I didn’t plan on getting a Nintendo Switch, but I’m not always right at predicting the future either. It all started when I brought out the old Gamecube and started playing Mario Kart Double Dash. While that game is fun, there’s nothing quite like the online races from Mario Kart 8 which I played on a borrowed Wii U from my nephew. And then I discovered Twitch…
In order to avoid buying a Switch, I remembered that Twitch existed and people actually play Mario Kart 8 there. I was pretty happy to find a Twitch app (Twitchy) for Apple TV and that’s how my wife and I spent/spend our nights evenings, watching live Mario Kart 8 races.
After about a month of doing this, the desire to play Mario Kart 8 became too strong. I didn’t want to waste money on a Wii U since production had halted and Nintendo has all but abandoned it. Ho ho, let’s get a Switch with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe!
Want a Switch? Everyone else does too!
There was just one problem: The Nintendo Switch has been sold out everywhere in Japan.
If you want to get your hands on a Switch from an online store like Amazon, prepare to pay a much more expensive price for the opportunity. Most stores have raised their prices of the Switch by $100 or more. The only way we were going to be able to get a Switch was to visit local stores.
(If you follow my Twitter then you’ll know I received a Switch as a surprise present from my mother-in-law. The following story takes place on the same day with my wife and I trying to buy a Switch for a friend at the same store where my mother-in-law found mine.)
Questionable Retail Policies
I can’t say that all stores are doing this, but one electronics store chain we went to had a really mmm.. interesting policy. My wife appeared alone when she asked if they had any Switches in stock. The clerk hesitated and then said no. After that, I came out from the game aisle with a copy of Mario Kart 8 DX in hand. When the clerk saw that I was buying a game and that I was with my wife, she secretly admitted that they did have Switches in stock. Wait, what? Why lie to a customer?
She explained that their chain has a policy where employees have to judge whether or not they think a person is going to buy a Switch and resell it to make a profit. She basically said that a woman looking to buy a Switch was considered suspicious, but a couple or a woman with a child would be considered okay. Really? I understand the need to prevent people from buying all the Switches and reselling them, but I can definitely imagine innocent customers being turned away thinking there really were no Switches in stock. Anyway, the clerk was a nice person and I could tell she really didn’t like having to enforce this discriminatory policy.
Before this event I had gone to several other stores on my own and asked if they had the Switch. Had all of the clerks told the truth when they said they were out of stock? Or was I lied to at some point because I happened to look “suspicious”? I’ll never know, but it is a bit alarming to think that some stores in Japan are judging people based on their appearance and denying them information or the chance to purchase something. I’m not going to keep thinking about it, but I thought it was worth writing down and letting people know.
How about you?
How has the Switch shortage been handled in the US or your country? I’ve asked a few people and they said the only policy had been 1 per customer. If you know of any other shenanigans going on, I’d like to hear it!
Having said that, at least my wife and I were able to get a Switch. It was a glorious day after a few weeks of hunting!
You didn’t get Zelda?!
I think many people might be surprised to learn that I didn’t go out and purchase the new Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I’ve seen a lot of footage of it from YouTubers and such, but I know if I start playing that it will take all of my time. Maybe someday I will get to it, but for now Mario Kart 8 DX works for me. I love being able to jump in, play some rounds, and then stop.
There was one feature that really had me interested: There’s an easy driving mode that makes it near impossible to go off the track. You’ll know it’s on if you see an antenna on the back of a player’s kart. I know a lot of hardcore people boo this idea, but I think it’s really brilliant for young players or those that just aren’t into games.
Seeing my wife being able to go around a track and enjoy herself without the frustration of driving was extremely satisfying and I’m very thankful Nintendo implemented this feature.
What’s next after Mario Kart?
Now that I have a Switch, what games am I looking forward to? The next big release I would like to play would have to be Mario Odyssey. This looks like a true sequel to Super Mario 64.