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Comedic trope, often found in geekish media, wherein a character, driven by the desire to make sure he sees a movie or band, or purchase a product on its release date, camps out at the location selling them. Often subverted by the character doing so ridiculously early, doing it specifically for the publicity, or for something that he would likely have no problem whatsoever purchasing.
Very much Truth in Television, though with the advent of online pre-purchasing, it is slowly becoming a Dead Horse Trope, at least in the sense of buying tickets. After all, most entertainment companies prefer to lock in whatever revenue they can as soon as possible (especially before possibly negative reviews come in). Product releases and Black Friday sales are another matter, especially when it comes to game consoles.
- There's an ad currently running which plays with this trope: it turns out the product is already on the shelves, and the store is already open.
- A recent commercial for a prescription acne treatment shows a teenaged boy camping out -- complete with tent -- in a store's skin care aisle, waiting in vain for a product that will work for him. After he uses advertised product, his restored social life is shown by his chatting with a girl in an outdoor ticket line . . . under the same tent.
- Carl Hurley, stand-up comedian, often tells a story about a time in college when he and his friends camped for several days in line for sports tickets. They finally get up to the front, the ticket operator asks what they want, and Carl blurts out the first thing that comes to mind, "I want a double cheeseburger with fries." Cue dead silence, the ticket operator telling him they don't serve food there and him trudging off in defeat while the people in line whisper about how tragic it is, him waiting all those days in the wrong line.
- In the fourth Diary of a Wimpy Kid book, Greg and Rowley camp in front of a video game store so they can be the first for a tournament. Greg also said Rodrick used to do this a lot before concerts, and it's how he met Bill, Lodëd Diper's (his band's) lead singer.
- Drew Carey and friends camped out to get tickets to the first new Cleveland Browns game; the guy in front of them at the window only wanted one ticket, and Drew convinced him he should get some for his friends as well. So he got four. Turned out those were the last four tickets.
- Mock the Week has the panel speculating on how nice it would have been to be camping right at the front of the line for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, dressed as Darth Maul, and then at the point of sale say, "The Da Vinci Code, please."
- That 70s Show has Eric camping out to get tickets to Styx. The next day, he is the only person in line.
- An episode of The Cosby Show has the kids trying to persuade the parents to let them camp out for Michael Jackson concert tickets.
- How I Met Your Mother has Lily and Robin camping outside a wedding boutique so Lily can get a dress when their sale starts in the morning. Unfortunately, just as they're setting up camp, a nearby car alarm goes off. For twelve hours they sit in their folding chairs, unable to sleep, unable to think as the car keeps blaring incessantly. When the car's owner finally shows up in the morning to turn it off, every woman in the line attacks him.
- A recent episode of Bones had the lab guys camping out in line for the movie Avatar, one of the most unrealistic Ticket Line Campouts ever portrayed. In fact, they already had the tickets. They were lining up to get the "best seats."
- In one week-long story in the newspaper comic FoxTrot, Jason camps out in costume to buy tickets to Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. Online. When his sister points out that he's just sitting in a sleeping bag in the house waiting on the computer for the tickets to go on sale, he replies "It's the thought that counts."
- In one strip from shortly before The Phantom Menace was released, Peter (who works at a movie theater)'s boss is preparing him for Star Wars fans, saying that they are normal people despite all the things they like to do, one of which is "Camp out in theaters before the big day"
- Taken Up to Eleven in another strip where Peter is working at the same movie theater, when Jason and Marcus ask him where the line to The Fellowship of the Ring is, which at the time of the strip, wouldn't come out for six months. After Peter explains this to him:
Jason: Woo-hoo! We're first! I'll go get our sleeping bags.
Marcus: The popcorn has unlimited refills, right?
Peter: Sir, about my hourly pay...
- One Luann strip is a collection of "Things that are very hard to move". One is "The first person in line for New Moon, represented by a man seeing a tent in front of a cinema, with a sign saying "LINE STARTS BEHIND ME!" taped to the tent, and another saying "LINE STARTS HERE V" taped to the wall behind it.
- Dragon Quest games are always released on a weekend in Japan, specifically to prevent people people from skipping work or school in order to camp out to get the new game on a weekday. For some time, there was bill in the Japanese Diet to make this a legal requirement (though almost certainly this was a publicity stunt.)
- PvP: Right before the release of The Phantom Menace, Francis tries to court publicity by being the first to camp out for Episode Two tickets, eventually secretly replacing himself in line with a robot duplicate. Years later, by the time the movie actually comes out, the theater has shut down, and Francis doesn't get to see the movie on opening day, after all.
- User Friendly: After reprogramming a Terminator Expy, the cast uses it to wait in line for The Phantom Menace tickets.
- Penny Arcade: Gabe decides to wait out in the mall for the PSP release. It quickly devolves into Cinnabon employees taunting him.
- Megatokyo makes references to the camping lines for the Playstation 2 release, which degenerate into armed combat.
- Xkcd notes some variations in console campout lines.
- In Real Life Comics the Author Avatar of Greg Dean is camping out to see The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy film. Sadly he's the only one, the real line is across from him, the line for (I think) one of the Lord of the Rings movies. An usher comes out to tell him the line is on the other side. Greg says that he's in the right line, the one for h2g2. The usher gives him a weird look.
- Also played with when the day after Star Wars Episode III was released, he tried to be the first person in line for Episode IV. Cue his friends laughter after he leaves to line up, and the then an incredibly angry Greg storming in with a DVD of New Hope, several days later.
- Debbie Ridpath Ohi drew a webcomic called Waiting for Frodo about people waiting in line for the Lord of the Rings movies. She seems to have plans for a Waiting for Bilbo comic for The Hobbit, but it's still on the first strip... though with The Hobbit currently in Development Hell, there's no rush.
- This Arthur, King of Time and Space strip, and following ones.
- In the Order of the Stick prequel, On The Origin of PCs, Roy's first mission as an adventurer is helping a town deal with a band of orcs. In the battle, he learns that the orcs aren't raiders, but camping out for concert tickets. The town just overreacted. The concert their waiting for isn't due for a few more weeks, but the orcs are that determined to get good seats. "Mezzanine seats are sign of weakness."
- The Simpsons: Homer Simpson camps for some Springfield Isotopes tickets, and is pleased when there's only one person ahead of him in line (despite a random man telling Homer that he could have saved himself the trouble by actually going to work and earning the money to buy the tickets ahead of time). However, that person proceeds to buy every one of the 30,000 tickets, despite only having ten dollars.
- Don't forget the line for Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie, which was long enough to extend through a drawbridge (with a man who falls off, yelling, "I regret nothing!") and all the way to the Simpsons' house.
- Kent Brockman picks an interviewee out of the line waiting to mail their taxes on April 15th.
Otto: "Taxes? I thought this was the line for Metallica!"
- Subverted in King of the Hill: Luanne's boyfriend Lucky convinces Bobby and Luanne to spend a week camping at the front of the ticket line for Lucky's favorite band. When the week is over they're still the only people in line to buy tickets.
- In the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000", Rainbow Dash drags Fluttershy along at the crack of dawn in order to buy some of the Apple family's cider on the first day of cider season. Unfortunately, there's already a huge line of ponies camping out by the time they get there.
- VERY MUCH Truth in Television for Jrock concerts, especially for a popular/well-known band. If you even want a chance at getting close to the stage for something featuring a well-known and currently popular artist, expect to at least be there the entire day, for some events, maybe two days. Otherwise, you will be fairly far back and forced to resort to bribery or trying to move through the crowd. . . and if the venue is more organized, you're SOL.
- One of Acclaim's more notorious publicity stunts in its dying years was to pay a guy to say he was camping outside a game store for Turok: Evolution. A week later, the guy was gone from the store, and never returned.
- During the lead-up to Attack of the Clones a group of fans gained a little notoriety for lining up for weeks outside Graumann's Chinese theater... a theater that announced that it wouldn't be showing the film.
- A certain spoiler about Harry Potter was repeatedly announced by those trolling a line for The Half Blood Prince, specifically how one guy killed another guy.
- Wondermark had a funny take on the lines for Harry Potter.
- Are you going to a rather big anime convention? Did you remember to pre-register? No? Well then, have fun!
- At American universities with successful sports teams, this can be the only way for students to get tickets. Krzyzewskiville is the most famous example.