by Doc – Owner, Founder, Author of “Why Can’t People Just Admit They Can’t Afford It at Regular Prices What’s Wrong With Our Country”
As a veteran of many Black Friday experiences ranging from a shopper to a retail employee to an Amiibo Doctor, I’m going to level with you, recruit.
This is gonna be a little nuts.
Before you start to plan out your shopping, you need to understand the overall situation with amiibo supply. As I’m sure you’re aware, supplies of damn near everything are running low in the United States, and even if they weren’t, we wouldn’t be able to receive them anyway. Every port in the U.S. of A. is over maximum capacity right now, with about four months of shipments waiting offshore. Amiibo are manufactured in Hong Kong and Japan, and there hasn’t been any restocks in a good long while.
This all combines to create the perfect Black Friday shortage – there’s no fresh amiibo supply, there won’t be new amiibo supply because of a chip shortage that I predicted months ago, and no restocks have even been rumored, let alone announced. If you’re a fan of amiibo figures, consider yourself SOL unless you’re willing to pay extra-premium to purchase them secondhand.
Due to all of this, our strategy will revolve around getting whatever new amiibo we can before Black Friday – because they’ll all be gone by the time Black Friday gets here.
First Wave – Pre-orders
You should be immediately identifying the amiibo or amiibo products you plan on buying. Time is very much of the essence when you’re shopping for official Nintendo products, and amiibo are exemplary examples of that. It’s very likely that the amiibo you’re looking for has already sold out, so you’d better hop on it fast if you hope to get anything.
If there’s a pre-ordered game or amiibo you want, such as the Animal Crossing Series 5 cards, get your pre-orders in ASAP. Retailers typically cancel the most recent pre-orders and keep the oldest ones when they run low on supply, so you want to be as close to the bottom of that stack as you can.
If you are going to pre-order an amiibo, do it in two places at the same time. Pre-order from Best Buy and Walmart, or Target and Gamestop, or some combination of those. You’re almost guaranteed to have at least one of them get cancelled even in normal conditions, so this buys you a bit of cushion. If one order goes down, you’ll still have the other one.
“But Doc,” you say, “what if both of the orders goes through and I end up with two of them?” That’s a good question. If both pre-orders go through, don’t be a douchebag and scalp the extra one. Find somebody else who wasn’t able to get one, and sell it to them for what you paid for it. Scalping is already a major problem with amiibo shopping, and it’s a shameful thing to perpetuate.
Amazon is also a decent alternative, but they’re one of the worst offenders when it comes to cancelling pre-orders. However, I do have some Amazon-specific advice for amiibo hunting here.
Second Wave – In-Person Shopping
This one’s heavily geographic. If you have stores that are open, you’d best go get what you’re gonna get right now. Check your Walmarts, check your Best Buy, check your Gamestop, check your mom and pop stores, check the secondhand stores, check anything and everything that sells video games.
Keep in mind that you’ll have most of your success at the secondhand and mom and pop stores, and those places rarely sell for reasonable prices. If you go to a chain store like GameXchange, they’ll have definitely looked up the secondhand price online – there’s no savings besides shipping. It’s still a significant savings, but nothing extraordinary.
If you’re lucky, you may have a Goodwill nearby. Goodwills are absolute gold for collectors because they usually sell video game paraphernalia for pretty cheap. Sometimes you’ll have the Goodwills that also look up prices, but those are rare. And if that fails, use shopgoodwill.com – it’s eBay, but only Goodwill stores can sell on it.
Final Wave – Burglarizing Homes of Collectors
No, I’m just kidding. Don’t steal amiibo.
Final Wave – Unofficial amiibo cards + other options
If your intended recipient is only concerned with using the amiibo, you are in luck. There’s a cottage industry on Etsy that consists entirely of people who make amiibo cards using the guides on our site. These amiibo cards work exactly the same way as the original amiibo – if your kid wants a Gold Mario amiibo, you can buy him a Gold Mario amiibo card.
Etsy cards are a far superior option over buying official amiibo from Nintendo. They’re significantly cheaper even with shipping (thanks to being the perfect size for an envelope), have no expensive materials and work just the same. And you’re helping out a small business when they need it most!
If money really is no object to you, you may consider going for the permanent route – an AmiiPad controller. This little number functions as every single amiibo in existence, and doesn’t require any more purchasing. It’s a bit confusing for the younger kids, so we have some demonstrations up at the Amiibo Doctor Youtube channel.
Good luck out there! It’s a wild year for amiibo buying