I just called Walmart to confirm that I will be able to pick up my Wii U that I “reserved” by buying it using the store’s layaway program. The official launch is at midnight less than seven hours away and, like many stores, Walmart is having its own launch party, whatever that may mean.
My nervous concern is that the layaway department is open for limited hours, closing at 9 p.m., and the launch is at midnight. When I was trying to pre-order the Wii U, this departmental time frame became an issue. Layaway, after all, means that the product has not really been paid in full.
When I called I immediately asked for the layaway department, trying to avoid a runaround. After a quick transfer, I politely explained to the layaway clerk on the phone that I had pre-ordered the Wii U on layaway and wanted to know is a) I could really pick it up tonight and b) if I had to (or could) pay the balance tonight.
She gave a five-second, “U-h-h-h-h-h-h-h,” then put me on hold.
Cue Walmart Layaway specialist number two.
I explained the same thing to the second Walmart employee (because you can never just do something once at Walmart) and she assured me that they do, indeed, have a Wii U for each person who pre-ordered it on layaway. She also explained that I will be able to pay this evening but, if I want to pick it up later, I have until December 14, 2012, to pay and pick it up or it goes into the store’s sellable inventory.
So, that means that a) they have Wii Us for everyone and b) the layaway desk will, in some form, be open this evening so I can pay my balance.
Phew. Let’s hope that is all true.
The weird part that then made me nervous once again is that she then said I’d need to line up at 11 or 11:30 p.m. That seemed a bit odd since, if my Wii U is in the store, I should be able to get it at any time after midnight, right?
So I asked, “Does that really mean there are not enough Wii Us for everyone? Can’t I just come at midnight?”
She said, “Well, yeah, I guess it doesn’t really matter.” Ah, as I suspected, they want to create a sense of urgency, even in the people who ordered one in advance, to help make the party a “party.”
Now my next concern is the Wii U Pro Controller. It seems that a lot of the games use it but it’s a bit unclear whether or not they are required and none of the boxed version come with one (although you can certainly buy bundles that include one). From what I overhead a GameStop employee telling someone else, the controller is necessary for a lot of Wii U games. Pretty much anything a Gamestop employee says is suspect as they try to up-sell every accessory to everyone who buys anything.
In any case, wish me luck and look for photos tonight.
Also Read [Gamertell]