GameStop Tossing Used DS Cases (And Why This Should Make You Upset)
I have a number of different outlets for purchasing games both new and used. For older games, I can rely on pawn shops and online retailers like Amazon or eBay for the real obscure. Later titles I can do the same, though GameStop is a convenient option to track down games I may have missed and plan to play right away given how many of them are concentrated in my area. And having the games there to physically examine and check their condition is a nice convenience too.
So imagine my utter horror when going to capitalize on one of these offers, to find that all of the used Nintendo DS games I wanted to buy had their cases and manuals thrown out. This wasn’t just one GameStop either; this was occurring at almost all of them in my general vicinity. The only things left were the little game carts displayed in the little glass cases where the GBA titles used to go.
Now, I understand why they would want to do this. With the 3DS and the Vita games coming out, as well as the fact they’ve starting carrying tablets, they need space for all of these new products. However, to just toss them in the trash is doing their consumer base a huge disservice. Not to mention how terrible that is for the environment in general. Throwing away hundreds of plastic cases like that is such a waste, whether you care about games or not. They are forcing their customers to purchase an incomplete product and aren’t even giving the option for an alternative. Perhaps they could be kept in a drawer or backroom somewhere to be retrieved upon request. Or even ship them to their main headquarters and just send them to people who purchase the games via the website. I can only speak for myself, and obviously not everyone is like this, but I will not purchase a game without the case and manual.
I speak as a collector, so I know GameStop doesn’t exactly have my specific interests in mind. After all, if they care about my particular demographic, their stores wouldn’t constantly be the remnants of a child whirlwind that just passed through. And people consistently trade in games without their original materials, sometimes just days after it has come out (though I have my theories as to why this is). But what if there was to be a different price point for games missing their case and manual? Such as $5 off if it is missing both? GameStop could then in turn offer less trade-in value for the games with missing pieces, which is a win for them.
Just this past weekend, I was discussing with an owner of a small video game business who happened to be a collector as well. He told me of a story about a woman who turned in a bunch of games after tossing all of the packaging because they were too cumbersome to carry around and didn’t think anything of it. He told the lady that she basically just threw away potential dollars by doing that, and she replied with “I doubt it’s much.” Oh, did I mention that the games in question were rare Saturn titles, such as Dragon Force and the Panzer Dragoon games? The cases and manuals that she thew away would’ve earned her an extra $800. I think I shed a small tear when I heard that.
This isn’t meant to be a crusade against GameStop by any means. Being such a large corporation that they are, not everyone is going to agree with the way they conduct business. I do feel that the Power Up Rewards card is a nice incentive if you purchase a lot of games from them, and the Buy 2 Get 1 Free sales that they run are a great way to load up on newer games quickly. Not to mention, some of the locations around me generally offer good customer service and have gone out of their way to take care of me in some cases. It would just be nice during the instances when I do purchase a product from them that’s used, that I am purchasing a complete product. It’s as simple as that.
I know GameStop isn’t going to just change their practices in the blink of an eye. Not unless they have some financial incentive to do so anyway. So if you buy games with the intent of trading them in later, be a pal and save the materials. People like me will appreciate it. And if you are like me, and prefer owning games with the case and manual intact, perhaps consider not buying them unless they do. Who knows, if GameStop or any other major video game retailer has a huge pile of loose games they can’t get rid of, maybe they’ll think twice about their wasteful endeavors.