I went back through a few posts and realized that I'd never revealed my lucky purchase in St Cloud. I bought a Wii. Every evening (and most weekend days) for the last week or so have been a near continuous flurry of tennis and bowling in WiiSports, Super Paper Mario, and creating little cartoon versions of myself and various fictional characters on the Mii Channel.
I <heart> my Wii.
It turns out there's a planned/engineered/enforced scarcity of game consoles in Canada. According to separate people at two large retail outlets, every couple of weeks some guy comes in a truck and drops off a couple of consoles. They're not sure exactly when this truck will appear, or how many devices they're going to get at a time, but it ain't often, and it ain't many.
So if you're like me, and you don't want to admit to anyone you're going to shell out money don't really need to on a toy you don't really need, especially one that will just suck more money as time goes on, you want &deity; to tell you when it's time to buy one by providing one for purchase at some moment when you happen to be thinking about it. So once every couple of months, when you find yourself in the neighbo(u)rhood, you stop by We B Toys or whatever and ask if they have one. And if they ever do, it's clearly &deity; telling you that it's time to buy it. But this being Canada, they never do.
Turns out the distribution in the States is similar, in that some guy in a truck mysteriously appears at irregular intervals bearing devices. The difference is that in the States, the guy in the truck drops off a pallet or two of devices at the same time. Such that you sometimes see posts on web-based message boards saying 'they just got a bunch in at the (store) in (city) near the (landmark)'. And if you hurry, you can walk in and get one, although it doesn't take long for them to disappear.
So I thought I would increase my chances for divine intervention, or whatever, by hitting every big electronics store between "here" and "there" on my recent pilgrimmage to the Old Country. I hadn't actually meant to stop at every possible place on the road, but as long as I was (for instance) passing through Grand Forks, I might as well check at that Best Buy right by the freeway, or as long as I was spending the night in Fargo, I should check at the Best Buy and the Toys R Us in range of the hotel. Which I did, and no one had any in stock.
But then my tire shredded and I found myself unexpectedly stuck in St Cloud for a couple of hours. And there was a Best Buy across the street from the Mall (I checked, and no, they didn't have one). I wasn't quite willing to go the couple of blocks over to the Toys R Us, at least not on foot, and once the new tires were on I was anxious to get back on the road. But there was the two hours wandering around the mall.
And there was a little game store in the mall. And they had 'em. Hence my new reverence for St Cloud as a consumer, if not divine, shrine. Little electronics/games stores in malls rarely have consoles in Canada. They had a few dozen just sitting there. <cue angelic music>
So anyway, that's the big secret. I didn't mean for it to be a big mystery. I just didn't want to say anything until I was safely back in Canada.