His name is Cody. And he schooled me today. Boy, did he ever.
I walked into Best Buy a gaming system virgin. Yes, folks, embarrassing to admit this at my advanced age, but it’s true and I’m not ashamed to say it. I walked out more worldly. And it only took 25 minutes.
There I was, in a sea of last-minute shoppers and not a royal blue I’m-here-to-help shirt to be found. I wandered from console to console, trying to figure it all out.
The first system told me to wave my hand to get it to “recognize” me. I tried a slight raise of the hand. Nothing. Still trying to be unobtrusive, I gave it the queen wave. Nada. As I progressed through a series of increasingly vehement gesticulations, nearby shoppers kept a careful 10-foot radius, I’m sure wondering if I was perhaps off some necessary medication. When the console finally deigned to acknowledge my presence and I began slicing through the air wildly with my hands, defending myself from virtual flying fruit, I believe the radius allotted me by anyone over the age of 20 doubled.
The younger ones seemed to think my behavior was absolutely normal. Which led me to find the youngest salesperson I could find. You guessed it–Cody. I’m sure he had to be at least 16 but he looked about 11—seriously. Given the ratio of employees to shoppers, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d said child labor laws be damned. I probably should have offered them my 12-year-old.
Poor Cody had been relegated to stocking shelves and looked so young that most shoppers were ignoring him. “Excuse me,” I said. “But do you know anything about gaming systems?”
Cody’s eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. I was not only offering him an escape from unpacking yet one more verson of “Ivy the Kiwi” games (I just threw that in there to show off my newfound knowledge. Don’t feel bad if you’re not familiar with this particular game, newb. Lucky you have me to enlighten you.), I was offering him the chance to initiate the novice.
“I’ve been playing them my ENTIRE life,” he said. “Follow me.” When I made it clear I was shopping for two boys and knew nothing, he took me on a whirlwind tour.
It was a bit like trying to speak Swahili to a native, to be honest. He rattled off what I needed; we debated wireless vs. wired, online vs. in-system, and the age appropriateness of certain games. As he asked me questions in rapid-fire succession, determining exactly what the “dream” package would be for my sons, a throng of shoppers started to gather. They were sensing I’d hit upon a goldmine they’d passed right over.
Middle-Aged Hippie moved in first. As Cody ran back to the storeroom to see if they had a component, this interloper tried to move in on my turf. “Can you tell me more about the online gaming package?” he asked hopefully. “No!” I responded for Cody. “He can’t. Find your own young genius. This one’s mine.” As he huffed off, Suburban Mother looked at me worriedly. She seemed to be having a flashback of my waving episode. That’s all it took for her to move away. Lost Grandparents stuck it out but were so sweet. Who can be mean to old people from Idaho? Certainly not me. I let them listen and learn.
Before I left, the four of us tried to outwit some virtual ninjas. It was all fun and games until Grandpa tried a drop-and-roll as Grandma swung her samurai sword. I threw a ninja star at our attackers before I had to go. I missed but I knew my compadres were ok. Cody was providing cover.
They were in good hands.