Hurry up and wait

This time the people who encircled the big box at the corner of Pico and Sawtelle boulevards on the west side of Los Angeles didn't come bearing flowers and Sharpies.

They didn't come with signs, or stars in their eyes, either.

This time there was no Paris Hilton to see bend and grin for the cameras. There was no rock star legend like Dave Navarro to impress with an air-guitar solo.

This time the masses came caffeine-stimulated and loaded for bear, with blankets and soda and pizza and money — lots of money. If they came with joy in their hearts, there was no outward sign of it by dawn of the third and final day. These people were drained of whatever happiness might have driven them to stand in line for three days and nights in the hopes of spending more than $500 on a PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system. Supply was so limited it was expected to sell out quickly.

The weary gamers were in no mood to speak come sunrise Friday, particularly since more than half the others who had camped out with them were permitted to purchase their PS3s at midnight. Those who remained had been told to wait another eight hours because, well, someone important probably decided more suffering would be good for them.

No PS3 for you!

Some campers grumbled as they awoke, wondering if they had been played, that all the hype about a limited supply of the games might just be a publicity stunt. I expect they'll be watching the stores, ready to cry foul if more consoles show up before Christmas.

The LAPD appeared ready for the situation to turn unpleasant. Although there wasn't an officer in sight at dawn, a mobile substation sat just outside the doors of the Best Buy. The vehicle itself was an imposing presence. After reading about some of the nonsense that occurred elsewhere, perhaps it was a wise step.

But there was no violence here, only frowns and yawns. The campers were not turned away, however, a couple dozen people who lined up behind the campers beginning at 6:30 a.m. were sent packing a half hour later by a store employee. All the PS3s were spoken for. Like the saying goes: You snooze anywhere but on the pavement for three days and you lose. Game over.

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