Death to Retail

Mitch Hedberg had an excellent bit where he talked about buying a doughnut. This is how it starts:

"I bought a doughnut and they gave me a receipt for the doughnut… I don't need a receipt for the doughnut. I give you the money and you give me the doughnut, end of transaction."

He would have hated Gamestop.

There were two clerks at the Gamestop I visited a couple of weeks ago: one a young lady and the other a young man. She was obviously new because there was a line of customers, yet there was only one register open. No problem, my turn came soon enough.

Lady clerk, big smile: "Can I help you?"

Me: "Yes! Do you have a copy of Disgaea 3 in stock?"

Lady: "Yes! We do."

Guy Clerk, no smile: "Wait, wait. We're not sure. Let's see, hmm, do we have any left? Let me check."

(Aside: The guy actually paused to say the word Hmm. One of the hardest parts of writing fiction is creating dialogue that sounds believable. Written dialogue isn't at all the way that people actually speak, because a typical face to face conversation is riddled with interruptions and mispronunciations and leaps of logic, none of which can exist in writing. Anyway, my first thought upon hearing him actually force in the word Hmm is: this guy needs to be written better.)

While the lady unlocked the game vault to get my copy, the guy continued, "Did you preorder a copy?"


"You can guarantee that we'll have a copy in stock blah blah blah."

I tuned him out.

When he was done, the lady started to ring me up. "Would you like a strategy guide–"

"No, thanks."

"–because this one is really cool looking."

Ok, that wasn't soulless, so I smile. "I'm good, thanks. Just the game."

"Would you like any other new games?"

"No, thanks."

"We're also having a 10% off used blah blah blah."

"No, thanks."

"Blah blah used games blah blah."

"No, thanks."

"Would you like to preorder anything else?"

"No, thanks."

"Can I interest you in a timeshare condo to play your game in?"

At what point did this company forget what it's like to go shopping? I don't resent either of these clerks personally; this is Gamestop's training. Way to make my transaction as long and painful as possible! How about: I give you the money, you give me the product I ask for? (I still can't believe that this company somehow consumed my quirky and personable Electronics Boutique.)

Gamestop is like shopping inside an economic fossil. I mean, I walked out of that retail store loving Amazon more than I did walking in. Every Amazon purchase I've ever made is nothing more than: I give Amazon the money, they give me the product. End of transaction.

This is a really long way of begging Blizzard to let me buy my two copies of Wrath directly from them, digitally.


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One thought on “Death to Retail”

  1. Hey I saw your post on Jeff's blog @ Giantbomb and decided to see ur article. Thought the embellishments were hilarious haha, not that you need them for a rant about gamestop though :p

    Anyway yeah dude I feel for you. I feel the same way and do most my orders on the web too. You should try out for orders too, or at least check them every so often. They have this thing called 48-Hour madness where they discount a slew of random titles they are trying to liquidate. They're really hit or miss so you just have to check in a lot to see what's on sale.

    Anyway, nice article!

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