Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Monthly Hate - Preordering a Vita from Best Buy.

The Monthly Hate is a (rare and non-monthly) feature
where I try to complain about things.
I'm not a huge complainer, but I'll do my best.

I'll start with swearing more.

A few weeks ago, while perusing Best Buy's flyer, I noticed this little gem:

Welly welly. That sounds rather perfect, for me. I definitely want a PSVita, I absolutely want to get my hands on it a week early - the better to blog about - and fifty bucks for a 4G memory card, Little Deviants and a case is a reasonable saving.

Now, granted, Little Deviants is not very high on my to-own list. More precisely it's not on the list - and a 4G memory card will hardly serve me for long - but I definitely want to get my mitts on this thing as soon as possible, and the fact of the matter is Little Deviants (while a full game in its own rights) is basically the world's best tech demo for the Vita's various features.

It takes great advantage of the front and rear touchscreens, and the system's giro controls - it'll be a good way to familiarize one's self with the system's intricacies.

So, I follow the instructions on the flyer and type into Google Chrome and... that website does not exist. Hmph. I head down to Best Buy.

This is the Best Buy I frequent. I've had good and bad experiences, here. When I bought my first, second and third HDTVs, this is the store I went to. I got great service, and when I decided I didn't like TV #1, they let me swap it right out for a different model.

On the other hand, when I went shopping for a PSP, the doucher dudebro who's generally milling around the games section assured me - along with the dude who took my money for said PSP - that a PSP-3000 comes with 8GB of onboard internal storage, and doesn't need a memory card.


Anyway, given that the website for their advertised deal was unavailable, I entered the store in the hopes that discussion with a living, breathing person may help.

What a fool I was.

The fellow in the gaming department had no idea what I was talking about. I asked if he had a copy of his store's flyer (he did), and pointed out the promotion to him.

He was amazed by it, and directed me towards the customer service desk.

The woman who came to my aid at the customer service desk had, similarly, never heard of the promotion, and advised me to visit the website that didn't exist. I explained that situation, and she went and fetched someone else to help me.

Best Buy Customer Service Associate Mark III suggests I visit

After explaining it a third time, he plays around on his computer for a while and tells me all I have to do is walk up to the cashier at the front of the store, tell her to type in a certain code on the flyer, pay her fifty dollars, and I'll have my preorder.

The cashier has absolutely no idea what I'm talking about, when I attempt to explain what Mark III's instructions were. She assures me that - in a case with a preorder like this - all I need is a card they should have on display back with the other gaming stuff. I assure her no such card exists, but she goes to look for it anyway.

She comes back, and tells me to visit the website on the flyer.

I explain it to her again - Mark III comes over and explains it again - and they come to the shared conclusion that the only place I can get the Week Early deal is at

Well, fuck.

So, today - several weeks later - Kayla and I swing through that same Best Buy in the hopes of securing a pretty-good romantic comedy my parents have asked me to locate. As is usual, I swing through the gaming section... and there are the cards!

The cards are there! I can preorder the Vita and get the deal and get Uncharted: Golden Abyss a week early as well!

Kaloo kalaay!

I grab both cards (and a copy of Willow) and head to the checkout.

"You have a Rewards Zone card?" she asks me. I give her my phone number. "And the Gamer's Club card?"

"No," I tell her.

"Oh, well you need that to preorder this."



" much is that going to cost me?"

"Nothing! We can sign you up right now and it's free."

"Fine, sign me up."

"Now you just need to wait for the SKU number to get emailed to you."

"Emailed to me? What email address will you send it to?"

"The one on your Rewards Zone membership."

...which is, of course, my father's fucking email address, 'cause he's the one who first used that phone number to sign up for the account. And they have no idea when the email will be sent.

"Shortly after the promotion ends, I expect. So... the short version is... this time, you have these cards - and you still won't let me preorder this thing."

I was so pissed off.

They're advertising this thing - indicating, in a way I did not perceive as obfuscating - that they would like you to purchase it. And then, at all ends, they make it as hard as fucking possible for you to just buy the goddamned thing.

I don't get it. I don't understand it. Fuck it.

I went home and poked around on the internet. I checked out EB Games' website.

I went down there, put fifty dollars on the counter and walked away with a preorder for the First Edition Bundle.

It was so easy. Of course, now that I've put down an order at EB, I have absolutely no assurances that they will actually have the product on the 15th - such is the nature of that beast - but at the very least, the process was utterly painless.

Best Buy, I swear on all that is good and holy - I will never attempt to preorder anything from you ever again.

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