendo 3!!! Where is the justice in this world? I resisted slapping them and telling them that their money would be better spent on their kids' educations. Instead I waited for the fourth number to be called. At least this one went to a gamer.
Another story I overheard dealt with a mom who mentioned that finding a PS3 was a "three state operation". She has family in Arizona and Colorado. Locally, her family is spread out across Portland. Their collective goal is to get as many PS3s as possible. They'll pool what they get and then decide what families will get them for Christmas.
All in all, it is a fun day. Of course, you'll be able to tune in to any cable news channel today to hear about lines, fights, cops, and drive-bys (the drive-by was a bb gun). I just wish I had a PS3.