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December 1, 2007

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How to get a Wii (before Christmas)

Scrambling for a Wii this Christmas? Join the hunt. You and a million others are camping out at big box stores, F5′ing the Wii pages on e-tailer’s websites, or just giving up and spending $600 or more on ebay. There’s an easier way, and here’s what worked for me.


What you’ll need:

  • An account on Amazon, Target, and any other store that will store your credit card information
  • Cell phone with ability to accept incoming text messages
  • Web mail account you can access from anywhere – Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.
  • 1. Visit Wiialerts.com and sign up for their free email notification.
    2. Once you’ve signed up for the email notification, turn around and sign up for the text paging option.
    3. Visit all the retailers websites you’re comfortable buying from.
    4. I highly recommend signing up for Target and Amazon’s website
    5. Save your shipping address, billing address, and your credit card data on the site
    6. Enable one-click purchasing.

    Email isn’t good enough
    An email distribution from Wiialerts.com can take 5-10 minutes just to get dispersed, travel across the internet, through your mail provider’s spam filter(s), then sit in your inbox waiting for your email client to check. You’ll be out of luck almost every time. I had really good luck with Gmail, but a long delay with my work email address. Your mileage may vary.

    Overpriced Bundles?
    I say avoid the overpriced bundles unless they’re a good deal for you and your family (see Mark’s comment below for more info). As of this post, I found Walmart has an obnoxious bundle for $670 that includes some mediocre games and a couple of controllers. If it’s worth it to you – then buy. Otherwise if you’re really in a bind to get one, read on.

    If you buy the bundle from Target.com, Samsclub.com, Walmart.com, or Bestbuy.com – you can always return the unopened video games for a refund. But even then, the bundle costs may be more than individual items total up to – that’s demand driving up those costs. Do the math before you buy or accept you’ll be paying more for a hard to find item and be happy you got one.

    How fast do I need to respond?
    When you get a text page, you’ll have to react within a few minutes. That’s why text paging is about the only way you can ensure you’re going to see stock online. Most Wii consoles that are selling for less that $400 will sell out in 4 minutes or less.

    When you get the text page on your phone, check your webmail or Wiialerts.com site immediately. Wiialerts.com will email you a link directly to the etailer, or you can click on the in stock item to get dropped directly on the e-tailer’s page selling the wii. And buy quickly, even if you have it in your cart – if it sells out before you get a confirmation – you’ll lose it.

    I’ve read rumors that amazon may get hammered so hard that they have confirmations on Wii purchases that they couldn’t fill – so they canceled the order. Don’t be afraid to call Amazon if that happens to you. They may be able to comp you by giving you the ability to pre-purchase the next one, or at least do something nice for you. That didn’t happen to me – and I got a UPS shipping tracking number to prove it was on its way.

    Tips to win
    1. Keep a PC in the house on and online.
    2. If you’re on dialup – good luck.
    3. If you’re at work, don’t go out to lunch – brown bag it at your desk. Most instock alerts I received came in during the afternoon.
    4. If you can, Make Wiialerts.com your home page, so when you open your browser – you’ll be one step closer.

    Obviously these are just some simple tips that I found worked for me. But please keep a level head and maintain security of your information – don’t save your browser passwords or keep your PC unlocked.

    Feel free to add comments to this post to share your own experiences. Good luck!

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    3 Comments
    1. Mark
      Dec 6 2007

      I purchased one of the overpriced Wal-Mart bundles. The total cost was exactly the same as the individual items’ Wal-Mart prices added up, so there was most definitely no premium or markup over their standard prices ($250 for the console, $48 for games, etc). I then simply took the items I didn’t want to the nearest Wal-Mart and returned them with the receipt. (Each item was listed separately.) The game choices are not all that “mediocre,” either. The 47 game choices include Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime, Zelda, Resident Evil, etc., etc. of which you choose 6.

    2. Dec 6 2007

      That’s good to know! I was skeptical of purchasing the huge bundle not knowing if the items were in a special “bundle” package not for resale or return individually. The only money you’re out is the interest on the credit card for the number of days it takes to ship and you to return it. :)

      Good tip, thanks Mark.

    3. bc_boston
      Dec 9 2007

      Wiialerts.com works!!!! Both my sister in law and my wife were looking for weeks for a Wii. I had almost given up and started looking at e-bay. We found wiialerts.com and about a week later my sister in law got a cell phone alert at work, she called me, I logged onto Amazon and ordered 2. They have shipped and UPS says they will be here Dec 12th.

      2 Wii’s for a total of $499.98 ($249.99 each) and free shipping. Sure beats the heck out of an overpriced bundle or going to e-bay.

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