76 Toys R Us – Force Friday Midnight Madness – 3rd September 2015

Troop Icons TB 2015Location
Toys R Us Govan, Glasgow 23:00 – 00:30

Mission Report
This was a kind of odd event to be honest.
I didn’t have good memories of the last time we did a midnight launch at this branch of ToysRUs, not that it was unpleasant, just that the number of staff outnumbered the shoppers who turned up (actually thinking about it the number of Troopers just about outnumbered the shoppers who turned up…) and Disney’s strategy of embargoing all the products to make the more desirable seemed massively pointless for what is a line of mass-produced products.
I sort of feel you could stay in your bed and buy the same thing on any Saturday at lunchtime between now and Christmas and be better off for it, both financially, when they become discounted after warming shelves between now and then and from having a full nights sleep instead of standing in the cold night air in Govan.

Wandering up and down the queue I felt like pointing out to them that was literally no kudos to be had from owning these things first (the obvious exception to this being the BB8 from Sphero, which was on sale at midnight for a gut clenching, stock bothering 50 minutes before I could de-kit and buy my own…) and I have to say I feel part of the secrecy is down to the really poor quality of some of the merchandise.
Sidenote: The new 3.75″ Falcon is not only a poor effort compared to the larger Clone Wars era ship but (WTF?!?  A pop up Nerf gun?  Can’t wait for that sequence in the film…) has fewer play features and a less detailed molding than the 1979 original. Figures with only 5 point of articulation?  It’s like 19-whenever Palitoy released these things first time round all over again.
Of course having little personal interest in the new film probably doesn’t help; Chewbacca, the new Nippletroopers and the aforementioned droid being the only objects on the shelves recognisable to me having never seen the trailer.  In fact the single photo of group of classic Stormtroopers at the bottom of a ramp from the first standalone film has filled me with much more excitement than any of the hype for this new trilogy.  But I digress…

Anyway, despite an aborted request for our early arrival the shopper fitters were still finishing up when we eventually did arrive and the shelves only being stocked while we were getting dressed, so lord knows what the point would have been being there any longer than we were.  Come 23:00, we were asked to go outside and entertain the people queuing prior to the store opening, but there wasn’t much opportunity for interaction and there was only mild interest in our presence from the public themselves.

Unfortunately that turned out to be the highlight of the night as once we moved indoors again, other than some staff group photos before the public were admitted, our presence was entirely redundant.  We were reduced (and to be clear I’m not blaming the staff for this as while they obviously had no idea what to do with us, I’m fairly certain everyone in costume was knackered by this time and it was all we could do to remain upright anyway…) to standing about an adjacent toy aisle, largely concealed by unrelated toy displays.  The only brief interaction came when our resident Boba Fett was asked to draw the raffle tickets for the prize draw and with the oppressive heat in the store, frankly it was a relief to be told it was time to de-kit because it meant bed was only an hour away!

“Midnight opening?”  More like Shitnight opening…

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10 Toys R Us Clone Wars Event – 25th July 2008

Location
Toys R Us Govan, Glasgow 23:30 – 01:00

Mission Report
I won’t say I told you so, but I had real doubts about the wisdom of this midnight opening in Govan from the start and unfortunately in terms of attendance by the public my fears were born out, with around a total of 15 punters on the night with varying levels of interest in our presence, leading to time being called on the event by the store before 01:00.

Not to dwell overly on the negative, but trooping works best when there are people to interact with and unfortunately for the two in armour they were left to contend with a very boring period of standing around in a hot and uncomfortable environment, which didn’t lend well to demonstrating the UKG doing what it does best, a statement which I hope is about the most negative thing I ever have to write in a field report for the whole time I take part in these troops.

On the positive side, the staff of the branch made us feel hugely welcome providing us with facilities for food and drink, and spacious (well there were only two using it) changing facilities for the TKs, as well as more than ample space to store Artoo and all his equipment prior to our 23:30 debut.
Personally I’ll remember this event for it being the little droids public debut and not the though.  I’ve found it difficult in playing droid wrangler to get an impression on the night of how the people who encountered him reacted, the role best suited to being somewhat removed and out of sight of the action, and I felt he’d been somewhat overlooked by dint of his lack of mobility due to the slidey floor tiles which his little castors had trouble achieving purchase on and reduced him to a dome spinning and beeping presence.  The feedback I’ve had since though seems to confirm that both adults and children (and security guards) were over the moon to see him and some serendipitous timing with his bank of sound samples led to at least a couple of punters leaving with the impression that it was a genuine conversation they’d had with him.

Of the good to come out of it, my mother made it along as on of our few members of the public to her first ever troop and took the opportunity to indulge in some late night toy shopping (which enabled me to score some Clone Wars figures by judiciously slipping them into the basket when she wasn’t looking); this was definitely an ideal environment to iron out the bugs in R2 and his control systems, without leaving anyone potentially disappointed in his restricted level of mobility and the manager is very definitely set on having us back during more sociable hours in future.
The stint outside (which no doubt led to several domestics between couples torn between completing their late night shopping and stopping to play with the Stormtroopers) also gave us a laugh when at least one “Glesga Jakey” probably forswore any substances stronger than tea in future, when he looked back and saw the two figures in white didn’t vanish after he’d struggled past with his Asda bags as his DT hallucinations usually do…

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