I preordered at GameStop and all I got was my $5 back
We’ve all been there…a quick trip to GameStop for one specific thing turns into an information onslaught about upcoming games for the next six months, and the dangers of not preordering them. Now, if you only shop at GameStop, these threats are fairly true. Preferring to secure most of their profits as a fence for stolen and damaged merchandise, they often only get enough new copies of a game in to cover preorders, especially if it isn’t a gigantic triple-A title.
I usually avoid these sales tactics like the plague, owing to the fact that ever since the cartridge format went belly-up, games stopped being rare at release. These days a million stores carry new games, and for every GameStop that doesn’t have it in stock, there’s a Best Buy or a Target that does. A month ago, however, I went against my better judgement, and took the preorder bait.
Dead Rising 2: Off the Record is what won me over, if you’re curious. I was planning to buy it anyway, since the launch price was announced at a reasonable $40, and I like to support Capcom’s wacky fanservice antics whenever possible. I saw that GameStop was offering a hilarious in-game suit of cardboard box armor for returning franchise hero Frank West, and I said to myself, “That’s something I want”. I went ahead and put my $5 down and stowed the receipt safely in my wallet.
Flash forward a month to yesterday and I get my call that my copy of Off the Record will be available for pickup as scheduled on October 11th. I couldn’t make it earlier in the day, so I showed up around 8pm to claim my game and virtual cardboard box armor. At which point, after some shuffling around behind the counter, and some phone calls to other GameStop locations, I was told that they had only gotten a handful of copies in. Exactly enough to cover the preorders. Good thing I preordered it, right? Apparently, you see, and this is where it gets good, putting money down on a game weeks in advance isn’t enough to stop them from selling it to someone else.
Yeah. They covered the rest of their preorders, then some random dude who hadn’t ordered it came in, and a GameStop employee sold them my copy. The manager repeated the same thing over and over again in a few different ways, all boiling down to “Yeah this shouldn’t have happened”. Which, I’ll admit, I agree to wholeheartedly. He offered a few different options to correct this, which all involved inconvenient drives to other locations, or coming back to get it the next day at that one.
I chose my own write-in option, the one where I got my $5 refunded and walked over to the adjacent Best Buy. In honestly under two minutes I had located and purchased Off the Record from their generous and readily available stockpile of copies. Imagine that, I hadn’t even alerted Best Buy in advance of my interest in the game, nor had I entered into a business agreement in which I would give them money up front to grant me the privilege of purchase.
Look, GameStop…I’ve bought my share of stuff from you over the years. I trade you some things sometimes, and I sign up for the magazine. Despite the inconvenience, I do a lot of business with you. All I’m going to say is that every time you’ve let me down, Best Buy has picked up the slack. I’ve never encountered a stock issue despite the fact that they do a lot of other things besides video games. I get my new games there with the shrinkwrap still on them. And now they’re sending me a magazine stocked with coupons, of which I have used about $60 worth in the last two months. Even…wait for it…a $10 off coupon on Dead Rising 2: Off the Record. It takes around a thousand dollars worth of transactions to earn a $5-10 off coupon on a used game from you.
I’m serious this time, GameStop. Maybe you’d like to come over and look at my living room sometime. Because I guarantee you, my business is business that you want.