Open Letter To GameStop

Boy, do I love midnight launch events. There is nothing more thrilling than being with the dedicated fans of a game, movie or even book that brings out the fanboys in everyone. There is something electric in the air. Not quite sure what it is, but it sure is exciting to walk into a store where only the truly dedicated fans are waiting alongside of you. This can sometimes be a bad thing because, like everything else, one bad apple will spoil the bunch. I’m not talking about the mean or dangerous person, I’m talking about that one person who thinks he needs to impress his friends by saying things like “I know a guy who’s working on Gears of War 3 and he told me that Gears 3 will be a PS3 exclusive.” (Yes, that actually happened to me.)

But there are a few other things that get me riled up. Misleading statements (and lying) are one of them. I don’t know what it is, but I would like to be able to walk into a store and actually trust the people who are selling me their products. Yes, I do have a tolerance level, but last night, at the Borderlands 2 midnight release event, I was misled more times than I can recall in one night. And it wasn’t just a small misleading statement. To me they were huge misleading statements. And they ALL came from the GameStop manager.

But lets not get ahead of ourselves. Last night was fun. There was a buzz around getting the chance to be one of the first in North America to get hands on the game. I had already had it paid off, so I was hoping to walk in and get my receipt so I could stand in line, but that’s not how it goes with GameStop.

The first thing they did was ask for my PowerUp Rewards card. No problem. I’m a PowerUps rewards member, not because I get such cool gifts from them, but because I like the magazine and I like the extra % off for trade in games (I only trade them in once a year, so I’m not sure it’s really worth it there). But that’s okay, so I happily supply my card for him to scan.

The manager views my account and sees the I have the Deluxe Vault Hunters edition for Borderlands 2. Then he starts with the add-ons.
“Would you like a strategy guide? Do you have any trade-ins? Would you like to renew your PowerUp rewards?” I said no to all of them, and then he hit me with the shocker: “Would you like the season pass which is exclusive to GameStop?” HUH? I literally did a double take when I heard that. I follow games pretty well, and I followed Borderlands 2 really well, because of my interest in it. I had never once heard that it was a GameStop exclusive. When did this happen? I looked at my friend, and he was also shocked.

A fellow GameStop employee looked over to him and said, “What a great get for us.”

“Who agreed to that?” I asked.

His response: “Randy Pitchford.” His co-worker said, “Yeah, he must really love GameStop.”  (For those of you who don’t know, Randy Pitchford is one of five founders, CEO and President of Gearbox, the maker of Borderlands 2)

I turned to my friend and said, “One reason to hate Randy Pitchford.” So, in a panic, and knowing that I was already going to get the season pass, Iwent ahead and shelled out the extra $30 for the add-on.

Then the manager told me something else. “The Xbox has been known for eating disc’s. Would you like insurance on this purchase?”

What kind of n00b does he think I am? Yes, the Xbox has had a history of eating discs, but that was back during launch, and that was only when someone transferred it from horizontal to vertical (or vice versa). That problem was solved in 2007, when Microsoft decided to put little rubber pieces in the CD-ROM. Since when did this become a problem again? I was one of the lucky one’s have had an Xbox 360 since launch day, and I have NEVER had a scratched disc because of the CD-ROM. NOT ONCE.

So, I come away from this transaction a little satisfied that I was able to get the season pass. But both me and my friend were really suspicious about it. Don’t get me wrong, I was going to get the season pass anyway, but I was going to use points that I had saved up. But I really didn’t lose anything, so I was somewhat happy. Well, this morning, I got up extra early because I needed to download the new update for the Dashboard Beta. I finished that, and was about to turn off my Xbox, when I looked at the game advertisement on the Dashboard. It had a Borderlands 2 ad, so I clicked on it, and viola! The season pass was available there. My friend, who was at the GameStop with me there, also said that it was available at the in-game menu.

I was a little pissed at that, but I figured that I had saved the trouble of having to buy it through the dashboard or in-game by buying it at GameStop and having a code. So, I went to Xbox Live and entered the code, and guess what downloaded to my account? 2400 MS points, not the season pass. So, not only did GameStop LIE to me about it being an exclusive. They didn’t even sell me the season pass. They sold me 2400 MS points and called it a season pass.

I am done with this crap from GameStop. I know they need to make sales, but every time I start to like them, they do something douche like this. If it’s not lying to their customers, it’s removing a code from sealed game because it was a competing service. Well, I’m done. Good bye GameStop. And good riddance. I do not need you treating me like a child and misleading and lying to get me to buy services that I don’t need. When your whole business revolves around tricking people, you need to change.

Now, I’m not completely bitter about this, and I welcome anyone from GameStop upper management to come on our show to talk about this, but they won’t. They are too used to the soccer moms of the world falling for their tricks to give a damn about one hardcore customer that’s fed up.

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