My attempt to get a Wii

wii.jpgAnyone who has any interest in electronics, gadgets, or games, knows that the Nintendo Wii has been extreamly hard to get due to short supply and high demand. I’m not one to go crazy for a new video game console, and definitely won’t wait on line at midnight to get one, won’t get forced into buying a bundle, or pay ridiculously high prices on eBay. I’m patient enough to wait out the initial craziness and get one when they are widely available at stores that I might pass by, but sometimes, the planets just sort of line up and I wind up doing things I loathe. Waiting on line for a video game system is one of those things.

Yesterday was a really nice day and I enjoyed it by going to the park and making up excuses for not going to the gym. Dinner was a nice affair with some friends, and much wine was enjoyed. I didn’t sleep well Saturday night, and I’m not sure if that’s because of all of the wine, the fact that I think I was just a bit too hot in bed, or the fact that I had a very vivid dream about going to Brooks Brothers and getting fitted for a suit of armor (yes, like Knights of the Round Table armor). No matter what, I was wide awake at 8am on a Sunday morning, and hating every moment of it.

As I was sitting around watching the news and surfing the tubes, I noticed that the weather for today was not going to be that great…a little chilly, and chances of rain throughout the day. It was also then that I noticed that Toys “R” Us was advertising the Wii in their Sunday circular. I noticed that the Times Square store opened at 11am, and since it was now only 8:30am, I thought, “What the hell?” I had nothing planed, there wasn’t anything better to do, and how long could the line be if Kathleen was able to virtually walk in and get one a few weeks ago?

After showering and making myself look presentable (sans armor), I left my apartment by 9:50am and got to the subway station about two minutes before a train arrived. That’s always a good sign. Upon my arrival in Times Square at about 10:15am, I was greeted by the Toys “R” Us line that ran to the end of the block. I got on line and was soon followed by others. At about 10:30am, someone from Toys “R” Us started moving people back since they had to make sure that we didn’t block the entrance to the Swatch store. He split the line right after me, sending the woman behind me around the corner. It was now my job to make sure that everyone who thought I was at the end of the line were educated about where the line really ended.

It was during my tenure as line administrator that I realized something: people cheat, try to pretend that they’re not, and don’t do a very good job of it. After being told that the end of the line is around the corner, most people went to find the true end, but a handful said, “Oh,” and sort of hung around near the entrance to the Swatch store, obviously planning to jump back into line when it started moving. Enough of this happened for the woman who was officially behind me to go berserk for a moment and scare just about everyone off the line, including myself.

Several times I, or someone around me, was approached by people on the street and asked what we were waiting on line for. What I found interesting was the amount of accents and the different ways the same question was asked.

“What’re y’all in line fer?” was asked by an obviously Southern gentleman. After telling him that we were in line for a Wii, he asked, “Fixin’ to get one, are ya?” Yes, I guess I was “fixin'” to get one, even though I didn’t really know what that meant.

“What are you queuing for?” was asked by a woman with an British accent. It took me a moment to figure out what “queuing” meant, which is sort of strange because being in IT, I deal with mail queues all day long.

Then there was the woman who asked with a Central American accent. After telling her that there was a new Barbie doll coming out that day, she looked at me like I had just threatened her life, and quickly ran away. I would like to formally apologize to her for that.

Toys “R” Us did a good job dealing with the crowd by distributing tickets that would have to be punched and presented before you could get a Wii. Invariably, there were those that didn’t understand that. Two gentlemen, with a boatload of Wii accessories and games, got to the front of the line and asked for a Wii. When they were asked for their ticket, they didn’t have one and became loud when told they couldn’t get a Wii without one. They demanded one and asked where the sign was that said that you needed to have a ticket to get one. Last I saw, there were three Toys “R” Us personnel, including security, explaining to them the concept of the long line that stretched around the block, and how they should go get on it instead of arguing.

I got out of Toys “R” Us by 12:15pm, with a Wii. Not bad for a two hour wait. And that’s one of the things I love about NYC. Some other stores may only get 20 Wii’s in a shipment, but the Times Square store had hundreds…a whole wall of them, in fact. It was a glorious sight.

For the record, my first game of bowling was a 139, which is a little above my my average in real life. And I did it in my underwear, socks, and didn’t have to deal with lovely bowling alleys. I fully expect to get a nasty note from my downstairs neighbor due to this.

And if someone has any idea on what that dream about going to Brooks Brothers to get a suit of armor means, I’m all ears.

4 Comments so far

  1. Noah (unregistered) on April 2nd, 2007 @ 9:14 am

    After reading Kathleen’s post, the impulsive 8-year-old in me decided, like you Josh, to buy a Wii. I went the next afternoon to Toys R Us and there was miraculously no line and virtually no wait (maybe 7 minutes). I was also amazed that there was no “bundle” purchase required, so I could just buy the actual system and the Madden game that I so desperately wanted.

    But, when paying, the clerk informed me that I can’t return it once I open it. See, my actual master plan was to play it for a week or two, then “realize” that I didn’t really want it and return it for a full refund. So, for two days, it sat in my room, an inviting package of fun, staring me down waiting for me to flinch. I finally decided that I wasn’t willing to spend over $300 (with game) for the inevitably short-term fix of playing a few games. I returned it to Toys R Us, and plan on waiting until BestBuy, Circuit City, or another retailer has them readily available to buy and return at a later date.

    More on my feelings on Toys R Us’ return policy coming at a later date.

  2. Noah (unregistered) on April 2nd, 2007 @ 9:23 am

    One more thing… For those of you waiting on the Wii, this Yahoo! site will tip you off as to when the online retailers have it in stock. And don’t think it is a total crap shoot… Up until today, it said that WalMart had them in stock!

    But, be careful of the aforementioned “bundle” scams.

  3. Jeof (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 10:25 pm

    One of the easiest ways to get a Wii in NYC is – really – the NinentendoWorld store. They get about 50-60 every day. I got my boyfriend’s by waiting in line (started bout 8-8:15) and buying it that morning (they open at 9). Go earlier on the weekends, they say, but otherwise, you should be in good shape.

  4. Noah (unregistered) on April 10th, 2007 @ 10:33 am

    Just a heads up to all who are still looking for one: J&R has the Wii in stock right now. It is unbundled, but you can only buy through phone orders.

    The number is 800-806-1115.

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