Tales From. . . GameStop Reserves

Tale From. . .

Bad Reserves

This year is looking to be a pretty big year for gamers everywhere. There are a ton of new games on the horizon, like Diablo III, Luigi’s Mansion 3DS, and Resident Evil 6. And don’t forget all of the speculation about next gen console announcements coming this year. With all these things coming stores are going to start pushing reserves down our throats. It used to be just EB Games and GameStop doing this, now pretty much every retailer that sells a video game offers some kind of bonus for pre-ordering with them. It’s getting a little ridiculous, I get that companies are trying to get your interested in shopping at their stores, and developers are happy enough to offer exclusive things to various retailers. In the past it was novelty stuff like shirts, stuffed toys, and key chains. Now it’s become all about the DLC, and I’m not even going to get started with my problems with DLC on release day that’s for another post.

So you’re a gamer and you’re excited to pick up X game when it comes out later this year, games are expensive though so maybe you want to pay it off over time. Reserves are great for this. Maybe you’re a big time collector and you just really like having the special editions of games. That’s cool too and those are totally valid reasons for a reserve, even the DLC is a valid reason. If you get a cool gun, or special character for pre-ordering why not put a little cash down early? You even get a guarantee that your game will be there on day one right? This may be true for stores like Best Buy or if you order it on Amazon, but if you’re getting it from GameStop be weary my friends.

Let’s jump back a few years to April 29, 2008. This was the day Grand Theft Auto 4 was released. At the time I was a shift manager (SGA) at GameStop. Anyone who ever shopped at a GameStop knows they push reserves on you like they’re those homeless guys who want to wash your windows. If you pick up a anything they try to get you to reserve stuff, if you reserve a game they try and get you to reserve more, if you ask for directions they want you to reserve a racing game. It’s ridiculous, if people want to reserve they will but seriously back the hell off. At this point in time DLC wasn’t really the big thing yet, in fact this was a point when the only reason to reserve a game was to get it on release day. Since part of our spiel was “It guarantee’s a copy on release day, otherwise you may not get it”. Basically the way GameStop works is if they have 100 reserves for a game, they got 120 copies of the game. 20 for walk-ins and 100 for reserves. These will vary on the game, a bigger game will come with more walk-in copies.

So when a huge game like Grand Theft Auto 4 came out we had let’s say 90 reserves in the store. So we got shipped let’s say 140 copies of the game. That’s not exact but we’re gonna roll with it. The game sold about 3.6 million copies on day one so my numbers may even be low. Now that day I worked a closing shift, something like 3pm till 9pm. When I got in a little before 3 we only had about say 30 copies left in the store. And guess how many reserve we had left that need to be picked up? More then 40! Yep that’s right, the money you put down to reserve a copy of the game on day one might have meant nothing.

Now I inquire with my manager at the time to see why it is we have so many reserves left but almost no copies left for them. He informed me that our DM wanted us to just sell the game to anyone who wanted it (that was over 17 or had a parent). He didn’t think people who reserved it would be in to pick it up if they didn’t do it first thing in the morning. So I did my job, because I needed a steady paycheck and I sold the games to anyone who walked in knowing full well at some point we would run out and people who reserved copies would be very angry.

And boy was I right, by about 6pm that evening we were out of copies period and we had a lot of reserve customers coming in. Most of them were understandably angry but they just left in a huff. One particular woman though stands out. Her husband and son came in first and I explained the situation to them and the son was upset but they left. A few minutes after they left I received a call from the mother who was very angry. I explained the situation to her and she hung up the phone. A little while later her and the son come back into the store. She demanded I give her a copy of the game. Her son paid for it and she wanted it, she didn’t understand that we were totally out. I explained I was doing my job and if I didn’t sell the games I could lose my job and end up on the streets dead. This got her to stop yelling.

Once she calmed down I started calling around to find another store in the area that she could go pick up the game. Found one who would hold a copy, but the woman was still fairly angry, more at the company then at me. So I did the only thing left to do, I gave her the DM’s phone number and asked her to not mention it to anyone about who gave it to her or what store she shopped at. I honestly don’t know how it turned out after that, or if the lady even called, but I do know that this wasn’t the first or only time that something like this happened.

You might be wondering why I told you this. To make me sound like an asshole? To make people avoid GameStop or reserves? Really it was none of these, it was to make sure people are aware of what’s going on. Don’t just reserve a game because some douche at the counter wont’ shut up about it, especially if it’s only because you think you will definitely get it on day one. There are a ton of other reasons to reserve games, just make sure you know why you want them and who to yell at if something goes wrong.

And just as a point here are the games I have reserved at GameStop currently or will soon: Diablo III and Resident Evil 6 not a lot but there isn’t a lot I’m looking to get near release this year.

So let us know if you’ve had any bad experiences with reserving something. Game, Movie, Book doesn’t matter just throw it in the comments below!

talks a bunch on PodQuest each week. He's also been known to write about stuff from time to time.

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