Saturday, July 21

Harry Potter Launch

I was always supposed to go with my aunt to buy the new Harry Potter book; with her being my Harry Potter lender for the past three or so it was the least I could do. I was of course going to be the first lendee of her copy this time too.

However when I heard that Asda were doing the book for a pretty incredible five quid, I suggested that we go there; at that price I didn't mind buying my first Potter book. I had originally planned on buying a box set of some kind, but at five quid ending up with a superfluous copy for the seventh wasn't really a big deal.

We didn't know how long it would take, so we read our Esha before leaving home. We got to Leyton Mills at around 22:30, much later than we had planned to.

Asda was empty.

We were worried. Were they not selling the book? Was there no midnight launch? We asked the information desk and were relieved to be told that everything was on track for the launch an hour and a half later - we were just very early.

So we did what everyone does when they're in a supermarket with nothing to do: we hit the magazine section. Well my aunt did anyway; I picked up a copy of The Half Blood Prince and gave myself a bit of a refresher. We killed around forty five minutes this way.

We realised at around 23:15 that a queue had indeed started to form toward the front of the store. When we got there, we were around 30th in line; a bit gutting seeing as we were officially first to buy the book. Still, by my reckoning we'd easily get a copy each as long as the store had at at least a hundred books to sell (which was almost a certainty).

A member of staff told us that we were only allowed two copies each. My aunt had already been asked to get another copy, but I joked about buying a spare and selling it at a profit to someone at the back of the, now pretty huge, line. Even with restrictions, it looked pretty certain that not everyone there would get a copy.

At last, it had struck midnight. The front of the queue had begun to peel off, with each group of shoppers buying a maximum of the two copies that they were allowed to. As we approached the front, a guy who had been watching the queue for some time approached me with a nervous smile "'Scuse me bruv, can I ask you to do me a favour?"

"Sorry mate", I had already anticipated his request, "I'm already buying my two copies. I can't do it". My main concern was about the people who had legitimately queued up behind me.

"Hey man, I'll pay you", he stated, obviously, "How much are they anyway?". "A tenner each", I joked, knowing that I wasn't actually going to buy him a copy. "Okay, deal!" he said excitedly. "No, seriously, I can't" - surely I couldn't deny some poor soul at the back of the line their copy? And on top of that, I wasn't about to profit over this guy's obvious desperation.

My aunt quickly brought me down to earth: "Sell him your spare copy for a tenner and you'll get yours for free." Her Gujarati blood was obviously more potent than mine was and put that way, I didn't need any more convincing. I called the guy over and agreed to sell him my spare copy, making sure he understood that they were actually selling for a fiver at the tills.

As he handed over the cash, the tannoy was used to announce that due to demand customers were now restricted to only one copy per customer. My buyer rushed off, thanking me as he did so and promising that I'd be in his duas and prayers. Any guilt I had left was immediately quashed. And on the way back we happened to pass by the local Tesco, who appeared to have three times as many copies and no queues or customers to buy them!

I got back home around thirty minutes after midnight, my free copy of The Deathly Hallows firmly in my grasp. Not bad for a Friday night's work, eh?