How do I order a Wii for its regular retail price?

I am sort of appalled at my inability to get a Wii online these days. My trusty Newegg has failed me, offering only a $500 bundle with a bunch of games that I don’t particularly care for. Dell, Best Buy, and Circuit City are all “sold out online” (WTF?). And Amazon, which I consider to be a fairly representative look at the free market, has Wii packages starting at $320 without Wii Sports included… and I’m pretty sure that one is supposed to come stock, so those make me suspicious of getting a DOA console, or a split bundle, etc. etc. Don’t even start with eBay - I’m convinced that the only people using eBay these days are Nigerians trying to scam each other, and I’m sure I’d get my identity stolen, and they’d probably ship me a box of gazelle poop.

If they were in stock at any bricks-and-mortar establishment for the retail price of $249.99, I would go pick one up… but they’re not for sale locally at any price. Online there seems to be a $70 (minimum!) markup, which I am unwilling to pay unless I’m sure I’m getting the same package I’d get in a store. Help me think outside the box, Dopers: where can I get a Wii for retail price?

The best way, IMHO, is to keep calling around locally. Find out when they get their shipments in and call then. Some people say the best thing to do is to show up when stores like Target and Best Buy open on Sundays, because they hold units back for the ads.

Why is this ‘wii’ thing in such demand? Isn’t it some kind of videogame? Never heard of a video game shortage for this long

The Wii is Nintendo’s newest console. And yes, it’s been in shortage since day 1. Everyone and their uncle wants one it seems.

Just for the record:
-The seller has likely paid sales tax on the item, but isn’t charging you
-Almost all Wii auctions on Ebay offer free shipping (costing the seller $20-25)
-Ebay fees will be at least $15
-Paypal fees will be about $9

Bottom line, if you buy a Wii for $250, and sell it on Ebay for $320, you might profit $15 if you’re lucky (voice of experience here).

Go to http://www.wiialerts.com and sign up for their alerts. They will send you a text message and e-mail when a Wii becomes available online. Then you run to your computer and hope for the best. I was able to get a Wii Fit this way, but it took a few weeks (I’d get the messages during working hours, but I have no internet access at work. I finally got one while I was on vacation.)

The other method is to get up early on Sunday morning and read the paper. Peruse all the ads for a Wii. If a Wii is shown in the ad, drive straight to that store, preferably before it opens. Get in line and hope for the best. I bought my Wii this way.

Craigslist is where I found mine, they’ve dropped in price dramatically locally,and you can probably haggle to get a system AND extra Wii-mote for $275 or so.

Keep checking local stores. The Walmarts around where I live seem to get the new shipments on Sunday. One by where I live had 3 or 4 in stock on Tuesday.

I’m a bit surprised to hear this.
Here in Sweden, after the first six months, the Wii has been readily available over the counter in toy stores, electronics, computer and game stores. I just checked the online store I use for computer parts and they have 100+ in stock and promise delivery next day if I order before 4 p.m.

Now, these are PAL versions, so I can’t just go out and buy one and ship to the U.S. but I wonder, and this is the reason for this post, why Nintendo can’t keep up with demand in the U.S. but manages quite well in Europe (or at least Sweden).

Could it be, as many speculated about a year ago, that it actually is a marketing ploy?

I had heard that the falling dollar meant that Nintendo’s best business move was to keep products on shelves anywhere the Euro is used, and to slow the off-season deliveries to the US until fall/winter, when Christmas shopping starts. Just out of curiosity, how much is a Wii going for in Sweden?

www.wiitracker.com is how I found mine. Probably very similar to wiialerts.com. If you look at the history, there are patterns as to when retailers would have the non-bundle regular system in stock. I noticed that Amazon had a supply nearly every Wednesday around 1:00 pm Eastern. The day I chose to watch for the system, BestBuy actually had some in stock for online purchase first and I purchased from them.

Now I just need a Wiifit tracker…

ETA: Ask and you shall receive - Wiifittracker

Sounds like there’s something to the rumor that Nintendo is making fewer units for the US because the dollar is weak. Same problem with the Wii Fit, too. The Wii has been out for 1.5 years, and we’re still hunting for it and lining up before stores open like it’s the hot Christmas present. Ridiculous.

This is how I bought one a couple of months ago. The clerk at GameStop told me that they get them in on weekdays between 10am and noon and that I’d need to call each day to find out when they had stock. He also said that Target and Best Buy put out any new shipments first thing on Sunday mornings, so I bought one at Target at the regular price by showing up at 7:45am and waiting for the store to open. (They had six units and there were three of us there who wanted one.) About a month ago, I was in Target to buy a replacement DVD player and was told that the Wii units were more easily available later in the week, but that the Wii Fit was now the difficult-to-get product.

Wow… my husband bought me one in May, and he just went to the Futureshop down the street from where he works, and bought one, same as he would any other item in the store. No calling ahead or tracking; IIRC, they had a bunch of them. I think it was a Thursday.

I’m surprised they are still that hard to find.

I also wonder if a lot of people are falling into the Internet Existence Trap. You know, “if it’s not online, it doesn’t exist”? There’s a good chance it does exist, and you could have one tomorrow if you just went to the store rather than look at a webpage that might not be updated simply because the product sells reliably well enough to not be able to guarantee it being in stock.

I’ve noticed Wii’s in all the brick and mortar stores I’ve visited for the past few months now. I thought the shortage was over.

Nintendo created the “shortage” to keep the interest high and the demand for Wii strong. In many ways it’s similar to the alleged Debeers cartel with diamonds. There is some talk in the trade media that the drop in value of the US dollar has exacerbated supply/demand where Nintendo is directing more of the product to Europe than the USA to maximize profits.

The Wii is available from brick and mortar stores if you spend the time to read their newspaper ads, most often in the Sunday editions. We’ve been searching for a Wii half-heartedly for about three months. We bought one recently from Best Buy by getting up at the crack of dawn one Sunday morning. Checking the Sunday ads we found all local Best Buys were claiming a minimum of 12 Wii’s per store. So we split our offense with each of us going to a different Best Buy store in time for the 10am Sunday opening.

We both went immediately to the back of the respective stores (where all the computer games are located) upon opening. At the store I went to they didn’t bother to put them out on the shelves. There were three store clerks handing them out from a cart to each customer who approached them. The store I was at had two dozen Wii’s, and they were all gone by 10:30am. I don’t know if they brought out more stock later in the day.

OTOH, my wife’s venture had her travel to the back of the store where a clerk told her all Wii’s were located at customer service near the front of the store. It was obviously a ploy set up to torment their customers.

We got our Wii.

I’ll echo what Duckster said regarding the newspaper ads. That’s how I got mine. I have to imagine truth in advertising laws are pretty consistent throughout the states, at least in this regard. If they don’t have stock, then they’ve pulled what essentially amounts to a bait and switch. Thus the “minimum number in each store” in the ad.

About €260. A couple of years ago, that would have been roughly the same amount in $. Now, of course, it’s more like $400+.

I called every Best Buy in the Baltimore region. They all reported empty shelves and don’t know when their Wii shipments get in. I’m not going to load the one-year-old into the car and burn gas at $4.00/gal until I’m sure I’m heading somewhere that the Wii is in stock.

I think many people turn to the internet after they can’t find something in a brick-and-mortar store, though. When I was searching for a Wii Fit, many people I know were surprised that I couldn’t just order it off the internet when I wasn’t able to find it locally. After all, you can do that with most things. I wasn’t able to find Photoshop Elements 6 for my Mac around here, but Amazon.com had plenty.

I have seen Wiis just sitting on a shelf recently, but not with any regularity. Around here, I don’t think you could count on it just being there yet.