And the last time I shop there.
In the past, I’ve spoken in favor of GameStop whenever they came up in conversation. I’ve always felt that, yes, they offer you very little in exchange for your used games, but I’ve never felt like I was forced to accept their offer. Much like haggling on a car, they can make an offer of a dollar, and I can choose whether to accept it. If I feel it’s an unfair trade, I keep my game. Done and done. I also enjoy their used games, as I’ve mentioned before that I have an addiction to cheap games. If it’s less than twenty, it’s very difficult for me to say no to interesting or high-rated console games. Sure, they have some downsides, such as constantly offering me a PowerUp rewards card (now a credit card) and their used game price inflation on stuff like Xenoblade Chronicles, but I’ve never really had a problem with them.
Allow me to set the scene. I drive by a GameStop on my way home from work. As an owner of a WiiU, I obviously want Super Smash Bros for the WiiU as soon as possible. While I don’t usually pre-order things, I figured that since Smash is one of the biggest WiiU releases this year, I’d make an exception. I went online to pre-order the 100 dollar bundle, with the GameCube controller and adapter. I planned on having it shipped to store, where I could pick it up on my way home once it came out. However, it seems that the bundle was not available for pre-order, but the game and adapter (the true prize) were. So, I pre-ordered both, specified the store to send them too, and sat confidently in the fact that a pre-order guaranteed me a copy of both for 48 hours after release.
The day before, I called GameStop and spoke to a clueless girl that didn’t know what the GameCube adapter was (and offered me the GameStop credit card). After speaking to a coworker, she assured me that both Smash and the adapter would be in stock that day. I told her that I would not be able to pick up the game until roughly 6:45PM because of work, and she said that was fine. So, I felt confident I would get what I had ordered.
I arrive at GameStop and find a line behind the counter. That’s fine—I expect a line because lots of games are being released at this time, and it’s Friday. A guy behind the counter, with the line still long, announces that he’s going on break, and a girl takes his place. I go up to the girl, and recognize her voice as belonging the clueless girl from the phone conversation the day before. She looks up my pre-order, hands me a copy of Smash and a cardboard belt, and begins ringing me up. “Wait,” I say. “My adapter?”
I explain that I had also pre-ordered a GameCube adapter. She takes an Amiibo and asks if this is what I want. When I say no, she looks to the guy on the other counter and explains what I’m looking for. He, of course, is helping another customer while looking at me. “We don’t have any more in stock?”
“The computer says we don’t.”
“Then that means it got sold to someone else.”
I could’ve screamed.
He proceeds to pick up a phone held together with duct-tape and starts dialing. He begins muttering to himself that he is going to “kill” whoever sold my adapter, and while helping other customers, he calls other GameStops in the area. The woman looks at me and rings up my Smash game, saying that at least she can do that. So, I pay for Smash, and then move off to the side while I wait.
I waited for twenty minutes.
Meanwhile, another guy in line says that he pre-ordered a Smash Bros bundle online, and the girl is sent to find it. I see her dig in a drawer behind the counter, push a bundle aside, and say it’s not there. The other guy, still threatening to kill an employee, holding a phone to his ear, and trying to ring someone out, tells her to look in the back. She does, and emerges five minutes later, empty-handed. “The computer says we have one,” she says. “But I can’t find it.”
He digs in the drawer, produces the bundle, hands it to her, and says “It’s not a console bundle. It’s a controller.”
“Oh.” She takes it, and then rings it up.
Now, this is just me, but GameStop prides itself on being a store for gamers, run by gamers. Shouldn’t a part of Employee Training be to know what the big releases are, and what bundles are coming out!? She looked right at the bundle, said that wasn’t it, and nearly sent the other guy in line home empty-handed. I couldn’t believe it.
So, like I said, I wait twenty minutes. Remember the guy that took his break earlier? He comes back, and the guy on the phone says that I am missing an adapter. I hear this guy say “I’ll handle it” and then marches over to me. He must be the manager, but he is also younger than me and wearing a College Sweatshirt. He says that Nintendo didn’t ship them enough copies to fill all pre-orders.
“But that guy said that someone must’ve sold it to someone else.”
“He was confused.”
“But I’ll give you a call when more come in.”
I could have pushed harder, but he shifted the blame to Nintendo, not to GameStop. Any screaming would do no good. So, I left.
I realize that there are far, FAR more important things in this world than a missing GameCube adapter. I realize that having my game but not my ideal way to play it is among the Firstiest of First-World Problems. But dammit, I pre-ordered my adapter. It was guaranteed to be there. It wasn’t. I got spoken to like I was an idiot, had my time wasted, dealt with some seriously unprofessional people, and had an overall terrible experience. Plus, no compensation for my time, missing pre-order, or anything was offered to me. Nothing. Just shoved out the door so they could do more selling.
If I see a charge on my card for not picking up my pre-order in 48 hours…
At best, it’s embarrassing for GameStop. At worst, it’s infuriating for a customer. I expected better.
I guess that was my first mistake.
I got home, and placed a call to GameStop HQ. Turns out, they have only phone lines or live chat—no email. So, I called the phone line to complain. I got told that all “representatives were assisting other customers” and “my call was very important to them.” After a half-hour of waiting, I started a live-chat that took two tries to launch. After an hour of waiting on both the phone and the live chat, and getting nowhere, I gave up.
It’s honestly less about my missing adapter now and more about the sheer unprofessionalism of the whole thing. I sent an angry email to Nintendo, because at least they have an email form to fill out, and since GameStop was likely to blame them, I thought I’d strike there as well. They at least responded, and while their advice was essentially to “talk to GameStop,” at least I got somewhere with them.
This is the absolute last time I pre-order anything from GameStop. And likely the last time I shop there. Since they can’t guarantee items in stock that I pre-order, there is no reason not to order from an online retailer such as Amazon. The one advantage of GameStop pre-orders, I had thought, was getting the item I wanted that day. Guess I was wrong.
And the worst part? I got a physical letter the next day from GameStop HQ. Do you know what it was? A Credit Card offer.
Fuck you, GameStop.