An open letter to GameStop

Dear GameStop,

I am very dissatisfied with the fact that some of your stores sell used copies of video games mislabeled as “New”.

That was me being civil, because if intended to actually send this letter to GameStop, I would probably lead with something like that. Fact is, point blank, I am pretty downright pissed off at you, GameStop. I wrote an editorial on a separate blog three years ago (January 2, 2014) criticizing you for selling secondhand goods as new and vice versa, so long as it suited your financial profitability. Unfortunately, three years apparently is not enough time for you to make any kind of change in your policies.

Take my recent experience at a GameStop store, for example. I received a GS gift card as a Christmas gift. I checked online for potential prizes to enjoy on my new Playstation 4 and discovered that while used copies of Fallout 4 were $18.99, new copies were a mere dollar more. I could have purchased my copy online and may have been rewarded with a sealed copy of the Bethesda blockbuster, but the $6 handling fee deterred me. Instead, I visited my local brick and mortar store where I did indeed find the same deal.

Now, I don’t typically buy games new. One reason is because I like to think of my games as an investment. I look for games on the cheap and hope that one day demand for them might increase their value. Buying a new game at full price doesn’t seem wise especially when its value plummets as soon as the shrink wrap comes off. You think I’m mincing perceived value with actual value? Compare any two games on eBay; the game still in its wrapper and proof that it has never been marred through contact with human skin will always sell for more than a used copy, whether it comes packaged with all artwork and reading material or not.

Back to my recent GS visit; I found a used $5 Playstation 3 game – a purchase which I am not dissatisfied with – and took it to the counter. As mentioned, I rarely ever buy games new, but a recent conversation with a friend informed me that every “New” game she bought at GameStop was indeed shrink-wrapped and new. I decided to take a chance.

img_20161228_195329

I carried my used PS3 game to the counter and informed the clerk that I would also like a new copy of Fallout 4. He gave me a spiel about buy 2 get one 1 free used merchandise. Granted, this was a good deal, but I didn’t want to scour the store for another $5 game worth my time because I wanted to get home. He shrugged and went about getting my games from behind the counter. I was shocked when he did not present me with my truly new copy of Fallout, but actually walked out from behind the counter, stepped over to the PS4 section, and took the Fallout 4 display box off the rack to put my disk in!

A quick glance at the case and you might suspect that it has actually been through a nuclear war (hyperbole). Remnants of peeled off sale stickers can be seen on the right of the case, damage is apparent to the clear plastic, the artwork is partially worn particularly on the bottom, and the collective stack of “New” stickers is as thick as a silver dollar.

img_20161228_195702

I love collecting games. My collection has recently passed the 1000-game mark. I mention that specifically to inform you that when I search for used games, I can’t always be picky. Many of my older cartridge-based games do not come with any packaging save for the label adhered to the front. I try to buy more modern games in as complete of packaging as possible, but if the price is right and the game good enough, I’ll make exceptions. But one thing I believe is that when buying new, no exceptions should need to be made. My “new” copy of Fallout 4 did not come shrink-wrapped. Instead, a clear sticker was placed over the case’s opening. Instead of getting the Vault-Tek perk poster that the back of the case promised, I received buyer’s remorse.

Advertisements