It feels like the question of the day is "What are you going to pre-order: Xbox One or PS4?". Now while I'm not looking forward to either console to tell the truth, I really can't answer that inquiry since I don’t usually reserve a copy of anything. In fact, I’m pretty sure that the only thing that I pre-ordered in recent memory was Super Mario Galaxy 2 (2010)...and that was only because I just happened to have enough money on hand to pay in full and the employee at GameStop just happened to ask me if I wanted to (as they always do).
Maybe it’s because I’m not into any of the big name call-in-sick-for-work-to-make-it-to-the-midnight-launch titles that would justify being afraid of a sell-out situation...or the fact that I never really have to have any game right when it comes out, but I don’t ever feel like I need to put up a few dollars to get a copy with my name on it.
Case in point: Even though I was extremely excited for the newest Animal Crossing, I only bought it on launch day because I just happened to have the money to pay for it, just happened to be in the mall, and just happened to remember what day it was a few minutes before closing time. Beating the clock, I strolled into GameStop, grabbed an empty New Leaf case off the shelf and took it to the register. Instead of just ringing me up as usual, the employee asked me a deceivingly simple question:
“Uhh...Did you pre-order this?”
Now that's something I don’t hear very often...or at all. I'm used to finding what I want waiting patiently for me on the shelf, no questions asked. Imagine my disappointment when the worker informed me that since I didn’t pre-order the game, I was pretty much out of luck...not because they ran out of stock, but because they only had their reserve copies to begin with. And every GameStop in the area (because it’s one of those places that has dozens right next to each other for no apparent reason) was going through the same problem: customers coming in to buy New Leaf the day of and walking out with absolutely nothing since they didn't have any available.
Is not having stock on the floor some kind of weird way to push pre-order sales?
The employee was really polite about the situation (he had been dealing with it all day) and offered the option of waiting for the next shipment later in the week, but I took my money to Target instead. No pre-orders, no excuses, just grab the game and go. Though I can’t stand getting anything from locked-down electronics departments, I actually saved a few dollars by buying it there. I consider that a win.
When did shopping at GameStop turn into an exclusive club for those who think ahead? It was like I suddenly wasn't cool enough for a cute game with cuddly looking animals...
While it felt terrible to find myself missing from the store's Animal Crossing guest list, I'm not going to be changing my shopping habits any time soon. I'll get my games on when I want them, reserved or not. So much for GameStop’s devious plan...
Have you ever tried to get a game and found yourself shut out because you didn’t reserve a copy? And where do you usually buy your games? Specialty stores like GameStop or one-stop retailers like Target?