New York Times: How to get to be the first in line

NYTime interview article

As a follow-up to yesterdays Amazon offers Nintendo Wiis, fails to deliver?, Matt Ritchel of the New York Times (Technology) published a short piece concerning the experiences of shopping for a Nintendo Wii using the more traditional wait-in-line in front of a brick ‘n mortar vs. shopping online with Missing From Internet: Avid Shoppers Sharp Elbows [screenshot or print version]. Mr. Ritchel was kind enough to get in touch for my personal take on the experience of shopping for a Nintendo Wii with Seattle’s Amazon.com.

Many were sorely disappointed. Derek Punsalan, a 23-year-old Web designer in Seattle, kept clicking until 4 a.m., when he went to bed. He was back when the Wii finally went on sale at 8 a.m. but missed his chance to get one; the $250 consoles sold out in less than a minute.

Those few lines reminded me of how much I hate my alarm clock. I considered the thought of experimenting with the Flying Alarm Clock but realized that I would probably ignore the annoying buzz making a snooze button useless.

Amazon declined to say how many Nintendo Wiis it sold over the weekend. But it said it was true to its promise to put them on sale Sunday morning. “Everything went off without a hitch on our end,” said Craig Berman, an Amazon spokesman. “If folks waited up, we certainly appreciate them and love their passion for wanting to buy a product from Amazon.”

Technically, Amazon did indeed live up to their email announcement that the Wii would be available Sunday morningkeyword being morning, all 12 hours PST. As an online retail store, I understand that there are no “open” or “closed” hours. However, it is my opinion that Amazon customers deserve a little more information rather than wasting away their hours believing that their next browser refresh will be their lucky day. Regarding this particular scenario, the convenience of shopping online at any hour of the day is overshadowed by the fact that brick ‘n mortar stores offer a structured schedule that creates an even playing field for any customers attempting to acquire high demand product(s).

The issue may become more significant as more online retailers try using doorbusters. Amazon plans its first doorbuster sale this Thursday morning at 11 a.m., offering a limited supply of a highly discounted item [XBox 360].

So Amazon feels that the launch of a much anticipated gaming console does not warrant a scheduled sale time like Thursdays deeply discounted XBox 360? That just makes me smile with frustration.

Feel free to read the article in its entirety on NYTimes.com [printer version]. Concerning the last comment of the article, the chase did not end after missing out on Amazon. *cough*

Have online retail stores replaced your standard brick ‘n mortar favorites?

Discuss - 5 Comments

  1. Sam says:

    Online stores are starting to change the way I shop but I only use it to buy the rare stuff or something cheaper than what I can find locally. I still buy most of my games and electronic hardware from local shops though since i don’t have to deal with shipping and I have the luxury of returning the item more easier than if I got it online.

    Nice job getting a mention in the NY Times!

  2. Derek says:

    The return process for online orders has become considerably more convenient than before. I’ll point out that Amazon is among the best as far as product returns and order satisfaction. The aforementioned scenario came as a shock and and I was really looking forward to more positive shopping experience in this case.

    Online retailers are definitely helpful for locating items which are not sold locally. The only scenarios which would prompt for a local purchase are those when immediacy is required.

  3. turbanhead says:

    So there I am on the F train going to work and reading the Times this morning and I see an article about Amazon and the Wii – and your name and I paused – and I was like – what the!? Hey I use his wordpress theme! Congrats!

  4. I know a lot of people who stayed up are up in arms about all this, but really all I can do is roll my eyes, just like I do toward the people who wait in line for hours at your regular stores. Patience isn’t really at play, I suppose? It’s amazing how upset people get when they can’t get a hold of their want-to-have items.

    Amazon didn’t make anyone stay up for the Wii; people chose that themselves. And I wish they’d stop putting the blame on Amazon, because I can guarantee you, even if Amazon had said, “we’ve only got 10 of these,” thousands of people would have still clicked in an effort to get one. And they would have still complained when they didn’t get one. That is the nature of the modern day consumer.

    It’s a gaming console. People can wait, but, like children, they don’t want to–boohoo. Personally, I see little Amazon could have done differently to ultimately satisfy people (in one way or another), and I just find myself disgusted yet again in how silly people get over material items at times. Just my opinion.

    As for online shopping, when I was in the States, that’s basically all I did. I shopped from Amazon a lot, as well as online shopping for clothes. I HATE to shop (yes, a girl that hates to shop). Now that I’m in Australia, there aren’t nearly as many good online shopping options, if really any, so I am out and about quite a bit. I had forgotten how tiring it can be! But it’s fine. Just different. :)

  5. Derek says:

    No opinion on whether “door-buster” sales online should have preset release times? Or does the idea of releasing items randomly seem more appropriate. I was in no way upset about the fact that a Wii console was not added to my checkout basket on Sunday morning (I would find one one way or another). I was just questioning why the release day did not include a general time considering regular Amazon customers are spread out across the states and abroad.

    After Sunday, I just don’t think that online “door-buster” sales are at that level to compete with brick ‘n mortar equivalents.