How to find a Nintendo Wii

(I was tempted to title this post “Wii don’t need a Guitar Hero” but figured it was too off-topic. Besides, who even recognizes Tina Turner nowadays?)

Here’s your problem in a nutshell. You’ve been reading about the Wii (and suffering the puns) for about a year. You’ve played it at someone’s house, and you’re hooked – your kids love it, your parents love it, and the graphics aren’t that bad (and not really even the point). And you haven’t even dipped your toe into the wonderful nostalgia of the Virtual Console yet! So it’s decided. You want a Wii. Wii welcome you!

Now all you have to do is find one.

Don’t despair. True, the task seems positively Sisyphean: even though Nintendo is manufacturing 2 million Wiis a month, with 350,000 Wiis sold the week after thanksgiving alone, even the President of Nintendo of America couldn’t score one. The Wii is the hottest item on everyone’s wishlist this Christmas. So what chance do you have?

Two words: persistence, and vigilance.

First, scope out every retail venue that sells the Wii in your neighborhood. These Wiitailers have to be within a 15-20 minute drive of your home. The usual suspects: Target, Best Buy, Walmart, Toys R Us, Gamestop. There may be smaller fry in your area too – make a comprehensive list of every single possible outlet. Get their phone numbers and figure out the phone menu on each to get connected straight to the electronics/gaming desk. Write all that contact info down in one place for easy reference.

Next, visit each one. Talk to the staff behind the desk and get an idea of when their shipments usually come in. It will vary, though the big box retailers usually get them on Saturday night. You will hear qualifiers like “well, it’s hard to say exactly when…” but be persistent and get them to give you a rough idea, or at least when the last few shipments were so you can extrapolate. Usually the dudes at the desk are more than willing to help you score a Wii and will give you as much info as they can. Make a point of stopping by at night the day you predict a shipment to arrive, and chat up the staff to see if your hunch is right.

Third, keep an eye on the Sunday paper. A sure fire bet that a given Wiitailer has Wiis in stock that week is that they will advertise the Wii for Sunday. If you can get ahold of the sunday advertisement inserts for the retailers ahead of time, that’s even better – for example you might look for the Sunday paper at your local grocery store on late Saturday evening, or go hunting online at forums like Cheap Ass Gamer.

With all this info in hand, your strategy then is simply to try to anticipate which stores have the Wii and then make the rounds. Sunday morning, as soon as the stores open, go down your list and call every retailer, starting with the ones who have the Wii advertised in their Sunday circular. The conversation should be quick: “Hi any Nintendo Wiis in stock?” The answer will usually be no, the psychotic hard core dudes waiting in line since 4am probably beat you to it. So move on, and keep calling. However, once in a while you will hear the magic words: “Yes, we still have a couple in stock.” That’s when you drop the phone, jump in the car, and go. This might happen once every ten calls; and four out of five times in that case, by the time you get there they will be sold out. But it only takes one lucky roll of the dice.

This sounds like a lot of work, and it is. It took me six weeks to score my Wii last winter. But understand that there are millions more Wiis in the retail channel this year than back then, so your odds are actually substantially better of scoring a Wii this holiday season than pretty much at any time before. You just have to be vigilant, do your due diligence, and then be persistent. Follow this plan of action to the letter and you have a very good chance of finding your Wii by Christmas.

Or, just go for the Vii instead. Who can tell the difference?

3 thoughts on “How to find a Nintendo Wii”

  1. I finally got a wii after searching the stores in my city for three months. I stood in lines for hours and made many phone calls to most of the stores without any luck. I decided to continue my wii search on line and ended up on a wii tracker web site. Their it was, the flashing in stock sign that stated amazon had the wii in stock for its retail price of $250.00.I highly recommend these wii tracker sites if you are trying to find a wii.

  2. In search of wii
    My search started in mid-october when my 10 year old son asked for a wii for Christmas. I knew from the start that I had to find him one because of the connection with my name. You see, my name is William Isaac Ishman with my initials being WII and my sons name being William Isaac Ishman the 2nd, WII 2. As a matter of fact my wife refers to us as wii 1 and wii 2. Every weekend in October and November my time was spent searching all stores in the city I live in, including walmart,toys r us, best buy,circuit city,comp USA and many others with no results. I spent hours standing in lines and even witnessed a fight in best buy, when two elderly men reached for the last wii. When December arrived I was about to tell my son that their would probably be no wii for Christmas this year, but first I wanted to give the online stores a try. I check all of the big box stores, always with the same results”out of stock”. I ended up checking a couple of the wii tracker sites, and their it was at “in stock”. Amazon was selling the wii for $250.00 that morning. I immediately went to their site and purchased one.It was worth every penny just to see the look on my sons (wii 2) face Christmas morning. The wii trackers had really done the job for me.

  3. My experience was somewhat easy. Initally, not being a gamer I couldn’t understand what the hype was all about. I played with a friend’s for the first time on Jan 13 and then by Jan 20, I’d purchased my own. I fell in love and just had to have one.
    Circuit City advertised them for sale in the Jan 20 Sunday sale paper. I got to the store about 1 hour before if opened. Stood in line and was number 4 of 5 to receive a voucher to purchase one. Man was I lucky. VERY lucky considering I missed church to stand in line.

    God forgives and blesses!

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