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

  • November 21st, 2006

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?