The Nintendo Quest at Best Buy near Wilkes-Barre

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WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP -- It was a disappointing morning of Christmas shopping for a lot of people in Luzerne County. They hoped to get their hands on one of this season's hottest items but walked away with nothing but bad feelings.

A lot of it comes down to this: first come, first served has different meanings to different people, and first come at some Best Buy stores applies to the first customers in line -- not the first ones in the door when the store opens.

It was the worst of times for some would-be customers of the Best Buy store in Wilkes-Barre Township. They wanted a hard-to-get Nintendo video game system.

Some waited in cars. Some waited on the cold sidewalk. They all desired the Nintendo NES Classic that's almost impossible to find this Christmas.

The appeal, for people like Brenda Vanchure of Wilkes-Barre, is nostalgia. The new Nintendo plays classic video games.

"When I was younger that was the most popular thing, that Nintendo, to play back. It's all a memory," said Vanchure.

Here is where things got off the track. Best Buy handed out tickets to people in line two hours before the store opened.

Some people said they assumed first come, first served meant after opening time, not before.

A Best Buy spokesman at the home office says their policy is clear, and that's reflected on the company's phone line.

"Just like on Black Friday, our Best Buy stores will have a ticketing process for customers waiting in line. We will only pass out as many tickets as we have consoles."

But when we asked the spokesman where it says the tickets go out before the store opens, he replied that first come, first served means just that, and no time frame is spelled out anywhere in store policy. It's up to managers at each store.

Jessie Smith of Thornhurst hoped to score a Nintendo for her grandson.

"It's terrible. People are out here waiting. It's not fair to everybody standing out here in the cold," Smith said.

For the people who waited in the parking lot and those in front of the building all night long, the odds were stacked against them. This Best Buy store only had 24 game units to sell.

Some waited and hoped for the best.

"My little brother is interested in playing all the new games, so I figured I'd try getting some of the old games all in one system. Maybe he'll enjoy that," said Collin Shandra of Pittston.

Bobby Jacobs was one of the lucky ones. He got there just after midnight and had ticket number 17 of 24.

"It was really, really cold, but you know, it's going to be worth it, even if it flops. I like the adventure. I met a lot of good people out here," Jacob said.

We know Jacobs got his Nintendo. We also know it won't be under the Christmas tree Sunday morning. Jacobs says he'll be playing video games as soon as he gets home and hooks it up.

So if you didn't get one, you could try eBay, where units are selling for three times the retail price.

The Best Buy spokesman isn't sure if they will have any more in stock before Christmas.


  • whatever831

    I bought a used wifi from the Salvation Army about a year ago for $15, and it was modified with every single Nintendo and Super Nintendo known in existence. I lucked out! I was reading about this new Nintendo thing that has 40 games pre-installed, but didn’t see how much it cost. You can also purchase old titles from the wii, that way you can choose the ones you want to play. I think you can even purchase sega games like sonic the hedgehog. 24 items in a store lol, it’s like they live chaos on purpose or idiots don’t realize the buzz of how popular something will be. I don’t know.

  • Snapper

    Buy your kid a book or better yet a sled get them outside maybe some activity in there life the good old days are so gone thank you CHINA for these brain dead games and your STINK BUGS!!!

  • Karl Know-it-all

    Ok, so number 17 out of 24 had been waiting since midnight? Sounds like the people who showed up an hour before the store opened just didn’t want it bad enough. Cry me an 8-bit river!

  • Anon

    People will complain that there’s not a ticketing system, and then they still complain when there is. Somebody call the wahmbulance.

  • JessicaInWilliamsport

    It’s just a game….geeze. So ya don’t get what you want this time…. why not wait until it all settles down and get it for a birthday or just because. I’d like one too, but I’m not going to freeze and stand in line because I have to have it NOW. And if I don’t get it, oh well…there are other game systems that have similar games. You can also sometimes play the old games online. Calm down and spend some of that “line time” with family, friends, helping the homeless and needy. What you waste your money on is just *stuff*.

    • media_is_the_problem

      Why does it matter how others choose to spend their time? I’m sure there are plenty of people in this world that would call your hobbies a waste of time and silly to care about. These people just so happen to enjoy something that you don’t enjoy. No need for the snarky comment.

      • JessicaInWilliamsport

        They enjoy standing in line in the cold? They complain about not getting the toy they want? That’s now a hobby? I don’t consider my comment snarky, I consider it common sense. People would probably spend less and have more satisfaction if patience were still a virtue. Punk Rockers “The Dead Kennedys” had it right in the 80’s — we are no longer a society of “Give me Liberty or give me Death” — we’ve become — “Give me convenience or give me death” Sad.

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