Police Called After Walmart Changes Mind About Selling Wii

Wii fans in Washington state queued up for the Wii at 10pm last night, only to be told they weren’t going on sale until eight this morning. A dispatch from the front lines:

RikOnTheGo: I am in line at the Everret, WA Wal-Mart. Repeated calls to them said they’d be on sale at midnight, and to be here by 10 PM.
RikOnTheGo: Now, at 10:41 PM, they’re saying they won’t be on sale until 8 AM!
RikOnTheGo: This is for the wii, btw.
RikOnTheGo: Police are now here.
RikOnTheGo: There’s some pretty irate customers.
RikOnTheGo: I am leaving now.
RikOnTheGo: Whee

— BEN POPKEN

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  1. Don’t piss of the Nintendo fanboys. They’re vicious.

  2. off*

  3. johnhummel says:

    This morning things got a little testy at the Wal-Mart here in Ruskin, FL. Some folks waiting from 0500 were ready to purchase at 0800 – and Wal-Mart couldn’t seem to find their butt with both hands, and started having late comers line up in electronics first.

    That soon changed with the “early waiters” marched up and took their rightful spot – but it seems that Wal-Mart could have done a better job posting signs like “Sold at 0800″ and “Line starts here” instead of just having the customers fend for themselves.

  4. brywalker says:

    Yeah, I am getting really sick of the BS that these stores are doing. NEVER before would they hold stock on an item that doesn’t have a street date (as in already released) and have customers in a frenzy waiting in line for all hours just to run them around with little to no stock, not even TELLING customers how many they have, police harassment, and general scumbaggery.

    My local Wal-Mart went from not having any, to only having 3, to not telling how many in the course of 5 minutes. Then they said that no one was allowed to line up and the police would be called. Well sure enough, there was a line this morning and I missed out again.

    My daughter is going to miss out this Christmas because these jerkoffs at the stores act like they are the keepers of the holy grail.

  5. kodec says:

    I lined up at my local Wal Mart this morning for their 8am sale as well, and the manager threatened to call it all off when he came out to count the line and got different numbers each time. He’d declared a particular lady to be his cutoff point the first time, but during the next half hour the front of the line mysteriously kept growing…

    Eventually it was all sorted out, but he was dead serious about sending everyone home without a system despite the fact that some people had been camping out since 10pm the night before!

    Oh, and there were still Nazi shirts for sale there. Seriously. (Store #1968)

  6. brywalker says:

    That’s unreal. If they just put the stock on the shelves when they got it instead of holding it for special events, this wouldn’t even happen.

  7. Yes but in many cases these stores are doing what they need to do to avoid super-savvy people who are using inventory trackers to subvert normal routine. I think many of these retail outlets would argue that everyone deserves a fair shake not just the web savvy.

  8. georget99 says:

    I called my local Wal-Mart yesterday and they said they’d have between 3 and 7 and they were going on sale at 7 am, which is their normal opening time (though they usually forget to unlock the doors until around 7:15)

    Later in the day, my wife said they had signs up on the doors that the Wii was going on sale at 8 am.

    This morning I stopped there at 7 on the way to work (small town, maybe nobody else had heard of them). I went in the store and asked someone, they said I had to come back at 8 but they’d be in electronics.

    That seemed a bit off (come back at 8), so I asked at the service desk. They said they gave out vouchers to the people that were in line at 5 and they’re all gone.

    Each store did it differently.

    The flyer said walmart.com would have them, too. I called them asking what time but they “couldn’t” tell me. Between my son and myself we checked at all 4 time zones’ midnight, and all 8 am’s.

    Did anybody ever see one there?

  9. MarvinMar says:

    I live about 30 minutes out of town. The town of Sierra Vista AZ is large, and has a regular Walmart. 20 minutes in the other direction is Benson AZ. They are a very small town, and got a Super Walmart about 1 week before Thanksgiving. Sierra Vista got 9, Benson got 13.
    I got to Benson Walmart at 6:30 this morning. I was 2nd in line. They just had us hang out in electronics. The employee had no problem remembering the order we showed up. I left with a Wii for my nieces (Because they played mine on Thanksgiving for 12 hours, and their parents wanted to get them one, but could not be bothered to do the legwork.) They had 13, and 13 people showed up, except the last guy took 2, so the lady who showed up at 7:59 was SOL.
    Wierd thing was there was a guy in the parking lot that looked like a Wii buyer, and the first guy in line says that he WAS there to get a Wii, but he never came back in the store.

    I love small towns with Super Wally worlds!

  10. Qui-GonJim says:

    Last night, I overheard the WalMart employee talking about the midnight release. I didn’t feel like waiting up and being dead today so I forgot about it. I got up a bit early and figgered “what the heck” and went out to Wally at around 6:00. I arrive to find a sign on the door for Wii to be sold at 8:00. I would have been PISSED if I stayed up and went there at midnight to either be told to queue up for 8 more hours or go home There was a huge line, and the only thing I’ll wait in line like that for is bread if I am starving.

    I agree that holding this stuff back is a bad idea and totally plays directly to the scalping unemployed secondary market. If they want to make it fair, put them out sporadically throughout the day.

    I’m done looking for it now. I’ve resigned myself to a Zelda-less 2006.

  11. DefHamster says:

    I don’ know why everyone is going to Walmart, I mean if that’s your only choice then fine, but it’s really the worst place to go. I managed to get one last Sunday just by going to Target very early (got there at 5:45AM) and waiting. Everyone was helpful and things went very smoothly, we each got are tickets and we got our systems. Circuit City is another great place to try, just make sure they’re advertising it in their papers and they have to have them come Sunday morning. Walmart is an insane place, avoid it if you can!

  12. cindel says:

    Yes but the real question is how much is it going for on Ebay?

  13. Hanzo says:

    While I’ve had my Wii for a few weeks, a friend just got his this morning from Wal-Mart.

    He had nothing but good news to report, although that may be due to the control the customers took yesterday afternoon.

    At roughly 11:30AM yesterday customers began the wait at the State College, PA Wal-Mart. Around 6:00PM (as the line hit 20 odd people) a manager came out and announced that they would have 30 units available for sale, and that they couldn’t sell them until 8:00AM.

    Apparently the manager was very apologetic, and explained to everyone that they did this to prevent late comers from throwing a fit, and while they would honor the people who were waiting first, they had to make sure that the late-coming early customers couldn’t complain.

    One of the people who was there early on took charge shortly thereafter. A quick headcount and they created a list. At around 28 people, it was decided that people could leave, provided they weren’t gone more than “an hour or two”, and they had to be back at 7:30 for headcount no matter what.

    They gave the manager a list with the first 33 names on it and explained what they’d decided. The manager agreed with the set up and moved everyone to home and garden for the night.

    Throughout the evening some people came and went, one of the guys actually had to go to class, and an entire family rotated in/out for one spot. Risk and Monopoly were played, the night passed without event.

    At 7:30 this morning, two of the people in line were not present at roll call, so 31 and 32 were added to the list.

    8:00AM everyone gets their Wii and leaves happy, no incident and nothing but good things to report.

  14. Toys R’ Us is the best place to go I think. They were the only place we called that said what time they were getting them, how many they were getting and when they would go on sale. They even suggested we get there early to line up. You know what? We left with our Wii.

  15. Elara says:

    I second Target- I got there at 7am on Sunday, and there were 21 people ahead of me and 43 Wii’s available. Target did make us stand outside, but they brought us coffee and hot chocolate, and we all got the inside scoop from the target employees. Everyone already knows this, I think, but Target gets shipments every Saturday and they go on sale at 8 am Sunday. I’ll be back to get my little brother one this next Sunday, since I missed WalMart this morning.

    And I also found a link that proved to be dead-on on the amount of Wii’s available at each store: http://www.ps3seeker.com/wii/ (hope I’m allowed to post links in here)

  16. fishfucerk says:

    totally plays directly to the scalping unemployed secondary market.

    yeah, those lazy not having jobs on purpose bastards! They don’t deserve to wait in lines for hours to get a Wii.

    hey, if you have a job, and you care that much about the Wii, you can either take the day off to get it or pay the black market markup on it — whatever’s less of a fiscal hit to you. If the Wii ain’t that important to you, then why to *you* deserve one more than anyone else? Because you have this important job?

    Why didn’t all the people complaining about the black market pre-order if they wanted it on time?

  17. CMPalmer says:

    Our local Wal-Marts have had signs up since last week saying that they “may” have Wii for sale on Dec. 6th at 8:ooAM.

    I decided to avoid the four local Super Wal-Marts and go to the last remaining old style Wal-Mart in town (one that actually closes). I got up at 4:45AM and got there around 5:20. I was hoping I could sit in the car, but there were four people in line, so I got out (the store opened a 7:00AM). At 6:45AM there were 12 people in line. The manager came out and said they had 13 Wii for sale. He let one guy buy two (I figured there would be limits). He wrote our names down on a numbered list, but told us to remember our order and either stay in line or stay together. At 7:00, they let us in and told us to wait in the soon-to-be-defunct layaway department. Many people arrived after 7:00AM, but were told (by us, if not by the staff) that there were no more.

    At 8:00AM on the dot, the manager and an employee came out with the systems in a cart, opened the register in layaway, and called us one-by-one to purchase our system. No hassle or problems at all (except for getting up too damned early and standing in the cold for an hour and a half).

    I went over to electronics to pick up some games and there were a dozen or more people standing in a line in electronics. I have a feeling they were waiting there for the Wii to go on sale and no one told them they were already gone. I hope it didn’t get ugly after I left (I wasn’t going to wait to buy the games – I went to another store at lunch).

    I heard later that people started lining up yesterday afternoon inside the Super Wal-Marts.

  18. Triteon says:

    Through all this I just wonder– why don’t the B&M’s take names and lottery these things out? That gives two chances to sell other merchandise– once when folks come in to leave their names, and once when they show up (must be present to “win”!) for the drawing.
    Back in the day I ran a bookstore that also dealt with collectibles, and we ran lotteries like this all the time with limited-inventory items.