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A few words about (?)? Romier, Fighting Fish, LCVG & a Wii

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Well, truly the 5th of February is a day that will live in infamy in my history at this forum. Almost two months ago now, on the 10th of December, Romier had messaged me to let me know that Fighting Fish had secured a Wii for him, a Wii that would consequently be sent on to me. I never thought the wait would be quite so agonising and lengthy, but my machine certainly has an amusing history with regards to how I came to finally acquire it.


I should start off by saying why I wanted a US Wii. On the day of the UK launch I had been in a branch of Virgin Megastore and saw five or six PAL models gracing the shelf taunting me, but I ignored them. The chief reason for this is really that Nintendo, like Sony, don’t tend to treat Europe well. Some games face severe delays (Animal Corssing on the Cube), some games never even come out here (the last Wario Ware game on the GBA), and amongst other things I know when importing I will always be graced with games at 60hz, and paying dollars for my game purchase instead of pounds never hurts either. I’ve not had a PAL Nintendo console since the SNES, and even that I had a little cartridge for to run imports. My Cube was in fact Japanese, but modified to play US games so my Cube collection is entirely made up of US purchase, which will of course all play on my imported Wii.



“I guarantee you I’ll be able to walk into any store the week after launch and get a Wii for you,” said Romier back in November. “Are you sure?” I asked unconvinced. “Yes” he said… Two weeks later, oh how we laughed… or rather I pointed and laughed at him on my monitor.. then felt sad knowing I was still without a Wii after already sending over some $500 of funds to have one found plus enough left over for a few games.


After numerous attempts Romier made to try and find one, it wasn’t long before Snakefish had started the “How about a Wii/PS3 exchange thread?’ post which I thought was a really great idea and showed just what a brilliant bunch of people we’ve got here. It wasn’t until Romier posted a plea in that thread for anyone to look out for a Wii to send to him (which could then be sent to me), that it was clear just how much of a challenge it was proving for him to find one. It was Ian (Fighting Fish) who managed to find one in the end and get in touch. The quest was over… or so we thought.


The Wii made its journey from Idaho to Pennsylvania over the course of about a week. It was nearing Christmas by this point if memory serves. Romier had not yet acquired his own Wii, in fact he was still dubious about getting one for himself anytime soon. Still, a chief factor in having a friend get a unit for me was that I knew they could test it out. In light of drive errors and errors relating to the first initial download the console makes when first connecting to the internet, this seemed a great idea, and Romier kindly did the VC update and all went well. It was when he started playing the games and going on about how fantastic it was that I feared I may never actually see the thing. :)


Soon though, it was finally time to make the arrangements for everything to be shipped over to the UK. I’d requested shipping via DHL for the chief reason that they will not demand customs fees from me at the door upon delivery. Instead they invoice me later. A courier like UPS will in fact demand payment on delivery, the sum of which you won’t know until they show up, and if you can’t pay the driver you don’t get the parcel.


The choice of DHL proved disastrous however. We had initially split everything into two packages. The console in one, and games in another. Both of these were taken to Romier’s nearest DHL branch just before the New Year, but weeks went by without ever hearing a peep on the delivery front. Being the pessimistic Brit that I am, obviously I began to think some cheeky sod had stolen it. I had an xbox stolen in transit once when I sent it away to be modified. I never saw it again… Still, It turned out the packages were fine. In fact, mid-January Romier messaged me and said “guess what’s sitting at my place?” After incorrectly answering three-dozen hookers, it turned out the two packages were back in his possession. This was actually a relief to me just to know everything was in fact safe. It turned out the staff at Romier’s local branch of DHL were too inept to have done anything about internayional packages. This news promptly unleashed ‘The Pebble’ which saw Romier get his money back on shipping (which we think they misquoted us on anyway) having been told he’d actually have to take it to a larger depot some two hours away.


The thought of Romier having to drive out that far to another DHL branch did not sit well with me, not after everything he’d already done by this point. By now I was prepared just to estimate what UPS might charge me at the door, and get him to use them. A lightbulb went off around that point however and I began to research FedEx as an option. I’d actually not considered them initially as I had always been of the belief that they, like UPS, charge you the customs fees at the door. This, I discovered, was not in fact the case. Laughing in light of this new information which, had either of us known in December, would have seen the Wii to me before the end of 2006, we made the arrangements to use FedEx.


After forwarding what must have been the eighth draft of my absurd Rain Main like instructions with regard to how I wanted the goods packaged and declared, I guess it was felt we men were not fit to do the job right, and so Romier had Sara take the package to FedEx (we’d now thrown the Wii plus games into the one box) and get it all sorted, and sort it that wonderful woman did! A few days later, on the 31st, it shipped! I had my tracking, everything was brilliant and looked good for delivery on Friday the 2nd of February. The Gods decided to mock me one last time however as a customs delay prevented it being delivered in time for the weekend. The good news was that they did not consider anything suspicious and were quick to pass it through the clearance procedures (which I suppose clears up any notion that Nintendo are a terrorist organisation). The weekend actually passed quicker than I thought.


Finally then, today, all this stuff showed up:



A Monkeyball t-shirt, not pictured, was also included.



People are free to call me a lot of things, but after all this I’m not sure impatient is one of them. :) So, I shall end this with collective thanks to Ian, Romier, Sara and the existence of this forum for making this all happen.


I look forward to a repeat of this mayhem when I finally decide that I want to import a PS3.

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Glad that it finally worked out, and hopefully you didn't get charged to much for customs. I've been hit by some pretty high "brokerage fees" on a few occasions, and that's just on US->Canada shipments. I can only imagine how crazy that gets to the UK.


Enjoy the Wii though!


I'm expecting to be billed about ?40 for customs at most, inclusive of FedEx's add-on fee (which is about ?12 I think) which they charge for paying customs fees initially on your behalf. I won’t know for sure for a week or two until they invoice me in the post, but I don’t expect the fees plus what I paid for the unit, the games and shipping to bring me much beyond what the cost of a domestic PAL unit and games would have been. The savings come in the long term as I’ll be paying $$ for future game imports, and dollars for Virtual Console purchase too!


Congratulations on FINALLY getting the Wii! I'm sure you'll enjoy it, Rayman and Zelda were probably my most pleasant surprises of the holiday season. I'm certainly glad that the console finally found it's way home :)


Seriously, Ian, I can not thank you enough for getting it to Romier in the first place. What a journey this little thing has had.

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Congratulations! Glad to hear you finally got that Wii!

I'm jealous, and I've even got one in my house! Too bad for me its in my son's room on his 27" TV instead of in the living room on my 57" RPTV. Ah well, the things you do for your kids :)

That Ian's a good guy. He made my son's and my Christmas, and your February!

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