Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A Shocking Event

Something shocking happened to me today.

I was meeting my friend John for lunch at the mall, and as I walked up to the mall I saw his car just pulling in, so I decided to walk out to meet him. As soon as he gets out of his car, a guy runs up to him and starts beating the shit out of him. John is on his back and the guy pulls the wallet out of his pocket, takes all his cash and credit cards, gives him one last kick in the stomach, and runs off. I want to go catch the bastard, but my friend is hurt and needs help, so I run toward him. I take one last look at the assailant and I swear the damn guy is wearing one of those Electronics Boutique employee shirts.

“Holy shit!” I yelled when I reached John. “Can you walk? I’m taking you to the hospital and I’m calling the police.”

”No police,” he mumbled. “No police.”

”What do you mean NO POLICE?” I shouted. “You just got robbed! And I think that guy works at the mall!”

“Just working out some details of my Xbox 360 pre-order,” he gasped, just before he lost consciousness.

Man. Electronics Boutique announced their pre-order bundles for the Xbox 360, and everybody who screws people for a living must be gasping in admiration. Highway robbers everywhere are saluting. It’s one of the most colossal rip-offs I’ve ever seen.

In case you haven’t heard about this, there are two pre-order bundles available: The $699.92 Ultimate Bundle, which I guess is accurate, since it’s the ultimate SHAFT, and the $599.93 Core Bundle, and I guess they’re calling it “core” because the more accurate term “anal probe” didn’t test well.

In other words, they’re forcing you to buy THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS of additional items to get an Xbox 360. And, incredibly, that’s not even the worst part—the worst part is that you can’t even choose what you’re going to buy. Actually, THAT’S not even the worst part. The absolute worst part is that the one hundred billion dollar Ultimate Bundle doesn’t even come with a freaking memory card!

I’ve seen brazen before, and rip-offs, but this is so far beyond the pale that it’s incredible. That whooshing sound you hear is all the Xbox 360 momentum escaping from a punctured balloon, because at those prices, nobody’s going to be excited about this console.

At least we can hope that Gamestop will do the decent thing and—oh, wait. It’s the same company as EB now. That’s really going to help out the consumer.

Hopefully places like Best Buy and Fry’s will offer the console and games separately—I’m sure some chains will—but if they don’t, the frenzy that seemed to be building up is going to die a sudden and painful death. And if Microsoft approved that bundle at that price, they have absolutely no clue about what they’re doing in terms of launch pricing. They’ve done a ton of things right in the last few months, but if they approved this, somebody needs to get those guys to put down the crack pipe, spend a few weeks in rehab, and come back to our world clean and sober.

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