Several days ago I made the unfortunate mistake of going into a GameStop. Long story short: I won't be doing that again any time soon. If you already loathe GameStop, you can either stop reading here or you can keep reading to reinforce your views.
So this game, Toukiden: Kiwami, came out today for the Vita (and PS4). I've been absolutely loving the demo and I loved the first demo about a year ago but never got around to actually buying the game. I decided that I was going to get this game, so I looked up preorder bonuses. I've made the decision to get it, so I might as well get any bonuses that are available, right? Amazon has a couple small things I'm not really interested in and GameStop has a whopping eight armor sets you can apparently only get through GameStop. I've never had a great experience at GameStop, but I figure that I can suck it up to briefly go in, preorder, and come back a couple days later. I get the game on release day, I'm not missing out on the armor sets, and I don't have to suffer GameStop for very long. Seems tolerable.
It was not.
I walk into GameStop and the first thing that happens is an employee greets me. "Welcome to GameStop! Is there anything in particular you're looking for?" Pretty standard fare for a retail establishment. I worked at Best Buy for several years and Strawberries (see also: TransWorld Entertainment) for several years, so I get it.
"Oh, I just wanted to preorder Toukiden: Kiwami for the Vita. I also don't go to GameStop very often so I just wanted to look around while I'm here."
"Okay! Let me show you where our Vita games are." He walks out from behind the counter to walk me to the Vita section, a small shelf at the back of the store. Note that I did not ask to be shown anything or walked anywhere. I do not need or want help.
He continues, "Do you have a PS4 already for cross-play and stuff?" I kid you not, direct quote.
It's like, how do you expect that to pan out from there? If I say yes, are you going to sell me on PS4 games now? If I say no, are you seriously going to try to upsell my singular Vita game preorder to an entire console purchase? What then? Extra controllers? Games and their season passes? What's your end game with this question?
"Yes, I do."
"Well, our PS4 games are right over here!"
At this point, I've simply allowed him to walk across the entire store without me. I don't want to be walked anywhere. I don't want to be shown where X, Y, and Z games are that I could easily find by myself in this tiny, clearly labeled storefront. I want to browse for a few minutes without speaking to you, then I want to silently preorder my game so I can get your shitty preorder exclusives, then I want to leave.
"If you're into handhelds, our 3DS games are right next to the Vita games, too."
Seriously? What the fuck? Another upsell on an entirely unrelated gaming console? Leave me alone.
I check out, I put $5 down on Toukiden, I get badgered about my Power-Up Rewards Card and how I haven't activated it, and I leave. I feel like I need a shower.
Today was a mess all on its own, but the thing I was looking forward to was picking up my copy of Toukiden. At this point I've played the hell out of the demo and I can't wait to dig in to the main game. I was also looking forward to being done with this GameStop transaction so I wouldn't have to set foot in their store in the foreseeable future.
I get there and the same employee is working. He's on an iPad chatting with a potential customer. The customer is this weird unicorn of a customer who seems to own a gaming console but know nothing about its library. He's asking questions like whether or not the new EA version of Tetris is good or if the PS4 has "any racing games." All the while the employee is on the iPad looking up, I kid you not, Metacritic scores and straight-up guessing from them if the games they are talking about are any good. The background to this is a TV trying to sell me on a $25 season's pass for Evolve so I can get some exclusive monster skins.
What kind of bizarro land is this? Is this really what brick and mortar game stores are like now?
The employee eventually notices me and without greeting me or letting me tell him what I'm there for, he asks, "You're here for MLB '15 right?"
I must have visibly cringed. "Uh...no. I'm here to pick up my preorder for Toukiden: Kiwami for the Vita."
"Ohhhh, right right right." He shuffles with some paper envelopes that have discs and whatnot in them behind the counter, then he goes to the Vita shelf space and grabs a case. He comes back with an opened, shelf copy of the case, price tag sticker adhered to it and all, and then puts a Vita cartridge in it and tries to hand it to me.
"That's not new."
"Yes it is."
"No, it's not. It's opened."
"It's new. It's never been played."
"No, it's not new. It's not sealed anymore. Is it company policy to do that?"
"Well, when we get new games one copy always gets gutted so we can put a case on the shelf. With Toukiden we only got one copy, so this is it."
"I'm not taking that. Is there another store in the area that has a sealed, actually new copy?"
He checks. "No, it looks like all the stores within a 10 mile radius only got one copy."
"Alright, fine. I'm going to take my preorder slip back and see if GameStop.com can help me." I leave.
Seriously, how is this problem not immediately apparent? You can't simultaneously describe a game as both "gutted" and "new."
So right now I'm sitting on GameStop's website waiting to talk to customer support. This is approximately how that's going.
I just wanted a game on release day without missing out on some cool in-game stuff. That was apparently too much to ask for.