One of the items on my daughters Christmas list last year was the Nintendo Wii. Like any good father trying to maintain the belief in Santa for just one more year I endeavored to get her one. I also thought it would be a fun activity for us during the cold winter months. I knew the game was popular but I had no idea how difficult it would be to procure this particular toy. I went to every electronics store in Howard, Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties in search of the elusive Wii. The closest I came was the Best Buy store at Arundel Mills Mall. There I was told that they expected a shipment that weekend but that people were expected to begin lining up to purchase one as early as 7:00 AM. They didn’t know how many of the games they were getting and so they couldn’t say whether they would have enough to satisfy everyone standing in line. I decided against this approach.
I did discover that I could find one online. All I had to do was pay three times the suggested retail price. I decided against this approach as well.
In the end, the Wii game did not make it under the Christmas tree. I decided instead to get one for her birthday in July figuring that the Christmas frenzy would be well over by then and that they would be more available.
I was wrong. This week I went to Best Buy, Sears, Walmart and Target. It was just like last Christmas. There were no Wii’s to be found in Columbia or Ellicott City. The only difference this time around was that online the prices were now only a thirty percent higher than the suggested retail price and forget about free shipping.
What is up with this?
Two thoughts nag at me. One, I wonder why Nintendo hasn’t ramped up production to meet demand? They are obviously not benefitting from the online retailers who are jacking up the price.
Two, if the economy is as bad as some would make us believe, how is that a two hundred dollar game console is selling like hotcakes? I would expect that discretionary items such as this would be affected by the slump.
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