So I’ve been meaning to purchase Mario Kart Wii for some weeks now. I’ve been lazy about it because I don’t play video games that much; it just seems like I have too much to do most days. But Mario Kart looks like it’s plump full of awesome and despite my lack of discretionary income, I decided it will be mine.

Oh yes. It will be mine.

Off to Gamestop, the cool retailer that lets you trade in your old games for store credit and buy new or used games in return. I’ve been working this system since my first generation Sega Genesis back in the 5th grade (And don’t think I can’t bust you up 3 button style in SFII CE or plunder Streets of Rage deux in like 45 minutes, it’s been done and my skills are 1337.)

I bring in Smash Bros. Brawl and Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess. The former for lack of play and the latter for having already squeezed every last drop of gaming nectar from it’s delicious shell. Combined they are worth $47 of store credit. That means only $6 for some sweet, sweet Kart racing. Completely rock fest on that tip.

But alas, there’s a problem. The store doesn’t have the game in stock. Bummer. So I ask if I can order it. This is where it gets weird. The gal at the counter tells me they don’t take orders. She tells me to keep checking in by phone or coming into the store to see if it’s in stock. At that, I got a little perturbed and pointed out the fact that I’d essentially be playing the lottery to continually try to buy from Gamestop as such. What’s crazy about this is that I was asking to give them money! Nice business model:

“Here take my money, despite the fact that I could go to a big retailer that has this game in stock every day, I’m choosing to give you my money in spite of instant gratification if you’ll simply order it for me and give me a call when it arrives.”

0_o “Get out.”

It took a while of speaking with the assistant manager to understand that they weren’t being lazy, they were just following current corporate policy. Eventually I decided to email corporate. Twas a long winded email explaining the situation, so I won’t subject you to it, but here’s the response:

Dear Valued Customer,

Thank you for contacting GameStop.com. Unfortunately in this case the store was right. The stores can not take orders, for customers. You can however place an order online for whatever item you are looking for.

Best Regards,
Tim
Customer Service Agent

So that’s a dead end. There were actually a few other annoying aspects of this trip to Gamestop, but I’m just focusing on their moronic policy. I’m not going to be a consumer who screams I’ll never go there again. I probably will. But I’m not going to back order a product online (it was out of stock) when I can get the cash at Gamestop (20% less than store credit or $37 for record) walk to the crappy Kmart in Uptown and buy it that day. The real question is how hard is it to place an order for a customer? Although this is corporate policy, I believe the individual store could easily make a system (Google Docs is pretty cheap…$0) where they take orders in store and fulfill them for customers. Honestly, these people aren’t so busy that they couldn’t handle a system like this.

Why would they do this? Well the first reason is that they are throwing away money from consumers like me. How many orders per year are they throwing away? I have no idea, but these are the same marketers that will cry about how big retail is crushing them. Losers. The second reason is CRM. Duh. How many consumers respond well to “Just keep checking in and maybe you’ll get lucky and miraculously we’ll have the game that’s never in stock in stock. Thanks for stopping by.” That’s essentially saying that you aren’t willing to help me. The worst part is that I have to feel like an ass by arguing with the assistant manager for ten minutes trying to figure out why they won’t take my money.

Kmart here I come.