Worst Company In America Round 2: Walmart Vs. GameStop

With all other remaining contenders having had their time trying to shoot each other with crossbows or burn each other alive with wildfire in the vast, Worst Company In America Hunger Games arena, Round Two comes to a close with this match-up between two reviled retailers.

Walmart may be the country’s most popular retail destination, but that obviously doesn’t mean people are too thrilled about having to shop there. However, several WCIA prognosticators were surprised that Big W’s victory over the combined suck of Sears/Kmart was not a complete and utter blow-out.

Meanwhile, GameStop had no problem putting the finishing moves on WCIA rookie Netflix, winning with more than 70% of the vote. Which just goes to show you that you can screw with prices for DVD rentals, but don’t mess with a person’s video game collection.

So line up at the cash register and vote. No returns, refunds or exchanges.

(Voting on this poll will close at 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 25.)

If you like competing for free stuff, there’s a sweepstakes on the Consumerist Facebook page that lets you pick who you think will win the Golden Poo. The prize packages includes the usual T-shirts and coffee mugs, but also our own Laura Northrup will knit you a little something nice. Go HERE for details.

This is a post in our Worst Company In America 2012 series. The companies competing for this honor were chosen by you, the readers. See the entire WCIA 2012 bracket and schedule of match-ups HERE.


Edit Your Comment

  1. bigdirty says:

    Gamestop gets my vote on this one – WalMart screws the suppliers, Gamestop screws the customers and suppliers

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      Everyone gets screwed by Wal-Mart. When domestic companies have to fire all their local employees because they have to move production overseas to meat W-M’s demands, guess where the newly-unemployed domestic workers find themselves shopping?

      Every time you see a “rollback” at W-M, make a mental note that it just might have been another formerly domestic company forced overseas.

  2. cparkin says:

    Have you even read The Hunger Games? There’s no crossbows and the wildfire wasn’t started by a competitor in the arena.

  3. framitz says:

    GameStop is actively evil, Walmart has already done most damage by putting local business’s down, but GameStop….

  4. Tacojelly says:

    Gamestop’s business model rely’s heavily in getting you to trade in your games only to have used games sold back to you highly marked up. This is terrible for the games industry and pits the publishers against the consumers.

    Also, they’ve been gobbling up store exclusive products and then neglect to order said products making it impossible to buy some items.

    • sqlrob says:

      The publishers have already pitted themselves against the consumers with their awful DRM. Gamestop is just a drop in the bucket.

  5. GoPadge says:

    My guess is that Walmart’s victory over K-Mart / Sears was only due to the irrelevancy of K-Mart / Sears…. Why vote for a store that really doesn’t matter anymore?

  6. dourdan says:

    Gamestop, for their “come trade in your games and we will give you 50 cents!”

    i used to trade in with them, but not only do they give like a penny for any game over 4 years old, the insane amount if paper work (because GOD forbid you get 5 pennies out of them in a year, you scam artist!) makes ebay look soo much more promising.

    walmart has never been much of a problem, but then i only shop there when i’m on vacation (to fill my hotel fridge.)

    • TrustAvidity says:

      I’m right there with ya on their pitiful trade values but it does go both ways. People make a stink over not getting more than it’s selling for. How can this game only be worth a dime?! Uh, there’s 120 copies in stock, no one wants it and it sells for 99c. What were you expecting, 5 bucks?

    • Ishbar says:

      Lol, it’s a used business. Like any company that sells things second hand, there must be room for profit. Taking in used merchandise that isn’t tested carries the inherent risk of not working; so that COD:MW3 that someone sold for ~$20-30 may actually not work. So the $50 used price means dick if it’s pure lost profits.

      I mean, look at used cars, you will see consistently the same year vehicle with 2-4k miles vs. a new one has only ~9-11% price difference. If a game is $60 new and $50-55 used, that’s about the same range.


      Name, Address, Phone, and Email.

      ^^^—That’s your “insane amount of paperwork?” You spend about 30 seconds typing that in to register for a forum. eBay requires your bank / credit card information, shipping address, billing address, plus can put holds on what you make from selling something until the buyer receives it 5-9 business days later…yeah…promising.

      Now assuming you actually read my post, and haven’t dived into writing some poorly thought- out out retort, I completely agree that GameStop is pretty bad at being a “good” company. There are reasons for it, just not the poorly executed ones you described.

  7. Schildkrote says:

    Video games are irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, especially since game consumers are as much the problem as GameStop when it comes to how they’re treated, but Walmart has done real and serious damage to the economy and to local business.

    • Jawaka says:

      If games don’t matter do we just just eliminate Gamestop and EA from the competition then? Perhaps we should also eliminate Ticketmaster from the competition as well then since concerts and sporting events don’t matter either. and Facebook, meh, who REALLY needs Facebook. Kick them out too. Same with Netflix and even Google.


  8. Vermont2US says:

    Walmart gets my vote, hands-down, largely because of their alleged mistreatment of their employees. I know this is a consumer-oriented web site, but as a consumer I want to know that the person who is helping me is treated like a human being, not like a sub-human.

  9. Zanorfes says:

    Walmart gets my vote. Underpaid employees, limited benefits, and destruction of small businesses. Game stop sucks too.

  10. Bionic Data Drop says:

    I’m not a Wal-Mart fanboy by any means, but Wal-Mart has never:

    * Tried to sell me an open game as new.
    * Harassed me about preordering.
    * Told me I’m not much of a gamer because I wasn’t interested in a particular game.
    * Relentlessly tried to get me to sign up for their card, even after being told no several times.
    * Attempted to steal free content included in new games. https://consumerist.com/2011/08/gamestop-stores-ordered-to-open-deus-ex-human-boxes-and-remove-free-game-coupon.html
    * Put 20 cases of the same game on the shelf and then when I go to buy one, they tell me the game is not out yet, but they’d be happy to preorder it for me.

    While Wal-Mart certainly isn’t perfect, I’ve never walked out severely irritated at my experience. My vote goes to Gamestop.

    • Bionic Data Drop says:

      I forgot one:

      *Walmart has never refused to sell me a game on release day they have plenty of in stock that is not reserved for anyone simply to punish me for not preordering. You are probably thinking it was Madden, Call of Duty, or some other high demand game, but nope. It was Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise.

      • Ishbar says:

        *Tried to sell me an open game as new.
        –You’re assuming “New” means “Resealed” when there is no *true* operant definition of “New” besides what *you* consider new, vs. what *GS* considers new–which is not leaving the store. Much like how if a car doesn’t leave the lot it’s “New”–despite getting hit for 5 miles every time someone tests drives it. Even then, at least GS doesn’t let associates test drive new titles (or the store shouldn’t if they are, BUT then that reflects individuals, not the company.)

        * Harassed me about preordering.
        –Much like how you will be asked if you want a Coke with your burger, tissues with your CVS purchase, or a sample of the latest “____,” associates have to do this to keep their jobs. Even so, a lot of times you get nice bonuses, like I preordered AC 3 and got a cool Steelbook case. Usually those are only with a Collectors Edition of a game and adds another $20-40. Instead it was free.

        * Told me I’m not much of a gamer because I wasn’t interested in a particular game.
        –Again you’re mistaking personal error (someone else’s shortcomings i.e. being an elitist) for the company as a whole.

        * Relentlessly tried to get me to sign up for their card, even after being told no several times.
        –I’m not one for membership cards, but a lot of places have free ones, and this goes hand in hand with reservations. People want to keep their jobs, they offer it to everyone to ensure this. Likewise, it’s a simple cost / benefit equation. It’s $15, you get 10% off. If you buy $150 of used shit, or sell $150 worth of used shit, OR buy $75 / trade $75, you’ve made it free. Most of my friends buy 3 used games in an entire year so it makes sense for them.

        * Attempted to steal free content included in new games. https://consumerist.com/2011/08/gamestop-stores-ordered-to-open-deus-ex-human-boxes-and-remove-free-game-coupon.html
        –If you read the article, the ONLIVE service was not announced to GS prior to sending the software out. It violates their agreement and generates a conflict of interest since GS has their own digital game distribution service. It wasn’t even “free content” it was Deus Ex through ONLIVE. Meaning, you would start up your game on the PS3, play it, blah blah, but if you really wanted, you could play the game through ONLIVE which is PC based. The caveat is that your saves were nontransferable from console, and that it was the SAME FRIGGEN GAME. Because that’s why people bought it on the PS3 or XBOX instead of the PC to begin with–to be able to get free streaming on the PC, given you have a broadband connection–right?

        * Put 20 cases of the same game on the shelf and then when I go to buy one, they tell me the game is not out yet, but they’d be happy to preorder it for me.
        –It’s called advertising. On those cases, you will notice they also *all* say “Promotional Box,” or something to let you know it isn’t available sans common sense. “Oh Call of Duty 5 in May? That’s weird, I thought they only released a COD every Fall, oh well, time to demand the game and be unreasonable irate about it not being available now.”

        *Walmart has never refused to sell me a game on release day they have plenty of in stock that is not reserved for anyone simply to punish me for not preordering. You are probably thinking it was Madden, Call of Duty, or some other high demand game, but nope. It was Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise.
        –Remember the benefits of reserving a game? How did you know it was available to everyone? This is merely an anecdotal story that really doesn’t pull any of it’s weight. With games like COD and Madden, companies will always be sent an excess–even in GS’s case with more than what the preorder is; they want customers shopping. If it’s an obscure title like Viva Pinata, chances are they only received what people actually preordered. They probably didn’t want to sell someones copy lest the customer return the pick it up the next day.

        • sqlrob says:

          So it wasn’t announced to them. Sounds like its time for a recall.

          Retail takes what it gets from its distributor, puts it on the shelf. Period. Full stop. Don’t want to sell it for some reason? Then don’t sell it. Right now, I can’t trust Gamestop to give me what I paid for, therefore, I won’t shop there.

        • BackInBlack says:

          Wow! I agree with Redacted here. Methinks Ishbar doth protest too much. Obviously either an employee of GameStop or a serious fanboy, as Redacted said. Very convoluted logic and defense of the indefensible.

  11. ThinkingBrian says:

    I really don’t have a problem with Walmart, as a matter of fact, most weekends I go to Walmart to do my food shopping, it works for me. Plus I use Sam’s Club as well. But I wouldn’t work for Walmart. However I do have to say that I have done business with GameStop as well for a few Wii games and never had any issues. But I wouldn’t trade a game to them, cheap, cheap, cheap.

    But I voted for Gamestop.

  12. Woden says:

    I’ve just gotta laugh at all these people saying they’re voting for Walmart because they don’t treat their employees well. Have you ever talked to someone who’s worked at a GameStop? They don’t give a shit about their employees! Oh you screwed up once, and made a minor mistake? You’re fired! You don’t extort your customers out of enough money? You’re fired! You wan’t enough hours that you can actually live off of the income you make here, and to earn the chance to spend nearly half your paycheck to pay for insurance? Yeah right! Here’s 20 hours a week now go starve.

    I’m not saying that Walmart doesn’t also treat they’re employees just as bad, but at the same time they’re not raking in massive profits by ripping off their customers either. GameStop as a company is a giant piece of shit that couldn’t care less about it’s employees.

    • Vermont2US says:

      You seem to forget the fact that Walmart probably has ten times as many employees as Game Stop. As a large hugely profitable enterprise, Walmart can do better…and should.

    • Karney says:

      Exactly. Those annoying pitches for the Subscription card and the reservations you hate so much? If the employee doesn’t hit a certain % per day, they can be terminated.

      You can still blame Gamestop but direct the blame at corporate, not the minimum wage sales clerk.

  13. schmittymcdougal says:

    nerds are so concerned about their vidja games they’re likely to make a dumb vidja game store win out over a corporation with the revenue of a small country that actively hurts things other than their ability to play vidja games.

    nerds fucking suck

  14. Sparkstalker says:

    Tough call…but I’ve never felt like I needed a shower after leaving Gamestop.

  15. Ashman says:

    Personally never traded in a game to gamestop, but have bought several used games there, and never had an issue. For me buying a game for 50% off or more is worth while for the few games I may have time to play. Resale, I could care less about trade in, I keep the games and not having paid full price in the beginning is the best part.

    Wow they offer to have you sign up for their card every time. no big deal, if I ever go to best buy they try to get me to get their credit card every time. If I go to the supermarket they ask if I have my club card every time. To me it is no big deal. It is not considered to me an inconvienence and really is not something I would condemn a company for. they are there to make money, and if they can get you to sign up for that card they make money. Can;t fault a company for making money can you. I am willing to bet that if any person who complains about them were the owner or head of any of those companies, raking in millions of dollars in their pocket, would be singing a different tune. Can’t fault them for having a store that people willing go to to buy products from can you. We have choices of where to shop, if you don’t like a store, excercise your rights and shop somewhere else.

    As for receipt checkers, I have dealt with that for years at costco, frys, walmart, etc so it is no big deal to me. yes you did just see me leave the cashier and you still want to check the receipt. no problem, it only takes a few seconds.

    Who would I vote for myself, probably walmart. every time I have been to one, the place inside was a wreck, and almost impossible to find the items I wanted due to the store being a mess and poorly organized. of course that may depend on which one you go to.

    Gamestop, never did anything wrong by me.

    • Bionic Data Drop says:

      Persisting after one “no thank you” is awful customer service. Making passive-aggressive comments like “I guess you don’t like our free stuff” after 7 no’s makes them complete assholes. If a store has to harrass it’s customers every time they shop there, it’s an awful company.

      Saying that Best Buy does the same thing isn’t helping your Gamestop defense. Best Buy isn’t a fan favorite around here either.

      “We have choices of where to shop, if you don’t like a store, excercise your rights and shop somewhere else”

      Again, like what has been said before: If your best defense for a store is “you don’t have to do business with them” then no company deserves to be in the tournament because we don’t have to do business with any company on this list. Please take your incredibly ignorant logic somewhere else.

  16. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I have to vote for Walmart. Although I patronize both companies, Walmart has more stuff that bugs me. So far I haven’t had any problems with GameStop.

  17. BackInBlack says:

    Wal-Mart, ALL the way.

    As mentioned, in the grand scheme of things, gaming is irrelevant, while in some rural areas, Wal-Mart is about the ONLY shopping option. Several people have mentioned that W-M has already single-handedly destroyed small business, and now ‘only’ screw their suppliers (like requiring a rep on the ground in Bentonville AR) and possibly employees. Not so! To wit:
    o Their ‘right-on-time’ inventory deliver system rarely is
    o They practice ‘lightning’ product selection, i.e., never striking twice with the same product you grew to love and now they don’t carry. They only buy what’s cheapest or has the highest margin for them, with little regard for the customers
    o That usually means buying from China unless it’s a food item (then you run into stuff like produce from Mexico fertilized in human sewage)
    o At my local Supercenter, the checkout lines are just crazy, 10-12 baskets deep and way too few lines open, no matter what time of day or night, and this one doesn’t even have self checkout
    o Need help from a clerk? They’re hidden better than Bin Laden (and about as responsive as he currently is)

    Bottom line: Obviously, Charlie Babbitt never took his brother ‘Rainman’ to Wal-Mart, or he’d have famously said, “*Wal-Mart* SUCKS…” Even they knew better than to buy undies at Wal-Mart.

  18. Bionic Data Drop says:

    “Can;t fault a company for making money can you.”

    Nope. Can’t blame any of the big banks for the mortgage fallout either. In fact, you can’t fault any business for anything they do because “they’re trying to make money”.

    Jesus, you need a reality check. Every company tries to make money. The manner is which they go about it makes them a good or awful company.

  19. JosephFinn says:

    I can’t believe it’s this close. WalMart is a supplier-screwing, misogynist company that deserves all the bile it receives.

  20. Press1forDialTone says:

    Are you kidding? GameStop vs. the largest possibly the most evil corporation in the World!
    This WCIA is getting ridiculous and seriously, if WalMart even knew about
    this match-up they would laughing hysterically as they push their workers
    to the bottom. Folks, you need to do some research about WalMart, serious

  21. Bionic Data Drop says:

    My definition of new is the same as any retail store and any reasonable person except for Gamestop and you: Factory sealed, never opened. Once the shrink wrap has been taken off and the security stickers have been cut or removed, the game is no longer new, regardless of the disc has been taken out or not. By defending this practice, you’re saying it’s fine for Gamestop to not accept a return on an open game as new, but it’s fine to sell an open game as new. It’s crap and you know it.

    Yes, I get asked if I want a Coke with my burger occasionally. However I don’t have to say no 10 times and then have some jackass make passive-agressive comments like “I guess you don’t like our free stuff”. It doesn’t matter what comes with it. No means no. You can’t justify it no matter what you compare it to. They are blantantly annoying their customers.

    The people a company employs reflects on the company. With your logic, everyone who has a bad experience at a store should just chalk it up to a rogue employee and not harbor any bad feelings against the company.

    Again, no means no. Persisting after a customer declines shows they do not care what their customers want, it’s really about what Gamestop wants. It doesn’t matter what comes with the card, if the customer doesn’t want it, shut the hell up. Employees want to keep their jobs? So sometimes it’s just the employee’s personal error and sometimes they are just doing their jobs, but either way, I should be cool with it? Nice double-sided logic.

    You really are defending them for opening a factory sealed box and removing items that the manufacturer included? Stop. It’s unjustifiable and you know it. Tell me you would be fine if a Blu-Ray player included an HDMI cable and Best Buy removed it from the box. There’s no excuse for it. If they had a problem with the game’s contents, they shouldn’t sell it at all. Period.

    It’s not advertising, it’s a dirty tactic used to get you to preorder. If it was just advertising, why not put up a poster or display? Why use real estate that could be used to sell games that are currently out? Why was under the “new releases” section? Thanks to you, I realize I should’ve been clarvoyent enough to know Gamestop thinks “new releases” and “coming soon” mean the same thing. I also realize that every customer who walks into Gamestop should know exactly when every game they want comes out, but in reality, they don’t.

    I know they had plenty of stock because when I asked if they had any, the first employee said they had it. A second employee came up and said they couldn’t sell any to me unless I preordered it. When I asked if all the copies they had were reserved, she said “No, but our manager won’t let us sell games on release day unless they were preordered”. I went to Wal-Mart next door and bought the game 5 minutes later. I’ve been buying my new releases at Wal-Mart ever since. So use your magical logic to explain how it’s beneficial to lose a sale and future business to prove a point about preordering.

    You are very presumptuous. You are going to bend and bend reality using your ignorant logic until Gamestop is a fine retailer and I’m just an unreasonable, ignorant customer. Fine. You can love Gamestop all you want. For me, it’s a terrible experience every time (I used) to go in there. Wal-Mart is one of the most disliked companies in the country and right now Gamestop trails them by only 5% of the vote, so that means I’m by far not the only one who has a problem with Gamestop’s bogus practices. Try being objective and not such a fanboy.

  22. JLyles says:

    I would vote for Walmart due to their capability for putting little convenience stores out of business when the Titan moves into your neighborhood however, the advantages of Walmart being in your community would be to bring you lower prices, which they do well.
    I voted Gamestop for obvious reasons and since the price of games is too high.

  23. 8bithero says:

    I do hate me some Gamestop, but the corporate policies of WalMart takes this vote.