Thursday, January 6, 2011

Punting hoarders in the face

We interrupt this program to bring you a mild rant.

On Tuesday evening, I had two run-ins with the collective pain in the rear known as hoarders. In this case, it's the people who populate RedFlagDeals, and the people who abuse everything ever posted at CheapAss Gamer.

In this case, I had two examples. First, I went to Future Shop to burn off a Christmas gift card and picked up Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey. As it turns out, I had purchased something left over from the first printing, so it came with a soundtrack CD. Or in this case, a nicely-pressed data disc with a bunch of .wav files.

Some quick Googling turned up this Joystiq story about the problem. No problem, I go to request a replacement disc, only to see that it's sold out. How can a replacement disc be sold out? Turns out that once I hit the forums, more people requested the disc than actually purchased copies of the game, leaving me holding the bag.

Now, a couple of things I should point out:
1) I was only going to rip the damn things to .mp3 anyway, so all I had to do was run them through Audacity (which is what I did).
2) Part of the problem was on Atlus's end for not requesting proof of ownership beforehand, such as a UPC code from the box.
Still, I'm not Joe Q Public, so imagine their reaction when this happened. Especially since I grabbed it on sale for $25+tax (regular price: $40) and someone could have made the same choice.

The more egregious example, however, came when I swung over to a local Rogers Video store. My cell carrier and almost-employer also runs video stores across Canada, and for a while also sold video games. They're where I picked up God Hand and Zack & Wiki for $25 total. Unfortunately, they've elected to get out of selling the vidya. As a result, after Christmas they had a buy 1/get 1 sale on all video games, new or used.

When I went to check out the store that evening, I expected that there probably wouldn't be a lot of the CoDBlops of the world, but there may be 1 or 2 things that may be worth employing the limited amount of free cash I had. When I got there, the video game section was GONE. According to the clerk, about 15 people lined up before store opening on the first day of the sale (12/27, in my city) and bought everything.

It wouldn't be so bad if they were going to buy a copy to give as New Year's gifts or what have you, but to a man they all admitted that they were going to spin the stuff on Ebay or get mad trade credit at FutureShop/Gamestop/Best Buy.

So instead of picking up a couple and giving other people a fair shot at some inexpensive games, they throw them to the corporate overlords who will mark them up to $5 below retail and sell them at a massive profit. And then they'll lower the trade value on the games, so when I go to trade in, say, Other M in a month, I'll be the one getting screwed.

Thanks, assholes.

I don't have a problem with capitalism. What I do have a problem with is people such as the one pictured intentionally fucking with the market, making it harder for me (who actually wants to play these things) to find them at a lower price. I've bought cheap games in the past and thought "this might pay off someday", such as finding Disgaea DS for $10. But I'm going to play the damn thing before I sell it (if I sell it).

I'm certainly not going to walk into a store, build a pile of games up to my crotch including multiple copies of the same game (confirmed by the Gaffer who took the original photo) and spin them for a profit.

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