Archive for Sunday, December 30, 2007

Shopper crying Wii, Wii, Wii all the way home

December 30, 2007


Ooops - I did it again! After vowing I would nevermore be held hostage by toy manufacturers advertising something they couldn't deliver, I found myself searching for the elusive Wii to put under the tree for husband Ray. Had I decided to buy it before Thanksgiving, I might have had a chance to find it, but it wasn't until Turkey Day at our home that grandson Gabe brought his Wii and we all had a great time pseudo-bowling.

Sure, I knew that last Christmas people camped outside retail stores in sleeping bags during sub-zero temperatures hoping to acquire the madly popular Wii. But I naively thought that Nintendo learned from that experience and boosted production for this Christmas to meet demand. I was wrong. They didn't learn anything.

Neither, apparently, did I. For decades, Ray and I harbored a passionate antipathy for all things Mattel ... not for lead in its products, but because they consistently advertised toys on kid TV shows that they couldn't produce in numbers to meet the demand they created. Hence, Ray and I visited every store in a 100-mile radius in a futile quest for a Tiger Joe tank or a Mighty Mo battleship, whichever was the object of one of our son's heart's desire. Furthermore, I'm betting that parents of girls were trying just as hard to find the Barbie du jour coveted by their daughters.

I was grateful that our sons were too old to want Cabbage Patch dolls, but I observed that frenzy from the sidelines as I watched our friend Don, who managed a department store, respond to a woman's question: "Do you have Cabbage Patch dolls in stock, and how much are they?"

"Yes, we do. $35."

"Huh!" she said in disgust, "They are only $29.99 at Wal-Mart."

"Then you should buy one there."

"I would, but they're out of them."

"Well," Don replied, "When we're out of them, they're only $14.99."

Remember Tickle-me Elmo? He was a gotta-have toy several years ago. I think it was Elmo - or perhaps the demand for Transformer toys - that prompted Arnold Schwarzenegger to make "Jingle All the Way." His character in that movie was locked in a mighty struggle with a maniacal postal worker to buy the last Turbo-man, a hot toy wanted by each man's son. The parent doesn't exist who can't identify with that movie. Been there, done that.

And still doing it. At Costco, I have twice been told that I just missed getting a Wii. "We put out 24 a half-hour ago," a salesman said, "and they were gone in 20 minutes."

Another day, a clerk told me, "Check up front. Someone just returned one unopened."

Costco is a big store, but I made it to the front in record time ... only to be informed the Wii was already gone. I wonder just how many customers he'd told about the returned Wii.

Best Buy and Wal-Mart clerks told me to call every day to see if Wiis were available. Problem is, I live in the country and, because I was informed they couldn't hold a Wii for me, I knew they'd all be gone before I could drive there.

As for the elusive Wii, it's not all Nintendo's fault. A salesman at one store confided, "We've been putting a few out each day, and they're gone in a flash."

"That tells me you've held some back!" I exclaimed in surprise.

"We don't have any now," he said, "because we've been putting out about nine a day."

A nearby saleswoman volunteered, "We saved back 50 for last Sunday."

Where was I that Sunday? I was in Kansas City ... hoping to score a Wii. And how many times that week was I in that particular store asking about a Wii only to be told they were sold out when they really weren't? It's enough to drive me postal!

I might have acquired a Wii for Ray had I been willing to wait hours outside a store in frigid temperatures. But my nephew arrived at 5 a.m. one bone-chilling Sunday, and a manager who opened the store told Chris he might as well go home because they didn't have any Wiis. Chris was exasperated to learn that his brother visited the store later that day and purchased a Wii.

I certainly could have bought a Wii on eBay or Amazon if I'd been dumb enough to pay three times the list price for the basic model. I may be blond, but I'm not that blond. No, I'd rather cry Wii, Wii, Wii all the way home.

Marsha Henry Goff is a freelance writer in Lawrence. Information about purchasing her book, "Life Is More Fun When You Live It Jest for Grins," is available by calling 843-2577 or e-mailing


Confrontation 10 years, 3 months ago

It's sad that her husband has to play with video games. I guess he'll never mature.

Wilbur_Nether 10 years, 3 months ago

Nonsense, Confrontation. Recreation and maturity are not mutually exclusive categories.

sdinges 10 years, 3 months ago

My husband and I love video games. I don't know why you'd suppose they are less worthwhile than some other form of entertainment.

Peaty Romano 10 years, 3 months ago

The Wii has games that are fun for the whole family. I got mine last Christmas for the kids. We all play "Smarty Pants" a trivia game that also gets you jumping around and all sorts of stuff. Like many of the Wii games it gets you off your butt. Try the Dance game and your heart rate will increase by quite a bit I can guarantee it. I think Confrontation needs to understand things better before making a blanket comment. We aren't talking pong here. BTW I saw Wii's at both Target and BBuy the other day. I'm sure they were snapped up though, this game system is pretty fun, even people that don't like Video games seem to want to mess with it.

compmd 10 years, 3 months ago

I think its time for another "Compmd's Seasonal Retro Video Game Festival." The oldest games will be on the Atari 2600, and the newest will be on the Dreamcast. Pitfall and Crazy Taxi anyone?

JayCat_67 10 years, 3 months ago

My wife actually wanted a Wii system. I had opted for the PS3 but there are many more family oriented games available for the Wii. I went into the hunt though with the idea that I would just have to luck into one; you know, just be in the right place at the right time. I figured to get anymore worked up than that would just be a waste of energy and I'm not one to get fisticuffs in the aisles over the toy du jour. Anyway, that attitude paid off and she got her Wii, and I thought I'd get a little special something for my effort (wink wink ;-D). Nah, she was too busy playing the d@mned game!

jonas 10 years, 3 months ago

I love my Wii. The golf games are great.

Mike Blur 10 years, 3 months ago

Confrontation is probably the type that also thinks libraries are just for children.

TriSigmaKS 10 years, 3 months ago

I walked right into Best Buy yesterday to purchase one, with no problem. They did mention they just put them out, so I guess I was lucky. I do realize that they are limited and most likely won't become regularly available until Wii 2.0 comes out (not yet mentioned for release, but surely will in the next few years or earlier).

PrincessConsuelaBananaHammock 10 years, 3 months ago

I saw a story on channel 5 news the other day about the Wii - they are using them a lot in nursing homes to help the residents with range of motion and hand-eye coordination. They also said that the stimulation from the game was good for helping to keep the mind active which helped improve memory - who would have thought a video game would do so many good things for folks!

GretchenJP 10 years, 3 months ago

I'll wait until they come down in price.

Confrontation 10 years, 3 months ago

I see that a lot of childlike adults are in favor of video games. Typical for Lawrence. I'm not at all surprised by those people who choose to contribute so little to society, other than a high score.

notjustanotherface 10 years, 3 months ago

I'm sure if everyone were like you, Confrontation, they would be out saving orphans and feeding and clothing the homeless. Perhaps even reading classic literature in Greek. Your contributions to society must be extremely impressive, no?

There's nothing wrong with playing video games with your kids or family, or even spending a few hours every once in awhile unwinding. Is it necessary to be so judgmental?

Wilbur_Nether 10 years, 3 months ago

Or a discussion thread on the LJW website....

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years, 3 months ago

me wants one who care about contibutyng to society me want games:) kidding all I would like a wii but hey will live with out one and confrantation just calm down people can contribute and have fun it really is not that hard.

Chrissy Neibarger 10 years, 3 months ago

Get a Wii and get off your A$$ and you won't be fat! That's the great thing about Wii's, that they'll get you off the couch, get the blood pumping and get you moving.. ALL WHILE PLAYING A VIDEO GAME!!!

alm77 10 years, 3 months ago

Confront, you should see the Guitar Hero episode of South Park - its hilarious and would make your point for your, but then you'd be watching TV , so wouldn't that be "wasting time" on entertainment?? I'm not sure comment posting isn't wasting time entertainment, but I digress.

I got up every morning for two weeks to get the kids to school early so I could call Best Buy before they opened to see if they had any Wiis. I also went to Wal-mart (and you all know how I feel about Wal-mart) and waited for the truck to arrive.

One morning, I was getting ready to go hunting when my mom called and said "Are you still looking for one of those Wii things?" So, we managed to get it.

We LOVE it. My arms are sore and my kids are up off their hineys more than usual this time of year. Its GREAT!!

Confrontation 10 years, 3 months ago

"Mr_Ramirez (Anonymous) says: "Video games are great ! We love to play them all day and night ! Sincerely, Fat kids"

That's too funny (& true)! People spend hours playing these mindless games. Not suprised that Defender is one of the mindless.

geniusmannumber1 10 years, 3 months ago

I agree with Confrontation! Video games are a waste of time! You could be improving the world! You could be getting exercise!

We should all take a lesson from Confrontation. After all, 2700+ posts on the LJW forums may seem like an awful lot of work, but how many other hobbies can you think of where you can change the world, stimulate the ol' pseudointellect, and get good exercise at the same time?

JayCat_67 10 years, 3 months ago

The Silent Hill games are much better than a good horror movie. You don't just yell at the protagonist to "Turn around! The Monster is behind you!" You can turn him/her around and bash the monster's brains in. Definitely not a game for the kids. Dance Dance Revolution and those types of games are pretty good for physical activity too. And plugging in four controllers and "running and blasting" with three boys whoopin' and hollerin' like crazy in a "Medal of Honor" free for all is just plain fun. Just don't make video games the center of your life and you might just be OK.

Oh and I do run appx. 5 miles a day and my job involves getting handicapped and elderly folks to their jobs and appointments. Geez....

gaiapapaya 10 years, 3 months ago

compmd: you can download retro games for the Wii. You can get Opera (sp?) for the Wii to download the games. We got Galaga, Pac-Man, and Excite Bike. There is an optional retro controller you can buy to make game play easier.

We love our Wii. It does get one moving. I thought I slept on my arm the wrong way on christmas night, but it was "Wii-itis".

sourpuss 10 years, 3 months ago

All things in moderation, friends, even saving the world.


Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years, 3 months ago

jay cat love that post bash em on the head cool lol, really does sound like fun. thanks for making me laugh.

Confrontation 10 years, 3 months ago

geniusmannumber1: Don't you have a score to beat? Super Mario is calling your name.

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