So I had heard about the Wii re-release on Sun. BB was handing out tickets to purchase an hour before open, TRU and others would have them in stock, etc. I also found out that the availability of DSlites was very very low at most stores all of a sudden. Sensing opportunity to take care of both needs, I figured I'd wander out sometime early-ish Sun morning and see what was going on. I didn't figure the demand for either was nearly what it had been on launch, so no need to do something crazy like go out all night.
In our discussions, they mentioned that they worked late and might get up an out at a slightly insane hour to stand in line. If successful, I'd get up and out just before opening time to swoop in and make the buy, right? Nope. They left work around 1, 1:30am maybe and cruised by BB. Lines. Long lines. Already, before 2:00am. Wow.
So I woke up early and let them sleep a bit before getting us both up and out. We went by BB, where we saw one of their coworkers. They had just gotten their ticket and were guaranteed a system. The LAST person to get a ticket had arrived at 11pm. They had arrived at 9pm and were around number 9 out of the 24 available. The first person had been there for days.
As that was a no-go, we drove around a bit. CC and GS both had lines, and CC's in particular was huge. The mall wasn't open yet, so we went over to Target. No line. Strange, right? So we walk up and someone pops out to ask us what we're looking for. It turns out they had none of either, so we left. Drove by Microcenter, where there was a small line statig that they had no idea if the store had any, and it didn't open for another 2 hours. We didn't really want to wait 2 hours in the cold for no chance, and most of the other stores were already packed and about to open.
I thought of 1 last place to go - EB. We drove up and found a rather short line. Deciding to go ahead, we parked and walked up. We were greeted with the information that the expected systems were between 4 and 6, and that we would be #8 in line. Oh, and the store opened in 2 hours. We took the chance.
They went and got some hot chocolate from Panera and retrieved hat/gloves from the car. And we stood around in the cold waiting and chatting. It wasn't too bad, except for when the wind picked up the temperature was chilly but not bone-freezing cold. We traded console, game, and line waiting stories.
After about an hour, the manager showed up. They asked, "OK, what are you here for? I know my stock." The immediate answer was "We only have 5 Wiis." A bit of groaning ensued from the latter 7 people in line. I asked about the DSlites and was informed of 3 pink ones being in stock. As they wanted a pink one, we waited.
The next hour went by slowly. We watched some chess and checkers being played, did a brief bit of dancing, and mostly chatted and watched the little kids play football. We found out that the person at the front of the line had paid $100 to secure that spot. As some people wandered off due to being later than #5, we moved up to the $7 spot. The #6 person kept repeating that they were sure another Wii was in there somewhere, and they would get it. Or someone's credit card would be declined. Or something, they wanted that system... for someone else, they already had one.
While we were waiting, countless people drove by and asked one of two questions. Either it was "What are you waiting for?" from the clueless, or "How many?" from the informed. Several people also walked up, then quickly away as they heard the line and system counts.
As the buying time approached, we got in line in the proper order according to the list and waited. One last person walked up and got in line at the end. After the numbers were stated, they remarked "That's nice, we just want extra controllers."
Finally, the door was opened and the processing began. About 10 minutes later, it was all over. The first 5 got their systems, some with extra controllers. I didn't see any games being sold. #2 also got a pink DSlite.
As our turn came, the #6 was asking about another system and wanting the manager to be sure and all that. The manager replied that they had scoured the back room, and the only thing found was a black DSlite. Really?! Black, you say?! Mine. So I bought both the black one for myself and the pink one for them. Partial mission accomplished.
We were happy with the lites, but slightly disappointed in missing the Wii.
At this point, I want to make it clear that I didn't really want a Wii at first. I was more enamored with the new 360, and I knew I'd get a PS3 at some point. I'm not sure when it changed, but I think being able to grab the PS3 made me want to complete the set and secure a Wii. Once it became clear that I would have to wait, I figured on falling back to my normal wait and see strategy on consoles. Besides, there's going to be another color or three launched in the next year or so, right? I'll get one of those, and there will be more and better games at that point. Yeah.
So I figured I'd just wait and share the story of "The Time I Almost Got A Wii." And I did, that day/night, and the next day at work. "I was SO close, " I said, "#7 out of 5, but I only waited 2 hours, and I got my DSlites, right?"
Then, something interesting happened.
I was about to leave for lunch when I got a call. They said, "Remember that person at BB yesterday that we spoke with? Well, they had waited on launch day and somehow secured a raincheck for a Wii. They just got a call today saying that it was in and waiting for them. Since they got one yesterday, it's up for grabs. Do you want it?" I believe there is no reason to convey my surprised response.
There was a delay as some verifications were processed, then an hour or two later I got the call, "Can you leave now to come pick it up?" So I did. I went over there and drove the person to the store where it was waiting. The actual pickup and payment were... anticlimactic. Sufficed to say, I walked out of the store with a Wii under my arm.
I drove them back to work, thanked them, and went back in to convey the mission accomplished. Somehow, I was roped into talking with customers about the whole console wars, holiday scarcity, and HD sets. I wandered back to work and showed off the prize, then.. worked.
After work, I dropped it off at home and went in search of an extra Wiimote and nunchaku. No success there, although I did get Zelda for a reasonable price after coupon and giftcard. Sadly, the component cables are also not in stock anywhere.
Finally, I met them at home for the unboxing. As they were more excited for the system than I, I let them do the connections and most of the setup. I did claim the first Mii, though.
Then, they dominated. Played around with the channels and settings, then did some sports. Added Rodimus to the address book, but couldn't send a message for awhile and didn't see their Miis. I didn't get a chance to play at all, since we had to run off to a work dinner thing.
I have more Wii photos at Flickr