Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Oui, oui, so fit will wii be!

The combination of scarcity and demand makes me nervous. I am more than willing to wait in line for something I want, but I want that line to be part of an organized, efficient, fair system. I abhor the practice of line cutting.* I rarely attend concerts, in part because the whole waiting or calling for tickets thing provokes too much anxiety for me. I hate the nervous feeling that I am not going to get what I need or, rather, what I want. Like most American consumers, I don't want to be left out.

I can still remember the Cabbage Patch craziness of the early 1980's. Over the course of year or so, my mom managed to nab each of us a Cabbage Patch that was then gifted on a special occasion. I received "Megan Cissie" (her real name) for my birthday in, I believe, third grade. That same year, my mom also managed to score a doll for my cousin's (her goddaughter's) first communion, and to give it to her all dressed in white and with a wreath of flowers in her hair. I didn't really enjoy playing with dolls so much. I preferred reading books. However, I did take pleasure in possessing a Cabbage Doll (and later, two others that I bought with "my own money") and buying accessories for her. And, I was definitely in awe of my community's Cabbage Patch Queen. The mother of one of my friends honestly had some kind of Cabbage Patch obsession. I don't know if she was sleeping with someone at Toys R' Us or if she spent the entire time her kids were at school traveling to and/or calling all the local toy, discount, and department stores. Whatever she did, this woman always knew when stores were getting shipments of Cabbage Patch dolls. She ran a sort of baby ring out of her split level, selling dolls to slightly desperate parents for a mark-up (though, to be fair, I don't think she gouged people). The dolls were more than commodities to her though, I think. When I spent the night with her daughter, I had ample time to appreciate the china cupboard in which she displayed at least 40 (unboxed) dolls. So many dolls and so valuable, I used to marvel. I think I was under the impression that with a collection like that, my friend and her family were probably set for life. Sadly, we haven't kept in touch so I wouldn't know.

I have my doubts though. I don't think my mom or I could locate any of my CPKs. The bub does enjoy carrying around Larry Alfie, the hubby's Cabbage Patch, which my mother-in-law did save. Two years ago, someone bought Fancy a Cabbage Patch for her birthday. I think these days they cost under $20 and are fairly easy to obtain.

All of this is just preface to my latest experience with the push-pull of demand and scarcity. My husband read a very positive review of the Wii Fit in the Wall Street Journal, and we were both inspired. We don't belong to a gym, and we have minimal at-home exercise equipment, fairly low motivation, and some excess poundage. The Wii Fit sounded tempting. I personally imagined it would be the key to my post-partum efforts to reclaim my body. Of course, before you can use a Wii Fit, you need a Wii system. Longtime readers might recall that a young whippersnapper at the Jewel once seemed to think I was so old and/or uncool that I would not have heard of the Wii. I've been aware of the Wii for over a year now, NTB. The hubby and I have talked about getting one before but never really tried to track one down.

Then, we heard about the Wii Fit and decided to go for it. I put out some feelers, and the neighbor of LAP and her husband used something called Wii tracker, I think, to find out that they were available at Circuit City. I was able to reserve and pay for the Wii online on Sunday evening. I decided I would pick it up today: the day when the Wii Fit was scheduled to arrive in stores. I didn't have particularly high hopes for obtaining a Wii Fit. I tried not to get worked up into a frenzy of the sort scarcity/demand situations can breed. Eight months pregnant, I obviously have a good couple of months to get through before I will be watching a digital version of myself doing aerobics on our basement television. Nevertheless, on my way to the Skokie Circuit City, I did stop in at Target to check for a Wii Fit. It was 9:30 a.m. (Target opens at 8:00) and the shelf was bare. I was neither surprised nor overly disappointed. I drove to Circuit City. I got out of the car and headed to the door. I noticed the door was locked and realized, to my delight, that Circuit City did not open until 10:00. There were two men standing outside. Small talk ensued. Yes, we all were there for a Wii Fit (though, in my mind, the main purpose of the trip was to pick up the Wii system I had reserved online). Others started heading toward the door. We formed an orderly line. I looked around nervously, wondering if the line would stay intact or if people would make a run for it and dare to trample the pregnant girl. The door opened three minutes later. We walked as a line to the service desk, and five minutes later, I had one of the twelve Wii Fits that had been allotted to the Skokie Circuit City and a receipt. All in all, it was a pleasant, low-anxiety transaction. Good for me.

As for whether or not wii will really be fit . . . I'll keep you posted.

*Likewise, I become indignant when people try to drive on the shoulder in a traffic jam and then edge their way in further up the road. Similarly, on our honeymoon, I got fired up by the fact that if you wanted a good chair by the pool, it was acceptable policy--at the Four Seasons no less (and NTB)--to allow one person to save eight or so chairs that might then go unclaimed for hours.


Regan said...

There is a potentially correct theory that it is better for everyone to use the maximum width of the road all the way to the merge in slow traffic. Not doing so can be a waste of road capacity. Apparently, the Germans or someone like them proved that the impression you get waiting -- that this would all go faster if we merged farther back at greater speed, is a myth (not the female moth -- the old story that might not be true).

More briefly, Machiavelli teaches that "the virtuous person will always come to grief among so many who are not virtuous." I'm not saying buy the bub an Alex P. Keaton t-shirt. I'm just saying.

LAP said...

Glad you secured the system. I'll have you know that said neighbor's wife scolded him for calling our house so late (about 10:30) to inform us of the Wii availability online. He informed her that we wouldn't care, because it was an "emergency." Good to have friends who take Wii tracking seriously.

Actchy said...

My husband and I played on a Wii last Spring at the home of friends. They created caricatures that served as our "guys" on the "tennis court". I was amazed and astounded by how they were able to create cartoon versions of us that were very nearly our spitting images. Pretty neat.

Land of Bean said...

I started to write a comeback to the preposterous idea that early merging is not faster but then checked my inner road rage. Deep breath.

I couldn't talk the hubby into the Wii and we got the PS3 because it is a blu-ray DVD player. WAY less cool. Keep us posted on how the Wii Fit turns out.

Anonymous said...

My brother, owner of a wii, created my blonde profile and then gave me a system fitness test. The diagnosis: 81 years of age.

Perhaps I can practice in your basement and show it who's boss.

Sara G.

Greta said...

Now if they could come out with a Wii Childbirth So Wii Don't Hafta, you'd be all set.


Anonymous said...

i was starting to get some anxiety myself with this post...I had visions of it not being reserved for you. Glad you were able to obtain it seamlessly. Happy Wii Fit!

Anonymous said...

I too have enlisted the help of LAP's neighbor to find a wii for our house. I thought the vision of you and Charlie waiting for Circuit City to open was priceless.

I am interested to know who the grade school friend was with the CPK... Bdavin

E... said...

I think I mentioned to you that we've had the Wii for a couple of months now (O's 'early birthday gift' was how it got justified around here). J. got ours at K-Mart on a Saturday morning, on the theory that no one really goes there anymore, and it turned out he was right: no line there at all. I would stay far, far away from Zelda, Twilight Princess. Look for a post from me sometime on its addictive powers, if I can ever put down the nunchuck long enough to write about it.
Oh, and on CPKs (hey, two posts lately have used this same acronym for very different products,I just noticed). I was too old for them, but since I was a dork, coveted them as well. My grandparents scored some preemie ones while my cousin and I were shopping with them, tried to pass it off that they were buying them for 'someone else' but we sat in the backwards facing seat of our station wagon holding their boxes lovingly to our chests the whole way home nonetheless.

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