We Want Wii!

They’ve been on the market for more than a year, but rave reviews and manufacturer’s shortages have combined to make the Nintendo Wii the “I’ll do absolutely anything to buy one” item this holiday season.

That “anything for a Wii” mentality means that those anxious to score one for Christmas are paying several times the $249 list price (thus creating a new job category: professional Wii reseller). But … even if they are willing to pay top dollar, how do they find a Wii to buy?

In addition to bidding on eBay, many have resorted to bribing local shop owners, following delivery trucks, subscribing to services that alert them to the toy’s availability (“Toys R Us just got a shipment!”), and, of course, camping out in front of stores.

A few weeks ago, I heard a National Public Radio reporter say that the Nintendo World Store in New York is one of the best places in the country to buy the machine because it receives a shipment every day. Those regular deliveries mean that, rain or shine, potential buyers are massed outside, patiently waiting for the store to open.

Of course, purchasing such a desirable item isn’t a simple as strolling in and whipping out a credit card. The Nintendo World Store employs a strict system that maintains order:

  1. Since the Wii is sold on a first-come-first-served basis, buyers line up in front of the door. Many come as part of a “buying team” — one member can go for a hot chocolate or take a bathroom break while the other team members maintain their position in the queue.
  2. Security guards (sometimes aided by police officers) stand at several points, preventing line cutting and jumping.
  3. A hour or two before the store’s official opening time, numbered bracelets — one per machine in stock — are distributed to the crowd, front to back. Each person is limited to one bracelet, which gives them the right to buy one Wii.
  4. Simply obtaining a bracelet is not enough; the potential buyer must continue to stay in the line until their number is called. Sometimes the doors open a bit before 9:00 a.m.; if your number is called and you aren’t present to enter the store, you lose your chance and the guards simply go on to the next person.

Tonight I stopped by the queue and spoke the woman at the front, who lay on the ground bundled up in a sleeping bag. She was waiting to enter the Valhalla-like shop and buy a Wii, she said, for her 12-year-old sister and had set up her little camp at 5:00 p.m. By the time the store opens at 9:00 tomorrow, she will have logged 16 hours in her frigid spot on the New York City sidewalk.

Secure in the #1 spot

Linewaiters, settled in for the night

This is his sixth time on the queue

Buddies ready for the long haul

Cleaners working inside the closed store

Nintendo World Store
National Public Radio: Finding a Wii
SF Gate: How I Scored a Wii
PC World: Wii Shortage Blame Game: Don’t Just Blame Nintendo
Consumerist: Confessions of a Wii Reseller
Gizmodo: Nintendo Not Going to Have Enough Wiis This Holiday Season

13 Responses to We Want Wii!

  1. My brother got lucky at Frye in LA two weekends ago. He walked into the store on a whim and asked if they had Wii. The manager said he was expecting 30 units the next day so my brother was there at 7:30 AM the next morning. He got his Wii.


  2. Kate says:

    Well, I’m not sure how to respond to this. Perhaps I’m just getting tired of materialism, even tho I, too, am not immune. But, I feel uneasy about this phenomena. Interesting tho to what lengths people will go to purchase a desired item.


  3. I suppose when I was younger and reckless I would have stood in line for something but then the only thing special I can’t talk about as this is a general audience blog. LOL


  4. Annie says:

    Hello again after way too long a time,

    It’s crazy, isn’t it, to stand in line to get one when these people could sinply wait until the shelves are restocked. Give a handmade IOU, I say! The nice thing about that way of giving would be that the kids would sit and eat and talk at the table instead of playing the game throughout Christmas Day.

    Oh well, some just gotta have it NOW.

    Best wishes for a happy holidays.



  5. rauf says:

    Hi Anulla,
    well Wii is, in my opinion,
    Wii is wonderful ?
    i think Wii is, is…. is what ?
    i don’t know what it is Anulla, never heard of it.
    Have you ever been to one of those natural history museums ?
    i am a neanderthal you see in those prehistoric models
    but i am much advanced than a gorilla, but look like one.
    if you give me this Wii, i don’t know what to do with it.
    i’ll shake it and see, i’ll smell it, then i’ll bite it. den i’ll chew it ?
    is it metal or plastic ?
    is it like a cake ?
    Can i eat it ?
    is it like a lobster ? you throw the shell and eat what is inside ?

    oh this word press is good, i came here from your old post from blog spot page. yes it had problems but now it works fine Anulla, good for pictures.
    and thank you so much, you know for what.


  6. rauf says:

    Merry Christmas to you Anulla, hope you enjoy the holidays with Wii, will it taste better with green chili sauce ? can’t see what i am typing, the fonts are too small for me.


  7. Lori says:

    Wow, I don’t know if I’ve ever wanted to buy anything that badly. I hope they had success. Great shots of the expectant shoppers!


  8. isabella says:

    Trying hard to maintain my holiday spirit and goodwill towards all…so I won’t comment on this practice (his 6th time in line? well, we know who sells on ebay, don’t we?)

    Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!


  9. Olivier says:

    je crois que je ne pourrais jamais faire la queue pour acheter une platine de jeux ;o)). ils sont courageux et quand même fous ;o)) je te souhaite un JOYEUX NOEL

    I think I could never do the queue to buy a game pad ;o)). They are brave and crazy anyway ;o)) I wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS


  10. It has always struck me as being very silly to do stuff like this…I just don’t get it.

    Merry Christmas Annulla. It’s nice to see you back. 🙂



  11. Cheap Games says:

    Crazy stuff.

    I was stupid enough to try and get a Wii on launch night – I have no idea why I even bothered!


  12. cars says:

    voila une info utile merci !


  13. jeux gratuit says:

    cette info poura m’aider !


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