Shopping As Hero’s Quest

To complete my cultural survey, today we went to the mall. Had this been a comparative cultural survey, we would have also gone to this mall, where they have valet parking, which could be quite handy given the size of mall parking lots.
Nintendo has done an amazing job marketing the apparently amazing Wii video game. For two holiday seasons now they have restricted manufacturing, so it is very hard to get. Here in the Daytona FL area, local Wal-Marts are getting 15-18 units each Wednesday, with un-crating and shelving at about 11:30 AM. After a month or two of looking around, my hosts finally got one yesterday. Amazingly, after all that questing, it sits awaiting connection 24 hours later. I suppose there’s no rush, but it seems like getting it was more important than using it, a decent definition of excess consumption. I make no judgments—it seems like the first video game I’d be interested in playing. It looks like I won’t get to find out before I leave, though I’m sure if I was all that interested we could have set it up yesterday afternoon or this morning.
Today the quest was for 1) lunch (Chik-fil-A); 2) Books-A-Million (really low-vibration experience); 3) Sunglasses evaluation ($180 for molded plastic?!?); 4) Camera evaluation (40D definitely fits my hands better than the XTi). And: Success! We did it! It took five hours, including about two hours of driving. I used the mall stop as an exercise opportunity, getting in three walking circuits before the time was up. Now, a little zoning before supper.
On the plus side, I highly recommend Colonial Photo and Hobby in Orlando, FL. Don’t let the cheesy website fool you. They are a true old-time camera shop, with a lot of experienced sales guys who really know their stuff. They sell Leica, where the M8 is $5,000 (body only) and the typical first lens is $5,300. They had the Canon XTi and the 40D in stock, as well as all the lenses I wanted to try, and they were happy to put them on the cameras and let me shoot away. Bring your own CF card and take it home to evaluate. A truly great resource in this era of know-nothing Ritz Camera minimum-wage lackeys. Like most specialized retail, the web has decimated the photography market, so it’s nice that Colonial is able to stick around, offering workshops, one-day and weekend photo trips, and generally pricing stuff within reason of the online shops. Yes, a bit more, but they’re offering a real service. If I wasn’t waiting to see what is released at PMA in January, I would have bought a package there today.