Thursday, August 25, 2005

Xbox 360 Pre-Orders: Say Anything

Gamestop and EB stores aren't selling those ass-tastic bundles like their online equivalents. That's good to hear.

I decided to do something today that I thought would be interesting (your mileage may vary and often does, obviously): I called five EB's and five Gamestops and asked them if they were doing Xbox 360 pre-orders.

I mean, this is a big deal for both companies, right? Surely they have some kind of directive to their employees to ensure consistent communication to customers, right?

Well maybe they have a directive, but it's not clear that everyone is reading the directive.

The question: "Are you guys doing Xbox 360 pre-orders? How does that work?"

Here are the results.

Store #1: "First shipment is already sold out. $50 deposit gets you a system from the second shipment."

Store #2: "I can still sell you the system without the hard drive. The $399 system is sold out for the first shipment. $50 deposit."

Store #3: "We're on the second shipment. $50 down. If you trade in games, you get 20% extra over the regular trade-in value."

Store #4: "Trade in your games for 20% extra. $50 deposit. It's not guaranteed in the first shipment."

Store #5: "We're on the second shipment. Everybody is sold out of their first shipment, including Best Buy and Wal-Mart. $50 down."

Everybody got the $50 correct. Other than that, they were all over the place. And I'd like to thank the very savvy employee who had determined that Wal-Mart and Best Buy were already sold out of the first shipment.

Store #1: "$50 down. Not guaranteed for first shipment."

Store #2: "We're just taking names on a sheet of paper. We don't have any pre-orders set up."

Store #3: "$50 down and we have a few slots left."

Store #4: "We still have a couple available and it's $50 down."

Store #5: "We're all filled up."

I'd like to congratulate store #2 for offering to write down my name. Excellent work. And store #5 didn't mention a second shipment or anything else, although they did offer to give me the numbers of other stores, which would presumably make me leave them alone as quickly as possible.

So if you're looking to pre-order a system, look around. You have about a 25% chance of meeting someone who can't find their own ass with a flashlight and a search warrant. So if they say something that sounds outrageous, it probably is, and the next store will have a better idea of what's really going on. I hope.

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