Toy Story 3 And The Pursuit Of Mad Men

January 3, 2011

I don’t know how well you do with your Christmas gifts, but I usually do quite well with mine. I try to gloss over the odd turkey, which tends to come in the form of a gadget. Toy Story 3 and the Mad Men box set series 1 to 3 DVDs were the few items I wanted, but didn’t get, so I decided to get them myself. I waited a few days for the madness of the sales to calm down, then I set off to HMV with cash in hand and my mental list.

Don Draper with toy story characters Woody and Buzz Lightyear sitting on his shoulders

You REALLY need to lay off the sauce now, Don

In the weeks leading up to Christmas there were piles of Mad Men box sets. Toy Story 3 had not long come out, so I knew there’d be plenty of copies. Easy shopping! Found Toy Story 3 and then started looking for the Mad Men box set, but all I could find were the individual DVDs series 2 and 3. I was perplexed. I found an assistant who was absolutely lovely. She went off to find out about the box set and came back to tell me they had sold out everywhere! I didn’t think it was that popular. Where did all these Mad Men fans come from? She said they may get a new batch in a few weeks and assured me it would be at the same sale price of £30. With that reassurance, I went to the cash desk and found myself facing this young Goth, who unlike my helpful girl wouldn’t have recognised service if it punched him in the face. I decided to make him work for his money and asked him about the Mad Men box set. He replied, in surly fashion, that there would be a new batch, but it would be at the original price of £60. I was not happy.

I made my way quickly to a shop called Fopp, where on previous visits I have found interesting and sometimes hard to find music and films at a decent price. I was bound to find the Mad Men box set there, I thought, but was faced with the same two individual DVDs that were in HMV. My heart sank. I found a different DVD that I couldn’t find in HMV and paid for that. As I was going up the stairs, I passed an assistant and started to ask about the box set, but he was dealing with another customer and couldn’t help me. I was now beginning to wish I had bought it before Christmas when there were plenty of copies and had not left it so I now find myself in this sorry state.

I was heading towards the exit when I saw another assistant talking to his mate. I decided to ask one more time with a flicker of hope in my heart. If they didn’t have it, then I’d have to let it go. I went up to him, apologised for interrupting his conversation and asked the question. His answer was this: He thought there might be a copy in the shop. He remembered that someone had returned it because they had a duplicate. He then started saying something about the packaging being untouched, but quite frankly, I had stopped listening because my heart was beating loudly in anticipation of getting hold of this golden box set. He said he would go and check, so I held my breath as I awaited his return. Could I dare to hope that it was there for me? Could I really? The assistant soon reappeared – and lo! He came with box set in hand and at sale price. I could now breathe again. I made my purchase and left the shop as light as a feather.

Mad Men DVD box set series 1 to 3

And the moral of this story? It ain’t over ‘til it’s over, ladies and gentlemen.



  1. Mad Men extremely popular, won all kinds of awards and one of my faves. Enjoy.

    • I have every intention of enjoying series 1-3 all over again when I get a free weekend.

  2. Never surrender, Pie!

  3. Haven’t seen Toy 3 yet, but you will love Mad Men. The entire theme of the show can be summed up in one word – inauthenticity. Every main character finds some sort of justification for living a lie. It’s exceptional writing, and all the awards are deserved.

    • I had written about Mad Men in previous posts on this blog, so I’m not a complete stranger to it. In fact the fourth series finished not that long ago on BBC4 and I thought it was a belter. Having said all that, if you had recommended it to me, I would’ve given it a go as I know you are a man of quality. Unfortunately, Rupert Murdoch has got his hands on it, so it will now be on Sky from series 5 onwards. As I won’t subscribe to Sky out of affordability and principle, it looks like I’ll have to wait for the DVD to come out. Or go down the illegal route to get the episodes. I’m not happy.

      • By the way, Toy Story 3 is excellent. I didn’t think it would top the first two and I was a little cautious because of the super hyped reviews, but it is as good as everyone says. I didn’t get the hanky out, but I acknowledge it was a bitter sweet end and I think it tied up things nicely.

  4. I’m glad you persevered and got exactly what you wanted, with a few interesting encounters along the way. A very Buddhist quality by the way!!!

  5. Happy New Year Pie!

    Well done on getting your purchases!
    I have put on my wish list for next years pressies:
    Happy Feet & Shark Tale and Wall-E (can'[t believe I had never seen these!) – hopefully there will be plenty of stock as these films are quite old now!

    I understand your frustrations with ‘staff’ and how helpful was the young man who made your day! – makes a nice surprise. Had to make 2 call to customers various services this morning – one sounded like a miserable cow and the second one was rather chirpy – one kind of forgets how these people we interact with can effect our day/moods so much!

    May we come across many more nice people in the line of duty!

    • I try to be the nice, helpful customer as much as possible. I’m fully aware that the job some people have to do to keep body and soul together can be demoralising at times, especially if it’s dealing with the public. Because let’s face it, some people are annoying, ignorant, or just plain rude. I do get a little narked when I’m pleasant and I come up against someone like goth boy, but there’s nothing I can do about it, except try harder to not be like that when dealing with others. Unless they piss me off, of course.

      I hope you get what you wish for next Christmas. Just hope that it’s not a gadget (unless it’s an iPad, or anything Apple).

  6. The sales are usually absolute hell. The only ones I usually go to is the Habitat one, where, for once, most things go for Ikea prices, i.e. dirt cheap.

    I salute you for perservering over the mountains of sales crap and surly service. And for not hitting Mr Goth Boy with a sledgehammer. It’s always useful to have on in HMV. I think they keep them in Smash To Open glass cases, like fire extinguishers.

    • You know, I’ve never found a sledgehammer encased in glass in a shop, though at times it’s looked like I could do with one, given the sterling service we get at some British stores.

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