B*tching about the Industry

June 26, 2007

Store: EB Games
Location: Crossgates Mall – Albany, NY
Employee Description: Nondescript, and about to become annoying
Submitted By: Good Vs. Evil

This morning, I go out to get my copy of God of War 2 (since I couldn’t get it on the “release date”). I swing by a few stores right after they open. Many of them had it but hadn’t had a chance to check it in yet, and therefore it wasn’t available for sale. This process apparently takes an hour.

Fine.

I finally got it at an EB Games store in Albany, N.Y. However, this transaction had a few hitches.

I walk in and wait in a small line. When it is finally my turn, I ask if they have a copy of the game. The clerk asks me if I pre-ordered it. No. No, I did not. He tells me that I am “lucky” because I am getting one of only two copies that they have for sale (aside from the pre-orders, which are obviously spoken for). I tell him that I am thankful for this, since all the other places I stopped at hadn’t checked it in yet, and his was the only place that seemed to be on the ball.

Then the conversation got interesting.

He proceeds to tell me that had I pre-ordered the game from them, I wouldn’t have had to go through all the troubles that I had gone through that morning.  He tells me that the game is really popular, and had I pre-ordered it, I would have guaranteed myself a copy of the game. He then says the line that sparked it all:

“So, what have we learned today?”

I responded:

“What we have learned today is that a store whose sole merchandise is games and gaming accessories that resides in the largest mall in the capital of N.Y. only ordered 2 spare copies of a game that will end up selling millions of copies. What we learned is that you have more f*cking advertisements for a game than you do actual copies of said game. We leaned that despite the fact you know this game is going to be wildly popular, you have more empty boxes of the game on the shelf then you actually have copies of the game that are for sale. We learned that by your ordering model, a typical shopping trip would go like this:

You stroll into your local grocery store on your way home from work because you need milk. You go into the cooler section and grab a carton of milk only to find that it is empty. Odd. You grab a few other cartons to find that they are all empty.

You go find the nearest clerk to ask them about this, and they tell you that that milk isn’t for sale – it’s only a display to show customers that you do indeed sell milk. However, if you really want milk, you need to go up to the counter.

But then he tells you not to bother, because they are all out of milk anyway. All milk. No 2%, no skim, nothing.

When you inquire as to how a large grocery store could be out of milk, he tells you that milk is a very popular beverage, and if you had wanted some, you should have stopped in earlier to pre-order your milk. This would guarantee that you had your carton of milk when the shipment came in. However, they only have enough to fill all of the pre-orders, and have none left.

Just like your 4 empty Wii boxes in the window. Just like your 8 empty copies of God of War on the shelf.”

I then told him how amusing it was that a store who only sells games and nothing else would order only 2 copies of a game that would sell 100 in the first day alone.

A game store in the largest mall in the capital of N.Y. only has 2 copies of the most anticipated game of this year so far for sale on release date. Stunning.

I finally told him how odd he should think it is that if I couldn’t have gotten the game at his store, I would have had to go to a store that sells not only games, but refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, DVD players, computers and all sorts of other junk, because they would have had the foresight to get enough copies to meet the demand, but his store that only sells games, couldn’t pull this apparently magical feat of supply.

I then left with my game.

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8 Responses to “B*tching about the Industry”

  1. David Says:

    Ok, this one really pisses me off because it’s this kind of person that comes into my store thinking they know everything and have a perfect grasp on what’s going on when really they take fragmented information and come to a conclusion that may or may not be correct.

    First, the reason you can’t pick a game up on it’s “release day” is that they don’t actually release the game on that day, they ship it that day. Your store isn’t going to see it until the next day. That’s just how it is, if you want to change this, complain to the publishers.

    Second, shipment can take up to an hour. It’s not uncommon for shipment to take longer then that if it were larger then normal that day. The amount of checking and double checking we have to do is ridiculous. And for good reason, if we don’t have everything that’s supposed to be in a box and we don’t catch it when it’s being checked in, we get penalized for it. And 1 game isn’t a lot, but if it’s 1 game every shipment, and shipment comes every day, it ends up being a huge amount.

    Third, you should’ve pre-ordered the game. That’s what a pre-order is good for. To make sure that you know where your game is going to be so that you don’t have to go running around town trying to get it. It’s stupid not to and a waste of time. You obviously knew you were planning on getting the game the release day. Pre-order it!

    Fourth, from your own report of the story, they did have more then 2 copies of the game. But they were pre-ordered. One reason the company does pre-orders is because they like to have an accurate assessment of how many games to ship. If they shipped 2 extra, but sold 50 copies of the game, they’re still good and anybody who didn’t get it will understand that they need to pre-order next time! Aside from that, about 20% of pre-orders never pick up the game, a good, experienced employee can look at the reservations and determine who will probably not pick it up and sell 2 or 3.

    Fifth, your comparison to a grocery store and milk is completely absurd. Grocery stores get to manage their own ordering. If we could manage our ordering, it’d be a completely different ball game. However, we don’t, so you have to deal with pre-orders and putting the $5 on the game.

    Sixth, (wow… this guy really really pissed me off!) Just because you think that a game will sell 100 copies in the first day doesn’t mean that it actually will. For example, there are about 25 copies of NCAA Football ’07 (XB360) sitting on the shelf at my store. There used to be 50 or more, but we’ve been able to ship them out to other stores. The reason we have that many is because we had over 150 pre-orders and the company figured we could sell 200+ in the first week. Guess what, it didn’t happen! We sold about 80% of the pre-orders, and a good number of the extras, but because we were shipped so many we had a ton left to sell.

    Finally, the reason a company like Best Buy or Wal-mart is able to stock so many games is because they sell everything under the sun. It’s just one of their many things to sell, but they don’t keep up with the older games that sold out already. If I sell my last copy of Dead Rising, I’ll have another 2 or 3 by the end of the week. If Wal-mart sells the last Dead Rising, nobody knows when it might be back in.

    To wrap it all up… you go to a game store for games; for the environment; for the people. If your store doesn’t have those people, there’s no reason to go. But you have to give them the chance. Go to the store more then once every 3 months. Get into conversations and talk about stuff. I’m always up for a discussion on which Zelda is the best or who came first, DK or Mario. If you become friends with the people in the store, it will always more fun and more interesting for you.

  2. draculajones Says:

    David, I think you’re being too subjective. This submission, more than any of the others, really gets it right with how ridiculous GameStop is. I read this and said “YES! This is exactly why I don’t go to GameStop!”

    “To wrap it all up… you go to a game store for games; for the environment; for the people.”

    No, you go to a game store for GAMES. It’s a store at which you can buy games. Do please sell the games when we come to buy them. Don’t whine about how we didn’t preorder the game and give us that condescending, smug little shrug you all do and say, “Weeeelll, maybe you’ll learn a lesson for next time…” Yeah, I learned to get my games from Best Buy, or Target, or Amazon, or anywhere I don’t have to deal with preorder bullshit and awful clerks.

    “Finally, the reason a company like Best Buy or Wal-mart is able to stock so many games is because they sell everything under the sun.”

    That makes NO SENSE!! So a company that sells everything is able to stock more games than a store that sells ONLY GAMES?

    “For example, there are about 25 copies of NCAA Football ‘07 (XB360) sitting on the shelf at my store. There used to be 50 or more, but we’ve been able to ship them out to other stores. The reason we have that many is because we had over 150 pre-orders and the company figured we could sell 200+ in the first week. Guess what, it didn’t happen! We sold about 80% of the pre-orders, and a good number of the extras, but because we were shipped so many we had a ton left to sell.”

    What’s the lesson here? Pre-orders don’t even work for the purpose they’re shoved down our throats. You can’t get a good, balanced stock of games, we can’t get what we want from you, nobody wins.

    Be sure and get pissed off at the customers about it.

  3. jbourrie Says:

    @David
    “Fourth, from your own report of the story, they did have more then 2 copies of the game. But they were pre-ordered.”

    I think that was the point… they knew how many copies were pre-ordered before they purchased from the distributor. Why did they only purchase 2 extra, when they could have easily sold 20/30/40+ extra in the first week alone?

    Gamestop orders less copies of a game than they are guaranteed to sell in order to force people to pre-order if they want to be guaranteed the game. That way, they can run their little pre-order pyramid scheme on as many people as possible. It also guarantees that the crazy fanboys will return three, four, or five times trying to catch one of the copies while it’s on the shelf, and each of these times there is the potential of impulse buying a different title. Finally, how often do you go into a store looking for a game to play -that night- and find that it’s out of stock, so you buy a different game instead? Then you come back in a week and buy the one you had originally went there for? I do it all the time, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. +1 sale to Gamestop, all because they ordered FEWER games than they could sell.

    Gamespot is a business that is damn good at getting money out of their customers. This isn’t meant to be an insult, because that’s what a retail business SHOULD be. But don’t go and blame the customer for being intelligent enough to see through the formula and call shenanigans on it.

    I don’t blame any retailer for trying to milk the profits on video games… the tiny margins certainly don’t give retailers much room for profit, and that’s more a fault of the publishers than the retailers. Wal-Mart can get away with it because any lost profits on games can be made up for on all of the other potential high-margin purchases.

    “To wrap it all up… you go to a game store for games; for the environment; for the people.”

    That’s not at all true for most people… not right now, anyway. But it will need to be true in the future if GameStop wants to survive the easier/cheaper method of downloading that the consoles are starting to adapt.

  4. blinkman987 Says:

    David, you’re just some retard who’s a mouthpiece for the company.

    The person is pointing out your stupidity for lacking copies of a game. The buyer wants the freedom to purchase the game from whatever outlet they like. Then again, who’d want to pre-order a game where you’re trying to figure out shipment and other stores may already have it on the shelf?

    Then again, you’re all butthurt over your company’s business practices being made fun of. The person is completely right- the store had two copies of a game (or so the salesperson said) that’s highly anticipated and you’re trying to defend that. Your company’s shady practices of switching used games into new and such make me sick and that’s reason enough that I don’t give the stores business unless I have to. It’s funny that an electronics store can afford to order a sufficient amount of games for the customers and a game store can’t and won’t.

    Maybe if a significant portion of Gamestop employees were legitimately interesting people and not either A) a bunch of sweathog-sized snobbish college-dropout assholes or B) overbearing, pushy salespeople that more people would go into Gamestop just for fun, but for the most part, I’d rather just hang out with my real friends and leave the mall people to their own crowd.

  5. David Says:

    Sorry for getting so upset about this one guys, this is one of those things that gets under my skin because I’m one of those employees who are legitimately concerned about what my customers want. I defend the company because I really do think that it’s a great company that gets a lot of flack because it’s got some misunderstood practices and gamers are extremely picky people.

    As for being a mouthpiece for the company, I most certainly am not… can’t tell you enough how much I’m not. Just a gamer who’s also employed by a game company.

    I could sit here and defend everything I’ve said, but it’s not worth it. I got upset about what was said and tried to explain why. Turns out I can’t explain it very well.

  6. lowerhousemember Says:

    Wow you sure taught that clerk a lesson. Maybe next time he’ll think twice before creating Gamestop’s corporate ordering policies.

  7. dirtmound Says:

    The author of this post is obviously a liar. There’s no way he stood there and spouted off a 20 minute monologue. And it’s also obvious hat blinkman987 is a troll looking for a fight. Here’s an idea blinkman – how ’bout you and the author of this post both go back to grade school and learn to GROW UP?

  8. madphilb Says:

    First, I’m not going to defend the “snarky” comment made by the clerk, while I’ve had those days, I’m not proud of it and shouldn’t be the way the business is run.

    I think we’ve already covered the “stores don’t order their product” thing, however there is one aspect of this that hasn’t been mentioned. Some of the extras are pre-ordered the day before, especially if people come bouncing into the store on the “release” day for the game (remember, it takes a day for most stores to get the shipment after a game is released unless it’s a street dated game).


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