If Amazon Didn’t Have Shipping Costs/Times, You Would Be Dead To Me

25 10 2007

I hate the retail game industry.

Last night, Jen picked up my preorder of Phoenix Wright 3. It was supposed to come with a plushie doll. (I collect those, for anybody who wasn’t In The Know.) I cancelled my Amazon preorder specificially to get the doll. The clerk did not give Jen the doll. When we called back to say, wtf Gamestop, hey what? they said “We’ve only got one left so you better come back RIGHT NOW and get it!” yeah. Thanks bundles, asshats.

My negative experiences at retail far outweigh the positive. Waiting in line for 40 minutes while the single clerk on duty deals with someone reselling a console and a pile of crappy old games. Preordering then finding out they don’t have my game until days after the ship date. Preordering for the bonus gift and then they don’t give me the bonus gift. Sending me an HD-DVD player after I specifically canceled my order weeks before. Misallocating my 5 dollar preorders, ending up with lost store credit somewhere in the system. Pretending to know me when I walk in the door (“Hey, it’s Mr. Halo 3, woo!”) when they clearly never met me before. Harping on the manyfold delights of strategy guides. Stocking used content (and not even very GOOD used content) more than new content, so I can’t get the games I want unless I preorder. Forgetting to give me my free rental coupons on buying a new game console, then trying to weasel out of it when I come back the next day. Etc. Etc. ETC. ETC.

These jokers are clearly not in the business of selling games. They’re in the business of RE-selling games, selling crappy add-ons like guides, and generally preventing you from getting access to what you really want… your game.

Compare this to buying games online. (And by “online” I mean “amazon.com” because “gamestop.com” has never given me a good sales experience, ever; they’re the idiots who sent me a duplicate HD-DVD drive.) Go to the site, type what you want into the search box, three clicks, done. Everything is just handled. No jerkwad clerks, no waits, no mistakes. It just works.

The disadvantage? You have to wait. Either you pay ridiculous shipping costs (which only ensures you get it the next day) or you have to wait up to 2 weeks for delivery. For most stuff, that’s fine; I don’t really NEED suchandsuch on DVD immediately. For games, given the wait and the anticipation and the desire to play them, it tips the scales towards dealing with retail just so I have a chance to get it on time. Which doesn’t always work.

I wish it was possible for a retail store to get by just on ensuring day one stock of new games and a good catalog of older, yet still new games. None of this “We’re more of a reseller than a retailer” crap. I remember when FunCoLand was the only biz in town reselling old games, and that was cool and all, but you could still grab what you wanted when you wanted anywhere else. Good times… good times.

Oh, and Phoenix Wright 3 is awesome so far, as expected. At least there’s a happy ending here.

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18 responses

25 10 2007
demota

PW3 is probably my favorite o fthe three games.

25 10 2007
lirazel

Hmm… when I pre-order books on Amazon, they arrive justabout exactly on the day Amazon says they will. And if there’s a delay (as is happening now with Yotsuba&!), they tell me, get my permission to retain the order (or not) and it generally arrives by the new date–and I haven’t left the shelter of my Comfy Chair.
I’m not a gamer, so I don’t think I get why it’s so important to have the new game at the very first possible opportunity. Books have never had the same urgency for me. Which may explain why I never bought into Pottermania. If a book is good, it will be good tomorrow, and it will be good even if I know what the ending is.

25 10 2007
bigscary

To be entirely fair, while company policy for GS is dick, I want to stand up for the staff at my local store (no longer largely holdovers from my OLD local store, but still people hired by those holdovers).
They will watch for used games for me if I ask. (Ditto for rarely restocked new games and hardware)
They have tried to sell me a strategy guide exactly once, for FFXII (which is a not unreasonable recommendation).
After years of association, they know what I like and only offer preorders I might reasonably be expected to care about.
When I ask for a recommendation or opinion, I get an honest one (including “I don’t know” and “No, it sucks”).
This is only a defense of this store, of course — the only-barely-further store is your more standard GS outpost.

25 10 2007
bigscary

Also, I have never had a negative return/exchange experience with them.

25 10 2007
omahdon

I hardly ever buy games at my local games software supplier any more (in this case it’s EB Games) – simply because, as an Australian, it’s actually cheaper to order stuff from overseas given the current currency exchange rate. $100 Australian for a new game verses $50 dollars American? American wins every time, even WITH shipping costs and time – a brand new game in America is about the price of a budget title here.
And PW3 is made of win and awesome, and by the time you finish the game it becomes pretty clear why they needed a new protagonist for the new Ace Attorney (trilogy?) games. You just can’t top that last case. It wouldn’t feel right afterwards.

25 10 2007
inklesspen

Amazon Prime is made of win and love. It is $80 a year, but then you get free two-day shipping. And you can get a one-month free trial.

25 10 2007
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Amazon will sometimes get product in your hands the day you could’ve gotten it at a store — notably with hot items like the Potter books. I got mine through amazon because I knew they’d be cool like that.
But games work differently. Often, the retailers, even amazon, don’t get the item in stock at all until the ‘ship date’, so they can’t drop it in the mail ahead of time to ensure it arrives on the right day. Again, there may be exceptions for hot ticket items.
At any rate, more often than not, you’ll be paying shipping. That can be 5-10 dollars extra, compared to store buys, which is a real pain. Although lately I’m starting to think… I HAVE enough money. Just get the damn next day shipping and bypass stores entirely. It’s worth the cost.

25 10 2007
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

I realize most of my bad luck is just that: luck. Obviously they aren’t 100% evil and some folks have had plenty of good experiences.
My primary shop is actually a GameCrazy. It’s easiest for me to drive to. I only deal with GameStop (farther out of the way) in case of special preorder bonuses, like the plushie they failed to produce for me. Each time I do I am given Pain in varying amounts. But I’ve only done it 3-4 times, so I guess I may have just gotten 3-4 bad instances.
Either way… I just wanna push a button, get bacon. That’s the ideal.

25 10 2007
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

I’ve considered it, but since I mostly use Supersaver Shipping — DVDs and books are rarely items I must have immediately — I wouldn’t really save money in the end. $80 represents two day shipping on 4-6 different buys, and I typically only have 3-4 games a year that are immediate must haves.
Lately, I’ve been thinking that it may be worth the money just to be able to cut the meatspace retail woes out of the equation, though…

25 10 2007
jesse_dylan

Actually, I pay $70 per year or some such to Amazon.com to be in their “Prime” program. With this, I can get free two-day shipping on just about anything, including games. I have had a few experiences where it took longer and made me cry, but this has only been with pre-orders for the most part.
It’s worth it by far not to have to dick around with the monopoly that is Gamestop/EB Games etc, because it’s just as you say; they aren’t in the business of selling games, they’re in the business of re-selling games and trying to get people to buy their extra crap that they get incentives on. They’ve only gotten worse, too. I’ve been saying for years that the only people benefiting from selling used games and systems is them. They pay a pittance for them and make enormous mark-ups.

25 10 2007
jesse_dylan

Oh, someone already mentioned Amazon Prime…
Yeah, to me it’s worth it to stay away from the stores. I agree that there are few times when I MUST have something immediately; even then, I can wait a few days… I used to use super saver as well.
I’m really happy with Prime, though. Or at least they’ve made me think I am. :S I’m pretty sure I get more than my money’s worth, though.

25 10 2007
jengagne

Rest assured that the tiny plushie is both adorable and in-hand! :D It’s keychain-size.

25 10 2007
bigscary

For PBGB, I like Best Buy. No help, no clue, no used, no preorder, huge inventory on day 0.

25 10 2007
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Keychain size? Awww… I was hoping for a full UFO catcher dolly. :(
Still, a dolly’s a dolly. It’ll go in the cabinet to point objectively at anybody who wants into my pad. :D

25 10 2007
Anonymous

It is, dude. Remember, that’s free two-day on /everything/. Ultimately, you’ll end up using it on anything you buy off of Amazon. Also, there’s one little thing they don’t tell you often on Amazon’s web site.
They only pre-ship one-and-two-day orders except on the REALLY hot ticket items. Some stuff only pre-ships on Amazon Prime.
So basically, that 80 bucks, in at least some cases, will get you your stuff faster than Gamestop possibly can.
-TH

25 10 2007
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Yeap, that’ll do it. Okay, once I start buying my holiday gifts, I’m signing up. May as well put this cash I’ve got to good use getting me things I want in a speedy manner.

26 10 2007
26 10 2007
jengagne

… holy crap, 67 bucks?!

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