WiiBayed

We caved and bought a Wii on eBay. We got a Wii + nunchuck + Wii sports for $325 + $25 shipping.

The MSRP is $249.99 but we really didn’t feel like sleeping outside of the Rockefeller Nintendo Store or keeping abreast of all the retail stores that might be releasing them. We just wanted it and wanted it now. Once you factor in opportunity costs, the markup wasn’t too much.

So if your time is more money than money, and you want a Wii, check out the falling eBay aftermarket. There’s other comparable deals still available. — BEN POPKEN

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  1. Quippish says:

    I got one from Amazon Tuesday with next day shipping for around 265.

    Looking for extra remotes today I found 7 Wiis sitting on shelves at big box retailers. The drought may be breaking.

    Remember ever time an Ebay scalper succeeds he’s that much more likely to do the same thing again. Hold strong and don’t give in!

    This plus the PS3 launch has just confirmed my thoughts that all console launches should be run as dutch auctions by the manufacturers.

  2. Legodude522 says:

    It’s worth it. I know it was for me.

    Funny how I paid a bit less than you. :P

  3. HawkWolf says:

    I was at Best Buy the other day and not only did they have Wii’s, they had PS3′s. Gamestop also had a bunch of everything.

    Was this purely research/post fodder, or were you really unable to find one at a store? ;)

  4. homerjay says:

    Who’s the girl in that picture? Its certainly not our girlfriend! :)

  5. DeeJayQueue says:

    I got one at Circuit Shitty last sunday. I showed up at 8:45 and they handed out the vouchers at 9. I went and had a bagel and a schmear and came back to pick it up.

  6. Elara says:

    I’m kinda sad that Consumerist caved to the rip-off artists selling them on Ebay, especially since they’re becoming much easier to find both on line and in the store.

  7. Polymath says:

    Ben,

    http://www.itrackr.com

    It’s made by the same guy who did the xbox 360 tracker for xmas 05. It works great. But it also says that only 6% of the stores it tracks around the country have the Wii, so maybe you were better off getting it on ebay.

  8. Ben Popken says:

    What can I say, it’s like 10 degrees outside right now.

  9. nweaver says:

    Depending on the area, Wii’s are still amazingly hard to find.

    In Napa, there were people camping out at 3am to get them when Target got them in on Sunday…

    However, the price on craigslist etc is dropping, I was able to pick one up for $310, which means the “scalper’s premium”, after you consider sales tax, is down to $40.

    My guess is in another month, they should start to become available at the level of the PS3 (in other words, call a couple of stores and pick one up).

  10. Somehow the Circuit City in Union Square let me preorder on New Year’s Eve. I got mine on the 15th.

  11. sporesdeezeez says:

    I’m conflicted about this whole scalper-hate thing that’s going on. On the one hand, it seems to me there’s little difference between a “scalper,” who is just stocking a scarce commodity and selling it at the highest price the market will bear, and oh, say, an oil company, who stocks a scarce commodity and sells it for the highest price the market will bear.

    I suppose an oil company is more evil because their particular commodity is one you might really, really need, to heat your home or get to work. The Wii scalpers are more like pornographers, taking advantage of our prurient impulses to profit. In that sense, scalper’s customers are at fault – kind of like someone driving an Expedition or Escalade paying through the nose for gas.

    However, the oil company does at least provide a service that is not easily replaced. Home-made biodiesel aside, it is very difficult for you to personally pump crude out of the earth and distill it into usable fuels. Getting a Wii, on the other hand, is something I could have done myself, and that much more easily if scalpers hadn’t been buying them by the dozen.

    What’s interesting to me is that both for oil and for Wiis, when windfall profit-making prices were on the market, boycotts failed to materialize. People bought both at astronomical mark-ups (though the Wii supply is starting to meet demand, as Quippish points out). I can’t find the article, but I believe Wii prices on eBay were in the 4-figures. And that lady killed herself trying to win one for her kids. What’s up with that? Are we as addicted to video games as we are to oil?

  12. shoegazer says:

    @spores: the problem with your wii/oil comparison is that the wii is not commoditized, nor is it cartelized. None of these scalpers have formed a collective price setting body, so market forces still apply. You don’t HAVE to get a wii for four figures. While we may well be one war away from $5 oil, the wii shortage is a plain old supply chain induced shortage.

  13. Ben Popken says:

    Price gougers are the natural result of short supply met with high demand. People should be happy the free-market is working. ::ducks

  14. nweaver says:

    Also, I’d rather pay $40 to a college student who had second thoughts and decided his grades were more important than $50-150 in games I don’t want because the corporation in question is bundling them, or even worse, a $50-75 “warantee” that would really be worth

  15. Rachel says:

    Enjoy the Wii!

    Beware of the Zelda – what a time hog!

  16. thatabbygirl says:

    Hee! I’m sure most ebayers are totally college students who decided that their grades are more important. Uh-huh. Definitely.

    More like college students who decided they needed some extra beer money. But I like your optimism, nweaver!

  17. Luxy says:

    I agree with your free market comment, Ben. So you have at least one supporter.

    My boyfriend and I got our Wii this part weekend. Most places you just have to show up an hour before the store opens to get a voucher. We’ve been trying to get extra controllers for retail price, but we’ve only found one so far.

  18. nweaver says:

    Given the conditions he was able to get them, I’d actually vote for “Grades” and also “OH shit, I don’t want a $300 credit card bill”

  19. sporesdeezeez says:

    I appreciate your points, shoegazer. IANAE, and I’d like to avoid a full-scale discussion about the opaque workings of the oil market, because it doesn’t really matter. The mechanisms that produce the supply conditions on the Wii and oil markets can be totally different, I’m just trying to make the point that the consumer reaction is the same for both commodities. At very high price points, the demand is still adequate to sell.

    Also, there is definitely manipulation of the supply taking place. Scalpers don’t have cartels, but at least some of them buy a dozen or more Wiis at a time, which is not a consumer level of demand. In that way they are exacerbating the short supply and driving prices higher, which is exactly what OPEC does when it cuts production. It is also, more grimly, what water mafias criminally do in the emerging third world to exploit the thirsty – take excessive amounts of something of which there is enough to go around, thereby creating scarcity, and then exploiting it. Without scalpers there are probably still not enough Wiis, and we don’t need Wiis in the same way we need water, but the concept is the same.

    I agree with you, Ben, that the free market is working. But this is yet another example that a free market isn’t a fair market. I guess I am wondering aloud here if that’s OK, hence my opening statement that I am conflicted on this. I have always thought of Consumerist as a kind of fair-trade blog, as it is often concerned with “unfair practices” of lenders, retailers, rebaters, service providers, etc. What these scalpers do is legal, but it strikes me as being predatory. I’m not saying you guys are any less credible to me, it just surprises me to hear that you Wiibayed, and it’s making me take another look at this practice.

    P.S. — The college student selling their own Wii for book (or beer) money is not a scalper, IMHO.

  20. LeopardSeal says:

    I guess it must just depend on the area. Up here in Edmonton if you want a Wii quite a few stores have them in stock for $279 CDN. There was a bit of a run on them at first, but even I got one after going into a local electronics chain on the Monday morning after launch and snagging one of the five units left.

  21. I saw a Wii go on eBay a couple days ago for $229 plus $30 shipping – so basically sub-retail. I haven’t seen anything else that low, so whoever won it must have been ecstatic.

  22. mmmmdoughnuts says:

    I sold my Wii for a $100 profit. I had 3 options…keep it and get thrown out of my house by my wife, sell it on eBay, or return it to the store and take a hit on the shipping costs.

    I chose option #2, and it went for what it went for.

    Do people hate me now? (I mean for selling my Wii above retail, not for everything else…)

  23. sporesdeezeez says:

    @mmmmdoughnuts: Nah. Figuring that “it went for what it went for” means you set the price around retail or a little lower and it was bid up to $350 or so…that’s just you, selling one Wii, getting caught up in the tide. I’m hating on the hoarders who prey upon we who thirst for the Wii. Ahem.

  24. mathew says:

    That reminds me, time to flag all the scalpers on craigslist…

    Grr. It’s thanks to people like you caving in that the parasites exist.

  25. Savage says:

    My Wii is priceless and I’d not sell it at any price. :) I lucked out and happened across my Wii last month at Best Buy.

    Rachel is right. Zelda is a time hoarder, but it’s oh so fun!

  26. Kingkhufu says:

    Just so that this is crystal clear to EVERYONE. California Penal Code Section 346 states:

    346. Any person who, without the written permission of the owner or operator of the property on which an entertainment event is to be held or is being held, sells a ticket of admission to the entertainment event, which was obtained for the purpose of resale, at any price which is in excess of the price that is printed or endorsed upon the ticket, while on the grounds of or in the stadium, arena, theater, or other place where an event for which admission tickets are sold is to be held or is being held, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

    This law ONLY APPLIES to the resale of Event Tickets and does not apply to merchandise. The code EXPRESSLY defines what scalping is and what it applies to. Merchandise is not event tickets nor is it an admission to an event.

    Jus becasue YOU dont appreciate all the people posting Wii’s for sale at higher then retail price does NOT make it against the law. For those on Craigslist NOTHING prohibits this unless it violates the law and I have already proven it does not.

    I encourage EVERYONE who has had a posting published on craiglist and flag and removed for supposed “scalping” to contact a local law firm. This is a clear violation of users rights on Craigslist. As such due to the overwhelming number of people this applies to I feel that a general Class Action Lawsuit be initated against Craigslist. It may or may not work, but the listing of Wii’s IS NOT A VIOLATION OF ANY LAW. It just violate a bunch of whinny sicophants that think they can dictate policy even when it is spelled out. They tell the Wii sellers to read the TOA, I suggest that they actaully read the law before they speak.