When Reserves Go Wrong

When a new game is announced, some gamers feel the need to reserve their copy as soon as possible. Some will do this straight away, while others will wait or forget about it completely. I myself forgot about reserving the collector’s edition of Mass Effect 3 until it was almost too late.

I went to GameStop with some of my tip money in hopes to reserve the Collector’s Edition of Mass Effect 3. Sadly, I was three days too late. I then went over to Bets Buy, praying that I wasn’t too late to reserve it at their store. Thankfully I wasn’t but the employee told me that I had to pay the game off in full. Since I only had half the money on me, I had to drive home to get the rest of my money and then I returned to the store to reserve my copy. I assumed that since it was the collector’s edition of Mass Effect 3, the company wanted all reserves to be paid off in full.

I gave the employee the full amount and I got a receipt in return. I didn’t have to give my name or telephone number, which is a bit odd to me. I was told that all I have to do is bring in the receipt on launch day to the customer service area.

Fast forward to March 6th. Teased by those who got Mass Effect 3 at midnight, I was finally ready to get my copy. I got to Best Buy ten minutes before opening and waited by the front door in my N7 hoody, eager to get the game.

Waiting is always the hardest part...

Once inside, I was first in line at the customer service/pickup area. I gave the employee my receipt and waited. Now one would think, “okay, she paid it off, let me get her copy”, however this was far from being correct. The man looked at the receipt funny and then got on the phone. Apparently the man who took my reserve, did it wrong and I wasn’t suppose to have paid off the game and he did not take the reserve under the correct reserve SKU. Turns out they only had two copies of the XB360 version but one of them was MIA. They had three customers waiting. I then overhear Rick (another employee who was just in the area) had gotten his copy of the game. For the love of all things holy, you don’t mention that you got your copy of a highly anticipated game in front of customers who are waiting to get their’s! This means the copy that was MIA was actually Rick’s copy of the collector’s edition. I used to be a manager at GameStop and I know that reserve copies come first. Even if we get one extra copy, we hold it just in case something happens.

One person is told to go to another store to get their copy. I’m not totally sure if they had reserved it at another location or if the employee found an extra copy for them. This leaves two people left, waiting for their copy and it took them a total of thirty minutes to finally give me my copy of Mass Effect 3, when the situation could have been handled in ten minutes. We learned that one copy was an online order and the other copy was Rick’s (I don’t even know if he reserved it but I highly doubt he did). I feel for the person who reserved the game online, however me and the other customer were there at the time, waiting, dealing with a situation that should have never happened. To make matters slightly worse, the trailer for Mass Effect 3 was playing on their TVs.

Granted, I should have reserved my copy earlier but it is not my fault that the employee who took my reserve told me to pay it off in full. With such a huge launch, you would think things would have been handled a lot easier. Rick should have never mentioned that he got his game already in front of customers and overall, Best Buy needs to do a better job when taking reserves. They need to be more organized and perhaps take some pointers from GameStop. They need a system where they take names and phone numbers for every reserve. When something like this happens, be more apologetic to the customers about the situation. I’ve been on both sides and I know how it feels. The manager and employees of Best Buy didn’t seem that sorry that we were in the situation that we were in and hearing about Rick having his copy, made matters worse. Thirty minutes waiting at the counter is unacceptable and every employee in that area seemed standoff-ish. The only person that I saw who was actually trying, was the first man we saw when we walked in (sorry for forgetting his name). He started to call around to different stores searching for extra copies and was quick to give us the online reserved copy.

This is What I Should Have Done

We now live in a social media word. While waiting for the Best Buy employees to figure out what to do, I was on Twitter and FourSquare to express my frustration. I will no longer be reserving at that location and I have learned my lesson:

  1. Reserve Early
  2. Reserve at a location that knows what they are doing

Here’s a few tips for those retailers who take reserves:

  1. If you don’t have enough copies for your customers who reserved it, make sure your employees don’t mention that they got their copy in the backroom.
  2. Take the customer’s name and phone number. If you don’t have the computers that can function in that manner, do it on paper and be organized about it.
  3. With highly anticipated games, make sure your staff is ready.
  4. If something goes wrong, saying your sorry and having the body language that reflects that, goes a long way.

Do you have a reserve horror story to share? What about some good experiences? Feel free to leave your comment below!

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