By Bryan Smith on May 29, 2015 at 1:37pm
As the Amiibo phenomenon continues, Wave 4 has officially released to every part of the world now with the United States getting them last. Those include Lucina, Robin, Ness, Wario, Charizard, Pac-Man, Jigglypuff, and Greninja for the "Super Smash Bros." series, Silver Mario for the "Super Mario" series, and the Inkling, Girl, Boy, and Squid for the new "Splatoon" series. I checked out most of the retailers to see what unfolded.
First was Target. Jigglypuff was exclusive to Target, following Rosalina & Luma. Target also stumbled with the online pre-orders where orders closed at a record low of 6-7 minutes of opening. Needless to say, there were those a little peeved at the situation.
Come closer to the release date, Target became more prepared for those hunting Jigglypuff. Similar to the Rosalina release, the doors opened at 8am and employees were ready to hand out Jigglypuff figures, which were about 30 in stock (your mileage may vary dependent on your store). In fact, this was the first time I've ever seen security at Target. They were prepared to make everyone's experience as smooth as possible without people running and cutting ahead of line. Jigglypuff was relatively well handed. The other figures, such as Lucina and Robin, however, sold out with only four in stock at most. While it's great to see Jigglypuff relatively maintained, the other stock was disappointing.
In summary: Target would have been your best bet should you wanted Jigglypuff only and/or came first in line at least 3 hours before opening.
The next store that opened at 10am was Toys "R" Us. Greninja was exclusive to Toys "R" Us, following Lucario. Just as Target stumbled with their online orders, so did Toys "R" Us. They opened at 3am (or your region's equivalent) when everyone was asleep. People were again quite irritated. Toys "R" Us tried to mitigate the problem with pre-orders but I'm not sure that helped the situation.
Then came closer to the release. Toys "R" Us revealed that Greninja was not only well in stock, as in at least 50-100 figures, but rare figures were as well. The first twenty or so people at the Toys "R" Us were able to obtain Lucina, Robin, and Marth figures without difficulty. I'm pretty sure more people behind me were able to obtain some as well. Tickets were handed out to make sure that people in line were able to get the figure they wanted without getting trampled. Overall, I think a fantastic job considering how notorious the amiibo hunting has become.
In summary: Toys "R" Us would have been the best option for any amiibo other than Jigglypuff/Ness if you arrived moderately early (i.e. 2-3 hours prior). They handled the process of getting the figures people wanted professionally and had the stock prepared.
Lastly there was GameStop. Prior to looking at the stock, the chances of getting a Greninja figure greatly outweighed the chances of getting a Ness figure with a ratio of 50:1. In fact, the rarest of amiibo, the characters from "Fire Emblem" including Marth, had a better ratio at Toys "R" Us of at least 15:2. The only chance of getting a Ness, Lucina, Robin, Charizard, or Wario amiibo at GameStop if you weren't lucky enough to pre-order through the in-store option would have been to stand in line... at the same time people were lining up at Target. Target opens at 8am, while GameStop opens at 10am. Fun story: while people were in line at Target, I spotted a lone person sitting outside an adjacent GameStop.
By the time I got around to GameStop (which was after Toys "R" Us just opened), the only amiibo left were Silver Mario, the Inklings, and Pac-Man. I asked the employee if there were people and he said yup, along with disappointment when there were only 2 of Ness to begin with. Let's not forget that most people didn't get to pre-order because of the internet crippling GameStop's servers, which meant only 1-3 bundles could have been purchased.
Also I heard rumors of employees pocketing Ness figures for themselves, despite the fact that the store posted stock before the release date. There would have been a Ness, but some employees might have taken that opportunity for themselves, as a Reddit user has already experienced.
In summary: GameStop would have been your best bet if you wanted to camp out 5 hours before open and hoped that employees didn't walk off with the Ness figures (which may or may not be on eBay shorter there after).
Amazon might have found a fix with not bothering with pre-orders and simply going with a timed window of when a specific amiibo is open. Whether this works or not is to be determined.
I can't speak for Walmart or Best Buy (with Best Buy probably only having Meta Knight restock as their main sell and others being in low stock), but I have heard that despite the stock issue, employees did their best to make things smooth as possible.
I hope the experience I described helps with future purchases with amiibo hunting. I have a feeling that the same will happen again once Wave 5 rolls out in the United States.