Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Where are you Wii?

Wanted: Nintendo Wii for less than $300.

Location: Unknown

My wife and I have lots of options for things Uncle Sam can buy us with this Economic Stimulus check we received today. We already have the plan pretty much, but we decided to think about getting a Nintendo Wii. The basic price has been $250 for at least the last 6 months, so this is the maximum we want to pay for the console. It seems most of the Oxnard merchants (Fry's, Wal-Mart, etc) want to sell it in a bundle, costing up to $400. In my opinion, if I have to pay $400 I might as well get the X-Box 360 which I want more than the Wii.

I finally found two stores which had the Wii at the basic, non-bundled price. These were Target and Best Buy. Normally Best Buy is on my DO NOT SHOP list, but every so often they try to make amends for poor service over the years. Today I focused on Target. It seems I will have to try Best Buy or Ebay after all. Target does not have its' act together when it comes to the Wii.

I looked at to see if they had the Wii, and the website didn't have any available. I looked for local stores, and found it was available in a couple of the Oxnard stores. I went to the first after dinner tonight, and they did not have it in stock. This was the nicer of the two Targets. I had not been to the alternative Target, but was told by my wife that it is a filthy place. She was right.

Never go to the Esplanade Target. This is the one off of Oxnard Blvd, right off the freeway, and next to a lot of brand new, nice stores. From the time I got out of my car and smelled the foul odor in the parking lot, I knew things weren't going to go well. We got inside, and the entry carpet was so filthy I could not believe they clean the place on a daily basis. The tile further into the store was no better. Black streaks adorn almost every tile in 6-8 feet chunks throughout the store. My wife and son went to get ice cream while I went to the electronics department.

I got there and asked if they had a Wii in stock. He told me they don't. I told him that the website told me they had one, so he took his laser and scanned the bar code for me. He confirmed they had a few in the back, but then told me he couldn't sell me any. I was very surprised by this. He tried to explain that since the Wii will be featured in the Sunday ads, they are not allowed to sell any Wiis until Sunday. He said it was because it would be bad if they ran out of Wiis when they advertised them in the Sunday ad. He also said something about getting a $10,000 fine if they sold one to me today. The best part of this outlandish story is that he told me the price was the same. This is not a sale price on Sunday. It costs the exact same if I buy it today or Sunday. This is ridiculous.

I leave him and go to look for my wife, determined to add Target to my boycott list, right alongside the Oxnard Wal-Mart. I told her what happened and she wanted me to talk to the manager. I had already thought to do so, but decided that I wasn't interested in giving Target my money even if I could convince the manager to sell me one. Ultimately I talked to the manager.

She seemed surprised to find out about the no sales before Sunday thing, so she went to investigate. The kid told her a different story than he told me, then she came back to talk to me. Apparently there were no Wiis in the back. If there were, they hadn't gone through security where the serial numbers are recorded, and wouldn't be available until they did go through security. She explained that both the web and the bar code scanners are off by 24 hours. Neither allows for a purchase less than 24 hours before the scan. I was pretty frustrated at this point, and we left the store.

My wife and I discussed the fact that Nintendo keeps shooting itself in the foot with the Wii. They know the demand, and refuse to produce a reasonable number of products. If Nintendo intends for me to purchase a Wii at $400, maybe it is time I left Nintendo. I have every non hand-held Nintendo except the Wii. If Nintendo can't get their act together, maybe I will move on exlusively to the better brands, namely Sony and (I can't believe I am going to type this....) Microsoft. If anyone from Nintendo happens to read this, please fix the problem. This is getting old.

I am not sure what I am going to do about the Wii thing. Maybe I wasn't meant to get one for whatever reason. It shouldn't be this hard to buy something so basic.

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