It’s 12:49 a.m. on Friday, September 4th, 2015 also known as #ForceFriday – the day that the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens toys were made available to purchase for Star Wars fans all over the world.
As I write this, I just got home from my shopping excursion at Toys R Us and thought I’d share my experience with you.
As I approach my shopping destination – the Toys R Us in Madison Heights, MI – I’m not sure what to expect. Will there be a lot of people there already, or will the hype not live up to expectations?
The question is answered pretty quickly as I pull in to the parking lot. There are about 20 people lined up outside awaiting their chance to be the first to purchase the new Star Wars toys.
I think I was expecting to see a longer line this close to 12:01 a.m., but a shorter line means a better chance for me to score a couple of the toys that I had my sights set on.
After taking a picture of the line up and posting it to my Instagram account, I start chatting with the fellas that have sauntered up in the line behind me.
One of the guys I meet is Nick Bruce, proprietor of Motor City Toy Store, a shop that specializes in Japanese toys and collectibles.
Nick seemed like a pretty good dude right off that bat, and his stock only went up when he handed out some Star Wars swag straight from his shop to a few of us in line. I was lucky enough to score a set of Anakin Skywalker lightsaber chopsticks. Pretty damn cool if you ask me!
I ask myself, am I getting to old for this? The thought passes quickly as I remind myself that I was raised on Star Wars and I’ll never be too old for this kind of stuff.
I look behind me and I notice that the line from just 20 minutes ago has substantially grown. I estimate at this point there are about 50-60 people waiting to spend their hard earned cash.
I pass some time checking on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. I definitely have Star Wars fever at this point in time. The only cure? Spending hundreds of dollars on toys that ultimately will never leave their boxes let alone be played with.
It turns out Randy and Brian who run the Knerdout YouTube channel are also in line, and they decide to shoot an impromptu video there on the spot to give their brief thoughts on #ForceFriday.
Only 6 more minutes until the doors open and the shopping spree begins. I start to have a little anxiety wondering if some kind of Black Friday mad stampede will ensue once the doors to the store open.
I calm down by telling myself that being trampled outside a Toys R Us waiting to buy Star Wars toys isn’t the worst way in the world to die.
Is it midnight yet? Maybe I am getting to old for this.
Geoffrey, the Toys R Us mascot comes out to welcome us all to #ForceFriday. It turns out the song was right because I can confidently say after seeing Geoffrey again after all these years that I definitely don’t want to grow up, and I AM a Toys R Us kid.
The doors open, and a very orderly procession begins as we walk single file through the doors. No death by stampede for this guy!
As I walk in, a very friendly employee hands me a Toys R Us exclusive Kylo Ren The Force Awakens poster and First Order Stormtrooper Lego piece. Love me some free stuff!
I’m in the store and make my way to the Star Wars section. My goal was to pick up a couple 3.75″ and 6″ Black Series action figures.
My hopes are dashed when I realize that’s what the 19 people in front of me are also making a bee-line for. By the time I make my way up to the shelves, the pegs are pretty much empty. I manage to snag one of the last 6″ Chewbacca figures.
Not in a hurry to spend all my allowance, I decide to just leisurely stroll around the Star Wars aisles checking out the merchandise to see if there’s anything else I just got to have.
I’m tempted by the Lego Black X-Wing Fighter, but the price tag was just too high.
I spot a pallet of unopened Star Wars merchandise boxes and me and a couple of other fellas begin looking through them to see if there’s more of the good stuff in there.
Doesn’t seem like there’s anything left for me to do, so I decide to snap some pictures and just enjoy this moment in time with my fellow Star Wars fans.
Interestingly enough, I’d say 90% of the people in the store are adults. Not too many kids on the scene.
Makes me realize the impact these movies had on those of us who were raised on Star Wars. A bunch of mostly middle aged guys like me staying up late to pick up some toys for reasons that even I don’t completely understand.
You’re welcome Disney.
It’s time to go. But before I leave I remember that I better get something for my kids. They’re too young to be interested in the big kid toys, so I find a couple of cute little plush dolls that I know they’ll like.
I get a BB-8 and a Chewbacca. I’ll let the kids fight over who gets what in the morning.
I check out, only $33 dollars lighter than when I came in. I’m kind of disappointed in myself that I didn’t buy more. Maybe I should go back and get that Black X-Wing Lego set?
I’m back in my car, feeling proud of myself for staying up way past my bedtime and reliving a little bit of my youth.
I’m back at home. Check on the wife and kids, and everyone is sleeping peacefully. I wish the kids were old enough to have come with me.
Should I play with my new Chewbacca action figure before I go to bed? Nah, I’ll just tuck him away some where nice and cozy. Poor fella’s probably all tuckered out.
I begin writing my #ForceFriday recap.
I just typed 1:30 a.m. and I’m trying to convince myself to stay up and finish this post, but I’m too tired and I have to work in the morning. It will probably take me another hour to add all the pictures to this article and get it published.
The thought of staying up past 2:30 a.m. scares me. So I say what’s the hurry, it will still be #ForceFriday for another 22.5 hours. I’ll finish this post up after work.
Why I Chose Toys R Us
I could have went anywhere for #ForceFriday. There’s a Target, Walmart & Meijer pretty close to my home and all three promised exclusive The Force Awakens giveaways or merchandise. But in the end I chose to drive 10 miles to Toys R Us for nostalgic reasons.
You see the Toys R Us I went to was the very same Toys R Us that my Mom used to take me to when I was just a young padawan way back in the late 70’s early 80’s.
I felt there was something childlike and poetic about revisiting the store where my Star Wars addiction was fueled as a young boy.
All in all, my #ForceFriday experience was an enjoyable one and as I raise my own kids on Star Wars, it’s an experience I hope to share with them one day as well. Perhaps by the time Episode VIII comes out they’ll be able to join me on the adventure.
What was your #ForceFriday experience? Share it with me in the comments section below!