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?”

“No.”

“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.

Please!

More Words!

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 http://www.gogamer.com/ 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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