back to article Best Buy sells 'last Wii' twice

How hard is it to find a Nintendo Wii? Not as hard as some might think. The official line from Nintendo is that demand for the time-wasting gaming console far exceeds supply, but some recent shenanigans at a Best Buy electronics mega-store in Princeton, New Jersey would seem to indicate otherwise. Last Saturday morning, a …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Best Buy - used to be good - now, go to Fry's

    There was a time when BB wasn't so bad - they actually had good stock, and the sales types would be helpful.

    I guess I don't look like an "buyer" - because the last few times I went in there - jeans and tee happily on - I got no looks from sales types. They'll flock like seagulls to a beach BBQ to anyone dressed nice and near the laptops, though. So I end up walking up and down aisles trying to find a stupid part.

    Which brings me to ...

    They never have anything I want - I wanted a stupid power Y adapter. Didn't have one. 80mm case fan? Nope. Drive mount brackets? Ut uh.

    And I swear - if you buy gum there, they'll ask if you want the extended warranty with it. You almost have to give them a stern, child-correcting "NO! BAD SALESPERSON!" to get them to stop.

    I wish Fry's would open a shop closer to me ... (sigh)

  2. James Pickett


    "Every time we put more into the marketplace, we sell more"

    Oh dear - how annoying.

    Overheard in a supermarket, in response to a request for an item: "We stopped doing those because we kept selling out."

    Must be the same guy...

  3. Andy Silver badge

    No shortage in Andorra

    That's where I bought mine. Cheaper than Blighty, too. And you can get in a bit of pre-christmas skiing.


  4. Paul Talbot


    Erm, doesn't this BB tactic seem really counterproductive? After all, it wouldn't take a genius to work out that if there's enough demand to sell one every half an hour with a nudge, they must be able to sell more if they're on display. in that 40 minutes, how many people are going to look around, see there's no Wiis and go to another store?

    By the way, to James Pickett above, I don't think he was complaining of the number being sold as such. Just that the ever-increasing demand makes it nigh-on impossible for them to judge production and get enough units out to meet that demand.

  5. Michael


    This really is a brilliant tactic. People tend to be willing to pay more for something, if they're not sure they'll get another chance. That translates to more people being willing to buy it at its fixed price, if they are under the impression that it's "the last available one".

    Kind of funny they got "caught" though. And I put that in quotes because they're not really doing anything wrong.

  6. Shane Lusby


    The thing that confuses me here is that its not like Best Buy is selling them over list or anything. There isn't a need to create more demand for a unit that is selling out anyway, so why not just throw their stock on the shelf, sell through them and skip the theatrics?

  7. TS

    It's just advertising.

    I saw two sitting in a cabinet at Target the other day. I was tempted to buy both and ebay them, but decided just to let some lucky parent find it.

    It's just that stores have been out of stock for so long, people have stopped looking for them. So when the store does have one in stock, they have to advertise they have them.

    "Last one", that's a little sneaky, but really, with most stores OOS most of the time, it's not too far from the truth. I wouldn't get too upset, it's not like they're sitting on a cache of hundreds of machines.

    Of course they still suck a retailer.

  8. Solomon Grundy
    Thumb Up

    Traditional Marketing at Work

    While sort of sketchy in this context, this is traditional marketing at work. Products used to be flogged like this in every retail outlet - in fact they still are at street markets, flea markets, bazaars, etc... Best Buy corporate needs to find out who came up with this scheme and move them into a big shiny corporate office.


    It's about velocity. The faster you can move product through a retail store the better off you are. Even if the product is already selling out on the shelf, if you sell an extra eight units a day that's a big win.

    (personally I'd rather be lied to about available quantity of stock for a product I wanted than lied to about a product I didn't even know I needed and did not meet the original promises made about it)

  9. Bryce Prewitt

    Fuck the Consumerist.

    That website isn't worth its hosting fees.

  10. Darren7160
    Thumb Down

    Short Term...

    To those that believe that it is so wonderful to manipulate a customer are the same that can so easily cross the line. A customer used to be someone who was valued, a company cared about its reputation. Nowdays? It is all in the fine print and ways to rationalize bad behavior. Its for maximizing profit? Then no problem. No need to think any further.

    Is it any wonder that American car companies chased the quaterly profits at the expense of long term planning? Oooops. Who would have expected? Gee, I don't know, Honda, Toyota, Nissan? Or American banks going after subprime loans... who would have figured that in a couple of years when rates went up people wouldn't be able to pay the $600 to $800 more a month?

    It really saddens me when people are not only supportive but applauding behavior from a company that they would not tolerate in a person such as a friend, family member or neighbor.

    Really, I am sorry, but if you absolutely must deceive a customer to maximize your profits then that speaks volumes of how you value me as a customer. Hmmmm, just possibly there are other stores that I will be willing to go to instead? Ones that don't see me as a mark, but as someone to build a relationship with. How old fashioned.

  11. Jason Harvey
    Thumb Down


    the only problem with Frys is that you better know what you want or you will get sold on the most expensive worthless kit they have in stock. their associates don't really know much about anything they sell. but if you know what you want... it's a great place to get stuff. don't get their extended warranty though... it's cheaper in the long run to just take care of your kit... or know a geek that can fix the parts that break. it's more trouble dealing with their warranty service than it's worth.

  12. Lloyd
    Thumb Up

    But is it bad practice?

    It keeps it down to one per customer rather than someone buying £20 and then floggind them for huge profit @ebay.

  13. Smallbrainfield

    Wiis are like magic dust here in the UK

    I was over in the US a few weeks ago and there were loads in the store I visited in Las Vegas. Cheaper too. I had to pay through the nose to secure one via eBay a few weeks ago as they've been sold out over here for weeks.

    You lot don't know you're born. ;-)

    I wouldn't mind, but prior to this console I wouldn't have a Nintendo in the house as I always thought they were for kids. Anyway, I've got one now. Bask in my smugness.

  14. Marcelo Rodrigues

    Misleading advertising

    @people who thinks it's ok the "last unit" show:

    I can't speak for your countrie's law - but here in Brasil (sorry, I hate to write it with "z") it's against the law theses tatics. Think about:

    "Now! Now! Last WII goiing (pun intended) out!". See the word "last"? If there's more than one it can't be the last. And, if it can't be the last... this is a lie.

    Now. Whe have the CDC - Código de defesa do consumidor (Consumer defense code, I think). A set of laws that protect people from beeing abused by anyone selling something.

    One of the protections is: YOU SHOULD NOT LIE TO THE CONSUMER. period. If you get caught, things "will go bad" for you.

    Don't get me wrong. Put the darn thing in or out the shelves - I don't care.

    Use a clown to carry one of them around the store - and make him yell "Wee! Wee! I have one, and you don't!" I couldn't care less.

    But lie? If I get a store lying to me it will get my eternal disliking. And I would make shure everyone I could spoke to would have the same view.

    Oh, yes. A nice black jack as an icon - since their pirates in the seventineth century way to me. Never like their CDRs anyway...

  15. SmokeyMcPotHead

    And the fault lies...

    At the end of the day, all this nonsense with the Wii is down to Nintendo, they've had a year to get on top of the fact that their console is a best seller. They should therefore have got their shit together to ensure there were enough consoles to go round. Personally if I was CEO at Nintendo I'd be kicking myself over all those lost sales...and if I was a share holder I'd be jumping up and down going apeshit.

  16. Greg Ayres
    Paris Hilton

    Bank This Thought

    It may be a good way of selling your own Wii after Christmas when you've realised that with the possible exception of Zelda, none of the games are of any real interest to anyone with an attention span of an average human.

    If the Wii was a person, it would be Paris Hilton.

    Before anyone starts the "I bet you've never played one" routine, I was indeed one of the lemmings desperately trying to get one the last time stock was a problem. I've never been so disappointed by anything.

    People say the PS3 is expensive for £300, but at least you'll actually still be using it in a few months' time. It even has state of the art functions the Wii hasn't, like a DVD player.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Best Buy = Boycott

    A few weeks ago my home was burglarized by illegal aliens from Mexico. The first store they hit with my credit cards was Best Buy. On the back of my credit cards where the signature should be it says in very bold, RED letters, CHECK ID!!! Due to the credit card company I knew very shortly about the burglary and due to the items stolen the burglars ended up on the Department of Homeland Security radar. Best Buy morons could not give the detectives the number to their Security department or their corporate headquarters because they did not know it!!! The dirtbag Mexicans could have been caught inside of an hour if Best Buy had an ounce of intelligence. Thankfully white trash WalMart was smarter and gave up video evidence shortly thereafter and the filthy Mexicans were mercilessly flogged. A happy ending for all....except Best Buy where I will never shop again.

    As a side note, I now have in bright PINK on the back of all my credit cards, I AM NOT A MINORITY!!! Let's see how well that does.

  18. SmokeyMcPotHead

    If you ask Nintendo UK when they'll be more Wii in the UK... get the below polite answer...

    "Dear Customer, thank you for your e-mail.

    Nintendo is working at its maximum production level to supply as many Wii hardware units as possible during the busy Christmas period.

    The demand for Wii hardware globally has been unprecedented and higher than Nintendo could ever have anticipated. Nintendo are now in a position in which seasonality demand trends are being broken, therefore the demand for Wii hardware is constant throughout the whole year globally. Due to this phenomenon it is possible that the demand for Wii hardware may outstrip supply.

    As an indicator of the commitment to ensure stock reaches the market to meet demand, Nintendo have continually been increasing its annual Wii hardware shipment forecasts throughout the year. For the fiscal year beginning 1st April 2007 and ending 31st March 2008 Nintendo have raised their annual shipment forecast for Wii hardware by a total of 3.5 million units globally, Nintendo now plans to ship 17.5 million Wii units globally, versus the 14 million units initially planned in April 2007.

    Production levels for Wii hardware are also at the highest they have ever been, with a maximum production capability of 1.8 million units globally per month.

    We are doing everything possible to supply continued levels of stock and meet demand as quickly as possible.

    Kind regards,

    Your Nintendo Team


    Nintendo Service Centre,

    CoDEstorm House, Walton Road, Farlington, Hampshire, PO6 1TR.

    Tel - 0870 6060247 (Calls charged at the National rate)

    Service Centre Hours 08.30 to 19.00 Monday to Friday (Excluding Bank Holidays)


  19. Rick Brasche
    Thumb Down


    they're just like car salesmen now!

    Do they sell it with $100 gold plated cables?

    Most stores in San Jose and surrounds are out of these within a day or less of receiving their shipments. But there are plenty in less affluent areas.

    and Fry's? Definitely not deserving of any "customer service" awards or any praises as being any better than BB. Cheaper, yes. Better in any other respect? Not. (see "Fry's Upgrade" for example, or the accusations you get when someone has already done a "Fry's Upgrade" return that their people missed.)

  20. Mark Hartman

    A marketing tactic that doesn't make sense

    It seems to me this entire story is based on unsubstantiated hearsay. Why would Best Buy risk losing potential buyers who walk in looking for a unit, then leave because there's nothing on the shelves? Not to mention that there's very little markup in the hardware; Best Buy wants consumers to buy the hardware there, then drop another $150 in third-party software for the WII (much higher profit margin), so it's in their best interests to sell all they have and knock down doors at Nintendo for more units until demand cools.

    The only way this story makes any sense is if the store manager at the location referenced in the story was collecting data for his dissertation on "Marketing and the Human Psyche."

  21. Amy

    You know Best Buy's jumped the shark when...

    You walk into the store knowing EXACTLY what you want, you go to the section of the store where the product is located, you park your butt in front of the display model of said product, at least four sales associates look you straight in the eye as you try to SIGNAL them with that "Excuse me, but could I get a little HELP over here?" look on your face and after being blatantly ignored you hop on your cell, call information, get the number for Circuit City, call Circuit City to ask if they have the product you want - within earshot of Best Buy sales associates - and they continue to ignore you.

    Now for the ultimate irony - when I asked to speak to a manager to complain about the blatant disrespect of their sales associates the first person who ignored me wound up being the MOD at that particular time. I'm pretty sure that, a month later, the man is still trying to find the remains of his nuked gonads.

    For the record, I find virtually all electronics stores deplorable and whenever possible my family uses my father's faculty discount at the university from which he is retired to shop at the university's bookstore. We can get pretty much anything we want there that is related to electronics, get a discount and since my father is a Professor Emeritus we get a level of sucking up that even commission-earning employees elsewhere just can't begin to match ;)

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