The Pipe Bomb #1: GameStop

The game industry is one huge minefield and us gamers are bound to trip up a mine here or there. I’m not the first and sure as hell won’t be the last to talk about the atrocity known as GameStop and how their company policies fringe upon known unethical business practices. While I’ve been shopping with the same GameStop store for the past few years, I’ve started to become wise of the shit the company pulls, thanks to various YouTube videos that take a Texas-sized turd on the company. There are plenty of issues that everyone has had with the company, and here in this first pipe bomb, I’m going to draw awareness towards the “Don’t Pass Go, Don’t Collect $200″ demented wards of this company, and the issues people have brought up against them.

I. Trade Ins & Trade-In Procedures 

Long before Best Buy, Craigslist and e-Bay were around, GameStop was the only place where you could trade in your old games to get new ones. On paper, this seemed like a smart concept, and a good business move not only for the company, but would allow gamers to get new games, but also save money in their pockets.

Over the years, customers started realizing the real reason behind GameStop implementing this: to get more money and thus begin the destruction of the industry. I mean, say you buy a new $60 game and you’re done with it in less than a week…you won’t even receive half of the trade value, because the most you’ll get is $20-$25 total, because GameStop doesn’t do business like a standard company, they go by how old a game is, which is downright ass backwards and deceitful…and then resell the used game $5 less than the “brand new” version (I’ll get into new vs. used later).

Their trade-in policy is downright awful. Okay, here’s how it works: for anyone underage (I.E. under 17 or 18), you’re only able to receive store credit, but for anyone over 17, you can receive cash, but even that is a ripoff, because they take 20% away from the trade-in amount, which is absolute bullshit, because it’s a damn shame that you get less in cash, because 9 times out of 10, you’ll take that cash credit and go somewhere else, so while the company thinks they’re giving you a good deal, they’re really hiding their evil bad guy smile while attaining to “professional standards.”

II. Stickers 

If you’ve bought games from any GameStop store, especially pre-owned games, you’ll know how much this next topic pisses people off when dealing with it. More times than not, I’ve gotten lucky with pulling stickers off cases cleanly, but are some not as fortunate.

The sticker residue left on cases is about as annoying as watching Twilight with a girl obsessed with Robert Pattinson. What’s more agitating is having stickers on top of stickers. Whenever there’s a price change for a game, GameStop employees have to put a new sticker on the case. Instead of peeling off the old sticker and replacing it, they put the new sticker on top of the old one, making it almost impossible to get stickers clean off, thus ruining your collection you’ve spent time and money acquiring.

III. Pre-Orders & Subscriptions 

If you’ve ever been inside a GameStop, you’ll get asked the same questions every time about pre-orders and the Power Up card that comes with a subscription to GameInformer. While asking once is standard, employees are told to barrage customers with these questions at the behest of the dictatorship of district managers. Even if you have a GameInformer subscription, you’re still asked to get one because the card and magazine are a package deal for $15, so you can’t get one without the other, which is mere bullshit capitalism at its finest.

Really, the Power Up Card is something worth $15, but not packaged with GameInformer, because GameInformer is owned by GameStop, so all their reviews are theorized by some to be bought and paid for. If you’re someone like me that buys pre-owned games, then the card is worth its price since you get double points for buying used games, which can turn into cool rewards like coupons or other items on the Power Up Rewards website.

IV. Pre-Orders 

GameStop is the father of the pre-order system. They give you the ability to put money down on upcoming titles, which is only $5, which may not seem much, but it kind of is. The pre-order system allows the company to determine what stores receive how many copies of said game based on pre-order numbers. While this drives competition between stores within the U.S., it can lead to customer distrust, especially when someone pre-orders a game, fully pays for it, and still doesn’t get said game on release day.

On every receipt for pre-orders, they’re held for 48 hours after the release date, according to their policies. While some stores are lenient, depending on who you know, and possibly your profile within a certain store, especially which one I go to, they’ll be gladly to hold your reserve copy until you’re ready or able to pick it up, because some people are just unable to get it the day it comes out, even when they pre-order it, for any kind of reason. In other cases, you get royally screwed worse than the pooch and your copy gets sold to some Joe Schmo who just walked in the store wanting a copy of said game and employees are told to sell reserve copies to make quota.

Now if this happens to you, I can understand being pissed off, but you should be able to get your money back if your copy was sold to someone else. I personally think pre-orders should only exist for the special editions of games that release because those are the more rare ones that might actually require a reserve, because they cost more money, but you in turn get more stuff besides the game.

V. Selling Used Games As “New” 

While I wasn’t aware of this until recently, mainly because I gave the store I go to the benefit of the doubt most of the time. If you buy a “new” game, more often than not, it comes opened already with that “new” sticker on it. Now why am I putting “new” in quotations? Because it’s not actually new.

This is the one major flaw in this company’s operation, and one I am certainly pissed with. What they do is open the sealed copies of games they receive off the truck and use so many as display copies to show they have the game. While this may sound understandable, it isn’t. Why should us gamers have to pay full price for a game when it’s clearly not new? And putting a “new” sticker on the game doesn’t make it new, or even a piece of clear tape over the box doesn’t make it new either you dumbass.

You’re technically breaking the law. After having a heated argument with customer service over this when I bought WWE 2K14, their district manager instructed me that I can order the game through the store if I wanted a new copy, which is something I will look into, but GameStop should operate like Target and WalMart and have their new games behind a security case, thus keeping new games sealed, thus keeping customers happy.

So, to review this first pipe bomb, and against the maliciousness corporation of snakes known as GameStop…for all your deceitful and unethical business practices, thus screwing over the hard-working customers, publishers and developers,  consider yourselves pipe bombed.