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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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December 12, 2008 9:25 AM

Local family finds search for Wii 'amazingly difficult'

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

This story on Nintendo's through-the-roof Wii sales -- in which a Nintendo executive reiterated the company's commitment to increase inventories in the U.S. by 50 percent to alleviate shortages -- doesn't jibe with the experience of reader Scott Milburn.

"For weeks, we have been searching for a Wii for our family this Christmas, and it is amazingly difficult," he wrote in an e-mail.

Read on for an account of their search.

"Virtually every online store is out of stock, including the major retailers. At one point, Target had some stock online, so I put one in my cart and went through the checkout process. By the time I got to the end, they were out of stock.

"Local retailers are also consistently out of stock, and I have been checking Costco, Target, Wal-Mart, Circuit City, and Fred Meyer every day. We have had our family members keeping an eye out for us as well. My father-in-law went to the Bellingham Costco yesterday morning because a shipment of 90 came in overnight. Sixty of those were sold within eight minutes of the store opening. Fortunately, my brother-in-law happened to be in the Game Crazy in Wallingford and stumbled over a stack of 30 of them, which have not been selling out because consumers are unaware they are there, so we got ours.

"Now, I am discovering that it will be just as challenging to find a Wii Fit!

"I find it amazing that in a time of economic crisis and significant consumer spending cutback, a company with a product that is in high demand would not meet that demand. You noted in your article that Nintendo made a commitment to increase supply over last year, but the company is far from meeting demand."

Milburn suggested I actually shop for a Wii myself to get a better sense of actual market conditions before writing about it again. He's right.

"To me the bigger story is not that Wii is selling well, but that Nintendo could probably be selling many many more units if they had ramped up production sufficiently," he concluded.

While I didn't go into as much detail in the print story today, I did convey Nintendo's suggestions for finding a Wii in this post yesterday afternoon:

Cammie Dunaway, sales and marketing exec at Nintendo, said consumers should be able to find a Wii this holiday season by looking at retailer advertising to see who is featuring the console and calling around to stores.

She added, "Retailers decide exactly when and where they will put that product out, and I think many retailers wanted to make a very big statement around Black Friday."

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