NewEgg Drops The Ball, Gamestop Saves The Day. Wait: Gamestop?

Two months ago, Nathan took advantage of a Newegg promotion for $10 off his pre-order of the collector’s edition of the game Dark Souls, which was released on Tuesday. Ordering ahead and getting a discount: points for planning and for shopping prowess. The day before the game was to be released, Newegg (and other retailers, Nathan later learned) had to cancel their pre-orders because they just didn’t have enough product. This left him without a collector’s edition on release day…unless he could find one in his city, in person. Was such a feat possible? Yes, as it turns out, with some luck and the help of a heroic Gamestop employee.

I pre-ordered Dark Souls months ago at Newegg (August 6 to be exact), because they had a $10 off sale. All pre-order copies of Dark Souls were supposed to be upgraded to a “Collector’s Edition” for absolutely no extra cost. The CE comes in a big metal tin case and includes some extras like an art book and some exclusive downloads.

The game was released on October 4. However, I received an email the day before (Monday, October 3) telling me that Newegg had made an ordering error and all pre-orders would be canceled. Here’s part of the email they sent:

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Dear Valued Customer,

We’re contacting you today regarding your recent pre-order for Dark Souls Limited Edition. Unfortunately, due to an inadvertent order error, the only version Newegg will receive is the regular edition. In an attempt to prevent any confusion upon delivery, and because we understand you may have placed your order with the intention of receiving the Limited Edition, your pre-order will be voided.

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They included a $20 voucher code good for one future purchase.

Naturally, I was pretty angry about this. My initial reaction was that Newegg had squandered years of goodwill and loyalty and I was seriously questioning ever shopping with them again. I have since learned that they were not the only retailer affected by this issue, and that several other retailers did not receive enough or any CE versions of the game. Apparently this was an issue originating with the publisher of the game, Namco.

Anyway, with only 6.5 hours from the time I received Newegg’s email until the game’s midnight release, I had to scramble to find a CE copy at a local store. I called several places and ended up visiting my local GameStop ([redacted]. The employee there, A., was incredibly helpful. He checked his store’s stock and called every customer who had pre-ordered the CE to verify that they were all coming to pick it up that night, because the only way I was going to get a copy was if one of the other people who had pre-ordered did not buy theirs. Unfortunately for me, they all said yes. He told me to come at 11:30pm anyway, just in case.

When I came back that night, he told me that he had called a bunch of other [metro area] GameStop locations and found one that had a spare copy for me. I thanked him profusely and drove 20 minutes across town, just in time to pick up my copy at the other location.

This might all sound a little silly for a video game collector’s edition, but when I got the Newegg cancellation email I became a little irrational and felt that I MUST have this item that was promised to me. Despite my qualms with GameStop and their policies, I was able to get what I wanted thanks to their awesome employee, A. Thanks again, A.

“Above and beyond” customer service isn’t hard to achieve, but short-sighted retail and customer service operations don’t reward or encourage it. A. didn’t have to do any of these things or reach out to the other stores in order to get Nathan his game. He could have said “No, we don’t have one,” and that’s all that most people would have expected.

One “awesome employee” taking some extra time to make sure a customer got the game he wanted. That’s all that happened here, and it was enough to soften a customer’s opinion of a chain he didn’t really like.