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January 2017 Retro Gaming Article

January 7, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Define “new product” when your Christmas video game console takes a pornographic turn

Squid Sisters
No child should "accidentally" receive porn for Christmas, but this event brings up questions about the reliability of of "new" products.
I recently read a few articles about a kid receiving a Wii U and a copy of Splatoon for Christmas, only to find the game case contained an adult film DVD (Sensual Seductions 2 NSFW) rather than the game disc. I'm sure the parents were horrified and want an explanation from the box-store that sold it to them. They're not likely to get any satisfaction from the store who will become part of a long chain of denial back to the distributor.

In all likelihood, some random idiot with a misguided sense of humor replaced the game disc, shrink wrapped the case and put it on the retailer's shelf. I'm sure this idiot will snicker at their prank and continue to regress in social development.

What I found interesting were the comments beneath the article, focused on various experiences with alleged "new" products that clearly were not. I was not surprised to see GameStop's name appear. Several people complained that the game retailer frequently has opened product on shelves while claiming it as new inventory. I experience this regularly!

Opened Products are NOT New

My local GameStop used to have 5-year-old Wii game cases sitting on the shelves - marked as New. Clearly an old game in an open package would not be deemed "new" by any other retailer, but GameStop seems to get away with this practice. Once a game has been opened, you have no way of knowing if it's complete or missing components. Was there a manual? Other offers? Stickers? A poster? The average consumer won't know. But everyone agrees this condition is NOT NEW and should not command the higher pricing.

Retailers don't care if they sell opened product as new. Consumers must inspect their own purchases!
The only way to truly get a "new" (unopened) game from GameStop is to buy it on the release date when they have stacks of shrink wrapped copies behind the counter. After selling through those, they open the cases, for shelf display, and put the game discs into sleeves, filed among the other games. This is the same treatment for their used games and I'm stunned that they can get away with this!

I rarely buy new video games at GameStop. The cases are always open and who knows what condition the disc is in. Most of their used games are heavily scratched, which probably happens prior to being traded in at the store, but the fact they are content to sell damaged games to consumers doesn't inspire me to pay full retail prices for opened merchandise.

Given the condition of their used games, I also don't buy used hardware (consoles, tablets, etc.) from GameStop since they have such a poor precedent for the condition of used items.

GameStop's Anti Theft Strategy

Games sitting on GameStop's retail shelves do not contain media. All the cases are empty and the actual games sit behind the counter. Their stores do not have the traditional detectors at their entrances. With the actual merchandise behind the counter and sequestered in the storage area, there's not much to steal, thus no detectors at the entrance.

They also don't require the hardware to deactivate the RF tags. Have you ever gone into another store with a used game from GameStop and set off their alarm? I've done this many times. With the inclusion of Think Geek items strewn around the retail floor, I'm wondering how much longer they can go without anti-theft measures.

For now, they seem to be saving money that would ordinarily go toward anti-theft hardware, it's maintenance, and the system's overhead. I'd rather see them cut fewer obvious corners and stop selling used merch at full retail value!

Always Inspect Your Purchases

Next time you are making a purchase - at any store - inspect the packaging to ensure it hasn't been returned and simply put back on the retailer's shelf. You'd be surprised how easy return processes are on items that have spent weeks in someone's house, used, abused, repackaged, and then sold to you. Buyer beware.

While we feel the kid who got stuck with Christmas porn instead of Splatoon, it would have been a non-issue if the Wii U was able to play DVDs ;)

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