When the Nintendo NES Classic Edition launched in November, retail stores weren't ready for the rush of customers and intense demand for the console, according to a local Target employee. Neither was Nintendo - they were notoriously short stocked and struggled to get the game out in numbers that reached even a portion of people who wanted it.
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Thankfully, it seems to be getting slightly better for fans who want to purchase it. You can see that on websites like EBay, where the console once sold for hundreds of dollars and the prices are falling slowly as more people can pay regular price for it.
It is easier to find the console online, according to one Target employee, than it is to get it in stores. "There are still people hunting the store every time they come in," she said. "It isn't the stream it was before but we still get 2-3 phone calls a day about the NES and the NES Mini. The key is that the system is on the affordable side and so people buy it on a whim, even if they weren't hunting it before. It's a really cool idea and system that pretty much markets itself."
There are certain stores that have had the NES in stock for a few days, she says, though this location is consistently out of them. The employee searched the local Targets and was able to locate one not that far away. "It doesn't last more than a few days typically, but some of the more rural Targets are able to keep their stock for a bit longer than we are."
So how can you get an NES at Target?
"You still have to get lucky, that's the truth. There's no rhyme or reason to when we get our shipments. We don't always know how many we will get. We don't even know what day of the week we'll get them or when we'll put them out. They get pushed as soon as we have them. The one thing I can tell you is that their location won't change. We never get or keep them long enough to actually make a display of them," she said, which can help people who want to get in and out of the store quickly if they do notice a pattern in their own Target.
As for the concerns that Nintendo is completely switching their attention to the Switch and away from manufacturing the NES at all, this employee disagrees.
"Just from a marketing perspective, and I've been working at Target a long time, they would be stupid to stop production on these. It's hard to get a sustained demand for something, and they've found it. If I were the president of Nintendo, I'd make it a permanent part of the line."