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