I know I’m not the first person to rant about GameStop’s collector-hostile over-stickering policies, and god knows I will definitely not be the last, but the problem seems to be getting worse, not better. Normally I’m accepting of their gross, gluey game case abuse but a recent visit to purchase a brand new copy of The Surge for Xbox One resulted in my most offensive purchase at GameStop to date.
The digital download era has made short work of video game stores. Long gone are the days when you could pick up old Blockbuster rentals or depend on unfriendly price cutting competition between the likes of EB Games, Software Etc., and Babbage’s (remember them?). Now there’s only one game in town, no pun intended, and that’s the dreckiest of the dreck, GameStop.
Why do I hate buying used games at GameStop? Let me show you.
As if the sticker residue from 6 retailers on the front weren’t enough, GameStop slaps another sticker on the back. Ok, not the end of the world, right? You can get replacement Xbox 360 cases on Amazon for pretty cheap if you wind up with some really stubborn stickers. But wait! There’s more! The douchebags at some of the stores go as far as to adhere a 3rd sticker below the surface of the case, on the insert itself! What the hell? Where are these GameStop stores where they’re scanning three separate barcodes?
Why would you feel the need to ruin the insert?
Is this a shoplifting prevention measure?
Are we assuming that only an idiot would steal an empty game case if it’s molested beyond repair?
So then what about the fine folks like me that simply wanted to buy an old game at a fair price? It’s not like they scale the pricing based on whether or not the case and cover are destroyed! Hell, GameStop doesn’t even adjust pricing when the original case is missing! That mint copy of The Last of Us Remastered? It’s $12.99. The copy of The Last of Us Remastered that’s been eaten and shat by the family pet and plastered with 8 “PREOWNED” stickers over the course of its lifetime? Yup, it’s $12.99. God forbid the drones that work at GameStop be allowed to make me a deal.
But I’d forgive all of that. I mean, I’m a casual game collector so I do forgive all of that. Regularly. I don’t have a choice. Like I said, GameStop is more or less the only game in town. Still no pun intended.
What I can’t forgive is this.
No, this is not a PREOWNED Xbox One game. This is the case on the brand fucking new copy of The Surge I just bought. Yes, that’s right, the entire top of the case is obliterated.
I was informed upon making my purchase that this was the last copy. If you’ve been to GameStop before, you know that means that the shrinkwrap has been removed and 3 mouthbreathing GameStop clerks have already taken my new game home and played it, coated it with Mt. Dew and geek jizz, and brought it back the next day to sell as new.
The clerk in question told me it was the last copy and that he was going to have to “put a sticker on it because it isn’t shrinkwrapped.” I begged him not to. If you’ve ever bought an new/already-opened game at GameStop, then you know that the transparent circular sticker they “seal” the game with is made with the most unholy of adhesives modern science has ever concocted, and it’ll take an hour of time and 14 ounces of goo-remover to make sure that case doesn’t attach itself like a leech to adjacent games on your shelves.
“Fine,” I said. I debated begging him not to apply the sticker, but I’ve lost that argument so many times now that I don’t even bother anymore. I really just want to get in and get out of my local GameStop as quickly as I can. But what did I do to deserve a fully-crushed “brand new” Xbox One game? Why should I pay full price for something that obviously is not only NOT NEW, but it’s fucking damaged as hell to boot?
Did I complain? Hell yes I did. Did I get a replacement? Pfft, no. I’d already removed the damn sticker by the time I even noticed that the entire top edge of the box was crumbling like a potato chip. And “you know our store policy, once it’s been opened…”
Eat a dick, GameStop. I hate you.