Finding a Wii

Update 1/26/07: Looks like supply is starting to catch up with demand. I’ve seen several Wiis available at over the past few days; go here to see if they’re available. Good luck!

Wow, this is really nuts. I had a chance to get one with Mike when they were first available, but we were having friends over that morning, and sleeping at a Wal-Mart the night before having friends over seemed a little, um, not-so-smart. So I passed.

Three weeks later, there appears to be no real chance at getting one. I understand that demand far outstrips supply, but the completely haphazard delivery, clueless retailers and luckless shoppers seem wholly unnecessary. In a day of incredibly efficient supply chain management (pioneered by Wal-Mart, available on an outsourced basis by UPS), I cannot for the life of me understand why this is so difficult.

Monday night we were at the mall, and I asked the guys at Gamestop when their next shipment would come in. “Tomorrow!” they said, and hinted that getting to the mall early (i.e., 6 or 7am) would be a good idea. Only problem? The mall doesn’t open until 10, and I have a job. So I didn’t go, only to find out that they worked a deal with the mall to get everyone in line their Wii by 7:30am. WTF? (Oddly enough, Gamestop got more in on Wednesday and Thursday, though they said they had no idea that they were coming. Friday, 70 people stood in line all fucking day just in case a Wii showed up (it didn’t). Can you imagine wasting an entire day in a mall just in case your wish came in?)

Perhaps even more frustrating are the other retailers. I just called Toys R Us, who’s rumored to consistently have more inventory than anyone else. Before I could finish asking, the woman replied: “We don’t have any.” Me: “Do you know…” Her: “No, we have no idea.” Click.

Think about it for a minute: she’s annoyed with me that I want to spend money at her store. On a high ticket item no less.

I’m not just trying offline retailers, either. To give you an idea of the tools I’m using to try and procure a Wii (one of which actually produced a near miss), I’m subscribed to the feed for Wii Tracker, a site that somehow checks the various etailer sites on a near-real-time basis to see who’s got a Wii in stock. I’m also trying out these instructions, which involve downloading a site monitoring tool called URLy Warning to check another inventory-checking site, Nintendo Wii Preorders every minute to see if its contents change. (This was the near miss: I caught an alert, visited the site it claimed had one available, and I hesitated before buying the bundle that was offered. By the time I’d decided to bite the bullet and spend the extra $$, the unit was no longer available.)

That’s another thing: the seemingly endless groupings of “bundles” is breathtaking. I’ve seen bundles (keep in mind that the console itself is just $249, one of its selling points) that go as high as $750… taking this from an inexpensive nice-to-have and quickly making it an expensive endeavor.

Nevertheless, if I wanted a Wii before my kids actually played one, now that they’ve experienced a Wii (thanks to the Wii Mall Tour), I’m hell-bent on finding one. It was cool enough to see Ricky (my six year-old) pick it up pretty quickly. But when Robby (my four year-old, whose had a lifetime’s worth of medical issues in his four short years) picked up a Wii controller and, within 15 seconds, was pitching fast balls in the Wii baseball game? I became a man on a mission. They’ve been by the Wii display at the mall once more (tonight) and they played a different game (Excite Truck), and watching them effortlessly interact, play together and enjoy the experience, well, let’s just say I was sold. And Mike tells me that his wife (not exactly a gamer) has as much fun as he does, and this seems like a great family console.

If only I could find one. (Speaking of wihch, props to Erik, who’s trying to shortcut the process by offering a free provisional patent application in exchange for a Wii. I can’t beat that!)

By the way, if you’re part of the Wii-less and want to show your disdain for the sadly undeserving people who’ve been able to procure one before us, check out Wii Have a Problem. Some of these are priceless.

6 responses to “Finding a Wii”

  1. Joe – thanks for the tip. I'll add to my arsenal.Austin – good call, I should've thought to look there first! Hard to imagine there's much of a resale market other than from speculators, but I'd love to be wrong. :)Dick – Amazon's shipping Wiis? Books about the Wii? I'm confused.;)

  2. Rick – Good luck. From everything I've heard, if you find a Wii the hard work will be worth it. My husband and I are waiting to get one because of our mutually-decided “new console rule” – we don't buy a new video game console until there are at least 10 games on it that we want. I think we're already up to 3 on the Wii – so it's only a matter of time.

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