The 23-year-old stood in line all night and at 7 a.m. the next morning, it paid off. He got his hands on two of the coveted machines, both 60-gig models, one bought legitimately at the store for $659 plus tax, the other acquired on the spot from a scalper, for a steep $1,800.
The hard part done, Mr. O'Brien thought he could sit back. He would flip the PlayStation 3s just before Christmas when demand was at its peak and use the profit to buy an engagement ring for his girlfriend -- the one who brought him the clothes and the food, whom he has been dating for seven years and whom he has known since Grade 2.
But two months later, the sleek PlayStation 3 units are collecting dust in Mr. O'Brien's closet in Bowmanville, Ont., while his girlfriend is still without a ring, although Mr. O'Brien repeatedly refers to her as his wife before correcting himself each time. He is looking at unloading the systems for as little as $600 each to buyers on the on-line classified service, craigslist.org, which would roughly amount to a $1,360 loss.