Three weeks before Christmas, our son Samuel decided he didn’t want a drum set after all, and asked for a Nintendo Wii video game.

We went through the standard rigmarole of trying to find one of the toys during the pre-Christmas rush when they were in very limited supply. Jan tried multiple stores and online vendors, and I even broke down and did the get-in-line-at-Toys-R-Us-at-6:00 a.m. routine, with no luck.

Wii’s could be obtained from individuals out to make some fast money on websites like ebay and, but rarely for less than $100 more than retail, a premium we declined to pay.

Samuel had been prepared in advance, and on Christmas morning, he found a picture of a Wii in his stocking, and a pledge that we’d get him one as soon as they were commercially available.

We thought it might take a couple of months, but on the day after Christmas, my older son called and said he’d found a stack of Wii’s at Target in Augusta – and knew they’d been available at Best Buy the same day.

The following day, a good friend who knew we’d been looking called from the Walmart in Dunn, N.C., offering to pick one up for us there.

I suspect they were available in plenty other places, too, which leads me to believe that Nintendo must have manufactured an intentional “shortage” to drum up added buzz for the game. To the company’s credit, at least it left the price-gouging to individual online sellers.

Perhaps Nintendo has seen how well it works for the big oil companies, which have had great success at the game, knowing that one has only to conspire to create limited availability for a desired product, and people will inevitably line up and pay more.

Based on that, you’d think the doctrine of limited atonement would be a great evangelistic tool, but I guess it wasn’t predestined to be.

Share This