When I wanted to pre-order Diablo 3: Collector’s Edition, GameStop always responded that they weren’t taking pre-orders yet. The day it was dated I tried to pre-order it, and they said it was sold out. (I ended up buying it at Fry’s.) For Mists of Pandaria, I checked repeatedly. The day it was dated I called my GameStop and asked if they were accepting pre-orders. They were! I confirmed that I didn’t need to pick it up at midnight and that I had a few days to pick it up. They let me know that they actually hold collector’s editions of games for weeks. Fantastic! After work that day I went to the store, asked them all the same questions again, and put my money down.
Later, I went back to that GameStop to pre-order a Wii U. While I was there, I checked on my pre-order to make sure everything was set with Mists of Pandaria. Everything was good. I asked all the same questions again and was reassured.
I wasn’t going to go to the midnight launch because I prefer sleep. However, it didn’t matter much anyways because my friends Alex and Darnell were visiting the week of the release, and I was going to be with them Monday and Tuesday anyways. On Wednesday after work, I stopped by GameStop to pick up my copy of the game.
I told the cashier I had pre-ordered Mists of Pandaria. He replied with, “did you want to pick it up?” Yes, yes I did. He grabbed the standard edition without even asking me for my name or phone number. I informed him that I had pre-ordered the collector’s edition. He went to the back to look, came back a few minutes later, said “sorry, just a sec” and went to the other door. A few minutes later he returned to tell me that they didn’t have any more copies.
Now I might forget the exact details, but I remember that he didn’t seem to offer any other information. I pointed out that I had pre-ordered it, and he was quick to tell me that they were short one unit in their delivery and that it wasn’t their fault. I told him that the whole point of pre-ordering is that I’ll have it for sure, and I told him about how I asked over and over about picking up a couple days later. He repeatedly reminded me that it wasn’t the store’s fault. Who cares if it’s corporate or the store? Either way, that’s the fault of GameStop.
The cashier, David, checked in the computer and told me that the Spectrum store (near my office and the location of the launch event) had extra copies. He called them, and his half of the conversation sure sounded like they weren’t sure if they could give me one. I heard him say something along the lines of “well can I give you my phone number and have you call me if things change?” He got off the phone and told me that he was pretty sure he’d get one from them. He said Blizzard was going to pick up the extra from them the next day but that he was pretty sure they could ship one copy. They might get it by the end of the week or the next week. Then he asked me how soon I needed it. I told him that my guild was probably hoping I had it by yesterday.
His manager told me to give them my name and phone number and that she’d figure out a way to get me a copy. She then let me know that everything would be okay. Well, it already wasn’t okay.
We went to In-N-Out, and on the way I called Fry’s Electronics. They had some and would hold one for me if I provided my name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and credit card information. I wasn’t okay with that and decided to just wait until after dinner and go to the store. Then GameStop called. The manager found a collector’s edition at another store and offered to pick it up in the morning on her way to work. Then I could pick it up later that day. I knew if I went to Fry’s, I wouldn’t have much time to play that night anyways because of the queue, so I agreed.
Before getting off the phone, she told me that she found me a copy so everything was fine now and there was no problem. This sort of bothered me. I’m glad she found a way of solving the problem of “I need a copy of the game I pre-ordered,” but it didn’t solve the problem of “I need to be happy with the whole interaction.”
On Thursday I called the store in the middle of the day to make sure that they had it. They did. After work, I swung by the store and picked it up. I wasn’t able to play it that night because I was busy, but at least I had it.
The store was in Orange, California on Katella and Tustin. Mistakes happen, and I wasn’t happy with how they handled everything; However, I was happy that the manager went out of her way to get me this copy. I’m still very nervous about my Wii U pre-order, but I have Mists of Pandaria: Collector’s Edition at least.