Special: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas Wii-ve.
It's December 4th, only three weeks left until Christmas and some other random amount of days for the other various holidays. Nintendo has been saying since the launch of the Wii last November that they will be in short supply. Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America's President and COO has reiterated numerous times in recent weeks that the Wii will remain difficult to find this holiday season, despite the fact that Nintendo is producing 1.8 million Wii systems a month. Luckily for me I have been able to score not one, but TWO Nintendo Wii systems in as many weeks. Many parents and teens are probably wondering how the hell I managed such an impossible feat, well that is what I am about to tell you.
First off the most important thing is to know your surroundings and stores that actually sell the item in question. There are dozens of stores that I can think of that stock the Wii including but not limited too EBGames/Gamestop, Kmart, Target, Wal-mart, Toys R' Us, Babbage's, Fry's Electronics, and some FYE locations, it still amazes me how few parents know that you can get video game stuff outside of the big chain department stores. Although Internet shopping is certainly the easiest to purchase from, you don't know when your Wii will arrive or if you will even get it in time for the holidays, and you may only be able to get it as part of a bundle purchase with many undesirable items. It is for those reasons that I recommend you exhaust the old fashioned shopping methods first. After figuring out stores that sell the system in the area, decide which are the shortest drive time-wise and get their phone number from their website (see below). Once you gather this information write down the stores in order of distance with their number. And believe me, getting somewhere three minutes faster can make all the difference. During a recent Wii hunt I opened the door for someone and they took the last Wii from that store, says a lot about their ethics.
After compiling a list of approximately 10 stores (depends on the density of your area) start calling them daily to find out about shipments times. Most stores will get video game related shipments on Monday/Tuesday because that is generally when new games are released. But that doesn't mean that the Wii systems will be in with that shipment. They could be in another one a few days later or there maybe even be two shipments in a week due to the holidays.
Specialty stores like EBGames/Gamestop only get 3 to 10 Wii systems on average while something like Target can get up to 40. Its tempting to think that Target would be your best bet but from my experiences those large chain stores are WAY less responsive with information and are also trafficked by a lot more people, lowering your odds of success. Now with list in hand call each store DAILY (can't stress that enough) and get as much information as possible on upcoming shipments. For the larger stores someone should know when the Wii delivery will be coming. Be prepared though; if you plan on going to a chain store make sure to get there a few hours before they open on the day of shipment because I guarantee that other potential buys will be lining up, sometimes as early as 5AM in my area.
As for the specialty stores, you can generally smooth things over with the employees before making the purchase. First off when you find out when a shipment is coming in just chat up the employees, at this time of the year they maybe busy but if they aren't they will be glad enjoy not being yelled at. Should you come away empty handed a few times you can always butter them up with some donuts, possibly some coffee on the next trip, getting in their good graces. Getting angry at them will never help, instead why not have them remember you for something good? There is also a slightly shadier route you can go. EBGames/Gamestop employees get perks for selling a lot of pre-orders, magazine subscriptions and Edge cards so if you want you can try buying a bunch of pre-orders for games you know you will purchase giving the specific employee a nice boost and making him look good. Whichever way you butter the sales clerk or manager after doing so just ask him to give you a line on the next shipment and boom, you can be there before anyone else knows the shipment is coming knowing that it contains Wii systems.
Of course, the above information is by no means a guarantee to a console, but if you can work it right I would be shocked if you couldn't pull it off after putting in a few hours time and a few missed opportunities. Not only have I scored a pair of Wii systems this way but I have run the gauntlet for a Dreamcast and Nintendo 64 in the past as well. Its a tried and true method and although it can be a bit to go through, just wait until you see the look on that special someone's face as they open up the gift and realize you got the unfindable gift, and lucky for your wallet, it was at the MSRP price.
Good luck with your search for the elusive Wii and here are the Store Locater links I promised:
Toys R' Us