Wii? No, Wrench!

The hot Christmas present this year wasn’t Nintendo’s Wii, but an electric wrench from Black & Decker:

Who could have guessed one of the most sought-after gifts this holiday would be a wrench?

Well, when Jeremy Wheeler, director-sales at Black & Decker on the Home Depot account, saw the prototype for the 8-inch, battery-operated wrench nearly a year before Christmas, he had a good feeling. “You could just tell it could have a lot of appeal.”

… “The response from our customer base was more than we expected,” said Mr. Wheeler. “We could have probably sold many more if we would have had them.”

Quick sell-out
Black & Decker declined to disclose sales figures, but the wrench sold out quickly at Home Depot’s 2,127 stores. “We sold everything we bought by Christmas,” said Billy Bastek, a hardware merchant for Home Depot. (Sales are “loco,” a Spanish-speaking sales associate in a New Jersey store told a consumer unable to find the wrench at two Home Depots on Dec. 23.)

Barry Fradkin watched the frenzy helplessly at Ludewig’s Hardware in Teaneck, N.J. “Once they started advertising, we couldn’t get it,” said the former owner of the 4,000-square-foot store now operated by his son. “We’ve had three or four people a day coming in and asking for one.” Mr. Fradkin, 43-year veteran of the hardware business, said the four he stocked flew out the doors.

[via AdAge]