When last I chronicled my adventures, I was dutifully searching amazon.com on a daily basis simply to confirm the fact that they had no wiis available, except by wii ebay scalpers. Well, I have finally purchased a wii, and sadly, I did capitulate and buy a wii via ebay. How did I rationalize my capitulation into supporting villains? After all, did I not compose "The Wii Poem":
My money: spendable
Production slowness: indefensible
Ebay sellers: reprehensible
Am I not turning my back on principle, you ask? Is this not like the Iran-Contra affair and selling arms for hostages? Admittedly, even though there were neither weapons nor hostages involved per se
, I see why you might see similarities with my own situation. In my attempt to set free a wii—to liberate it from the wicked ebayers who took it prisoner—am I not giving the ebayers more financial weapons, enabling them to take even more wiis hostage? In the end, I decided to give money to these evildoers not because their evil seems less evilly evil in my eyes, but because my eyes have been opened to the fact that “the establishment” is just as wicked.
Let me explain. A few weeks ago, K-Mart’s circular revealed that they would be selling wiis! Resolved to own a wii, I got up in the wii hours of the morning so that I could be the first in line. Sadly, the weather was what one would expect on an April morning in the Midwest: freezing cold. As I stood in front of the store an hour before opening, it dawned upon me that, since no one else was actually waiting there, no one could steal my place in line. With a shiver of triumph, I left the store to sit in my car, eyes diligently scanning the parking lot. Sure enough, fifteen minutes later, a newcomer drove up, so I jumped out of the car and ran to the front of the store to mark my territory. In a non-urinary way. Even so, I had a partial fear that when employees came to open the store, the newcomer would claim he got here before me, and then I’d have to beat him up. In fact, a few other people came around and got dangerously close to the door, so I struck a heroic pose to make it clear that I was there first. It turned out that they were just going in to work, so it didn’t have to come to blows.
Well, five minutes before opening time, the manager came out to let me and the newcomer (who knew what was good for him and didn’t pretend that he was there first) that they had not actually received any wiis. However, she offered us a ray of hope. There was another K-Mart, just 40 minutes away, and she had just called there: apparently, the manager was able to confirm the fact that she had not gotten around to opening the shipments for that day, which is virtually a guarantee (in the mind of the wii-hungry) that wiis must be in the shipment!
Sadly, I did not actually know the way to get to this K-Mart. However, the newcomer offered to let me follow him. I was a little suspicious, but when I realized that, if he tried to take me the wrong way, he would just be thwarting his own wii-purchasing desires, I agreed to follow. And to tell the truth, there was a kind of solidarity: no longer were we two strangers competing against each other for the prize of the wii. Now, we were two comrades competing against the villainous K-Mart corporation, who had tricked us into going to the wrong K-Mart building in an effort to sabotage our hopes and dreams.
After driving 40 minutes to the other K-Mart (and frantically hoping that other people—smarter people who knew which K-Mart was actually selling wiis--had not bought them all), we discovered that this K-Mart hadn’t received them, either. The K-Mart employee who delivered the bad news even remarked that it was somewhat shameful, given that K-Mart had done the same bait and switch tactic ad campaign with the X-Box last year. It seems counterintuitive, but corporations can apparently mail circulars claiming to have a “limited quantity” of a product that they will not actually have when the doors first open.
Sleep-deprived, time-deprived, gas-deprived, disappointed, and lacking any concrete villains at which to shake my fist, I determined to blame all corporations that sold the wii. At least when ebayers advertise that a wii is available, you can actually buy it. If I had happened to go to one of the rare K-Marts that actually had
a wii as advertised, would I want my hard-earned money to help them produce more circulars to sucker more people? When you stop and think about it, wouldn’t that be worse
than the Iran-Contra affair? And if it was clear that K-Mart had done this, how could I ever know that Walmart, Target, and Circuit City were not similarly depraved? Having convinced myself that K-Mart was irredeemably evil, I was gradually persuaded that ebayers were the lesser of two evils. After all, K-Mart was habitually wicked. They had used the same bait and switch tricks with the X-Box, and they would surely do the same thing again. Many ebayers, on the other hand, are only going to be wicked for as long as there is a wii shortage. Perhaps some of them are trapped in poverty, and that $125 profit they made off of me will give them enough to buy textbooks for college—perhaps even textbooks for an ethics class, in which they learn how wicked they are, and then they repent and send me my money back. My money would actually help them be redeemed! Buying an ebayers’ wii was actually a ministry: now now I have my wii, and now they know how bad they are.