It's only been almost 11 months now since many of us toughed out the wild late night crowds for the AOTC (& Saga) version of Midnight Madness (Part II) last year, but what were your experiences, if any, related to the original Midnight Madness back in 1999, corresponding with the release of the new Episode 1 figure line? Did you go? What was it like?
I had earlier staked out a local Toys 'R' Us in Orange County, to swing by at midnight to pick up the new Ep. 1 figures. I had my wife stalking our local KayBee up by our house for the Midnight release as well (just to cover all bases). Little did either of us realize what was in store for this event...
I swung by the Tustin TRU around 11:30pm to hop in line a little early just to be safe. What I saw as I entered the parking lot was a site to behold. The line was already several hundred people long and wrapped all the way through the entire shopping complex. After regaining my senses following this surprise, I immediately jumped on the phone and told my wife she better get over to her KB quick, as this was going to be far bigger and more crowded than I ever expected.
I hopped in line, disappointed at my prospects at this point, and waited. Finally, at around 12:15am the doors opened, and all madness broke loose. No crowd control or plan was initially implemented at this TRU. Hundreds just bumrushed the SW section, and grabbed at anything they could get their hands on. Total insanity! By the time I finally made my way in and through the crowd, the majority of the figures were gone, and people were starting to brawl over the last few pathetic little "Battle Bags" - that's how bad it was. I didn't even attempt to find anything. Just gave up and took the whole scene in for posterity's sake. A true spectacle to behold.
After a good 45 minutes to an hour of pure bedlam, the TRU employees asked everyone to make their purchases and exit the store. They said that they'd quickly clean up the mess, restock the pegs, and let us all back in for round 2 if we were interested. With nothing in hand, I bolted for the door, and a prime spot at the front of the line, while everyone else was proceeding through the checkout lines.
When they re-opened about 45 minutes later, the TRU employees had developed and implemented a game plan to keep the chaos to a minimum. Single file line, grab one figure from each peg and keep moving in a slow and steady manner. It surprisingly worked quite well the second go 'round, and I got pretty much all the loot I was looking for - completely filling up my small hand basket (no room for carts) and overflowing items out of my shirt, arms and anywhere else I could stash stuff. I unloaded my figure stash in my car and went back in for round 3 to pick up more figures for the loose set and the vehicles and larger items that I couldn't carry earlier. I eventually wound up with everything, so all in all, I was pleased and can look back on that night with some very wild and fond memories!
Not so much for my poor wife though, as there was a similar scene, though in a much smaller and more confined store at KB. She dove in there like a real trooper, amidst a good 75-100 guys, and grabbed whatever she could. Took one helluva beating in the process too... Worked well though, since she wound up with some nicer cards than I had found, so we combined the goods, picked the best stuff, and returned the extras.
What a night! So how 'bout you? What are your memories of Midnight Madness back in 1999...?