“Just five dollars down guarantees you a copy on the day the game comes out”
June 7, 2007
Store: EB Games
Location: San Francisco, CA on Powell Street
Employee Description: Honestly, I’ve seen so much employee turnover at this store, that the faces are lost to the sands of time.
Submitted By: Lee
I’d learned long ago that anything I preordered at EB would be in stock at Best Buy on the same day. However, one game was important enough to preorder: the Limited Edition of Neverwinter Nights 2. Preordering gave you the game editor ahead of time, and the LE itself included not only the usual in-box goodies, but a special ability for your in-game character (including access to special vendors). I had helped run a world server for Neverwinter for a few years, so this was the one game of the year where I wasn’t messing around.
The preorder itself was where it all started. Upon preordering, I was supposed to receive a card with my access code for the game editor. I didn’t get the card, and was told to check back in a week. I kept checking back. When the editor had been out for a few days (and I still couldn’t get it for lack of a code), I went in and insisted that they must have the codes for preorder customers. After watching someone scrounge around for fifteen minutes in the back room, I picked up the small sign on the counter that explained the preorder promotion, to point out what it said… only to discover a stack of preorder codes tucked into a convenient holder on its back. They had been there, in view of the employees, the entire time. I took mine and left.
The week of release rolls around. Monday night, I get an automated message, letting me know that my Limited Edition copy of the game would be in on Tuesday. I stop in late Tuesday, to be told that it was not there, and that I should come in Wednesday. On Wednesday, I was told to come in Thursday. On Thursday, I was told to come in on Friday. On Friday, I was told “We’ll call you.”
On Monday, I was reasonably upset. If I had acquired the game by any other method, I would have been playing it for nearly a week. I went in and insisted on an answer; what on earth was going on? Finally, the truth came out.
They hadn’t ordered enough Limited Edition copies. I was the one shortchanged. By Friday, when they figured out that I wasn’t just going to go away, they actually went and bought a spare LE copy from a nearby store. It arrived just after I had left the store on Friday.
At that point, one might think, “we should go that extra step to make sure this customer gets this game, which we went to all that effort to acquire.” One would be disappointed. They left it to the automated system to call me. The automated system never called. They held onto the game for 48 hours, then when Monday rolled around, they sold it to someone who walked in the door. After relaying this information to me, they inform me that they could not acquire another copy. They
ended this tale of sorrows with a half-hearted, “I guess we could call the district manager…” and then turned away.
You know that moment when you go completely silent and outwardly calm, and everyone around you suddenly realizes they were better off when you were furious? That was me.
I asked for my money back. They provided a refund. I put the receipt in my wallet, and pulled out a different one. I said, “This is a $600 receipt for a console preorder in three weeks. It’s paid in full. Your company will deliver this to me on release day, as per our agreement. That will be the last business we perform.”
Within a few weeks, a Best Buy opened near my house. It had tons of copies of NWN2 Limited Edition. Coincidence?