Best Buy sells 'last Wii' twice
Nintendo Economics 101
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 reader of The Consumerist was browsing this east coast Best Buy, when a devious person walked past.
"One of their salespeople came strolling from a back door holding a Nintendo Wii over his head, and started walking the aisles announcing that it was their last unit," said John The Consumerist reader. "I followed, wondering both how quickly would it get snatched up and how quickly could I decide if I wanted to buy it. It took a few minutes for a couple to come rushing up to claim it, exclaiming how happy their kids were going to be."
Then John went back to his browsing, and thirty minutes later, he was interrupted again. "I heard this announcement on the store's PA: 'Attention Best Buy customers! Julie is now walking through the store with our last Nintendo Wii! If you're looking for a Nintendo Wii, please look for Julie!' And there was another salesperson doing the same thing as the first - walking the aisles of the store holding the Wii above her head."
Then he decided it was time to some eavesdropping. "I overheard two manager-types (one in a suit, the other a yellow shirt) discussing it, the suit asking 'Did Julie sell that Wii, yet? How long?' And then 'Wait 40 minutes and send out the next one.'"
This doesn't surprise us. Others have accused Best Buy of behaving like gangsters.
Meanwhile, in a recent conversation with The San Jose Mercury News, Nintendo American president Reggie Fils-Aime insisted that the company has no hope of meeting American Wii demand anytime soon.
"We're working very hard to make sure that consumers are satisfied this holiday, but I can't guarantee that we're going to meet demand. As a matter of fact, I can tell you on the record we won't."
In fact, the whole supply and demand thing confuses him. "Every time we put more into the marketplace, we sell more, which says that we are not even close to understanding where the threshold is between supply and demand."
Perhaps he should ring up a Best Buy in New Jersey. It has a firm grasp on the situation.
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 ;)
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."
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.)
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.
If you ask Nintendo UK when they'll be more Wii in the UK...
...you 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.
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)