The Wii. Popular, in demand – and out of stock

This morning’s Observer column

Although there is nothing new about ‘must-have’ gizmos being in short supply, there is a novel twist this year. It is that the elusive object of desire was also last Christmas’s most desired object – the Nintendo Wii, the most innovative games console since the (Nintendo) GameBoy in 1989…

Desperate measures are afoot. For example, this source reports that

To deal with frustration among holiday shoppers hunting for its Wii game console, Nintendo Co. and retailer GameStop Corp. are launching a rain check program.

”We expect this to be a great way for consumers who desperately want a Wii to have something to put under the tree,” Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said Friday.

The rain checks will be available at the regular Wii system price, $249.99, on Dec. 20 and 21, and will entitle buyers to get the Nintendo console before Jan. 29. Fils-Aime said ”many tens of thousands of rain checks” would be available.