Plan A for Sunday: Take the kids to the footy, meet up with Tony, Rae and Phoebe and watch the Cats lose.
Plan B for Sunday: Walk down to Dick Smith Powerhouse, buy an XBox game, come home, play it. Maybe have a bounce on the trampoline at some stage.
When these two plans were proferred to the kids, they voted unanimously for Plan B. The footy would have to wait. (And yet the Cats didn’t lose. I know I tipped them, but I wasn’t that confident.)
So, plan B then. First time for a quick bounce on the trampoline. Maybe some children are pack animals. That would explain why they won’t go into the back yard on their own for a bounce, but if I have to go out to hang up some laundry, they follow promptly and end up squabbling for a turn.
Then we headed out down the street, with nary a complaint about the walking. Good exercise, and all part of the learning experience for when the offspring eventually venture out on their own: crossing streets and railway lines, posting letters (thank you to the Australian Electoral Commission for confirming my address, and good luck to you in finding the previous tenant), watching out for cyclists, reading signs along the way, navigating the neighbourhood, all that good stuff.
We got to Dick Smith. A couple of nicotine addicts were standing by the door, dragging the last out of their cigarettes before going in, the lady’s rather pregnant stomach on view to the world below her cropped Madonna-style t-shirt. Poor kid. We dodged the smoke and they stumbled in after us, speech slurred, eyes tired.
The video games are just inside the door. Very cunning marketing. You can picture a parent taking their kids along to buy a diode or a resistor or a metre of wire or something, and being talked into getting Simpsons Hit And Run (RRP $99.95 — argh) as well. But I’d already worked out what we were buying: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Got good reviews, nice movie tie-in, and RRP of $49.95. Not excessively exhorbitant, though as Mr Nicotene remarked as he passed me, “Mate, get yourself a mod-chip. Then the games are only 10 bucks each.”
Uh huh. That may be true, but as someone who writes for fun, and writes software for a living, I’m getting less and less comfortable with the whole intellectual property theft thing. And $10 for a pirated game?… sounds like he’s getting ripped off. But anyway…
Dick Smith’s price for our coveted game? $46.93. With the $5 voucher I got from redeeming bottle rings from juice we would have drunk anyway? $41.93. You beauty. Cheap video games from drinking fruit juice. You can’t beat it.
Oh yes you can. Took it to the check-out, and the lady scanned it. $29.84. What? Yup, $29.84, less the $5, making $24.84. Jeremy, eagle-eyed, exclaimed “I thought it was $46!” Now, I wasn’t about to get into an argument with a Woolworths Corporation drone about the price. It definitely scanned as the right game. So I replied to Jeremy, “maybe it’s on sale?” The checkout chick didn’t seem to care anyway, and happily took my $24.84. Computer error or impromptu discount, whatever it was, it seems us consumers won this time.
We took the game home, via Brumbies and their mini choc-chip muffins. And played for a while. Despite my previous ranting about modern video games, this one is a winner. Gorgeous graphics and fun gameplay. Fun fun fun.