Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Hitting My Head Against The Wii Wall

I have now completed four solid weeks of Wii hunting, primarily by going to Fred Meyer's on the days they receive shipments. Eight trips, no success. This is particularly distressing because I know that both Best Buy and Circuit City (at the least, probably more) have put Wii's on sale very recently. The guy at Fred's even said he's stopped looking for anything from Nintendo as all they've gotten in were three Wiimotes in that time. I'm beginning to suspect that this particular Fred's is selling the Wii's out of the back of the truck, and that perhaps I need to be throwing some bribes someone's way. Almost.

The other avenue I've been pursuing is an online ad from Walmart. They offer a Wii, an "accessory" (extended warranty, worth less than the price of the paper it's written on), and *seven* games for $630. At $50 a game, plus $250 for the base Wii set, that's $600, so you're paying $30 (plus shipping, which I'm assuming will top $100 for reasons soon to be revealed) extra for the set.

There are so many reasons I haven't gone ahead and done this, despite my wife's nagging that I should just shut up and buy the damned thing. First, I have a real problem with Walmart's employment practices - for a particularly eye-opening account of how they run their stores, check out Barbara Ehrenriech's "Nickled and Dimed" book - and I have only purchased a handful of poster frames for wargames from them (they seem to be the only decent source in my area).

Second, while there are arguably seven decent (note that I don't use the word "good") games for the Wii out there, they aren't all in the list of games you can get. The Rayman Rabbit Rampage game is missing, as is the obvious WiiPlay choice (which, while having somewhat lame games, does get you a Wiimote), and certainly not the new Sonic game. As such, you are left with three or four good games and three not so good ones.

Finally, there is this little disclaimer that states that items will be shipped as they arrive. This means that they will send you the games, and maybe the Wii in a couple of months. My guess is that they'll also trickle the games out one or two at a time, tacking on $8 for shipping each time, with another $40 for the Wii itself. That's an extra $100 if they choose to be completely nasty about it. Make no mistake, companies often make a significant profit from "handling" charges that are hidden from the customer until the actual purchase point when said customer is already emotionally commited to buying.

Still, it's more tempting than I may be willing to admit to myself. We'll see how I'm feeling in another week.

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