Here’s a Trick on How to Get an Xbox One or PS4 Near Launch if You Didn’t Pre-Order

Okay, so you waited way too long to pre-order a next generation console and now it’s just too late. I think we’ve all been there at one point or another and it sucks. Well, I’m here to tell you that all hope is certainly not lost. You might be able to pick up a PS4 or Xbox One without a pre-order–you’ll just have to be persistent.

Big Box retailers such as Best Buy and Walmart will be the walk-up retail vendors most likely to carry the largest supply of PS4 and Xbox One consoles as we approach this coming holiday. What you may not know, and what they certainly will not tell you is that not only will they all be replenished plenty throughout the holiday shopping season, but there’s actually a “perfect” day for you to shop; where your chances of landing either one (or even both) of the consoles are in your favor.

That day is any Sunday after launch.

Here’s how it all works. Every weekend during the holiday season you’ll notice that Best Buy, Walmart, and Target will have circulars in that weekend’s Sunday Edition of your local newspaper. What you’ll notice upon reading closely is that many of those circulars will mention that they have “the new hottest” whatever, and that it will be in stock on Sunday. In the fine print at the bottom, you’ll likely see a disclaimer that describes whatever the customer purchase limit is, as well as a store minimum quantity.

Basically, these retailers will not publish circulars describing products that they do not have on hand. And what most of them do is literally hold inventory that comes in during the week in order to fulfill their Sunday circular promotions. This was a tactic that I experienced back when the PS3 and Wii (the latter being the equivalent of finding a mythical unicorn in that holiday launch in 2006). People were going crazy looking for both consoles (more so the Wii at the time) and I was able to help friends and family pick them up with ease.

But again, it’s all about that Sunday circular. So if you really, badly need that next generation console, all that it should take is a couple of early Sunday mornings and some patience. Also, if you plan on picking up more than one, bring a friend to avoid any of those pesky limits. Happy shopping!

Join the Discussion

  • zack23

    I work at one of the retailers mentioned and this is not always the case. The circulars sent out are usually region wide so the products in the ad are available at most store locations but certainly not all of them and we definitely don’t hold any of the product back for the next weeks circular if people are there for them now. The products are sent by priority to the stores with the highest amount of traffic so sometimes the smaller stores will not receive any of the product because the bigger stores are deemed to have more demand. Also for my retailer specifically our shipments come in on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. So we tell our customers that you have the best probability of getting the product at open on Monday mornings by either coming by the store or calling ahead and asking if we got any of the product your interested in on our latest shipment because we will hold it for you for a short period if we do have it. Sorry, I’m really not trying to troll you but help anyone who may be looking for a console in the next couple weeks.

    • I don’t think you’re trolling at all and I appreciate the feedback May I ask how long you’ve been at your current place of work? Were you there when brand new hardware launched 7 & 8 years ago? Remember, we’re talking about brand new hardware here, not revisions.

      • zack23

        Ok good I didn’t want to come across that way. I have been employed by the company for 4 years at 2 separate locations. One of the stores was much larger than the other which is how I know some stores are a higher priority than the others. I was not there for the previous hardware launches but have helped in the planning process of this launch. Our store is going to keep receiving 3 trucks of shipment per week through the end of the first week of December. The only exception to this is the week of Black Friday where we will receive our largest trucks of the year on that Monday Tuesday and Wednesday. However when we start the week of December 8th we will begin receiving large trucks every weekday morning. However as to how many consoles are on these trucks; that is up to the distribution center and we have no say in the matter. If Sony and Microsoft are able to keep up with demand there should be no major issues but if there start to be shortages the large stores will get the bulk of the shipments and the smaller ones will get what product is left after the big budget stores needs have been met. So it kind of depends on the size of your local retailer. Again this is just the franchise I am employed at though so I am sure other retailers will have a completely different way of going about the process.

        • I based a lot of what I wrote on personal experience. We’re talking about 15 years (damn I’m old) of buying every single console right at or around launch. It’s a tactic that’s worked well in the past. I’m sure customers who are persistent enough can find them during the week. But I can guarantee that retailers who have them in their Sunday circular will have them in stock on that day. It’s like clockwork.

  • Shawn

    yea i will tell you right now i been employed with wal-mart since 2006 and that info is wrong for wal-mart them ads are meaningless and if you read the fine print on the ad it says stores vary so … good article though im sure that will work for some retailers throughout the world

  • Michael

    I too must concur the the weekly ads are general ads and we do not receive items for the ads in advance nor do we put the items aside when they arrive. I work at walmart and we have no say in the ad nor are we informed of the items in the ad anymore than maybe a day in advance.

    • When the launches happen, read the fine print in the sunday circular. And check with your manager, they’ll tell you all about it. I’m not saying that all inventory is to be held. I’m saying that every store has a minimum to have on hand to fulfill their advertisements.

  • Eric

    how about this little advice….i work for sony productions, and sony right now is feeling pretty bad about not being able to fill quantities in most regional areas. If you call 1-877-865-7669 and state that you could not get your pre order in time before they were booked up, sony will issue you on a call log, so when they get their second shipment in (before christmas) they will give you a call and see if you still want it. All you have to do is use your credit card or debit card and give it to them to take $1 to hold your product for you. When the product is ready they will ship it directly to your front door and as soon as the carrier service deliveres yours and has the paper stating your there and received your ps4, then sony will take the money directly from your card that you used to pay the $1. Note: Sony Entertainment will only charge you $400 the actual retail value plus the $1. Because of the supply in demand for these consoles you will not get charged for the carrier services and/ or the taxes because it is coming directly from the manufacturer company.
    ***This is NOT a joke people*** ***When you get the confirmation saying your on the call list, ask what number you are on the call list, because the higher the number, the less likely chance you will have of receiving it before christmas***

    Thank you,
    Admin Eric

  • AggroCrag420

    Awesome article, I forwarded it to a few of my slacker friends.

  • Azrael

    I also work at one of the retailers mentioned, and I can say with certainty that we do not, in any way, hold back inventory to support a circular in the newspaper. When we get something on a truck, it goes into our inventory system, If a customer wants to buy something and we don’t have it out on the sales floor, we check our inventory system to see if we still have any in the building and then pull it from the back. If we don’t have it, we order it and make sure it is shipped on the next truck.

    The real trick to getting a console as soon as possible is to simply go into your local store, have them place an order for one, and have it shipped to your store for pickup. As soon as inventory is replenished, your order will be fulfilled from that stock before anything is moved to the floor, and will not show as available in any inventory system.


    I know for the retailer I work at, they do not hold off inventory in the store specifically, but rather at the distribution hub. Then on Saturday nights/early Sunday morning, it will be stocked on the shelf for availability when the store opens. Only thing that sucks as an overnight employee, we have to wait 15-20 minutes after the store opens before we can buy any popular item like new game consoles.