Some of you may remember an interesting article I wrote back in 2004 surrounding the re-packaging of used games, and selling them as new copies.
In it, I targeted EBGames, GameStop, and Best Buy.
Today an opportunity to make you aware of another un-ethical business practice by EBGames/GameStop presented itself when I was sold a used game that was CLEARLY labeled "NOT FOR RESALE". It was a Nintendo product, and when the store manager Dan was asked why I was sold something not for sale, he stated "Buying and reselling games like that (Not for Resale) is regular practice at our company".
From there I contacted Nintendo, scanned my game cover and receipt, and opened an official complaint with GameSpot customer service. I also called Dan back and asked him to have his district manager contact me.
Dan made NO apology, or offer to exchange the product, even though the two other used copies of this game he had were legitimate. In reality, Dan treated me more like a nescience,rather than a concerned customer. I realize GameStop managers might be young due to the nature of the business, but they should at least teach basic customer service skills to people managing a retail store. When I went to pick up the game I was treated rudely by Dan as well, it went something like this:
Dan: "Are you a member of our discount club?"
Dan: "Would you like to sign up?"
Me: "No thanks, just came to get this game for my daughter"
Dan: "You don't like saving money on your games."
Said more like a sarcastic condescending statement rather than a question.
Me: "No thanks, I like to buy the games I don't get for free, and I pay full price to support development processes"
I then tried to talk with Dan about E3, just to forget the rude behavior I felt I had just received. At least that part of he conversation was personable and polite.
For now, I guess you should just be aware that this happened to me today. I am allowing a few days to pass before I write the complete article about this to allow GameStop and Nintendo time to comment. I am also going to be driving to various local GameStop and EBGames locations throughout my town and checking for more samples of this un-ethical practice and documenting proof for both the game publishers, and our honorable gaming audience.
If you see listings in a retail store, on the internet, in email, by FAX, etc. by others who apparently have difficulty in understanding what NOT FOR RESALE means, I would like you to email me the information, and perhaps share the contact info for a few friends that I would ask you to introduce them to.
These games usually come from people like me who get free games for purposes of review, or from company employees. I don't sell the stuff given to me free for review, and quite frankly, you shouldn't buy ANYTHING that is labeled "NOT FOR RESALE". I have been doing reviews and getting free product for over 7 years without relenting to the low of trying to sell them after I review them. It ticks me off the no end that GameStop allows this, and that there are press people out there that have no ethics what-so-ever. These are the same kind of people that will give a review a great score because they got the product free to play.
Just to give you a background on this issue in general, Microsoft had a large problem with this back in 2005, below is a clipped part of a blog from Microsoft US Senior Manager:
"Ok, say it with me... "Not For Resale." There are just some times in life when you sit back, look at something for awhile, and no matter how long you stare or how many ways you think about it, all that you can come up with is: "What are they thinking?!?!?!?!?" While I know there may have been an instance or two in the past where maybe there was a question about something in one of our licenses (yes, I'm being sarcastic), but this is just not one of those times. Someone posted a site in the User Group showing where a company is listing "NFR software" for sale on their site. Now just for kicks, let's assume it is legitimate NFR software. (and if you saw the listings in question, you know that the odds of "legitimate" being associated with either of the listings is not going to happen.)* If you have a box of software that states on it, "NOT FOR RESALE," isn't that self-explanatory enough? Do we really need to change the acronym from NFR to NYCSTS? (That would be, "No, You Cannot Sell This Software" for those keeping track at home). So let me try to make this VERY simple for anyone "on the fence" over what NOT FOR RESALE means... It means, "NO YOU CANNOT SELL THIS SOFTWARE!"