Not many people would consider turning down a free BluRay from the LucasFilm gift shop. However, I am not many people.
After a week at a trade show, my team decided to have a meeting on Friday. After all, we’re all in the same town for one. I wasn’t even aware that we had an office in San Francisco, so I was surprised as the cab dropped us off at the Presidio. Cool office, lots of movie posters in the lobby, great view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Not a bad way to spend a day with piles of PowerPoint.
Then we headed to lunch.
I knew Lucasfilm had moved to San Francisco years ago, but forgotten they were in the Presidio. Maybe it’s because I didn’t pass the Yoda fountain on my way into the office, or the main Lucasfilm lobby where Boba Fett and Darth Vader watch over the bookcase. Small details.
However, it was hard to miss the Lucasfilm gift shop on the way to lunch. Or the matte paintings in the hall. The LEGO bust of George Lucas in a display case full of trophies.
So we all ended up in the gift shop after lunch (meeting delays be damned), a collection of everything from Star Wars merchandise to crew hats from various LucasFilm projects. As I mustered the strength not to buy 65% of the store, I overheard a conversation between the clerk and a customer that set the tone for my shopping experience:
Customer: “Do you have anything from Pacific Rim?”
Clerk: “No, but we still have a lot from The Lone Ranger.”
EVERYONE IN THE STORE: O_o
Customer: (confused) “Those aren’t even remotely the same thing.”
Me: (to clerk) “Did you just try to substitute The Lone Ranger for Pacific Rim?”
Clerk: “Well, they both have explosions.”
EVERYONE IN THE STORE: O_O
Indeed, they were out of Pacific Rim merchandise. This greatly reduced my contributions to the local economy. But I did buy things. And at checkout, I was surprised to learn that I could get many things for free.
There were free postcards! I wanted to send postcards to my friends on this trip, so the free Skywalker Ranch cards were cool. I even took the “Jake Lloyd as young Anakin Skywalker” cards, which are now known as the “my friend went to Lucasfilm and all I got was a reminder that Episode I exists” postcard.
Then came the free BluRay discs. But they came with a terrible decision.
Clerk: “We also have some free DVDs and BluRays.”
Clerk: “We have ‘The Clone Wars’ animated movie.”
Me: “Yes, I’ll take that. Thanks.”
Clerk: “We also have Indiana Jones.”
Me: (cautious) “Which one?”
Clerk: “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”
Clerk: “It wasn’t that bad.”
Me: “I’m not going to mention the fridge. I’m not going to even mention the monkeys. I’m going straight to ‘inter-dimensional aliens don’t need a flying spaceship’.”
Clerk: “But it’s free.”
Me: “You know I’m actually considering turning down a free movie from LucasFilm because it’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, right?”
Clerk: “But you do want it.”
Me: “Yeah, I’ll take it.”
At least now I don’t have to buy the movie to enjoy the RiffTrax version. Even better, when one of my friends complains that I didn’t get them anything from San Francisco, I can always hand this over …