[Wii filter] too scarce at Christmas?
October 3, 2008 10:12 AM   Subscribe

[Wii filter] Is it going to be impossible to find the Wii right before Christmas? Should we wait until after Christmas to get it? Is it still in high demand? Are there new online resources to find Wii systems for sale?

My niece has been saving her $10/weekly allowance to get a Wii. She started saving after her birthday in July and now has $120 saved. We plan on paying her for her amazing grades (she's on the honor roll!), but only about $80. So, by the time she's saved $350 (15 weeks from now), it will be RIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS.

We want her to learn delayed gratification and the importance of saving money up for something you want, rather than buying it on credit. For that reason, I'm reluctant to purchase it for her in advance; I'd rather she had to walk up to a cashier and hand over the money herself. But when she finally has enough money, I want her to be able to buy it -- not be on a waiting list for another month.

So, should we advance her on the money to get it before Christmas, or should we just wait until after Christmas?

Assuming you suggest we buy it now, when will they start getting tougher to find -- right after Thanksgiving? Or are they getting more scarce now? Do I have time to wait until she's saved a bit more money, or do I have to start calling around now?

Assuming you suggest to wait until after Christmas, when will they start being available again? Will the idea of waiting until after Christmas be too disappointing to her, negating any lesson she may have learned about delayed gratification?

We're in Tucson, AZ and would prefer not to drive to Phoenix but will do what is necessary if it means she gets her Wii with her own money. I'd rather not spend the night in line outside a retail establishment, however.

posted by parilous to Shopping (32 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I see them at Gamestop and at electronics retailers all the time. I think supply caught up with demand a few months ago. I doubt there is going to be a price drop for this during Xmas, so I would just buy one now and just keep it in a safe place until Xmas. Avoid the xmas rush as mush as you can.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:24 AM on October 3, 2008


8260 N Cortaro Rd
Tucson, AZ 85743

Just give them a call.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:25 AM on October 3, 2008

Best answer: I, along with my a few friends and family, were each able to score one using iTrackr. Put in your zip code, a mile radius, and it'll tell you when and where they were available. I ended up having to drive about 30 miles to a small town Wal-Mart, but they had plenty in stock. And I wouldn't have known they had them without iTrackr.

If you find one now (or before she has enough money), you could always buy and not tell her, then when she has enough she can pay you.
posted by nitsuj at 10:26 AM on October 3, 2008

This article was just posted today, but perhaps you could secretly buy one now/whenever you can to make sure there is one for her and then she can pay you for it when she has the money?
posted by stefnet at 10:27 AM on October 3, 2008

If you can find the system now, buy it and wait. Better safe than sorry.

She should have enough money to buy an extra game or controller. Maybe she could go to the store and buy one of those things herself?
posted by Diskeater at 10:34 AM on October 3, 2008

I chatted up a guy at our local Best Buy who told me that their Wii shipments generally came in on Sunday. He encouraged me to arrive about one hour before the store opened (11:00 here), and they handed out voucher coupons for the number of Wiis, Wii Fits, Mario Karts, etc., that were going to be on the truck. It worked like a charm. Your Best Buy may vary on the day of the week, but they were pretty open about the information and the process.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 10:46 AM on October 3, 2008

You generally don't have to wait overnight any more - I would recommend getting there early Sunday morning (an hour or two should suffice) at the big box store of your choice.

I've also heard good things about Refresh Thing as a way to monitor online stores but can't vouch for it.
posted by sachinag at 10:56 AM on October 3, 2008

Just read a blurb in the Post today that Nintendo is increasing Wii shipments to the US during the 4th quarter. That said, waiting until just before the holidays could be a coin flip whether they're available or not. The closer you get, the more likely the resellers will be buying them up.
posted by inigo2 at 11:27 AM on October 3, 2008

Hi, I'm up in the Phoenix area. I got mine by simply going to Target right when they opened on a Sunday morning, going right to the electronics section and asking. I struck gold on the second weekend. My advice would be not to wait, start this weekend and you'll likely nab one before Xmas.
posted by mattholomew at 11:35 AM on October 3, 2008

if you buy one at a small store now, talk to the manager and see if they'll let you bring it in to for them to fake sell to your niece nearer to christmas when she's got her money together.
posted by lia at 11:39 AM on October 3, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far -- I've signed up for iTracker and will be calling around (preferably with kiddo-in-tow) to win the hearts of electronics managers to get inside information about shipments and stuff.

But no one has really touched on the idea that I don't want to buy it for her, hold onto it, and have her pay me -- I want HER to buy it. Doesn't it negate our "save your money until you can afford it" lesson if we buy it ahead of time and then she pays us? Isn't it like buying it on credit if we do it that way?
posted by parilous at 11:39 AM on October 3, 2008

Response by poster: (I should've previewed. Sorry, lia.)
posted by parilous at 11:42 AM on October 3, 2008

But no one has really touched on the idea that I don't want to buy it for her, hold onto it, and have her pay me -- I want HER to buy it. Doesn't it negate our "save your money until you can afford it" lesson if we buy it ahead of time and then she pays us? Isn't it like buying it on credit if we do it that way?

Well, that's kinda for you to decide. I do have kids, and my approach would likely be to buy it, have the child pay me and only give it to her when she had paid it off, and then have her pay an extra 'fee' to me by doing some extra chores or something. It could be an interesting lesson in value-added resellers or some such. Just my 2 cents.
posted by mattholomew at 11:43 AM on October 3, 2008

But the lesson of "saving your money until you can afford it" also includes the idea that what you want may be sold out/discontinued/unavailable in some way by the time you can afford it. Which, for us adults is the reality of life. For a kid and for a product that has this scarcity issue (and you address this "But when she finally has enough money, I want her to be able to buy it -- not be on a waiting list for another month."), I wouldn't be as concerned. If she doesn't know that you are holding one for her, she doesn't have that "well, I'm getting it anyway" sort of feeling. She learns to save her money for something and you get to be the one that makes sure she can take advantage of her persistence.
posted by stefnet at 11:47 AM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This is tricky, because I understand the lesson you want to teach her by having her go to the store and buy it with her own money. That's a good feeling for her to have, and a good lesson about saving for the things you want.

However, it's hard to say if you will be able to find one at Christmastime. Demand is still high, I didn't even see a Wii in-store until a few months ago. They seem to have caught up, but there's no guarantee that supply will be able to satisfy demands during the holiday season.

I would see if you can find a local shop to hold one for you. Even if you do though, I wouldn't take it as a guarantee it would still be there. Talk to some managers and see if you can find one who seems friendly and trustworthy (this could also teach her to shop at small independents rather than WalMart or ToysRUs).
posted by yellowbinder at 11:50 AM on October 3, 2008

Best answer: Buy it for her now and hang on to it until Christmas, or whenever she's saved up enough money. If you bought it now and gave it to her now, then yeah, of course you'd be undercutting the lesson you want her to learn. Buying on credit means getting the item now and paying for it later. Since she won't be able to play with it until she actually pays for it, in full, she's not buying it on credit. She doesn't even need to know you've got it stashed in the closet.

If you want to avoid the uncertainty of whether it will be available at Christmas, and want to avoid the stress of waiting in long lines, then go buy one now. Don't tell her you've gotten it.

You know what I'd end up doing? I'd take the money from her once she has it all saved up, give her the Wii and then put the money into her college fund or savings account or whatever. Not saying you should do that, but it's what I'd do.
posted by Kangaroo at 11:59 AM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Kudos to you for teaching your child sound financial lessons.

What do you think of having a conversation with your daughter about the situation? Maybe you wouldn't have to tease her with, "I could go out and get this for you." You could, however, open up a dialog about scarcity, supply and demand, and whole host of other economic concepts. You could make some subtle (or, perhaps, not so subtle) points about the difference between free markets (it's your money, you decide how to spend it, sometimes stuff runs out) and command economies (it's not really your money, the fatherland will provide for you).

If you decide to let the market run (i.e. wait until she has the money and go to the store) and "what you want [is] be sold out/discontinued/unavailable," (stefnet) then you could gift her with some games or accessories. Thus, keeping the carrot out in front of her and keeping her excited for when the market swings around again. Who knows, maybe she'll have learned her lessons well enough that she'll decide to "put the money into her college fund or savings account" (Kangaroo) instead.

Chapter Review: If my dad won't bail me out, then why should we bailout wall street? Explain in 50 words or less. :)
posted by GPF at 12:24 PM on October 3, 2008

I kind of agree with Kangaroo... Do you want the lesson to backfire and show her hard work gets you screwed in the end? Because if she works hard for grades, saves her money, etc. and then DOESN'T get it, sure it's a "true life" lesson of hard knocks, but THAT isn't the lesson you're trying to teach.

I'd say buy now while they're plentiful. With the economy the way it is and the Wii's attractive price, it's bound to be a hot seller.

And here's what I'd do:

Buy it now

Don't tell daughter

wait for daughter to have money

if daughter fails in grades or savings, eBay it, break even at worst, make a profit at best

if daughter makes it, see if they're still in stock. If they are, take her to the store, let her buy one, do a quick switch with the one you have hidden (serial numbers are tracked on game system purchases) and she'll have the fun of buying it. You can do this by partnering with the wife and going someplace else between Gamestop and home.

If daughter makes it and they're NOT in stock, get her money and tell her you'll get one while she's at school one day, and then just bring it home with you.

But no matter what, for this lesson, don't TELL her you bought it or, yeah, lesson lost.
posted by arniec at 12:44 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

I bought one two weeks ago at a local Target (I'm in St Petersburg, Florida) - there were at least 5 of them at the time.

Hint: Get there when they open the doors on Sunday.
posted by willmize at 12:55 PM on October 3, 2008

lesson if we buy it ahead of time and then she pays us? Isn't it like buying it on credit if we do it that way?

I guess that's a personal choice, but if she is paying you the exact amount then you're just another retail outlet.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:27 PM on October 3, 2008

Not directly an answer to your question, but I just want to point out that the Wii costs $250, not $350.
posted by steveminutillo at 1:57 PM on October 3, 2008

Sheesh, people.

Just buy it now and hide it. Then when the day comes to go to the store, pull it out and give it to her just before you get ready to leave... If she's old enough to save, she can understand about stores not having them in stock. I'd guess if she's a Wii fan she already knows about its scarcity.

She's a kid who's doing well. Just make it simple. She's learning as it is. Why make things so complex?
posted by jeff-o-matic at 2:01 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Oh, and buy her some accessories or extra games for christmas presents while you're at it. She's a good kid and deserves it.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 2:03 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Younger people enjoy stalking product. I think if you shared the situation with her now, and explained how it might be difficult to find, she might start tracking the stocking levels herself and learn a lesson on scarcity in the process.

I'm just past college, but I had fun watching stock for the 360 in my area using online resources and handy little stock-checking tools people had written, that updated by the hour. It's rather like a treasure hunt, which may sound juvenile at first until you realize that the entire demand-based market (garage sales, eBay, Craigslist, etc.) IS a treasure hunt, and the best way to turn a little spare time into better stuff around the house than what you would get if you just walked into retail without preparation and asked a salesperson for a particular product.

In fact--with the speed of the technological market right now, products like LCD, processors, hard drives, etc. see extremely quick turnaround. A particular release of a particular make and model can have widely varying performance numbers from a product boxed as a competing product--or even from a product bearing the same name and retail model number. So the treasure hunt concept extends fully into the big-box retail space.

Some of you right now are probably considering all this as far too complex for kids. But really, new things are easier for kids to learn. They'd have an easier time with it than I did, or you would. I recommend you let HER start tracking stock and tell YOU what the best course of action is.

That is, if you want her to learn anything.
posted by Phyltre at 2:30 PM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Buy it in advance, stash it, and don't tell her. Go to the store to buy it, and before you go in, whip it out and present it. Explain you bought it a little in advance because of the scarcity, and you you wanted to make sure she got one having saved so hard for it, and swap it for the money. Then go in the store and buy a extra game or controller she wants as a bonus.

The wii has sold out hard and early before xmas the last two years. It's the same story now as last year, they're certainly available but not in vast overflowing numbers. Come just before xmas, they'll be rare as hen's teeth. In the UK, the credit crisis has lead to an increase in console sales, as people buy cheap entertainment and stay home instead of more expensive hobbies and breaks.
posted by ArkhanJG at 3:00 PM on October 3, 2008

Were I in your position, I would buy one now, not tell her about it, and hide it away.

If, come Christmas time, you're easily able to buy them in stores, let her go buy it, then swap the units out and return the one she just bought and get your money back for you.

If, come Christmas time, you're not easily able to buy them in stores, let her buy the one you have locked away from you. Or, let her buy the one you have locked away from 'somebody at work who won one in a contest and is selling it' if you don't want to admit that you bought it and kept it locked in a closet for 3 months.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:01 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Buy one early from a place that has a generous return policy. Make sure you have a copy of the return policy in writing. Hide that wii away.

Ideally, she'll be able to buy her own when she has her money saved up and you can return the spare wii. If not, then you tell her that you "found" one in an out of the way store and picked it up and she can pay you back.
posted by saffry at 3:35 PM on October 3, 2008

shoulda previewed
posted by saffry at 3:35 PM on October 3, 2008

I don't think anybody has mentioned it above - but can she possibly put it on LayBy? That way she is still paying it off herself, and will be guaranteed to get one when she has all the cash...
posted by cholly at 5:28 PM on October 3, 2008

Do stores still do Layaway plans? You could put one on Layaway or "reserve" it and then she'd still be able to go to the store and pay it off.

(Possibly the same thing cholly is saying.)
posted by mmoncur at 2:24 AM on October 4, 2008

took me two weeks to get one. the day i finally got one, the 6th gamestop i called had more than one (he couldnt tell me) and my wife got the last one as someone was walking in the door and asked for one.

and then we found out the blockbuster close to our apartment nearly always has them in stock because no one thinks to look there.
posted by phritosan at 8:20 AM on October 6, 2008

Response by poster: Followup from OP:

With the help of a $50 bonus (for good grades) from Grandpa, she saved $270 by Halloween. I called around to the local Game Stop stores to find one with the console alone (no accessories) in stock. We went immediately after work and bought it.

She paid for it with her own money. It took a long time to count out (I had to help), but the salesclerk was awesome and didn't mind the slowness of the transaction (or my picture taking).

As the holidays approach, I definitely recommend checking the local/small gaming stores. It may cost a little more than online or buying from a big box store, but it involved A LOT less trouble!
posted by parilous at 11:42 AM on November 4, 2008

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