I wanted to post a short follow-up to my GameStop Employee Checkout piece, based on some comments I’ve received. I did first want to point out that GameStop is evidently reviewing its policies in this regard, so I doubt we’ve heard the last about this.
First, my suggestion to reprint box art has been brought up a number of times, and I wanted to point out that I expressly said ‘with permission.’ I can’t imagine publishers having issue with the proposed practice, as it would be to sell their products. Additionally, I only mentioned making dummy boxes as one potential solution, albeit one with a high upfront cost to outfit each store with a set of blank boxes and the ongoing cost of reprinting paper inserts as new games are released. Another, possibly more cost effective solution would be to create cardboard cards with the front and back of the box replicated on the cardboard. I have no idea which would cost more, or what other solutions might work, but the point was to suggest a solution by which no new games would need to be opened and gutted or placed outside the safety of the behind the counter locking cabinet.
Second, I can certainly understand why people would be upset to receive an open game, or even be unable to accept one in certain circumstances (i.e. gift giving). However, I still think that if the plastic seal is not a major issue, there is no difference in the game experience between a perfect condition new disk and a perfect condition disk played once by an employee, besides the potential public relations issues. Of course, when I say perfect condition, I mean everything: kept in a smoke free environment, free of dirt, not kept in direct sunlight or damaging temperatures, etc. I believe that’s a major factor as to why the GameStop employees I’ve known are far more likely to check out a used title than a new one.
Finally, for the record, I do shop at GameStop frequently, largely because it’s the only retailer where I have been able to consistently pre-order and pick up on release date high demand titles, limited edition titles, obscure titles that don’t tend to show up much if at all in big box stores (i.e. new releases by NIS), and new hardware. I haven’t personally had any problems with the stores I’ve frequented over the years, including the GameStop store near my home I currently use. Perhaps this, like other situations, varies a lot based on individual store management, but it’s difficult to say.
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