The best place to buy an Amazon Echo this Christmas isn’t

“Echo, where can I buy you?”
“Echo, where can I buy you?”
Image: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
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If you’re looking to get your hands on Amazon’s hottest gadget, the Echo, before Christmas, you need to drive to a store. That’s right—no free two-day delivery, no brown cardboard box, no drone flights. Brick and mortar, baby.

Due to an Amazon supply-chain “quirk,” the only place as of Monday to get an Echo is at one of Amazon’s three physical stores, according to the Wall Street Journal. Amazon’s stores are located in Seattle, Wa.; Portland, Ore.; and San Diego, Calif. The Echo and the smaller Echo Dot won’t be in stock on until after Christmas.

The company sees this not as a bug, but a feature, imploring customers to buy the device if they have the good fortune to encounter one in the wild.

“Due to demand, we encourage customers to purchase an Echo if they see it available,” an Amazon spokeswoman told WSJ.

(If you’re really desperate, you can always pay up over at eBay, of course.)

The Echo has stormed the US market, surprisingly creating a new category of “smart speakers” since its late 2014 launch. An estimated 6 million homes in the US have an Amazon Echo, Dot, or Tap, according to Backchannel. “The Alexa-enabled Echo is a true unicorn, one of those rare products that arrives every few years and fundamentally changes the way we live,” Backchannel’s Jessi Hempel writes.

But if you’re a West-coaster who wants a taste of that future, you’ll have to make a 20th-century effort to get it.