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Bundle This! Let’s Talk About Nintendo’s Gamestop Problem

Yet again, Gamestop and ThinkGeek takes advantage of people’s desperation for nostalgia with bundles.

gamestop

Gamestop has done some shady things in the past, but nothing sets me off more than what they consider “bundles”. They seem to only do this for Nintendo consoles, but there’s some real underhanded strategy involved with each one of these. Gamestop and the Gamestop-owned ThinkGeek website has had the audacity to pull this scheme numerous times.

As we all know, the Nintendo Switch is hard to come by. This is due to Nintendo’s constant lack of knowledge in Economics 101: “Supply and Demand”. They come out in waves and are incomprehensibly missing in between, making people wait for restocks each time. The bane of the retail worker, the NES Classic, was no different. In a matter of just a couple waves, the console was completely omitted from store shelves, going as far as being discontinued this last April.

Bundles aren’t a new thing, but Gamestop takes this to the extreme.

gamestop

You want a Backpack? It’s not a backpack for the Switch, but here, have a backpack at normal cost!

Around May and June, Gamestop launched an ongoing campaign for “Switch Bundles”. On the surface, the deals seemed very good. Bundles can be a way to get people to get a few things they’d want at a discounted price, generally. These bundles certainly came at a price. A much higher price than you’d want to spend on a Switch, that is. Generally, they’d come with a game, as well as accessories like Pro Controllers, MicroSD cards, or even ThinkGeek toys and collectibles. But, the console is only available in these bundles through them, with directed stand-alone systems suddenly being available only the week that Splatoon came out. Gamestop employees have perfected the greasiest, most self-serving pitches to customers to sell these bundles, heavily utilizing fear tactics and intimidation. “If you want a Switch, this is going to be the only way to get it from now on”, I was informed by the employee. “You need to order today because they’re going to be snapped up and you won’t be able to get them after this.”

Cut to two months after this encounter and Gamestop still has the same bundles available on their website, as well as several other new ones. On the surface, it seems all is well, but bundling items and not giving a choice in the matter of accessories is both genius and rotten to the core. Gamestop did briefly “end” their bundles to allow for ThinkGeek to take some of the glory, but both have been actively available at the same time. ThinkGeek’s page is even still up and some of the bundles have pre-order options.

ThinkGeek and Gamestop’s Rock and a Hard Place

Thinkgeek Gamestop bundle

For the traveling Zelda fans, get that Backpack from earlier, a travel mug, and a notebook. Leave the NES at home since that’s not why you bought this bundle!

Let me repeat that a different way. ThinkGeek is selling video game consoles. No Xbox or Playstation. They’re selling, exclusively, Nintendo Switches. I want readers to note one thing here, though. Every last one of them are bundles with ThinkGeek exclusive toys and games. What is regularly priced at $300, now ranges from $400 to $610 in its stead across Gamestop and ThinkGeek. Do you want a Switch console, but want to buy the games at your leisure? Maybe you wanted the 128GB MicroSD card instead of a 64GB. Or, maybe, you don’t care about the games offered in the bundles. Too bad. That’s what you get.

Personally, I opted to not fall for the scare tactics that the Gamestop employee used for the Nintendo Switch and held out. Thanks to a friend’s watchful eye, Wal-Mart had some available for us, luckily. But, how many people fall for these grossly persuasive ways? How many desperate people bought the Switch bundles under duress from sleazy salesmen?

“Thousands” of NES Classics were “found”. Where the hell were they?

Thinkgeek Gamestop Bundle

You got the system just for Mega Man 2, right? Here’s a plastic Mega Man lamp and pins for $110 more dollars!

This leads to today’s news. ThinkGeek has suddenly announced that they had a secret stash of “thousands” of NES Classics. Yea, the one that got discontinued last April. “But then one of the buying ninjas at GameStop revealed they’d gotten their hands on a supply (sometimes it’s good to have Corporate Overlords)”, they mention on the descriptions. A likely story.

Needless to say, this is fishy as hell. You don’t just “find” thousands of a discontinued, hard to find system. The NES Classic sold at retail for $59.99 over the holidays, whereas the only possible way to get the nixed system is in ThinkGeek bundles, starting today, ranging from $140 to $220. Limited to only one per customer on on the website only, these bundles come with churned out ThinkGeek merchandise that range from plastic Mega-Man cosplay to a Tetris lamp. They regard it as the “hard-to-find, not-marked-up-on-eBay NES Classic Edition” and it’s not long for this world, so if you’re planning on being complacent in this behavior from a retailer, I’d grab one quickly.

I just don’t buy into the behavior. This is odious, even for a retailer.

Gamestop Thinkgeek bundle

No, seriously. You must LOVE Mega Man. Be Mega Man for an extra $160!

I’m guessing Gamestop and ThinkGeek has to come up with new ways to make money, even if it seems seedy and greedy. Will the same thing happen with the newly announced Nintendo SNES Classic? I guess we’ll have to wait to find out, but I sense there will be a shortage of those as well, based on prior experience, and the cycle will begin anew.

Did you get your hands on an NES Classic? Did you find yourself buying a Nintendo Switch stand-alone or in a bundle? Tell us all about your bad run-ins with  in the comments!

Jesse Collins brings a decade of knowledge and experience in the video game industry. In his work, Jesse keeps up-to-date and modern to the best of his ability in the ever-changing industry. Currently in public relations and marketing for indie development video games, Jesse has also been a journalist for several publications in the past. He doesn’t THINK outside of the box, he LIVES outside of it.
  • Daryl Kiddey

    And as of 6 PM eastern time the same day the article is posted, they’re gone, they have left the building, they are SOLD OUT.

    This is straight out Nintendo’s fault. Gamestop did what ANYONE with enough money and customer base should do(Can’t believe Wal-Mart didn’t think of it.) It is called capitalism, and even in the most socialist tempered capitalistic society, this is in no way illegal nor unpredictable.

    Nintendo fails to realize that in America, you slightly over produce stuff, then its the Retail stores that deal with the overstock. Right now Nintendo’s only real Achilles’s heel s people CAN’T buy their stuff. eventually that will kill them.

    • Jesse Victor Lee Collins

      I agree that Nintendo is at fault here too. But, I definitely place the blame on both entities though. Gamestop’s business model is fear mongering and scummy salesmen. I’ve worked retail for a good chunk of my life and I can tell you that these bundles might seem like good deals, but those that want a choice (you know, with that pesky free-will and all) are left in the dust. It’s a “bite the bullet and get the entire she-bang” or lose out.

  • AllDayIPlay B

    Nintendo is definitely at fault. They do this stuff all the time. The problem is we let them. You can’t fault the GameStop’s, Think Geek’s or even the shady eBay sellers. Nintendo knows exactly that this stuff is in demand like crazy and they’re going to do exactly the same thing with the SNES Classic. These businesses are in the game to make money, so they take advantage of Nintendo essentially doing them a favor to clear out the bullshit they can’t normally sell. Personally I think it’s messed up and didn’t even attempt to purchase a NES Classic nor will I attempt to buy an SNES Classic. It’s a joke especially when I can play all of those games on my phone and not give Nintendo a dime for creating a terrible experience for their “fans”. I think it’s unfortunate that there’s people who are missing out on something they truly want just due to this same company playing the supply and demand game over and over, preying on people’s nostalgia.

    • Jesse Victor Lee Collins

      Nintendo is the most often offender, yes. But, you can and should fault the retailers too. None of them are innocent in this. I can understand Nintendo not wanting to saturate the market with their product where there’s left overs, but Gamestop SUDDENLY finding “thousands” of these consoles is very underhanded and seedy.

      Additionally, the parts with the Switch bundle fear tactics, I didn’t quote the entire conversation I had with this employee, but I left that Gamestop that day trying to get this guy out of my head, he was so deep in there. He made me feel like I’d never get one unless I went with that deal. It was crazy abusive relationship bad (and I’ve been through this with an ex). “No one will love me as much as I do. You can’t leave me because no one will want you.”

  • Cody Hall (CodyWody88)

    I love gamestop and most of there bundles atleast i get physical merc. Plus i enjoy collecting so this is more of a preference

    • Jesse Victor Lee Collins

      Definitely! Don’t get me wrong here. I an a collector. I have thousands of dollars in consoles, games, collectibles, figurines, etc. If I sold it all, I’d have a pretty penny back. But, I don’t like being forced into buying collectibles because I want the OTHER item.

      • Francis DiPersio

        I’m right there with you, Jesse. Especially when you consider the crazy markup. A $110 dollar price bump to get a few tacky goodies that look like rejects from a Loot Crate is highway robbery. Gamestop knows full well they can do this to get a huge increase in profits though, and it’s garbage.

        • Jesse Victor Lee Collins

          As I said in an earlier comment: Forced Market Basket.

  • Cody Hall (CodyWody88)

    I also visit gamestop almost weekly and from my experience they almost always have base, special edition , delux and the zuper expensive buy this shit bundle ive always felt like i had a choice plus with all the retailers out there you have options seems like the blame game!!

    • Jesse Victor Lee Collins

      This is different, though. This isn’t “Hey, you have a choice”. This is “Hey, we know you want the system and you’re going to buy the system. But, we’re going to force accessories and/or random merch into this bundle to gain profit margin. I’ve worked retail for a decade of my life. We call that “Market Basket” in retail. Except, when you’re at Best Buy and the guy says “You bought that computer, you might wanna grab the printer and a flash drive”, you can say no. In this case, it’s all or nothing. That’s shady.

  • zero

    Yup. Another way for Game stop to fuck over their customers.

    People stop buying & giving in. Have some self control & do not support bullshit like this.

    2. Don’t shop at Game stop or Think Geek EVER.

    3. NO Craigslist OR EBAY.

    4. Just stop buying from Scalpers & Price Gougers. Stop paying INFLATED prices. Pay M.S.R.P. ONLY.

    Consumer GREED AND CORPORATE GREED have created all this price gouging BULLSHIT. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Speak with your wallet & DO NOT BUY.

    • Jesse Victor Lee Collins

      So, I never actually buy games at Gamestop. I’m a Funko Pop Collector with hundreds of Pops and Gamestop generally has some good stuff in their stores. But, I always have to laugh when I get to the counter and they ask about Power-Up Rewards.

      “I see you’re not a Pro membership, would you-”
      “Son, I haven’t bought a game from Gamestop in years. There’s generally easier and most cost effective ways to buy games in this day and age than full price (or 5 dollars off because it’s used). I only buy collectibles from here. Now, if you can tell me how a Pro membership can help me with my Funko hobby, then I may reconsider.”

      My story in the article started similar to that. But, I had to ask if they had any Switches at all, out of curiosity. After the mind games this guy did, I left the store feeling like I regretted not dropping 400-500 bucks that day on a bundle. It was bad.

  • Nathan Drake

    the only time the pro membership works with collectibles is when they do their bogo on funko pops or clearance buy 1 get one free or 50% off….they canceled my pro membership because they claim they gave me too many free powerpoints to make up for things they did wrong..and on top of it never refunded me my 15$ for the year..i dont buy games their either only collectibles once they get to clearance and real cheap..also some scummy district managers have a stick up their ass about giving away posters from their marketing that they THROW IN THE GARBAGE…they dont want people to be happy or to make a penny from them..they are sick and twisted.. i have been collecting posters from them for around 5 years and now all of a sudden its not allowed..corporate even stated that thats not even a real policy they dont care if people have the posters. now the employees rip them up and throw them out so people cant get them.. disgusting pigs gamestop is..

  • Jesse Victor Lee Collins

    When I say “over saturation”, I remember working at Best Buy. We had a lone Wii U or two that just sat on the shelf. The same one, for over a month. Parents bought the hell out of 3DS’s, Xbox’s, and PS4’s, just those Wii Us just sat there. Part of me thinks it’s their backwards way of keeping their stock in check after the Wii U technically “flopped”.

    Also, I worked at Staples for nearly 6 years. You wanna talk bad company to work for, talk to anyone that’s worked for Staples for over a year. They’ll laugh at the guy that at least gets a discount on games to be yelled at. I was literally screamed at by a general manager, on the floor in front of customers, for asking to leave an hour early because I was bedridden with a stomach flu and they made me come in for a 10 hour shift on a not-so-busy day. Or I could mention the time that I was manipulated to miss my own birthday party, or countless other things they did.

    All I’m saying here is that retail sucks any where you go. Gamestop is no different, I’m sure. So, don’t feel bad for just Gamestop employees. Feel bad for anyone working for a shitty company. But, there is NO excuse for the way that employee made me feel. And after reading a lot of comments this post has inspired on Facebook, it seems this is pretty common because of the higher ups forcing the employees to be terrible people.

  • AultinBarltino

    >“Thousands” of NES Classics were “found”. Where the hell were they?
    *cough*scalpers*cough*

  • Jaime An

    As a GameStop employee (though not for long) I can definitely confirm the scumminess in all of this. From our stand point, we are almost forced to sell as many of these bundles as we can to customers. I’ve been encouraged by my district manager “remind” customers of how unlikely it is they’ll find the system by itself to sway them. And at first I bought into it, these bundles were available only once or twice a month for two days max. But for the past two months, we’ve had them every week, with different bundles almost every day. At this point, if customers don’t like the options, I tell them not to stress. They can either find the console by itself elsewhere, or wait for a bundle that has exactly what they’re looking for.
    I don’t care how “in trouble” I get for not selling these, I’m not going to screw people over, especially for a company that doesn’t even care about it’s employees.

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