I went to Borders this morning to get my number for my reserved copy of
The Satanic Verses Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, so that I would be ensured one of the first copies when it is officially released tonight at midnight. Last time, numbers were distributed, beginning at 9am and in order of arrival, and were used at midnight to determine order of pickup. It made sense — when the queue began at 11:59, folks just lined up in order of number.
This year, that’s all changed; instead of numbers (1 through 2,000 or whatever), five colors are being used, like zones for boarding airplanes. Each color represents however many hundred people – again, arranged in order of arrival this morning — and the groups will be called up, rather than numbers.
The reason for this, a manager told me, is that “the numbers last time were too contentious.”
Let me get this straight — simple numbers, assigned by order of appearance, and straighforwardly dictating order of book pickup — were too contentious to use, but assigning a color to a group of hundreds of people, then calling that and having them all push to the front, pell-mell and free of any orderly guidance, will not be?
You have got to be kidding me.