By Scott Westerman
Since The Queen is a dyed in the wool fitness freak, it was only a matter of time until the acquisition of a Nintendo Wii Fit moved to the top of my honey-do list.
We’ve had the game system (our first since we bought the original Nintendo way, way back when) for a couple of weeks. She’s already beaten me at bowling, tennis and yup, even boxing. And since it’s a WiFi device, she was able to view all of the Wii Fit video propaganda from the comfort of our living room.
She had questions. How did a simple electronic balance board lead you down the road to health? Could it hold my nano-attention span? Would it actually be fun?
All of the above morphed into “how can we get one”?
They are all over EBay. Average sale price: about twice the list. But the popularity of the item is such that Nintendo supposedly can’t keep up with the demand. Think Tickle-Me Elmo, Dark Knight premiere tickets, Madonna in concert, and you’ve got an idea of the task.
There are a bunch of good guys on my team who work closely with retail folks. I had an inclination to flex my vice presidential muscles and get special treatment. But that’s always been outside of my comfort zone, especially when it’s something for our personal use. So I did the next best thing and interrogated them for intel about how the Wii Fit distribution chain worked in Albuquerque.
“That’s easy”, TJ told me. “Toys r Us. People don’t think of them as a gamer’s paradise and they usually have few when others don’t.”
Armed with that insight, The Queen and I added Toys r Us to our Friday evening excursion planning. With gas being what it is, we’re more conscious about how we drive and we try to choreograph our shopping along the lines of the same GPS grid coordinates we use at work to efficiently route our technicians.
The people at Toys r Us were unusually helpful. Yes, they expected a shipment and would have a few on sale Sunday morning. Their recommendation was to be at the front door before opening for the best chance to get one.
And so it was that we found ourselves surfing the web and texting from our dual cell phones before the sliding glass at thirty minutes to ten this morning. At first we thought we might be the only ones who were clued in, but as the appointed hour drew near there were a half dozen souls that joined us in line.
All were in our general age demographic, which I generously define as 35-plus. The Queen, who never knew a stranger, befriended most, gathering valuable research data about their particular interest in the device. It’s clear that Nintendo has stumbled onto an out-of-the-park home run.
At exactly 10:01, the doors opened and we calmly moved in the direction of the video game section. Josh was on station with a UPS box containing 11 Wii Fits. Since we have friends who are in search, we used our individuality and each bought one (Toys r Us only sells one per customer). Worst case, even if our buddies have already found a unit, we can unload it at a premium on Ebay.
The crowd was small enough that there were a few left over after we all dispersed. We ended up spending an additional hundred bucks on games and connections to plug our Wii into our TVs High Def jack, so Toys r Us had a profitable transaction with the Westermans this morning.
On a whim, we thought to try our luck at Best Buy. It was just up the street, was a much bigger Nintendo client, and might possibly have had a similar shipment.
While Josh and the Toys r Us gang were friendly and quick with the inside information (they sometimes get shipments on Thursday, too), the Best Buy people were professional but perfunctory. No, they didn’t have any. No, they didn’t know when they might get them. End of story.
By the way, at first blush, the Wii Fit seems to be as advertised. We both spent at least a half hour on that damn balance board and as I was skiing the downhill slalom course for the 15th time, trying to stay between the flags (The Queen totally kicked my butt), I was thinking about how getting what you want in life really does boil down to three pretty simple things:
Setting a goal, conceiving a plan and executing it.