Toys"R"Us Pretends To Have Wiis In Stock, Disappoints Customers

Toys”R”Us’ website may claim to have Wiis in stock, but as reader Nick discovered yesterday, they don’t. Nick ordered the elusive console first thing yesterday morning, but Toys”R”Us quickly sent an email explaining that the Wii was backordered and unavailable. As of this morning, Toys”R”Us’ website still inexplicably lists the Wiis as “In Stock.”

Nick writes:

Hey Consumerist,

I enjoy your website quite a bit.

I don’t usually have too many consumer related issues, but I’ve run into something today that was sort of odd and thought that you guys may or may not be interested.

When I woke up today, I got into my usual routine, checking around the web to see if there were any places that had the Nintendo Wii in stock. As luck would have it, Toys’R’Us said they had them in stock. I’m thrilled, I’ve been saving up for a few months to get a Wii, and finally, I can get one. So I order one around 10am.

I get an e-mail at 12:55pm saying that, sorry the Wiis are currently on back order. I’m bummed out, but not crushed. I go back to the Toys’R’Us page, and guess what, they’re still saying they are available. At this point, I find this really annoying. They are not telling customers that these have been backlogged on the site, but are sending out e-mails saying as much. I took a screencap of the site (still listing it as available at 1:15 or so).

I still really want my Wii, and would like to know when it’ll be shipping. I call thier customer service, and I am helped by a very polite lady who tells me they are unable to say when the backorder will ship. Cue further dissapointment. I’ve sent of a polite e-mail through their web e-mail interface to express my disappointment in the handling of not only my own order, but continuing to take orders even though they knew they were selling a product they didn’t have in stock (but were listing it as in stock).

I’m really pretty bummed out with this whole thing. I haven’t canceled my order yet, because I’m hoping by some miracle this will come through. I don’t know if you guys at Consumerist would be interesting in something like this or not, I don’t know if this is par for the course when trying to get a Wii. Nor am I sure what benefit this will really have, maybe you guys could do soemthing with this at least.

Toys”R”Us’ letter to Nick:

Dear Nicholas,

Thank you again for your recent purchase at &

We have received your order 85439XXXXX-000, and wanted to let you know that there has been an unexpected delay in the shipment of the following items:

Item: 4172131
Description: Nintendo Wii Console
Quantity: 1 @ $249.99
Shipping Method: Standard Ground

Shipping to the following address:


We want to assure you that your order will be fulfilled once the the item(s) becomes available. Once we are able to ship the item(s) you will receive a shipping confirmation email with updated tracking information.

All of your order information will also appear in the My Account section of our website where you can:

* Track all your orders
* Change your passwords

Please allow up to 60 minutes for your order information to be updated on our system.

Thank you once again for your order and selecting &! We are continually expanding our selection to serve you better, so be sure to visit us often for new items and the latest promotions. If you have any further questions concerning shipping, order status, payment or other website policies, visit the Help area of our website at .

Customer Service

This e-mail was from a notification-only system; please do not reply to this message.

Nick’s response:

Good Afternoon,

I was writing to express my disappointment in your handling of my order 85439XXXXX-000. I was really looking forward to getting a Nintendo Wii, and was excited to hear that Toys’R’Us had them in stock this morning (Friday, May 2nd). I placed my order in the morning, and then at 12:56pm received a notice that the order had been placed on back order.

I was rather annoyed that this was the case, but understand that sometimes these things can happen. But then I checked the Toys’R’Us website, and the item was still being listed as available. I took a screencapture of this at 1:10pm. While I am personally disappointed that my item is on backorder, I am even more disappointed that Toys’R’Us continued to claim that they were available, even though they clearly were not at that point.

I am also terribly disappointed that when I called customer service to find out when they might be shipping, to find out that no one could even give me an estimate of when they might ship.

I am leaving my order active with you currently in hopes that you resolve this issue quickly, but all and all, I have been very let down with Toys’R’Us.


Don’t be ashamed if you don’t have the Wiis, Toys”R”Us. Nobody does.

If Wii-hunting is integrated into your morning routine, consider popping into the Nintendo World Store early one morning to buy one in person. As a responsible retailers, Nintendo won’t take your credit card unless the console is in stock.

Nintendo Wii Console [Toys”R”Us]
RELATED: Why Are Nintendo Wiis So Hard To Find?


Edit Your Comment

  1. SomeoneGNU says:

    Oh, I’d totally do a executive carpet bomb as well as stand in front of your local Toys ‘R Us and protest for hours on end.

    Or..I’d suck it up, refocus my energy,and go Wii hunting.

  2. SomeoneGNU says:

    If I were you, I’d write a massive executive carpet bomb followed up by mass organized protests over this injustice!

    Or maybe, I’d just suck up the disappointment and refocus my energy into finding a Wii.

  3. Nick1693 says:

    I’m probably gonna go to Nintendo World Store to get a Wii while i’m in New York over the summer.

  4. SaveMeJeebus says:

    Just hit up Walmart every day around 10am. I found mine within three days of starting to look. They don’t force you to buy silly bundles either.

  5. Wreckoner says:

    I found mine on a random Saturday morning about three months ago. And now…it’s broken and I just sent it to Nintendo yesterday to fix. Oh well. Their customer service is pretty good at least.

  6. aliasofpunk says:

    This might just be a minnesota and iowa thing but I’ve noticed that most places (best buy, walmart, gamestop) get wiis on sunday and in large quantities (10+). This doesn’t happen every week but thats how I and everyone i know have gotten a wii.

  7. I’ve had mine for a few months now. I walked into our local Walmart asked the kid in electronics if they had any in stock. He was reluctant to go back to the stock room to get one but there was a supervisor along side him who told him that since they had one, and I asked he had to go get it.

  8. PinkBox says:

    I got mine the first day they were released at a Target. Barely any people in line, and it took ten minutes.

    The Best Buy down the road had hundreds of people lined up in the parking lot.


  9. TonyTriple says:

    Had mine for a few months now. Wondering if I made a mistake being that the 3rd party games, online content and comunity seems so anemic!

    C’mon Nintendo, where the hell is my WiiWare?

  10. MyCokesBiggerThanYours says:

    Is he trying to pick it up or have it delivered? Sometimes a site lists in stock because local stores have them for pickup.

  11. oopl says:


  12. hills says:

    “unexpected delay”? hilarious. what planet is ToysRus on?

    Got my wii really easily – just look in the papers tomorrow morning at all the ads – if a store has a pic, that means they should have it in stock. I got mine at Circuit City – just had to show up an hour before opening to get a voucher – then came back later. There were just a few people there, and they had extra wiis.

    Good luck

  13. metrophage says:

    Boo hiss, indeed.

    Here’s my Toys ‘R’ Us/Wii story:

    Last Thursday, I saw an ad in the paper for Wiis – and JUST the Wiis (at $249.99) at Toys ‘R’ Us. I called, they said the had some in stock. Cool! I was gonna get one!

    I get to the store, ask for one. They bring it out and then…

    “We’re only selling these as a bundle. For $289.99 you get the Wii, an extra Wiimote and a 2-year warranty.”

    I was stunned. I’ve been looking for Wiis since they came out and every store around here has been out.

    Then I got mad. I went to customer service and, politely as I could (fuming though I was), explained to the customer service person that I wanted a Wii at the advertised price (there was no mention of “bundling” in the ad).

    She made sure that I’d been told about the bundle (“You sure you don’t want the bundle? It’s a good deal.”) and then relented and told the associate to let me have the Wii sans bundle.

    Me happy. I thanked them both and took my Wii home.

    Love it :)

    Still, when I think about what happened, I get pissed.

  14. Ciao_Bambina says:

    I used [] to locate one online. True, I had to buy a bundle, but it was games – Zelda, Super Mario Galaxy, Rabbids – and accessories – rechargable batteries and charging dock, extra remote and nunchuk and upgraded grips – that I would have bought anyway. And it only took a few days to find it, then about a week to have it delivered. The shipping was only $9.99 for ground. Seeing as how I didn’t have to time to skulk around in Best Buy parking lots at 2 a.m., that was a pretty good deal.

    The Wiis are out there; you just have to hunt them down. It’s actually kind of fun. And we love the Wii!

  15. reservoirr says:

    I have purchased 6 Wii’s over the last year (I’m not an eBayer, alot of my friends wanted them, and I keep finding them) go early to Target on Saturday mornings.

  16. BalknChain says:

    A Toys r Us problem is no surprise. That is one of the worst places on Earth to even be near at Christmas time. I’ll stick to online at other retailers.

  17. lightaugust says:

    I’ve wanted to get the wii for some time, but I’m really starting to think the waiit is getting stupid and manipulative. I mean, at some point, fix your stupid supply chain already… Pretty much getting to the point where I’m done wanting one. But for the average, everyday consumer (which is exactly the one Nintendo was targeting) this is getting stupiid.

  18. SaveMeJeebus says:

    @lightaugust: Nothing wrong with the supply chain. Nintendo has ample demand and is running at capacity. I wouldn’t change a thing.

  19. in2insight says:

    Call the local game stores. Ask when they get their Wii shipments. (For my area, it was Tuesdays @ Noon for GameStop) Called at noon the following Tuesday, was told they got 3, drove down, picked one up.

    TrU is so going the way of LnL and others.

  20. Joedel263 says:

    Almost every store in the toys r us chain has Wii in stock at this very moment, they’ve had them since last Sunday (quote”their biggest shipment ever”) call them up, take a drive, save on shipping, and get Mario Kart. not only do you get 50% off another game when you buy mario kart (ends today) it’s freakin’ awesome!

  21. Mike626 says:

    When I bought my Wii at Target last week, the guy at the checkout let me know that Target (at least his store) gets between 10-15 Wiis throughout the week, but the store is under some sort of obligation to hold them in storage until Sunday morning.

    He said, in general, any Sunday you can arrive within the first hour of opening and pick up an unbundled Wii with little effort.


  22. weave says:

    I really don’t understand how these things can still be in short supply. It’s been out for almost two years now. I can understand the first month or two maybe, BUT TWO YEARS?

  23. SuperJdynamite says:

    @weave: “BUT TWO YEARS?”

    I’ve heard, but cannot confirm, that Nintendo isn’t in a big hurry to supply the US market because of the weak dollar.

  24. chemmy says:

    Toys R Us website now lists them as “Temporarily Not Available Online”

  25. Leiterfluid says:

    I would file a complaint with your state attorney general. This is, at best, false advertising, if not wire fraud.

  26. BugMeNot2 says:

    @metrophage: Isn’t $289.99 for a Wii AND an extra Wiimote actually a decent deal? Sounds like you’d have been getting the 2-year warranty for free..

    Not that that excuses forcing people to buy bundle.. Just sounds like a decent buy considering they’re not forcing you to buy Petz 2: Gerbilz or whatever..

  27. I gave up on the Wii about 6 months ago. Nintendo had more than enough time to spike the supply, but it seems they like people’s stories of how lucky they were to find one. I hope no other console decides to use this strategy in the future.

  28. iEddie says:

    @postnocomments: Ditto. I’d rather purchase a Nintendo product than a Microsoft or Sony product any day, however; my opinion is probably biased because I’m an Apple fanboy. :)

  29. Verdigris says:

    @postnocomments: That’s too bad…

    But when you have a product that is selling like mad and has already caught up to a competitors product that came out well over a year before yours did, you’d be hard pressed to come up witht he supply.

    That and the fact that the US dollar is very weak right now and they are supplying these consoles to an ENTIRE PLANET…

    But no, your problems at not finding one and giving up are totally justified. In fact, Nintendo should realize they are losing a customer and personally send you one.

  30. A.W.E.S.O.M.-O says:

    Just from the last couple of days, it looks like the Wii supply problems are turning around; on the 30th, the unbundled $249.99 systems came in stock (briefly) at three retailers online, and Costco had it too, if you were willing to buy the $349.99 bundle (not a bad bundle in my opinion).

    But then again, I’ve thought that same exact thing at more than a few points in the last two years, so take it for what it’s worth…

  31. kspray-dad says:

    @iEddie: That’s odd then since Apple wouldn’t be where it is today without a: MS Windows buyers buying up the iPod once iTunes went to Windows and b: without AAC…which was, in part, developed by SONY.

    What the hell has Nin ever done for Apple?

  32. humphrmi says:

    @SuperJdynamite: Sorry, a great theory, but it doesn’t fly. Nintendo competes with Sony and eventually both have to convert their profits into yen, and neither should want to give up market share to the other one (or to Microsoft) over a temporary blip in currency markets.

    I think this is more about price. Already the PS3 (admittedly overpriced to begin with, but probably for good reason) has come down in price since it’s launch. Nintendo, I think, wants to hold off on discounting the Wii (which is already way below the PS3 price point) as long as possible, and if that means playing games with supply to keep demand frothy, that’s what they’ll do.

    It’s simple supply / demand price elasticity at work.

  33. mac-phisto says:

    that sucks. i just got back from the k-mart down the road – they have at least a dozen in stock.

  34. A.W.E.S.O.M.-O says:

    @humphrmi: I should point out that Michael Pachter at Wedbush Morgan is the origin of the weak dollar theory, and it’s not as easily dismissed as you may think. The Wii is not as direct a competitor to the PS3 or Xbox 360 as the latter two are to each other because there’s so little overlap in the kinds of games that they offer. I mean, I’ve never heard of a retirement home playing a PS3.

    Plus, the theory is that the extra consoles go to increasing the Wii’s market share in Europe. That would handily explain why Europe is getting Mario Kart and Wii Fit before the States, and it’s darn near unprecedented for them to get games before us.

  35. Joe S Chmo says:

    I also used an RSS feed to find one for a ‘relative’ about a month ago.

    It happened to be from Toys R Us and I received my bundle with 5 games the next week.

    This backorder is probably due to Toys R Us probably does not actually have any of the Wiis in their warehouse but are probably utilizing a third party supplier’s warehouse.

    And $289.99 for a system with an extra Wiimote is a great deal that you should have help your temper on and gone ahead and bought.

  36. humphrmi says:

    @A.W.E.S.O.M.-O: I follow Pachter fairly regularly, and I can’t see anywhere that’s he’s proposed that the weak dollar is why Nintendo is throttling sales. I’m happy to stand corrected, but I just don’t find that position in any of his analysis.

  37. A.W.E.S.O.M.-O says:
  38. A.W.E.S.O.M.-O says:

    @humphrmi: I don’t know if my last attempt went through, so here is the link again:


  39. kdollarsign says:

    Cancel your order. Toys R Us are being irresponsible, but not necessarily deceptive. Discover the magic of

  40. humphrmi says:

    @A.W.E.S.O.M.-O: Thanks for the reference. I still am not convinced he’s not underestimating the impact of Sony on this. You can throttle sales of lower profit units, but you do that in the U.S. market at your peril. Even in this economy, market share is still important.

    Still he points out that European demand is expected to taper, and then supplies in the US will pick up.

  41. ShadowFalls says:

    Their website is grossly inaccurate about stock and other material. For example, I ordered a game from there. the game was already released, but their website had an inaccurate date listed for it. So instead it lists the item as a pre-order instead. When you contact them by phone, there is nothing that they can even do to push along the shipping on it. In the end, I ended up canceling and ordering it elsewhere.

    Their online store is also a separate entity from their retail stores. So do not expect any help there either.

  42. QueenHawkeye says:

    I ordered my Wii on May 1st and I didn’t get a cancellation e-mail. Maybe you just got unlucky?

  43. xthexlanternx says:

    I don’t understand the huge fascination with Wiis. I’ve played my uncle’s Wii and virtually all the games for it except 2 or 3 are terrible. The controller is a dumb gimmick that you couldn’t play a real game on. The graphics on all the games are PS2 level.

    I was reading the other day that the great majority of Wii owners never even buy another game outside of the Wii Sports game.

    Such a terrible fad exacerbated by the limited release of the consoles themselves.

    I’m sorry you guys are having a hard time finding one, they’re easy to get in my town.

  44. Floobtronics says:

    +1 for going to Nintendo World for a Wii.

    My wife wanted a Wii for her birthday, so I just sucked it up, got up an hour earlier than I normally do for work, caught an earlier train, got to the line at Nintendo World at 7:30. I was 25th in line. The store opens at 9:00, and I was on my way out the door, with a Wii, a copy of Wii Play (which includes an extra Wiimote), and a spare Nunchuk at 9:15. Less than 2 hours, and boom, done. They’ve got Wiis every single day there. That was back in February.

    Yeah, it’s in NY, but that’s not a problem for me, living in NJ, with my office at 1 Penn Plaza.

  45. DoubleEcho says:

    @xthexlanternx: Wow, you’ve played every single game on the Wii? You must have a lot of time on your hands!

    I’ve bought 5 games so far for the Wii and I like them all. I’m planning on buying Zelda too once I finish Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. I’ll admit that there’s some terrible ones, but every console will have a few black sheep.

    And in case you haven’t noticed, graphics don’t make a game great (Crysis, for instance); Without good gameplay or a good story if applicable, all you have is a well drawn turd. Hell, Earthbound is on the SNES and is still raved about, and people are chomping on the bit after seeing a hint it might be on the Wii Virtual Console. Same thing with Chrono Trigger, even after all these years.

    Eye candy is pretty much forgotten after you realize the game blows goats.

  46. shufflemoomin says:

    No problems with the Wii in my local area in the UK. Not only is my local game store keeping stock in, they’ve got one or two pre-owned sitting and not going anywhere. To quote the owner ‘the bubble is bursting’. Let’s hope the US learns not to buy into hype soon too.

  47. Buran says:

    @SaveMeJeebus: Losing customers when your competition will supply them doesn’t seem like a wise idea to me, especially on something that will give you income in the future due to purchase of accessories and software.

    Once those customers are locked into someone else’s system you’ve lost them for a long time, maybe for good if the competition makes their next system backward compatible with the one they bought instead of yours.

    Plus, “can’t seem to fix its problems” doesn’t seem like a good thing to have said about your company.

    Now, I’m no economist but I can’t be the only one reasoning along those lines.

  48. buzzair says:

    Two weeks ago I checked the toys r us site and it said Wiis were in stock…but I didn’t buy. Then last week I saw it on and didn’t buy…and now I check consumerist and see this. I knew it was too good to be true.

  49. thewriteguy says:

    I got one for my mom for Christmas, because she really liked the bowling game when she got to play a Wii at a friend’s house at a Thanksgiving party. I’m not sure if she plays with it anymore. I considered maybe “borrowing” it from her, but there is just not a game out for the Wii now or coming out that I care to play. (I’m not a fan of any of the Nintendo character franchise series — i.e. Zelda, Smash Bros., Mario.)

    I’m not interested in gaming much these days. But I have to admit that GTA IV might entice me to buy either a PS3 or Xbox 360 just to play it.

  50. stacye says:

    @xthexlanternx: I think I can shed some light on why it’s so popular.

    It has nothing to do with the graphics. It has more to do with the fact that it’s family friendly, most of the games for it are rated E, and the entire family has fun playing it. Even Mom.

    It’s a family friendly game console that promotes movement.

  51. NinjaMarion says:

    @TonyTriple: 8 days, I believe. It’s either the 12th or the 15th (Too lazy to check Kotaku right now for the exact date), but definitely within the next two weeks.

  52. JDAC says:

    They must be getting easier to obtain by now? I picked one up a couple of weeks ago at a gamestop in Louisville. I’m now in Texas and saw six at a Target in Frisco.

    I’m not overly fussed about how the games look, and I still much prefer my PSP over it anyway. But it’s still a fun little toy.

  53. metrophage says:

    @BugMeNot2: Oh, absolutely a good deal. But not what was advertised – and I didn’t have the extra $$ for it. I’d been saving up for the Wii and been looking for while. Those buggers were *hard* to get…

  54. SteveZim1017 says:

    few things

    actually saw my first Wii in the wild (on the shelf) at Target on Sunday.

    That said, going to almost any store in the morning or on the weekend of a big game release will easily net you a Wii. Everyone had 30+ when Smash Bros and MarioKart came out and the same will be true later this month when WiiFit hits.

    and anyone who claims there are no good games, heres a short list of great games

    Zelda Twilight Princess
    Super Mario Galaxy
    Super Paper Mario
    Super Smash Brothers
    Mario Kart Wii
    Zack and Wiki
    No More Heroes
    Lego Star Wars

  55. BobbyMoon says:

    And that is why I waited 4 hours int he middle of the night to get my Wii launch day.

  56. milk says:

    I bet they occasionally do have Wiis in stock that the employees purchase. My father was a store director there for years, and we always got the hot items. (We were quite popular when no one could find a Tickle Me Elmo several Christmases ago.) One day when they received a shipment of 10, my father brought home two: one for my boyfriend and me, and one for my coworker’s son.

  57. toysandmore says:

    Well if you would get up and go to a store where they have been coming in now on a regular shipments, you would find that they are sitting on the shelfs. We have them at our store and have had to transfer some to stores that can sell them. Toys cant control that nintendo will ship them all to other contries that have a stronger doller then our, and ship them to our country last…. So do your self a favor and get out and come in to the store.

  58. Hvnsent309 says:

    It must just be a matter of where you look because last week my local Best Buy had at least 30 on the shelf and when I was in this morning there were still 10-15 on the shelf…

  59. fisherstudios says:

    If the item is not in stock, they need to advertise it as being not in stock.

    Could he sue them for the time/money he lost driving to/from the store under the false belief of the item being in stock?