Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Saw Trilogy Box Set.

There is no such thing as the Saw Trilogy. Because there has been a Saw movie every Halloween since 2004, with the release of Saw IV this year, Lionsgate released the Saw Trilogy Box Set knowing full well that it would be obsolete in less than a year. So it was a very puzzling and intriguing product to put out. Like, are there gonna be cheap leftovers of it in stores next Halloween? Containing the 2-disc special editions of the first three Saws, the packaging consisted of six discs and a three-dimensional representation of the clown puppet face behind clear plastic. A useless but funny little thing to put out there, no?

Now, I have been holding off on buying any of the Saw movies. I like them, but I figured if I wanted to own them, I should wait till the series had run its course, at which time I could simply buy the complete box set. But with Saw IV in theaters, a Saw V on the way, and talk of an inevitable Saw VI on movie news sites, I decided to restrategize. Because really, it's a pain in the ass to have to scrounge around for these movies every year when I have to rewatch them in preparation for the new one. I should own them so I can watch the goddamn things. But what if I liked Saw IV? Would I then have to have a shelf with a Saw Trilogy Box Set and Saw IV next to it? I decided the absurdity of it would be hilarious enough to merit doing.

But this box set came out on Tuesday the 23rd, and with the end of the week fast approaching, I was gonna miss out on any potential first-week deals being offered with it. For example, in some places, it was slightly cheaper. And Best Buy was offering a ticket to Saw IV with the purchase of the box set. But all these deals would disappear come Sunday. However, I was busy working at Halloween Horror Nights the entire weekend, leaving me precious little time to go out and get this thing. At one point, I called a couple Blockbusters, which claimed to have it in stock. That night, I quickly popped into the Sunset Blockbuster and didn't see it, so I left, because I needed to get to Baja Fresh to get my dinner before they closed. I figured I could just get the box set later. I then created a small window on Saturday to go get it at the Los Feliz Best Buy. I drove there, losing a lot of time in traffic, and when I finally arrived, I couldn't find a single Saw Trilogy Box Set, nor a single available employee to help me, because it was so crowded. So I had to haul ass to work with no box set, and, as far as I knew, there went my opportunity for a deal.

Today, Monday the 29th, I decided I would just go and get it wherever I could. If I started watching the movies soon, I would be able to go see Saw IV by the end of the week, which sounded pretty good to me. So I called the Los Feliz Best Buy, and no one was answering, so I just said fuck it and drove there. I'd gotten a late start in the day after sleeping off a full weekend of terrorizing theme park guests by waving chainsaws at them, so hopefully this wasn't going to take... too long. When I arrived, the aisles were much more organized and free of stampeding customers than they had been on Saturday. I asked an employee about the Saw Trilogy Box Set, and he said they were sold out. Oh really? Completely sold out? I immediately realized that this was how Lionsgate was going to avoid having tons of leftover Saw Trilogy Box Sets next year. By creating enough for less than a week's worth of sales. Brilliant, guys. So I asked the employee to see which other Best Buys were not sold out yet. He shook his head and told me the closest one was in Burbank. I asked if it was near the Burbank Town Center and he said no, it was past that. He really made it seem like a far drive. I also noted over his shoulder that the monitor now listed the price as $39.99, as opposed to their original $34.99.

So I got into my car and called the Sunset Blockbuster. They told me they had it in stock for $34.98. Sounds like a fucking deal, I thought. So I drove to the Sunset Blockbuster and asked a girl stocking shelves about it. She said it wasn't in the glass case, so they were sold out. I told her I called before I drove over, and was told they had it. She told me to ask the guy behind the counter. The guy behind the counter looked in the computer, then walked over to the glass case and asked the shelf girl, who told him if it wasn't in the glass case, they were sold out. He then looked in the computer for the video game section and said, "Oh, what's today, the 23rd..." "The 29th," I corrected. He then informed me that the box set hadn't been released yet and apologized for my inconvenience. "So no other Blockbusters are carrying it?" "Yeah, not yet. Sorry."

Now, I don't know if this guy was a complete moron or if he was for some reason lying to me (indicated by his Freudian slip of the date), but I felt no desire to argue with him and have to correct him the way I had corrected the shelf girl. So I thanked him and left. I then got into my car, confirmed that I had originally dialed the correct number for the Sunset Blockbuster and that they were idiots, and then called the Hollywood Blockbuster. They told me they were sold out. So while I was in the neighborhood, I drove next door to the Circuit City and asked them if they had the Saw Trilogy Box Set. They told me they did not. So I got into my car and called the Glendale Target. They told me they were sold out. I then called the Santa Monica Target. The guy in electronics had a look around and told me they had one copy left. "Is there any way you could hold it for me?" "... for how long?" "I'm on my way to get it now." "Okay. What's your name?" "Diego." "Hello?" "I said my name is Diego." "Hello?" "Hello? Hello hello hello." "(dead silence)" And the call was cut off. At this point, I could have easily called back. But I got to thinking. The electronics guy at Target knew that there was someone on their way to pick up a Saw Trilogy Box Set. He just didn't know the person's name. So I decided to test the moral fortitude of this young man and see if he would hold it anyway.

I drove to the Santa Monica Target and walked over to the DVDs. There, sitting by itself on the shelf, was their last copy of the Saw Trilogy Box Set (priced at $37.99). So, if the guy answering the phone at electronics is any sort of litmus test, it is clearly a low caliber of men and women they seem to have working at the Target on Santa Monica. I grabbed it and examined it, walking around the store before making my purchase. While handling it, I noticed two creases on either side of the spine, like something had been crushing the box earlier. And I got annoyed, wishing I didn't have to settle and spend good money on a damaged box that I was planning to take good care of. So, just for shits, I called the Burbank Best Buy and asked them if they had any Saw Trilogy Box Sets left. A guy there said that yes, they had two left (for $39.99). I asked if it would be possible for them to hold a copy for me, and he said they weren't allowed to do that anymore, because they got in trouble. Uh, okay, whatever. I then asked if the boxes were in good condition and he said they were.

So now I was faced with a choice. Was a cosmetically damaged bird in my hand worth as much as those two potentially undamaged ones in that bush over in Burbank? It might take me a while to get there, seeing as how I had to stop for gas, drive all the way home, get directions, and then drive to Burbank. But I said fuck it-- if I was gonna pay 40 clams for three Saw movies, I was gonna do it right, god dammit. Before leaving Target, I actually took a few moments and considered hiding the slightly damaged box set behind something else. As sort of an insurance policy, in case the Burbank Best Buy fell through. But it eventually occurred to me that there might be another poor sap out there, possibly a young man like myself, wandering the streets looking for this box set. And maybe he didn't care if the box was damaged. I certainly wouldn't like it if someone came to a store before me and hid the last copy of the thing I wanted just to serve their own insurance purposes. So I put it right back where it belonged and left.

Pumped gas. Drove home. Got directions. Drove to Burbank.

The drive to this Burbank Best Buy was not very long at all. It was basically one exit past the exit I usually take for the Burbank Town Center. So the employee at the Los Feliz Best Buy was just a big drama queen. I gotta learn to expect that from most people.

At this point in my journey, I was pretty well irritated and pissed off from the constant runaround I was experiencing, but even then, I had to take pause and admire the location. It was a pretty nice Best Buy. I dashed all over the store and looked all over for the Saw Trilogy Box Set. A section in the front with lots of DVD titles. A section on the end of the DVDs with the week's new releases. And most of the DVD aisles themselves, including the horror section. In the horror section, I discovered that there was no box set. But they did have something I hadn't expected to see in any single location. All three individual Saw movie special editions. Earlier in the day, I'd been thinking about how there could no way exist a place that would so conveniently carry all three special editions, yet here they were (in abundant numbers too, I might add). And not only that-- Saw III came with the free ticket offer to see Saw IV. What luck! I grabbed these three and asked a guy if they had the box set. At this point I was just curious to compare the two things.

He looked around, all the places I had already looked, then checked the computer and said they had three left. Really? Where did the guy on the phone get two from? Between Blockbuster, Target, and Best Buy, I'm convinced that the people answering the phones for these stores are physically located on a different planet. Anyway, the guy says to me that he doesn't know where they are, but he could check the back. But he kinda phrased it like a question, as if he was asking me if I wanted him to look in the back. What is this, a potential inconvenience? Of course I want you look in the fucking back. Why is everyone on Earth a simpering kitten? Instead of asking me anything, he should have simply TOLD me he was going to look in the back, because he works there and he has eyes and legs.

Anyway, he came back emptyhanded, and I told him to just forget about it; I was going to buy them individually. But before I did, I asked him if he knew what theater chains would accept the free Saw IV ticket (kinda have my heart set on Grauman's). He didn't know, but decided to really hammer home the idea that most chains would not accept it. He said the nearby AMC wasn't taking it, and I would probably be hard-pressed to find a chain that did. Where is this guy's manager? Is there any training program at Best Buy or do you just show up on the first day and get a blue shirt, name tag, and a punch in the face?

As I walked to the register, I thought about the price labels on these discs. Saw was $9.99, Saw II was $14.99, and Saw III was $19.99, which meant that I would be paying about $45 instead of $40 for the box set. And I knew that Target did have a bunch of copies of Saw II for $9.99, which I could probably pick up the next day when I went back there to use a gift card for the new My So-Called Life box set, but I couldn't bring myself to put anything back on the shelf now. To paraphrase Dr. Jack Shephard, I needed it to be over. I needed it to be done. And to my great surprise, Saw II rang up as $9.99 after all. The future leader of tomorrow working the cash register also had no idea which theater chains would take the free ticket, by the way.

So today I inadvertently set off on a day-long quest to obtain the Saw Trilogy Box Set and I ended up getting all three movies individually for the same price, plus a free ticket to Saw IV. And next year, if I decide to buy Saw IV on DVD, the saga's not gonna look so absurd on my shelf.


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