...but due to the overwhelming requests I get from friends and family on "where and when can I get an Xbox 360 for Christmas?" I send out emails and blog about what I've found publicly. I heard late this week that units would be arriving in time for sales on Sunday morning, and sure enough, there was already a line outside Best Buy locally: approximately 40-50 people were camped out at 4pm in arctic-like weather.

That's gotta hurt. I hate the 30 second walk from my car to the office when it drops below 40.

I'd found and sent out links to Chris Lambert's Xbox 360 Live Inventory Locator web site which hosts an app that details how many Xbox 360 consoles will be available at local Best Buy stores. For the store in my area I see 42 to be in stock, which means that eight of the people I saw tonite in line with their folding chairs, sleeping bags and several dozen layers of clothing may not be very happy come morning. Unless of course they were looking to get a front row seat to see which accessories other successful customers buy for their new console.

One of the nice features of Chris' inventory map (ironically powered by Google Local, with ads served up by Google) is that all other local Best Buys are also noted, so you can see where you might get the best shot at a unit. For instance, friends of ours in rural Vermont were able to get a unit when the units first launched without much of an issue (they're sold out now) and without the standing-in-line-in-the-Vermont-snow appeal that seems to reach suburbia. 

For those of you (like me) who have done most holiday shopping on-line, Chris' site also offers a list of popular etailers that have and will again stock the Xbox 360, pinging the etailer's sites regularly. Of course, I heard from retail staff at several the stores last week (BB, CompUSA and TRU) that they expected core hardware sold in-store with bigger bundles available on-line. Best Buy isn't accepting web orders for local pick up on consoles (no surprise) but perhaps other stores will be seeing hardware this week, too...