Acquire Nintendo Wii: Mission Accomplished!

The beginning of Thanksgiving break brought about a bustle of activity throughout the weekend that kept me out of the house.  One major accomplishment of the weekend: acquiring a Nintendo Wii – not just one but two!

With all of the circus surrounding the PS3 launch I was growing a little nervous about the Wii.  People literally set up camp outside of Best Buy in Fort Collins on Wednesday – 2 days prior to launch!  I dropped by on Thursday to get the Family Guy DVD and it was a total zoo outside.  I read that they only had 6 consoles at that store, but they turned out to have something in the neighborhood of 12.  Despite camping out for over a day, people still walked away empty-handed.

I knew that the Wii had significantly more release-inventory than the PS3 had, but I was still nervous about what we’d have to do to get one.  Because I had a show in Denver early Sunday afternoon, followed by a Broncos game that evening, it was paramount that I get a good night’s sleep (hence not camping out).  Plus spending my night in front of Target on a 20 degree night isn’t worth any freakin’ video game system.

Armed with determination, Bethany and I set out on Saturday night to get the Wii.  Initially, things looked pretty grim.  Bethany rushed from church over to Wal Mart to see what the line was up to.  At 6:45pm (for a 12:01am launch) the line was already longer than what FC Wal Mart had in stock.  We called Loveland and Cheyenne Wal Marts with no luck.  It was apparent that we weren’t going to get a Wii before the morning.

What we lacked in endurance (or foolishness depending on how you look at it), we made up in intelligence and calculation.  We set out and game planned, driving around to various locations.  Already riddled with campers Target, Circuit City and Best Buy were out.  We kept driving around looking for "Plan B" locations.  We drove into Toys’R’Us to find no one outside – not a bad sign.  When we went in we found the Wii display and asked someone at the game counter about their launch.  For some reason she wouldn’t give us the exact number, but she did assure us that they did have a few extra over their pre-orders.  Our "Plan B" was now "Plan A", and we used Sam’s and Sears as backup locations.

The next decision was whether we should camp out, wake up super-early or risk going at a more reasonable time?  We tried to strike the battle of necessity and convenience by waking up at 6am with the intention of being at the Toys’R’Us line at 7am, 4 hours before they open.

Our timing couldn’t have been better.

We rolled into Toys’R’Us with no one there!  Not even 2 minutes had passed when the next person in lined rolled up.  Within a half hour the line had grown to 9 people.  The person behind us was 40th in the Target line of 39 consoles, and the rest of the line was primarily composed of people who missed their opportunities at other stores.  We had two parents trying to get a Christmas Wii for their kids, and one mom and son.  Around 8am the manager opened the door and told us they had 10 consoles to sell.  The 10th person showed up about 10 minutes later and we were at capacity.

To my surprise, the time passed relatively quickly.  We brought 2 video game rocking chairs, books & magazines and our laptops with the Family Guy DVD’s.  We ended up not needing half of those things to pass the time.  Everyone in line was really nice, and the atmosphere resembled tailgating  Bethany picked up some hot breakfast for the two of us, and a donut and coffee run was made for the group later on.  I remembered I had a football in my car and a few of us were out in the parking lot playing catch and 500.  It was actually pretty relaxing.  Throughout the morning people drove into the parking lot, and abruptly left when they realized that capacity had been reached.  It was hard to say, but I would say that at least 20-40 cars rolled in and out of the parking lot that morning.

The manager at Toys’R’Us was awesome.  He came out multiple times to check in with us, explain the process and even opened the store an hour early to get us our Wii’s.  I definitely had a positive Toys’R’Us experience and a video game console launch couldn’t have run any more smoothly.

Bethany and I ended up getting 2 consoles, one for us to play and one for us to sell.  Out of the 10 people in the line, I think were the only ones who were going to sell – and that’s only because we were buying 2.  I have it listed on eBay right now, we’ll see how it does.  It hasn’t received a bid yet, but I’m not too worried given that we still have a day left.  I had delusions of grandeur that the eBay Wii would pay for both of them, but the going rate for a Wii is about $100 over.  We’ll see how we do.

With everything going on we’ve only played it for 2 hours over the last 3 days, but we had a blast with the Wii – it’s definitely not like any video game system I’ve played before!  I’ll post some more details on it later this week, but I’m very excited to have the Wii to pass the turkey cooking time on Thanksgiving!

Update: The eBay auction went pretty well, I made a pretty decent profit from the sale. It was interesting how much it shot up in the last 15 minutes of the auction!