Retro Rant Rampage

As the title suggests, this article will be focused on a couple of things that really grind my gears (crappy Family Guy reference).  Ok, first off all, let’s go for the low hanging fruit of Gamestop.  I’m fairly sure that I’ve complained about them before but hey, what the hell?  They do a few things that really leave a bad taste in my mouth and just irritate the crap outta me. First of all, the upselling at the register. Yes, I know I’ve mentioned this before, but in my experience, checkout time seems to be at an all-time high. I just want to buy the frickin’ game in my hand, not listen to a sales pitch. No, I don’t want to pre-order. Dammit! I’m cheap! I’ll never buy a brand new $60 game! I wouldn’t sleep at night knowing that the same game that I just bought, will be $40 cheaper in a few months. Yeah. That’s a hard pass on the pre-order.  I also don’t want to insure my disc for a $1.  How about you just check and clean the frickin’ disc when it’s traded in?! Speaking of trading in games, seriously people, you are getting robbed. Stop. Ebay your game. Put it on Amazon. Don’t trade it in for a few bucks in store credit, just so you can see your game marked up $10-$15. Holy hell, I know they’re running a business but the trade in program is so screwy and one-sided.  I stop in from time to time and always cringe when I see the next victim bringing their stack of games up to the counter hoping for a decent payday. Last weekend, I bought a preowned game and the employee, after going through the motions of unsuccessfully trying to sell me extra crap, stuck a coupon in the bag.  $5 trade in credit.  How generous. Listen, I know that it’s absolutely not the employees’ fault, they are doing what they are supposed to. I think we have all heard about the reformed quota policy that corporate Gamestop enforces.

Okay, final Gamestop complaint.  Did you all know that they “sell” retro games and systems online now? Notice how I used quotations around “sell”? Because if you go to actually order something, most of the time it’s out of stock. “Why is that?”, you maybe asking. Well let me just slap on this tin foil frickin’ hat and I’ll tell you why. They never had stock to begin with. So why would they offer the item online and for a reasonable price? Well friends, it’s used as a reference point for trade ins. Think about it, you walk in with an old Dreamcast looking to make some space in your nerd cave. Well they will offer you $15-$20 for it, which is about a third of what they are asking for it online.  You think the two thirds profit margin would be enough but no, they wait until they get a predetermined number of systems and then they will suddenly not be out of stock and suddenly the price of the Dreamcast increases on their site.  They run out, the price lowers, rinse and repeat.  It’s actually brilliant. It makes bartering impossible. They can claim that they are only asking $45-$50 for the system and it has to be tested, cleaned, etc so the piddly offer is actually a decent deal. Which if it was actually 50% of what they flip it for, would actually be fair. But it isn’t, it’s a third at best. It’s not just limited to consoles either, a majority of the retro games are out of stock but still have their low price listed. Strangely enough it’s all the best selling classics like Contra, Punch-Out, etc. It’s the same strategy. Again, brilliant. They realized that there is a growing demand for older games and not wanting to miss out on the cash grab, they hatched a solid plan to get product on the cheap.  As a guy who works as an analyst for a big ol’ company, I understand the strategy, but as a retro collector, I find it shady as hell.

Ok, whew, congratulations! You made it through that block of text! It’s almost over people! So a few months ago, I, like many others, saw the announcement for SNES classic system and immediately decided that I had to have it.  I signed up for email notifications from all of the major retailers,(Best Buy, Amazon, Target..), so the minute it would be available for preorder, I’d know and could quickly log in and get my order in. Solid plan right? I thought so too. Until for some frickin’ reason, Best Buy and Amazon decided to take preorders at 4 frickin’ A.M! Oh! And those bastards didn’t send out the notification email!! Are you kidding me?! Why the hell would you start to sell them at 4 in the godamn morning?!  Not sure why but dammit I blame Nintendo.  They know that it’s going to fly off the shelves so what do they do? Did they decide that they would produce more so everyone would get a shot at owning one and playing some great games? Oh no, grasshopper! They tell everyone that it’s going to be extremely limited and that they will not produce more. Nice. Needless to say, it’s sold out everywhere today and I will not be getting one. The only thing I hope is that they limited it to one per customer just to screw over those bastard scalpers out there that bought up the NES classics last year.

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