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Retail Woes

posted on June 7th, 2007 by christian

In this post, I must air some grievances I have with certain retail companies. Someone call me a waaaaambulance, because I might need it.

– Why does Blockbuster suck so much when it comes to game rentals? Every store I’ve encountered always seems to be cleaned out of its new, and even 2-3 month old releases. It took me a good month or more to find God of War 2, and at a trip to my brother’s home, we couldn’t find any Wii games aside from the absolute dregs of the licensed pit. We couldn’t even try Chicken Little out if we wanted to.

The reason I find their game shortages so odd is that I can always find the same games without trouble at Hollywood Video, and for a few dollars cheaper on the rental. Why one store has such issues when another doesn’t just baffles me (unless Blockbuster has real strong customer loyalty). Normally this means I frequent Hollywood whenever I can, but I still often check at Blockbuster for one important trade off. Their “No Late Fee” policy means I can technically keep their games for 11 days without any penalty, which is often crucial when renting something that surpasses the 20 hour mark.

Of course, I have a feeling that the “No Late Fee” policy is what also keeps their shelves barren. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people in the store argue with employees because they couldn’t read the not-so-fine-print on their receipt that details exactly how the policy works, and so they wonder why they got charged $30 because they kept a film for two months. Seems that if a game is off the shelf there, you’re best bet is to wait at least three weeks to check for it again. And that, my friends, is bullshit.

– I would love to replace these brick and mortar rental shops with something like Gamefly. I probably will once I find a permanent residence. However it looks as if their prices aren’t nearly as competitive as I thought. 22 bucks a month to keep two games means you have to at least play three games a month to actually make it a value, otherwise you’re actually paying more than two single rentals at a store. I can see some months where I could easily burn through three 10 hour action games, but others where I’m focusing mostly on one title.

Here’s another one of those in depth articles about the inner workings of EB and Gamestop that tries to prove how retarded and evil their aggressive preorder campaigns are. The truth boils down to this; preorder gamers are likely to come back and trade, so more preorders means more used games to sell for five bucks cheaper the week after release. It all comes down to the used games, which have already taken over the profits and are slowly taking over the stores.

It’s funny- I get grilled all the time for still shopping at these stores for used games. It drives me nuts, because I don’t see how it is unreasonable for me to shop for an out of print PS2 game at a store that likely has it used and cheap (and at the EB’s I go to, I know I can get a manual). Considering the problems I have had with games bought on eBay, I’m also very cautious of that as an alternate route.

Instead, we need to lambaste the people who still find a need to sell back games. I understand the idea of selling back to clear up space; in that case sell them on eBay or a forum. But to pay $60 for a game, and sell it back to EB for half the price in store credit or ten bucks in cash is ridiculous. Perhaps you can look at it as ultimately paying less than full price, but in that case, why not just rent the games you know you don’t want to keep?

Oh yeah, I just went over the issues at rental places. The Circle of Retail Stupidity continues.

4 Comments

  1. Matt said on June 7, 2007:

    One other reason why Blockbuster never has any games in is the monthly gaming subscription they have, where you can rent any amount of games for a full month. You have no deadline at all for these games if you keep subscribing. I’ve been trying to get Oblivion for 2 months now, and the guy who has it had it since December(!). Fucking bullshit, man.

  2. jarrad said on June 7, 2007:

    I was using zunafish.com for a while to trade games. It seems to be the cheapest way to get a game, but there’s no guarantee I can trade for what I want and it takes just a bit more effort.

  3. GoldenJew said on June 8, 2007:

    How does Amazon do for games? I’ve pretty much used them as a sole source for my other crap because I’m tired of retail bullshit.

  4. christian said on June 8, 2007:

    Amazon has a surprising number of older games new, and I have used them for those purposes in the past. Otherwise there’s the Amazon Marketplace, which I loved for textbooks, but otherwise the prices can vary greatly, and in some cases I’d rather pay under ten bucks for a used copy somewhere (hard to do sometimes on Amazon with shipping costs)

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