we have wii, and you can too

i couldn’t stand it any more. i’ve been wanting a wii for months, and my hit-and-miss approach to various nyc stores wasn’t working. and i wasn’t about to pay the ebay premium for a console. so i visited the nintendo store in rockefeller plaza on friday, and asked how to go about getting one.

“show up at 7am on monday morning and get in line,” i was told.

ok then. ok then.

cut to this morning. thinking that the coldest morning of the year, the day after the super bowl, might be a good time to wait in line to get a wii?

maybe a bit foolish. there was some logic. i thought there would be fewer people than usual.

boy was i wrong.

i got there at 7:15am–close enough, right? it was, i think 14 degrees, with a wind chill on top of that. and there were already 10 people in line ahead of me. some of them had been there since 5:30.

in chatting with them, though, i was assured that i was there early enough, and i’d get one.

i’ve waited in lines in freezing weather before, most notably when i bought mets tickets at shea on the first day of ticket sales. my reward that time was meeting former met ed kranepool. cold weather waiting has been good to me.

so i decided to stick it out.

it wasn’t too bad. i’d worn several layers of thermal clothing, so i was pretty warm. i thought two pairs of socks and a thick pair of shoes would be adequate, but my feet damn near froze standing on the cold concrete. i took to standing on one leg at a time, like a frigging flamingo.

and i chatted some more with the other people in line. they were young, of course, and enthusiastic, and had all kinds of advice about which games to buy and which accessories to buy and why to buy a wii and not a playstation or an xbox and all that.

the young woman in front of me was particularly interesting. she used to work in direct action for greenpeace, and so we chatted about greenpeace versus peta and their direct action methods. which ended up in a conversation about the evils of corporate america, and greedy people, and the loss of small business in new york. a pleasant conversation.

several people walking by asked us what we were in line for. her response? we’re waiting for wiis, she said. it shows a level of commitment, she said. it’s like a little community, she said. you enjoy it more when you wait for it, she said.

and then, at about 8:30, a guy walked down the line of people, handing out rolls of cash. he gave a wad to the young woman in front of me, too.

he skipped me.

“i’ll be waiting outside,” he said to them. “bring them right to me when you get them.”


sometimes, when i think i’m older and jaded and worldly and nothing can surprise me, i get surprised, and i realize that i’m not as clever as i think i am.

the doors to the nintendo store opened at 8:45. an hour and a half wait. not bad.

there were four cashiers inside, waiting to sell the small stack of wiis behind the counter. clearly the majority of the people in line (a line that by that time stretched nearly a block) were going home empty-handed.

three of those four cashiers were taking cash, from all the shills in front of me. the remaining forlorn cashier spoke, quietly, evidently not expecting a reply.

“is anyone paying with a credit card?”

no one in front of me was, so i stepped past them all, got my wii, got an extra controller and an extra nunchuk, bought an extra game called “trauma center” which looked fun, and was out of there.

i’m looking forward to playing my wii. i’ll let you know how it is.

i’m sure that all those wiis bought with cash will be eventually be enjoyed as well, when the profits are made and the premiums are paid.

i’ll bet i enjoy mine a bit more, though.