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November 2014 Retro Gaming Article


November 16, 2014 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Sears phenomenal discount error on Nintendo's 3DS-XL generated furor among those unable to reap the benefits

Um... yeah, I'll take the blue one.

Sears discounted 3DS XL This $59 Nintendo 3DS XL was quickly disabled on the Sears website and certainly offered a Lower price than amazon.. I wonder how many orders they processed before realizing the deep discount was a mistake. Apparently this was not an isolated incident at Sears - they also had a mis-priced Wii U at a similarly amazing discount.

Last Spring, Sears had a blow-out price on the old Wii U Nintendoland bundle to make room for the new pack-in game. I wondered if this could be similar, but the price was much too low - something was awry.

I certainly tried to add one of those sweet blue 3DS XLs to my cart on the Sears website, but alas, the error was known and in the process of being remedied. A tad disappointed, I went about my day not giving thought to the boundless possibilities that Sears has actually offered forth.

Price matching. Sure, I'm familiar with the concept, but I don't bother since the savings often aren't very much. However, there were those who took to the streets in an effort to amass as much discounted Nintendo product as possible. They went from box-store to box-store asking weary employees to match the offer that Sears was running (in error).

Some stores were familiar with Nintendo pricing and knew something was afoot, while others honored their store's price matching policy allowing customers to buy multiple units at ridiculously low prices. At some point, one likes to think that a consumer's moral compass will engage and they may realize that using Sears' error to obtain discounts at other retail stores borders on fraud and may even be illegal in certain circumstances. If Sears makes an error, they have to own up to the consequences of their sales, but I'm not sure other retailers should be duped in the same scheme. It's a complicated mess.

A hoard of discounted 3DS XLs * Wii Us Yes, this is an assembly of all the discounted Nintendo product this person amassed on Sunday.

Retail Protection

Lets look at this from the perspective of Sears as a retailer. They get regular shipments and have a fairly accurate expectation of how long that stock will last. This is why you don't find rampant "Sold Out" signs posted in box-stores. They always have stock on hand. This is part of their inventory software that takes cues from their Point Of Sale system. As they sell down inventory, they are alerted to order more - I'm sure much of this is automated.

Wouldn't you think part of this system would detect large price discrepancies? This was greater than a 50% discount! I would have thought that any proper retail system would recognize the discrepancy in comparative pricing and note that the item was not on sale. There should have been some checks and balances that would root out this issue on the first order. I guess Sears, like other retailers, have no such protection for their price points.

Here's the interesting facet that most consumers don't think about - especially when we hear of hackers gaining access to the private information of millions of customers. If retailers don't have software to protect themselves from discounting errors, like we saw at Sears, what makes you think they have ANY protections in place for YOU - their Customer?

The truth is, they don't! They have insurance to cover issues arising from data breaches. Insurance is a much more cost effective way to mitigate such a scenario. No, that insurance protects the retailer, not YOU! So, it should be fairly obvious that retailers do not care about customers. They care about money.

Disgruntled Gamers Lament Retail Resolution

The day after, the internet is afoul with disgruntled gamers who were not able to capitalize on this amazing savings (error). Posts on websites and social media were rife with disdain for those who gloated about buying five 3DS XLs or four Wii Us. Angry admins forbade the sale of these devices in their Facebook groups, while others stated that this greed would result in children being deprived of such electronic delights come Christmas.

Um, are you kidding me!?! These lofty windbags are simply angry that they missed out on buying cheap merch to be resold at grand profit or to be enjoyed themselves. The amount of whining in the vein of "do gooding" was pathetic. Accusations flew that "real gamers" would hook up their button-mashing brethren with their retail spoils.

We live in an era of extreme capitalism and social media breeds self-importance. Such factors make any divide seem greater than reality might reveal. I can understand both sides of the gleeful and the irritated, but it seemed as though some folks on both sides needed a double dose of STFU.

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