Walmart Slaps Down Super Smash Bros. Brawl Pre-Orders

Don’t worry avid gamers, Walmart has “received your request to cancel” your pre-ordered copy of Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii. Oh, you didn’t ask to cancel the order, you say? $19.82 is an amazing price for a $50 game?

Walmart now lists the game for $49.82. After the jump, Walmart’s email of lies, and the best way to speak out against their thuggery.

Here is Walmart’s email. Reads like they are doing us a favor.


Dear Avid Gamer Who Probably Does Not Like Getting Screwed,

We have received your request to cancel the item(s) listed below from your order (#xxxxxxxxxxxxx).

We will attempt to cancel this order, however, we may already have processed your order for shipping. If you need to contact us about this order, please call us at 1-800-966-6456 between 6 a.m. and 1 a.m (CT), seven days a week.

=================ITEM(S) REQUESTED TO BE CANCELED —————————– —————————— Order Date: 11 JAN 2008 04:54 Order Number: xxxxxxxxxxxxx

ITEM QTY PRICE TOTAL————————————Super Smash Bros. Brawl Wii 1 19.82 19.82

===========================================Returns If we are unable to cancel your order because it already has been processed, then you can return any unwanted items to us after you receive them. You will have the option of returning the item(s) to us via mail or directly to a Wal-Mart store, whichever is more convenient for you. Instructions on how to return items will arrive with your order.

Help If you have any questions, please visit our Help section:


Customer Service at


Don’t count on phone support, thanks to Walmart’s Customer Contact Reduction Program. If you want to kvetch about your cancelled order, feel free to voice your displeasure to Walmart’s executive officers.


Edit Your Comment

  1. thetanooki says:

    Some stores fess up and admit that they made a mistake in pricing, which I applaud (I love when companies admit to their mistakes!), even when the store fails to honor the original “deal.” I would be much more understanding of the situation if Walmart did this, but to claim that each and every user “cancelled” their order?

    Thanks again, Walmart! Now I remember why I don’t shop at your stores AND actively tell others to stay far and away from you as well.

  2. KiLE says:

    I understand companies make mistakes. Walmart used their generic cancelation e-mail to get out of their mistake. It’s annoying but nothing to get really upset about. I even understand why they included a fake phone number in their e-mail for cancelation. What I didn’t expect was the lack of refund when it came to shipping and tax.

    So to all businesses out there, if you want to make a quick buck, put up a product at an unbelievable price, cancel all the orders and keep all the shipping and tax money. Why even carry product anymore?

  3. sleepydumbdude says:

    I didn’t order but the way they sent out the emails was BS. They should just fess up and says they screwed up and you’re not getting it for that price.

  4. evslin says:

    I don’t know that I’d use “thuggery” to describe this situation. If they really wanted to be thugs they’d hit your credit card for the full $49.82, instead of canceling your $19.82 order.

  5. clessness says:

    I got a different cancellation email from them this morning. It said this:

    At the time you placed your order, the price of the item(s) listed below was incorrect on our website. Due to this issue, we have canceled the item(s) from your order. No further action is required on your part regarding this issue and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

    Which is pretty obnoxious, but at least it’s not dishonest.

  6. nealb says:

    They likely just did a routine cancel of all the orders, because of the simple price mistake (1 instead of 4 is easy to do on the keypad), and the email was fully automated. Maybe everyone will receive a follow up email with the admission that a mistake was made? (probably not)

  7. Justin42 says:

    Yeah, a follow-up email did go out around 5-6 hours later, although it was still pretty impersonal, just quoting their policy very matter-of-factly. (I know, that’s all you can expect, it just felt like someone got yelled at for not sending out an email and whipped something up in corporate-speak at 9pm on a Friday night)

  8. dicus says:

    We did receive a follow up email, at least I did, telling me there was a price error and that my order was canceled due to that error.

  9. Fry says:

    They went about this the wrong way, but anyone who placed an order and begins complaining is just looking for a deal that never existed. Everyone that has ever bought a high-profile game for the new systems before KNOW that they are not $20. All those people were just looking to hopefully take advantage of a mistake.

    Shame on Wal-Mart for sending out improper cancellations, shame on the customer for trying to take advantage of an obvious mistake.

  10. dicus says:

    The email I received states:

    Dear Xxxxx,

    We are contacting you regarding your recent order

    At the time you placed your order, the price of the item(s) listed below was incorrect on our website. Due to this issue, we have canceled the item(s) from your order. No further action is required on your part regarding this issue and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

    Your payment method will not be charged for the item(s). Any authorization hold on your credit card account will be released in accordance with your financial institution’s holds policy. Please contact your financial institution for more information.


    Super Smash Bros. Brawl Wii Qty 1

  11. steinwaytony says:

    As a Consumerist, I find it a veritable outrage that Wal-Mart didn’t sell this sure-to-be popular game so as to lose $20+ per unit. Did you also know that they buy stuff from China? Asses.

  12. sleze69 says:

    I am wondering if that would constitute false advertising? After all…all the people who pre-ordered from Walmart DIDN’T pre-order from Gamestop, Target, etc. Essentially, they took business from other companies deceptively.

  13. they did this on quite a few games. I ordered Condemned 2: Bloodshot for the 360 for $19.82 and that shit got shot down as well.

  14. coan_net says: did a very similar thing to me a few months ago.

    I pre-ordered Alien Syndrome for the Wii for about $20 cheaper then any other site (most were around $50 – I pre-ordered it for around $30) I even took screen prints of the page & everything.

    Well the game release date got pushed back – no problem. But then all of a sudden I got an e-mail from that they shipped my order (about 1 month before I knew it was going to be released). I take a look at – OK, everything looks OK – guess I will wait and see what they send me.

    Well they send me a PSP game. ???? Well I of course return this and e-mailed support and such to get this problem fixed.

    At this time did what I considered a very dirty thing – They took the page that displayed Alien Syndrome for Wii – and changed it to the PSP game – so it even looked like I ordered the PSP game!!!!!!!

    So after returning the same game 3 times & by this time the game already out – they decided to just cancel my order since I apparently can’t play a PSP game on my Wii. did not just change the price – they tried to hide their mistake and change the product to a game on a different system!

    I decided to not even bother anymore… I just don’t even bother with anymore – a place where I purchased a little for my self – but did a lot of business with for the company I worked with…. needless to say I don’t do anything with anymore.

  15. XTC46 says:

    @sleze69: stores are protected from false advertising claims if they are obvious mistakes and they make an attempt to correct the error. The more than 50% off is an obvious error since it is going to be a hugely popular game, and there is no reason to sell it at a loss. In addition, they refunded the money unprompted. What they should have done, was given people the option to pay the correct amount and still get the game on launch day that way everyone gets the product they want (even if it is not at the obviously errored price mark)

  16. GearheadGeek says:

    @Fry: Shame on the customer for placing an order from Wal-Mart for a product at the advertised price? Does the dirt on your tongue from licking Wal-Mart’s boots taste good?

  17. bravo369 says:

    i thought the law that if something is incorrectly priced then they have to give the customer the product at that price. They can fix it afterwards but any customers up to that point are entitled to the price. For example, I worked in retail years ago and was told a story by a manager that $300 leather jackets were incorrectly marked as $30 with the price gun. They had to sell 3 of them at that price before they were able to get it fixed. Wouldn’t that same concept apply here?

  18. socritic says:

    I’m proud to say, as a New Yorker, I spend close to 10k a year on consumer electronics, NONE OF WHICH are purchased at Best buy/Circuit City/Wal-Mart/Target. Between mid size online retailers, EBay, and mom and pop stores, i get anything i want at the price i want without the wonderful big store “Customer Service” (customer disservice, they’re actually there to show you why NOT to buy at these stores). I’m NOT a glutton for corporate punishment. I’ve actually been doing it for 5 years now, and i got burned only once over a $30 item. Every time i walk by one of these behemoths, i snicker under my breath at my own satisfaction from seeing another gullible customer meekly strolling in like little red riding hood into the big bad wolfs trap. HOORAY CONSUMERIST!!!

  19. goller321 says:

    This is the problem with online stores. B&M stores are governed by laws against this sort of thing. If they offer something at a price, then they must fulfill that offer. Online stores have no regulations that force them to meet their obligations. And let’s be honest, most of the “mistakes” are simply attempts at generating traffic.

  20. goller321 says:

    @xtc46: Here’s where we disagree. 50% off is not all that obvious a mistake. Stores often have loss leaders that are meant to generate store traffic. Had it been $4.95… then it is an obvious mistake.

  21. Scuba Steve says:

    What I find funny is the 17 cents less they charge in the name of “always low prices”.. its a disgrace, and I will never stoop so low as to worry about 17 cents on a game purchase. And I certainly won’t be rewarding companies that insult my intelligence with such crap.

  22. Karunamon says:

    Guys, think for a minute. I’m guessing that selling one of the biggest games of the YEAR at 20 bucks is damn near cost, if not at a loss.

    It’s not gonna happen, and you’re a fool if you think it was. And if you signed up for this, you were attempting to take advantage of a mistake. (4 and 1 on a keypad are right next to each other. Someone goofed and fat-fingered the price in)

    Did they handle it badly? Definitely. But similar things have happened with stores like EBGames and I don’t see near the bile directed at them as i see at walmart.

    @Scuba Steve:
    Now add that 17 cents up across millions of transactions. It’s not much individually, sure, but taking it as an insult is a little silly. Paying less is paying less.

  23. parad0x360 says:

    @The Great TK: You are looking at the 17 cents from walmarts point of view not from a customers point of view.

    gamers always want to save money as our wallets are raped everytime we buy a game these days. Telling us we are saving 17 cents is an outright insult to our intelligence when its followed by an always low price marketing pitch. roll that one back you stupid friggen smiley face!

    As for the article, They should give everyone who ordered the game $5 off the real retail price.

  24. Firstborn Dragon says:

    @The Great TK: Umm, in my experience, if EB screws up a price bad, they STILL honor it.

    I got a 50$ game recently for 10$. Because someone had left a 4 off the price tag. All I did was point it out, and they gave it to me.

  25. vastrightwing says:

    Walmart 1. Best Buy 1E+100

    Walmart, all can say is, you have a long way to go to catch up to Best Buy or Sears.

  26. uricmu says:

    @Fry: Actually, high profiles games can be 20$… For example, super mario galaxy for the Wii, perhaps the most anticipated Wii title even more than SSBB, was available for 50$ with a 25$ gift card from Toys R US.

  27. uricmu says:

    By the way, it’s not a keypad mistake. There were more than 30 games in the list that were cheap on preorder (e.g., Rainbow six 2, Turok for the 360, etc.). I doubt that suddenly Walmart made a price mistakes on 30 games.

  28. Buran says:

    @evslin: Except when they did that they’d rightfully get a flood of chargebacks. You can’t offer an item at one price and charge another.

  29. Buran says:

    @The Great TK: If you don’t want angry customers, don’t bait and switch and then say THEY cancelled the order, which they did not.

  30. cirej2000 says:

    It was crappy that the price was listed at $20 and it was crappy that the email was so poorly written. Still to list a high profile, pre-order game at 60% off is pretty damned suspicious.

    I don’t know how the prices were entered into the Walmart system. I doubt that, being a public company, Walmart would intentionally do anything to fiddle around with revenue. Not in such an obviously unsavory way.

    Let’s face it though, if you for a moment didn’t think you were getting over on Walmart with this one, please get a clue.

  31. Buran says:

    @cirej2000: Wal-mart advertises crazylow prices, and you think we should “get a clue” when they actually offer crazylow prices? Wow. No matter what their excuse is, they should acknowledge their mistake and go through with what they promise. Raise the price later, sure, but not after the fact.

  32. Karunamon says:

    I never said it was handled well. Someone from upstairs noticed, killed the bad preorders, and everyone got a boilerplate cancellation message. After the WTF’s started flying, further explanation in another email.

    @Firstborn Dragon:
    I was referring to online preorders.
    Even walmart will usually give the advertised price to you if they screw up a pricetag in the brick and mortar store.

    So you’d rather they not take anything off at all then? And then you’re only thinking about video games and not their inventory as a whole. That’s their strategy FFS, is underprice their competitors out of business. You are the first person i know of who complains about getting a price break (even a minor one). Not just “meh, who cares”, but “zOMG do they think i’m stupid!?”

  33. guevera says:

    You deserve to get screwed for patronizing wal-mart to begin with.

  34. Fry says:

    @GearheadGeek: Learn to read. It was a mistake and customers tried to take advantage of that. Also, I shop at Future Shop for my games, not Wal-Mart. Does the dirt on your tongue taste good from kissing the consumers behind?

  35. Fry says:

    @bravo369: I don’t think the same would apply here, as it is an unreleased item. The jackets were already in the hands of the customers in your case.

  36. MMD says:

    @Fry: If Walmart had a posted offer at that price, then that offer existed. How is blaming the consumer relevant in this case? Walmart made a bad mistake worse by lying to its customers.

  37. MMD says:

    @The Great TK: So people are fools for believing Walmart pricing? Is that the reputation Walmart wants? Should the consumer have to ask “Are you sure, Walmart?” everytime they see a price tag?

  38. Fry says:

    @uricmu: You still had to purchase the game to earn the $25 to another purchase, so no, it’s not 50% off. It is simply $25 spent on something else on your next visit.

    Sorry for the triple post.

  39. Fry says:

    @MMD: I didn’t blame the customer. “Shame on them for taking advantage of an obvious mistake” is different from “it’s your fault for believing the price”.

  40. MMD says:

    So “shame on them” isn’t blame? Fascinating…

  41. Fry says:

    When it was first announced that it was at $20 (see Kotaku), it was very well known that this was going to happen. Yes, it is Wal-Mart’s fault. Yes, the customer tried to take advantage of it. I’m not for Wal-Mart, but I’m not going to side with customers trying to do something that they knew full well wouldn’t happen.

  42. uricmu says:

    @Fry: From traffic on ebay and a surprising average selling price of 25$ after SMG was released, I’d guess that people bought multiples. Still, my point is there are great deals. And yea, I would have happily taken a 30$ gift card to walmart with the 20$ preorder if they insisted and paid 50$.

    I didn’t think this deal would hold. I’m just pointing out that there are great deals on release games. For example, you can usually buy the new Madden and get some bonus (e.g., this year another game at half off at TRU).

  43. Fry says:

    @uricmu: Good point, but getting a gift card worth 50% isn’t 50% off the game, which is what your comment seemed to imply. My mistake.

    But your other comment about the 1 and 4 being close, it’s 1 and 5 :P
    If this did happen to multiple games (like someone else had said), it could be a mass-upload to the site and simply the wrong priced looked at, or a keypad mistake.

  44. MMD says:

    @Fry: How, exactly, is a customer supposed to know what the price “should” be if they aren’t already well-versed in gaming? Say a kid asks for this game as a birthday gift from Grandma. Is Grandma trying to do something she “full well knew wouldn’t happen” by responding to a posted offer?

    It’s not the consumer’s responsibility to worry about whether the posted price is accurate or not before making a purchase; it’s the merchant’s responsibility to price things correctly – or, at the very least, try not to blatantly lie if a mistake is made. Anyone who got one of these bogus emails has every right to complain.

  45. Fry says:

    @MMD: The majority of the people that got the e-mail probably DESERVE to have gotten shafted for trying to take advantage of the “deal”. What grandma goes shopping online for a game that isn’t out yet for little Timmy anyways?

  46. uricmu says:

    @Fry: It’s not that all the preorders were 19$. The wii games were around 19$ but not all, and the XBOX games were 29$ and not all. So that’s about 30$ on both types. It means somebody somewhere in the chain discounted some preorders by 30$ rather than somebody typed wrong.

  47. GearheadGeek says:

    @Fry: You seem to be the one with some difficulty understanding the English language. YOU said “shame on the consumer for trying to take advantage…” which is a stupid statement on its face. A consumer would be trying to take advantage if they hacked the site to change the price, not if they try to buy something for the advertised price. If someone tried to sue Wal-Mart for the $30 difference or some other such lame-brained “I’m entitled” crap, then indeed shame on them. There is simply no shame in buying something at the price at which it’s offered. If you see something you regularly buy for $5 at your local grocery store on the shelf for $2, are you going to run to the manager and tell him or her they’ve made a horrible mistake and you feel you’d be taking advantage by buying it at the marked price? If so, you’re simply not very smart.

  48. DragonflyLotus says:

    @MMD: Exactly. As someone who has been gaming for exactly 8 days (on a Wii purchased for $225.00) I had no idea until I read all these comments that I was never going to get a cool new game for under $50. I look online for good prices for something I like, wait a bit if I have to, and jump when I see a price I like (well, not at WalMart, but for argument’s sake…)

    That’s how I got my Zune for $90 a few weeks before Christmas and that’s how I got my Wii. I would have been really pissed if I had gotten an email saying “oops”. Yeah, I researched and found out how much they were SUPPOSED to cost–I purchased from your store because you advertised them for LESS.

  49. MMD says:

    @Fry: Who are you to say who does and doesn’t shop online? My mother is 75 years old, and she routinely buys *and* sells on eBay. She does all of her Christmas shopping online every year. If any of her grandkids had asked for a video game, she’d have bought it. Online. And (hopefully) for the price at which it was advertised.

    Even if some savvy gamer was buying this thing at the mistakenly low price, how is that gamer to know it’s a mistake rather than a case of Walmart using its allegedly superior purchasing power to get a great deal for its customers? And have you ever heard of a loss leader?

    There are all kinds of reasons why a price might be surprisingly low. Blaming the consumer for attempting to purchase something – anything – at its advertised price is illogical at best.

  50. Fry says:

    @GearheadGeek: YOu can’t compare normally priced groceries at a dicount to games, as 1, groceries expire, and 2, it’s like comparing apples to oranges. As for your “difficulty of understanding the english language”, perhaps you took my comment to harshly. Talk to me like shit and I will do that same. The customers that tried to take advantage of this (again, see Kotaku, another Gawker blog) are plenty. As for the rest of your “english” argument, might I suggest a site such as to help you with your difficulties understanding arguments? What I said was not fact, but an opinion, something a lot of people on the Internet have trouble understanding.

    @MMD: Any “savvy gamer” knows games are usually around $50-60 for the consoles at release, especially high-profile games. And yes, I HAVE heard of loss leaders. They only lure customers in. But Wal-Mart does not typically use a high-profile game (not even released yet) as a loss leader until the game has been on shelves for sale for a while. And again, I was not blaming the consumer (since you seem to have it in your keyboard that I am), but I am blaming the customer that KNEW the price was wrong (again, Kotaku, not like it’s hard to find) for trying to take advantage of an OBVIOUS mistake.

    As a side note, what IS with all the Wal-Mart hate? I’m not for or against Wal-Mart, just curious what is wrong with a company that takes advantages of the employment system, offers goods at lower prices, employs millions (my guess, I don’t know the numbers), and targets the lower-income earners with their lower prices.

  51. Usama says:

    An identical situation happened with Dell ([]), except that wasn’t a pricing mistake, it was a real sale price and Dell didn’t deliver. I e-mailed Consumerist about that but they didn’t think it was worthy of posting. This was a pricing error, I don’t think Walmart should have to own up to it.

  52. freshyill says:

    The fucked up thing is that Wal-Mart missed a golden opportunity to show that $20 is a magic number for a video game. It’s pretty much a guarantee that they can sell many, many more at $20 than they can at $50. With one title, this is probably a money-losing proposition. Spread out over the lifetime of a console, I bet they could sell more copies of more games, and eventually bring in more money, because a lot of people who wouldn’t otherwise buy a given game would buy a lot more.

  53. Natheo says:

    A golden opportunity to sell a game for approximately 20 to 25 dollars under cost?

    I think “fiascoes” such as this could be easily avoided if people would just wake up, read a little, think a little, and then take action.

    I don’t see why so many people develop this hilarious sense of empowerment just because they can act oblivious to the price of something.

  54. darkclawsofchaos says:

    @Fry: Fry is Walmart’s representative… I mean he does have a point, we shouldn’t really expect that price and it was to be cancelled, but, he fighting tooth and nail, he’s been on this forum for awhile duking it out and defending Walmart a lot. I mean, who else would defend a retailer so much. I mean, arguing on the internet… only trolls, paid representatives, and those with no lives argue on the internet with anomynous entities

  55. Edjamacator says:

    Actually, no matter what really happened here, there is a good possibility for misuse.

    Let’s say Wal-Mart did this on purpose. They never intended on honoring the preorder price and planned on canceling the orders once the product came out.

    As was stated, this did (or could) take preorder customers away from other businesses which were listing an honest price for the game. Customers would say “why pay $50 if Wal-mart’s going to give it to me for half that?” It doesn’t matter that the customer “should” figure that it was a mistake. If Wal-mart decided to do this on purpose, it wasn’t (or wouldn’t) be a mistake but an attempt to grab customers through fraud. Lure them away with a false promise and screw honest companies.

    Then, when they cancel the orders, they won’t suffer any loss because people will STILL line up to buy the game from Wal-mart, even those previously screwed because rarely do people live up to “I won’t shop there anymore.” So, Wal-mart still gets the preorder customers they “stole” from other businesses and people who simply want to buy from them.

    And what is to keep them from doing this all the time? Apparently nothing if they aren’t forced to either honor their false price or pay a huge fine for fraud if it is on purpose. The way the public is today, Wal-mart could have its greeters kick people in the arse on their way out of the store and those customers would STILL come back to save a dollar later on.

    Futher, what would prevent other companies from taking the same tactic? “Preorder the new Playstation4 and get it for only $19.95! Oh, and by the way, when it does come in, it’ll really be $400 and we’ll ignore your preorder. In fact, we’ll hire clowns whose sole job will be to laugh in your face and mock you openly when you come to cry about your preorder being ‘canceled’ on you. Won’t that be fun, ConsumerSheep?”

    Defend the company as making a “mistake” and you open the door to willful abuse. Maybe it was a mistake, but maybe not. And who says it won’t happen again and not be an error?

  56. 3drage says:

    Considering the deal was marked as a sale, I’d say that much like their DVD sales, the game marked $20 is indeed a sale, unlike the crappy stores that mark up an item, then say they are for sale at pretty much normal price. With that said, they should be refunding tax and shipping if it was a mistake. It’s pretty messed up that they aren’t.

  57. ShadowFalls says:

    It seemed way to odd. There was just way too many of them to be a simple mistake. Walmart was using it to generate traffic knowing they did not have to honor those prices.

  58. Karunamon says:

    Never thought about it that way..

    You really think they thought their cunning plan through that much though? This IS walmart we’re talking about here

    Fry’s got a good point though. This made it to Kotaku and the editor’s (and commenters) general tone is “This is awesome if it’s true, but its more than likely a mistake”

    It fits under the too good to be true category. There’s NO way a flagship nintendo title is going to release for a MSRP of 20 bucks.

  59. uricmu says:

    @Fry: Of course you can compare groceries to games. Actually, groceries would fare worse because there are costs to produce them and there are competitors.

    Games have a much wider possible range of costs and a much higher markup. The only really built-in cost into a game is the 10$ (or maybe 5$) fee that goes to Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo. The rest is between the publisher (e.g., EA) and the retailer.

    Consider, for example, the ever popular Orange Box or Bioshock. During black friday, the PC version was 25$, and it often repeated that price. I doubt the retailers lost money. Hence, when they charge you 50$ on regular days, they are pawning you for 25$ of pure profit.

  60. uricmu says:

    @freshyill: Walmart does wonderfully well even without actual discounts because there’s a regular “walmart crowd” that would buy anything at Walmart thinking it is cheaper. If you take any ten random movies/games/cds/tv shows, you’ll pay the same or more at Walmart than you would at Best Buy or Circuit city, I’m not even talking online.

    The only worse company is Target: they actually put the “as advertised” tags (indicating a sale) on video games that are retailing for regular prices.

  61. uricmu says:

    @The Great TK:
    Actually, a nintendo flagship game is more likely to release for less than full price than with another studio. Every console game has a built-in licensing fee to the console manufacturer (that’s why PS3>XBOX360>WII>PC on multiplatform games). Nintendo doesn’t have to pay itself. And the proof is that Super MArio Galaxy came out with the Toys r US 25$ gift card (and TRU weren’t losing any money) and that it was frequently discounted in the following weeks.

    Also, SSMB is a system seller. Show parents SSMB and SMG for a low cost each, and they’d snap Wiis rather than other systems. If there were Wiis available, anyway, which is another story.

  62. uricmu says:

    Everyone is forgetting that this is not just Nintendo titles. There were a whole bunch of games, XBOX 360, PS3, Wii that were all discounted by 20-30$ on the preorder.
    This is a consistent thing on the side of Walmart. Not just a localized mistake.

    The more products involved, the less likely this is a mistake.

    Also, preorders are a joke since games can be made in as many copies as the company wishes. You can usually waltz in to the store and buy anything. Preorders are a way for a retailer to ensure that people buy the game there and to get interest on the money in advance, hence it should be discounted.

  63. Fry says:

    @darkclawsofchaos: I guess I’ll have to be filed under “no life/anonymous entity” then, since I’m posting late on a Saturday night (there are other factors at work, but discussing them could bet me banhammered). However, ask me something about myself and I will most likely answer. Depends on how personal it is.

    @edjamacator: Good point, especially the last paragraph…

    @3drage: Perhaps I am wrong, but I didn’t see a “sale” tag anywhere.

    @The Great TK: Thank you for seeing my point. This wasn’t exactly a “only so many people found it” sort of thing. LOTS of people had heard of the “deal” and tried to take advantage. Maybe if it wasn’t as widespread, the turnout could have been different, but with the possible number of “pre-orders”, Wal-Mart could have stood to lose a LOT of money. And do you know where they would make up that loss? By increasing their low prices.

    To everyone else: If you owned a large company like this and made a mistake, would you attempt to rectify it? Maybe in a different tone/way than Wal-Mart, but you would attempt to control the situation and cut your losses. And to anyone that says otherwise, if you really don’t care about millions of dollars, feel free to send a checque my way to prove it. No cheque? I didn’t think so.

    Wal-Mart is a corporate entity, and for tax purposes (yes, I took accounting) is like another person. Why should they be forced to lose millions over what is SIMPLY a mistake that people tried to take advantage of?

  64. Fry says:

    @uricmu: Gotta love how economics work. Supply and demand. In preperations for Black Friday, retailers get large supplies and pass the savings onto the consumer. Do you know how interest works? Have you seen how the games are paid for?
    Also, you CANNOT compare groceries to games. Groceries are in a seperate market, have a lower shelf life, depend on different factors (amount of sun, season, rain), and are generally from many different farmers. Games have a longer shelf life, do not depend on sloar ebergy or precipitation to grow, and are from few developers. As well, if you want to talk costs ($10 to the console maker?), you need to take into account the games’ share of fixed office salaries and previous research, add in the wages of the graphic designers, developers, office staff, R&D (current), the share of expenses, and MANY more expenses. The $10-to-make game isn’t so cheap anymore now, is it? Plus you need to budget for an expected humber of sales, hope to at least break-even, and even include possible interest and other costs associated with licensing and loans to creat the game. Also, if you want to talk loss leaders (I hoep I ahve the right commenter here?), what do you think Black Friday is about? “Come to our store, we have marked down so much shit, you’ll be amazed!”

    @uricmu #2: There is no Target near me, but I do know that locally, Wal-Mart does indeed have everything cheaper than Future Shop (owned by best Buy, but still a better store IMHO) and other stores.
    @uricmu #3: Getting a $25 gift card does not mean the game is 50% off. You still need to spend $50 to get it, and you are only saying “I’ll be back for more another time”. I refer you to my previous comments.

    @uricmu: Again, please see previous comments. It could have been a mass-upload error to the site. As for pre-orders, that’s why I don’t even bother. I have a nifty 0% interest for three months Future Shop card that I pay in full. f I can’t find a new title there, Wal-Mart will have it at $0.17 (or whatever) cheaper, and I’ll pay debit. If not, I MIGHT take a stroll into EB Games, but only as a last resort. I simply don’t like the place, but again, that is just my own personal opinion.

  65. moorem2 says:


    I don’t know about you guys, but if Wii games were $20, I be playing on a nintendo wii right now, In fact, if wally world sold them that low on a consistent basis, I’d buy the console there too. In fact, I’d end up spending more money on snacks, drinks, and other impulse buys in and out of the store while picking up $20 video games.

    I’m not well versed in the production costs of video games, but I can imagine either the retailer, or manufacturer makes a butt load of money off of video game sales. I’m assuming its the retailer because they can sell older games for lower prices once the demand goes down. If Wal-mart, or any other store like it, sold video games for pennies above the cost of getting them from the manufacturer, they would see sales in other departments go up.

  66. moorem2 says:


    You need to stop defending wal-mart.

    (not)Everyone knows that they are a horrible company to work for b/c they rape their employees of most benefits.

    (not)Everyone knows they offer low prices, because they demand those low prices come from the manufacturer, or they wont sell their product, and since wal-mart makes up 1% of the GNP they have to have their product be sold at wal-mart or they will in turn go under.

    (not)Everyone knows those savings they pass on to the consumer is a big line too. The lower/middle class people there may be saving on the individual purchases, but no one goes to wal-mart and saves money. That money is just reinvested into other wal-mart products, and people just walk out the store with more crap. Savings for the consumer lead to more profit for Wal-mart.

    As an extreme capitalist, these things make perfect sense. As a human being who cares about other people, you can see how wal-mart is a POS company to work for. And a someone who seems to be educated in business, you should know wal-mart’s savings just add to the overwhelming debt our middle and lower classes are in.

  67. Fry says:

    @moorem2: I will admit that I do not know how your debt and lower/middle classes are affected in the long run, since I live in Canada. Our countries, though similiar, are just as different. But if you really want to talk about the “raping of benefits”, what about all the gas station employees, coffee servers, restaurant waitresses (tips excluded, they are not a steady stream of income, though I’m sure you can argue the other way on that as well), and anyone else who makes minimum wage? Wal-Mart should only be a resume-building job or something to help you get by while finding a better place to work. Some people work there because they have no other skills, some because they just want to work (perhaps their kids have left the house and they have too much free time), some because they need the income. If the conditions were as bad as everyone thinks they are, these people would be looking for other jobs.

    I have no argument for you product sold at Wal-Mart argument, as I have never heard of that one before. But do consider this: Why does a product HAVE to be sold at Wal-Mart?

    As for your “savings” argument, if people cannot control their own spending habits, why sould we blame the big box companies? It is up to the consumer to take responsibility for their actions. I don’t mean to insult all of you Americans, but to me (you can probably blame how the media portrays it), it appears that you guys seldom take responsibility for your own actions. And this seems to be another case of “it’s so and so’s fault for not stopping us”.

    The reality is that Wal-Mart is a company like any other. You just hear a lot about the bad stuff because no one ever tells anyone about the good. I have worked at a Tim Horton’s (coffee chain), and have had more people complain about things being wrong than I have heard “good job”. I delivered newspapers as a kid, and heard more “you’re late” than “thanks for being early”. I have also pumped gas for over a year until just recently (Friday before last), and I heard more “Are you gonna do my windows?” or “‘ve been waiting almost two minutes now” or “It’s been doe pumping for a minute, what took you so long?” than I have heard “Great job!” or “Thanks for doing the windows” or anything else. If you were the caring human being you say you are, than surely you have talked to Wal-Mart’s target (unintentional pun) demographic and their employees and asked them about their experiences there. Are you saying it’s so bad that people NEVER said anything good?

    And as a business person, I do not understand how Wal-Mart’s savings add to your middle and lower class debt. Again, those people need to take responsibilty for their own actions, including spending habits. How do I control my own: With a simple list of what I need. I will seldom buy anything more, and I do not use a Visa at Wal-Mart.

  68. Optimistic Prime says:

    @Fry: It’s not that far a stretch. Toys’r’us sold Mario Galaxy for essentially $25 the first week it was out. Yes you got a $25 gift card, but it was still basically the same thing as selling it for half-price.

  69. Fry says:

    @Optimistic Prime: For the sake of repeating arguments, at least read the replies, or skim them. Ctrl+F works as well. This was mentioned already multiple times, and it is NOT “basically the same thing”. You still had to spend the $50 for the game, and all it was was a guarantee that you will be back for a future visit to buy more stuff from them. If you paid $50, got a game worth $50 and a $25 gift certificate, it is not 50% off. It is $25 saved on your next visit. Yes, it was a good deal, if you shop there more than once. But that $50 STILL left your wallet.

  70. uricmu says:


    Actually, if I remember correctly companies list outstanding gift cards in their balance sheets. Hence, if they sold 100$ in gift cards and only 50$ have been used, they still have to indicate that they “owe” 50$ in merchandise. A gift card is not a “free perk” for them because that merchandise does cost them something.

    Also, many circuit cities sold Call of Duty 4 for the XBOX for 30$ rather than giving out the 30$ gift card and that game (one of the biggest XBOX titles) is regularly discounted.

    And as for what you said about black friday: I completely disagree. The 5 TVs that are discounted crazily and run out in 3 seconds are loss leaders in the usual bait and switch. Items available at huge quantities (Videos, dvds, etc.) the store still makes a fotune on. Proof is that these sales repeat themselves several times after black friday at even bigger prices.

    And while the cost of producing video games is high, there is still complete freedom in setting prices because you are trying to maximize profits once you already put in the initial investment. If I go to best buy today and get a copy of Titanic for 4$, doesn’t mean that it didn’t use to cost 20$ to buy or that the movie didn’t cost a fortune to produce. The studios want me to get it for 4$ instead of getting a competitor’s movie for 4$. Same deal with video games.

  71. KiLE says:

    @FRY: Can you explain to me and everyone else here, why walmart is in the right by keeping tax and shipping on all the preorders for the deep discounted games they advertised and then canceled?

  72. eelmonger says:

    @ohgeekile: Ummm…they aren’t. Preorders don’t get charged until the item ships and they canceled the order before it did. If you read some of the follow up emails it explicitly says they aren’t charging them anything.

  73. Fry says:

    @ohgeekile: Where does it say they are keeping tax and shipping? I didn’t see that anywhere. See eelmonger‘s comment above.

    @uricmu: When did I ever say “free perk”? You should really stop attempting to put words in my…keyboard? Also, outstanding gift cards do not usually appear on a company’s balance sheet. They can also decide to expense it right away on the income statement (two completely different things). They still sold the game at $50, your point is moot. Circuit City is not Wal-Mart. One deals in every day items (at low prices! Had to say it), the other deals in electronics. They have different pricing standards. As for Black Friday, I believe I mentioned that we do not have that here in Canada (and if not, now you know). While I may not know exactly how it all works, Black Friday and a popular game’s release are two completely different things. As for the Titanic at $4, that is probably still above the variable costs of producing each DVD. When a game first comes out, it is in the developer’s best interest to sell as much as they can for a higher price to cover fixed costs, which tend to be the larger of the two.

  74. moorem2 says:


    I’ll admit, the people that work at my local wal-mart usually fit into one of these two categories:

    They are using this is as their part time job. i.e. students, people looking to get a little supplemental income (I work at a Hollister store for that reason), or people who need a temporary spot.


    they are the very low of our gene pool. Grant it, there was an article on here about managers making great money, but some of my local wal-mart employees aren’t able to get a job any where else.

    My beef with wal-mart is they destroy the small business. Now, If you’re a capitalist, thats gonna be okay, but they destroy the competition with their “low prices”. Often times, those business owners end of working for the devil that put them out of business. The devil that is now controlling every aspect of their life through both payroll and since they get a “discount” (marginal, if that) they reinvest their paychecks into wal-mart.

    You’re right, it isn’t the big box companies fault that people are over spending. It really is our culture. In America we try to live a great lifestyle and by keeping up with the jones we end up spending 125% of our income. No one lives below their means, making us, as a whole, go deeper and deeper into debt. It isn’t Wal-mart’s fault, but they aren’t doing anything to stop the problem, and in my mind, is just as bad.

  75. Fry says:

    @moorem2: I will admit without seeing it first hand that Wal-Mart does destroy the small business, because it does seem to be a very likely scenario. And I make it a point to go to the local businesses first, but often times it isn’t the fault of single consumers, but rather consumers as a whole. For every 5 people that say they won’t shop at Wal-Mart, there are probably 5 families that spend 50% of their disposable income there.

    Just be glad that Wal-Mart doesn’t (to my knowledge) offer credit cards with their branding.

  76. Edjamacator says:

    @The Great TK:

    Yes, I do think Wal-mart is smart enough to do something like this on purpose. Wal-mart has been known for shady business tactics and this isn’t something too difficult to put into play.

    Step 1) Advertise a preorder game at a “Black Friday” type of price.

    Step 2) Watch the preorders flood in to them instead of other stores.

    Step 3) Right before game comes out, go “oopsie, it was a mistake” and cancel all the preorders.

    Step 4) Watch angry customers STILL come in and buy the game at full price.

    Step 5) Laugh knowing that you got not just the full price of the game but the tax and shipping money on top of it from the preorders. Money that doesn’t need to be used for shipping purposes now.

    It’s not too hard a plan to put into practice and I think Wal-mart is more than capable of coming up with this on their own. Let’s see if it happens again with the next big thing and we’ll know for sure.

  77. Fry says:

    @edjamacator: They didn’t get the shipping or tax money from the pre-orders.

  78. barty says:

    Ahem…no retailer is required to sell an item at a price that any reasonable person could construe as being incorrect. For instance, if someone had incorrectly labeled a $1000 item $100 instead, a store would be completely within its rights (and the law) to refuse to sell you that item. Obviously there is some interpretation of what a reasonable person would think is an incorrect price. Usually if it makes it as far as someone taking the retailer to court, the court is going to look at comparable prices elsewhere to make its determination. But if its a $5 error, the law is usually going to tell the retailer to sell at the incorrect price. There might be specific thresholds, but that’s just the general rules I learned in business law way back when.

    Let’s look at this situation though, everyone else was pre-ordering them at $50, so anyone who took 60% off had either made an error or was a scam shop (think Brooklyn electronics stores).

    Now, since this was a pre-order or an item not in inventory, technically the sale has NOT been completed. So they *can* legally cancel the orders provided they haven’t charged you already and/or return any deposits paid.

    However, this does not always assume that rejecting the orders is the correct thing to do from a customer service standpoint. Obviously you’ve got to make a judgment call here, if you stand to lose a large chunk of money fulfilling the orders or selling at the incorrect price, then you’re going to have to piss off a few immature, dishonest, folks who should have known better. If its just a few dollars, you take it in the chin and fix the price.

  79. Fry says:

    @barty: I tip my hat to you, sir. Well said.

  80. Fry says:

    @Fry: [] Ahh fuck, I spoke to soon.

  81. KiLE says:

    @FRY & EELMONGER: look around the internet. There are plenty of people whose debit cards got charged and only got credited the cost of the game and not tax or shipping. Check out the people complaining on kotaku and search for the word “shipping”.

  82. Edjamacator says:


    So everyone who says they did is lying?

  83. darkclawsofchaos says:

    @Fry: well spoken, or I’m to lazy to argue, I admit, you do make good points and if you don’t work for Walmart, you should, as rep of course (given what you say about managers are true, I’m guessing a rep would be paid even better). The consumerist part of me screams foul but therealistic me says he’s rigt and there is no point in continuing

  84. Fry says:

    @darkclawsofchaos: At this point in my life, I like to think I’m done with working in the service industry. Kudos to you though, you did make some good points as well.

    @ohgeekile, edjamacator: 1) Link please? I’d like to read it for myself. 2) It’s already been stated on here that there was some sort of follow-up e-mail that corrected that, IIRC. If they indeed kept the taxes and shipping, than I will admit to being wrong, but don’t expect it to be long before that is refunded as well.

  85. KiLE says:

    Kotaku “Wal-Mart cancels too-good-to-be-true Super Smash Br…

    Do a find for shipping in the comments.

    It’s also on the comments here:

  86. dan13l says:

    i don’t think alot of ppl grasp the concept of why alot of customers were angry. It wasn’t that they (Walmart) cancel the order but its because they made an excuse that the consumer cancel the preorder. People who order the game got a similar email about requesting for cancellation.


    We have received your request to cancel the item(s) listed
    below from your order (#XXXXXXXXXXXX).

    We will attempt to cancel this order, however, we may
    already have processed your order for shipping. If you need
    to contact us about this order, please call us at 1-800-966-6456
    between 6 a.m. and 1 a.m (CT), seven days a week.

    Order Date: 11 JAN 2008 02:52

    Super Smash Bros. Brawl Wii 1 19.82 19.82

    If we are unable to cancel your order because it already has been
    processed, then you can return any unwanted items to us after you
    them. You will have the option of returning the item(s) to us via mail
    directly to a Wal-Mart store, whichever is more convenient for you.
    Instructions on how to return items will arrive with your order.

    If you have any questions, please visit our Help section:



    Customer Service at

    Because of this email. Should the consumer feel a little cheated by a phantom request for cancellation.

  87. Fry says:

    @ohgeekile: It won’t be long before the shipping (and possible taxes?) are refunded if they were indeed kept.

    @dan13l: A lot of people in here did grasp that. It was one of the main problems stated in the article. In fact, it’s the REASON the article was posted.

  88. startertan says:

    I tried to order this as well. I got the same e-mails. I didn’t think it was gonna go through but what can I say. I’m an optimist.

  89. fyi1rob says:

    My problem with this was the second “explanation” email said my order did not meet the “order acceptance policy” due to their error. My credit card was charged (and I am sure it will be refunded) BUT if my cc was charged then they accepted my order and they can’t say I did not meet this policy.. fess up .. give me a coupon and say you are sorry.

  90. KiLE says:

    @FRY: That’s not the point. None of the cards should have been charged in the first place. Remember EELMONGER comment that you pointed out earlier? They weren’t supposed to charge the cards until they ship the product. Following that up with a faulty worded cancelation, that includes a fraudulent customer service number with a partial refund is insulting.

    Also, I’m like you, I don’t believe something until I see it. So until I see someone who posted that they got a partial refund follow up with a statement that they got a full refund, why would I believe they did? You keep saying it won’t be long till every things refunded, but after they’ve screwed this up on so many levels, I don’t see how you can be so sure.

    The “main point” of this post is the tip of an iceberg as to how badly they screwed up.

    At the end of the day, Walmart is still the company that took lower income empolyees and locked them in the store at night to clean up. They skimp on under paid employees paychecks, discriminates against women, and when that’s not enough, they sue to keep injured employee wages.

    So again, why have faith in Walmart?

  91. SteveZim1017 says:

    Maybe I’m a little slower than some of the people on this site but I fail to see how this would benefit walmart.

    if this was done on purpose to steal pre-orders, wouldnt they wait a little longer before correcting it. You can still pre-order the game from almost anywhere.

    the other part of the argument that even though the people will be mad they will still buy it at wal-mart because they are dumb/loyal/whatever reason was given. If these people were so loyal wouldnt they have pre-ordered from walmart instead of the other place anyway?

    They recieved no sales tax or shipping money, so I fail to see how this could do anything except give a little bad PR to Wal-mart and possibly loose them at least a few pre-orders. If this is part of an evil master plan, it seems to be a really crappy one.

  92. coren says:

    Considering there were something like 30 games discounted 20-40 dollars, writing it off as a price mistake or trying to blame the consumer for not knowing (they could be having a presale…sale) seems a bit ridiculous.

    Between that, the charging of cards already (oh, so Walmart gets to hold your money for a month or more while not delivering a product? That seems totally reasonable!) and the CSR’s response of “Just come back to our site tomorrow, it’ll be up then”, which involved large markups (offering something at one price then trying to sell something else instead or the same item at a higher price…I swear there’s a term for that..), Walmart really blew it on this one

  93. Fry says:

    @ohgeekile: I don’t place faith in such trivial things. Name me any big company that hasn’t fucked up before, though. Your articles you pointed out I have never read (and I won’t start now, but that’s not keep the “image” I have of Wal-Mart in my head) and are not things I knew about. Those seem to be pretty big fuck-ups, I will agree with you on that. However, they did not screw this up on so many levels. Only on three: Posted incorrect prices, charged credit cards (or so I’m told), and wrongly worded e-mails.

    @coren: Like I pointed out a few times already, they likely mass-upload items to the site and no one caught the celrk’s (or whatever the “position” would be called) mistake.

  94. KiLE says:

    3 levels is enough for me to consider walmarts compounded mistake pretty annoying, at least one you shouldn’t blame the consumer for being upset about.

    Yes, every big company screws up, but not to the degree walmart does. Name me the last time Google built a store on ancient burial grounds.

  95. Fry says:

    @ohgeekile: Chances are, if you took a look at all of histroy, you would find something notable about any place in the world. Also, I did not blame the customer. I said “shame on the customer” for taking advantage of this. If the customer was sincere about not knowing any better, than there is no shame implied.

  96. coren says:

    @Fry: I find it utterly ridiculous that a clerk or anyone could make that many mistakes on that many games and no one would notice.

  97. Fry says:

    @coren: No one can be certain unless we know how they upload their prices into their systems. I have seen a program at one place that lets you change multiple prices at once, though.

  98. jellopixy says:

    Woo! I just got an email from Walmart saying they are sending $10 gift cards as apologies for canceling the orders they screwed up.

  99. Fry says:

    I feel like this is a good time to say “I told you so” to everyone that said cards were charged taxes and shipping. For anyone confused, try here: []

  100. catmomma says:

    I remember seeing this deal and my husband was trying to talk me into ordering it. I decided it was not a game I wanted even at the $20 price tag. Now I wish I did it to get the $10 gift card for nothin.

  101. coren says:

    @Fry: That article you linked has nothing to do with cards being charged, it’s about pepole getting gift cards.

  102. Fry says:

    @coren: Way to read the comments, where people have posted their e-mails.

  103. Larry Rosenfeld says:

    on the day brawl was out i got it at circut city NO LINE or people for that mater thay wher all at gaymestop in line LULZ