You know what I hate? Well, if you’re reading this, you’ve probably already guessed from the title. In case you haven’t, what I hate is the fact that GameStop sells opened display copies as new and for the same price as unopened shrinkwrapped copies. That infuriates me to no end and is one of the main reasons why I haven’t shopped there in months.
In particular, GameStop decided to drop the price of Atlus’ Persona 4 Arena fighting game from $50 to $20, new. I’d heard good things about the game from a few of my Persona fan friends so I decided to grab a copy while it was on sale. I opened GameStop’s web page, got them to hold a copy and drove about 15 minutes out of my way (one way) to the local GameStop that had a copy for the Xbox 360. When I got there and told the guy I was picking up an online order, he opened a display case and pulled out an already opened display copy of the game with a rubber band around it securing the disc, which was in a paper envelope and the bonus soundtrack CD to the game.
My eyebrows fluttered and filled me with a unique sensation of disappointment and anger as I realized that this was the display copy. Damn.
I asked the guy if there were any shrinkwrapped copies and he told me that the display copy was the last one in the store. Great, I thought. Just perfect. I wouldn’t be so put off if they bothered to mark the price down a couple bucks to reflect the fact that the game was a display copy and was the last copy of the game in the store. I can understand why they don’t do that initially and I can also understand why they have to open games to have copies to put on the walls while also not inviting unsavory types to steal them. I don’t care for the fact that I have to pay the same price for a copy of a game that people have been pawing over for who knows how long as someone else would pay for a pristine, unopened copy.
GameStop’s defense is that the game has “never been played” but that line doesn’t fly with me for a number of reasons. First, I used to work at GameStop a few years ago and GameStop allows employees to check out games for a few days at a time. This is only supposed to apply to used games but I can count on one hand the number of times I saw the managerial staff actually enforcing that rule in my nearly two years of working there. Second, that doesn’t necessarily matter as the little paper envelopes the games are stuffed in after the new game is opened don’t protect them very well. In my time working at GameStop, I saw a number of “new” games come out of the envelopes with hairline scratches and this time, with me in front of the counter rather than behind it, is no exception.
When I got the game home and took it out of the case, I noticed that there were a number of tiny scratches on the disc. Scratches that wouldn’t have been there at all had the game not been freaking opened before I got it. Will these scratches affect gameplay? Probably not, and if I didn’t have to pay the same amount for this copy as a shrinkwrapped, unblemished and actually new copy (as opposed to “new”) of the game, I wouldn’t have an issue with it.
So, yeah, I’m not happy. I’m debating whether or not I should keep the game, given its flawed condition. Hell, I might as well have bought a used copy. And now that I think about it, maybe that’s the point. GameStop’s used product is pure profit in their pockets and they always try to minimize the amount of new product they sell in the first place. Why not penalize the buyer in the process and get rid of a pesky “new” game that they hardly make any money off of?
Well, whatever. Whether I decide to keep the game or not, I certainly won’t be doing business with GameStop any time soon. No matter how good the “deal” seems, it’s just not worth it.