GameStop. It’s a company that thinks it has the cornerstone of the video game market won, despite other powerhouses like Amazon and Best Buy giving them a serious run for their money. But there’s something about GameStop that pisses me off beyond measure, and it is a practice that you will never find at any other retailer that sells games:
How they handle “new” games.
You see, GameStop has two types of new games. There is the common one where it is still factory sealed and sold to the consumer just like any other retailer, and then there is the one that is open. Yes. Open. They call this a new copy and promise that it has never left the store, and this is the start of their bullshit excuse for opening a game before its rightful owner.
The reason these games are open are because GameStop employees open them for their own selfish pleasures. One of their marketing strategies are for their employees to play the games they sell, including the new ones. Problem with that situation is that with brand new games, you can’t just simply check out a used copy of it. What they do is open a new copy, check it out, bring it home and play it, and then bring it back to the store and mark it as new. Most GameStop employees are gamers just like their customers, so many of them just get games that they want to clear quickly “for free” and return it to the store for a full markup.
Let’s do a few comparisons here for understanding:
- I work for a grocery chain, and we are informed by corporate that we need to have a knowledge about all of the food in the store. I then proceed to check out boxes and bags of food and sample them, and then I bring them back to work the next day to sell at full price. Don’t worry about the bag of Cheetos being open. I promise it’s still new.
- I work for Radio Shack, and we need to know how all of the wires, parts, and equipment works at our stores. To inform myself, I casually take home random product and play with them to learn how to use them, and then I bring them back to work the next day to sell at full price. Don’t worry about it being open and missing the twisty ties. I promise it’s still new.
- I work for a furniture store, and my manager wants me to know how all of the furniture feels in a natural setting. Each week, I bring home something new, assemble it, and place it somewhere in my house to see how it feels. It gives me a good sense of understanding how each piece of furniture would feel, and now I can better inform my customers how nice each piece is. But don’t worry about the box being open or anything. I promise it’s still new, so please pay full price for it, m’kay?
Ridiculous, right? If you ordered a new game on Amazon.com, and when you’re packaged arrived, you found your new game opened, wouldn’t you be pissed? That’s exactly what GameStop is doing to its customers, and they are actually justifying it for their own selfish means.
You think that’s it, though? It gets better. Depending on the GameStop, they can actually re-shrinkwrap any “new” game they want and claim it as new and sell it as new. But their shrinkwrap is not the same as the ones used for factory sealing, so this is an easy one to catch. Just remember to ask them which employee got to play your game before they try to sell you one of these new copies. They’ll act surprised, but you will very much shame them in their terrible business practice. And the hopefully, if we all start calling them out on this bullshit, they’ll stop opening their paying customers’ games before the actual purchaser does.