Best Buy Is Hiding The Wii

According to the Globe and Mail, Canadian Best Buys are holding back part of their shipment of Nintendo Wiis. Why are they doing this?

“Shipments for product advertised in our flyers are received by stores at different times throughout the week. Some stores MAY have already received shipments to fulfill this week’s advertisement[s],” wrote Best Buy spokeswoman Heather Buksh. “With a commitment to our customers, stores that may have already received shipment of Wii have been instructed to retain this product until Friday to fulfill the advertisement in our flyer.”

Conspiracy theorists have suggested that Nintendo and retailers are creating an artificial shortage.

“I wasn’t aware that there were any stocks being held back in retail,” says Nintendo Canada marketing director Pierre-Paul Trepanier. “It’s surprising though, I would expect them to want them to make sure all their consumers are happy … I can assure you that at our warehouse in Vancouver, we have zero units.”

We’re not buying the whole artificial shortage thing, but it does seem like a strange idea, and since Best Buy is a U.S. company, we’re assuming the policy is company-wide and applies to the U.S.. Is Best Buy pissing off Peter to please Paul? Or is this the best strategy? We know we like it when things that are advertised in a flyer are in the stores. This may mean that Fridays are your best bet for a Wii. —MEGHANN MARCO (Thanks, Mike!) (Photo courtesy of Adam Melancon)

Best Buy stores told to ‘retain’ Nintendo game consoles [Globe and Mail]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Itch says:

    They did a nice point/counter-point of this over at engadget earlier today. In short, the ligitous society we live in forces the stores to do this. If they were out of a product the day(s) an ad claimed they were in store, said company could be found guilty of bait and switch. Shrug Who knows. To me its a sign of consumer stupidy/greed in expecting hot selling items to always be available.

  2. Falconfire says:

    if the store is sold out, its sold out, the ad has nothing to do with it. If they just put a product subject to availability there would not even be a issue.

    Its simply to create a fake shortage for best buy.

  3. InsaneNewman says:

    While all the news has been about Canada, US Best Buy stores have been instructed to hold any Wiis that they get for this Sunday’s ad (So if you were looking for one, Sunday may be the time).

    Basiclly, the question is, would you rather just have Best Buy put the systems out as soon as they get them, and the few lucky schmoes who are in the store get them (as happens with drop shipments of PS3’s, like the ones that many Best Buys got on Wednesday afternoon)? Or would you prefer (as I do) an announced time when the systems will be available in order to give everyone a fair crack at them?

  4. FLConsumer says:

    I still refuse to buy/own a product named after human excreta.

  5. lifetentatively says:

    I worked at Best Buy when the 360 was released and the policy was that if the ad said the store would have a particular quantity, they would hold it until the day of the ad, otherwise they would be distributed when they came in on a first come first serve basis; this usually meant that whatever random soccer mom was in the store at them time who would randomly ask about it would get one and then call her 4 friends who would buy the other 4 that we had in stock. If the ad doesn’t say something like, “4 per store” as it does in the black friday ad (hint: best buy holds hella stock for black friday ads), then the odds are it is just first come first serve.

  6. bookcat says:

    the wii isn’t named after a weenie! it’s named after FUN!

    Actually, I have no idea what it’s named after. But it sounds like a small child on a swing, so I assume that was the idea.

    I still kinda want a Revolution, though. Just cause.

  7. Optimistic Prime says:

    Since they put “minimum 5 per store” in the ad, they’d damn well have at least 5 on the day of the ad. I’m sure they would get sued if they didn’t. Besides, wouldn’t you be upset if you went to a store that advertised they had some that day and they didn’t, even if you were the first customer there?

  8. LeopardSeal says:

    I wouldn’t it put it past Best Buy to do this just because someone in corporate thought it was “good policy”. On the other hand Future Shop, which is owned by Best Buy, can apparently do whatever they want with their stock. I’ve heard of people getting ahold of Wii’s throughout the week at various Future Shop’s.

    Myself, I was able to pick up a Wii at a Future Shop here in Edmonton on Monday the 20th at around noon, even though pretty much every other store that carries them were sold out on Sunday.

  9. medalian1 says:

    Why do people even shop at worst buy? I don’t unless it’s free shipping and free after rebate. I haven’t been inside one of their BMs in forever.

  10. I worked at Best Buy when GameCube and Xbox launched many moons ago. It was a pretty standard practice that we sat on our stock of these products until a few key things happened:

    -It was a weekend: there would be many customers in the store and if we could keep them there long enough to snag a new console, conceivably they might buy other things too.

    -We had accessories to sell: High-margin accessories make the most money for retailers. Sometimes there are more of these available than others (The Xbox DVD kit, for example, was frustratingly scarce). If we didn’t have accessories to attach to the sale, we pretended the consoles were out of stock, too.

    -We found customers willing to buy the service plan: With high demand for the product, high-margin service plan numbers became a bit of an issue. If we had 15 Xboxen stampede out the door sans service plans, the Operations and Merchandising managers would have some pretty nasty heat come from on high.

    I don’t know how much these factors affect the current situation, but I’d be willing to bet some solid money that today’s Best Buy does something pretty similar for very similar reasons. It’s a culture thing — everything is a scorecard with these people and managers just want to keep feeding their families and preserve their career futures. I doubt it’s much different with any of the other retailers.

    If you want to put your local BBY to the test, though, go in mid-week and pick up an armful of Wiimotes, memory cards, extra cables, whatever, and then ask the guy if he’s got a Wii for you to buy. I’d be pretty shocked if one didn’t suddenly materialize.