A friend of mine told me last week about the PS 3 release. I had it all planned out: camp out in front of Best Buy the night before with tent, generator, and electric feet warmer. Then I could purchase the 60 gig gaming system at $600 retail and sell it on e-bay for a cool $1500-2300. Call me crazy for being willing to camp out for a gaming system, but anyone would be stupid to turn down a grand if they had a shot. Unfortunately it didn’t work.

Yesterday’s (Thursday) Indpls star featured an article about how gamers were already lining up at Best Buys around the city. I threw down the paper and drove to Walmart to find a line that had been formed the night before, broken up by management, and then reformed by 6am that morning. One chinese man brought his entire family to sit in a few of the 12 seats that Walmart placed in an aisle next to women’s clothing in an effort to get the determined ps 3 crowd away from the front door. The only problem was that Walmart was only getting 6 or 8 systems(according to the kid I talked to in their media section). The remaining people in line would receive a voucher for first dibbs on the next shipment, which might not be until February. Our Chinese friend had secured his seat at number 6 and was trying to bribe the 5 people in line ahead of him with cash to guarantee his family members a ps3.

On to target – similar story. At first I causually strolled into Target’s media section on the southside of Indianapolis and found no line. “This is it,” I thought to myself, “I’ve outsmarted the crowd and am going to get one.” The lady behind the counter informed me, however, that the line was outside the store at the opposite entrance from the one I entered. No less than 2 other guys behind me in line with the same idea overheard her tell me this and bolted for the door. Outside, tents were set up and tickets already distributed for Target’s 6 systems. One guy offered his spot for $1,000. By this point ps3’s were selling for $1600-$3K on e-bay and one guy in Arizona was trying to auction off his spot in line at Best Buy, claiming his was guaranteed a system. I did the math in my head and decided that my cost of $1600 ($600 system+ $1000 place in line) didn’t justify the ROI if I only walked away with $2K on ebay.

Today I’m kicking myself. Ebay’s highest bid is at $8100 with a few optimistic sellers looking to get $15K-25K. Now that would have paid for Christmas. My plan now: try for Ninetendo Wii tomorrow. Beech Grove’s Walmart is getting 22 Wii systems. At $250 retail and around $600 on ebay, an extra $300 big ones could help make Christmas the most wonderful time of the year.