I recently bought a videogame from GameStop. Then I bought one from Amazon. What follows is an account of the customer experience provided by both companies.
One of them is an exercise in convenience. The other requires such extreme mental fortitude that, to prepare, I have to slay a dragon and bathe its viscera before I can build up the strength to withstand it. See if you can tell which one is which.
Buying a game from GameStop
I drive to the store and go in.
The clerk greets me and asks if he can help me.
“I’d like a copy of Xenoblade Chronicles.”
“No problem. Are there any other games releasing this year you’d like to preorder?”
“Have you heard about The Last Story?”
“Yeah, I’m familiar with the game.”
“Do you want to preorder it?”
“No, not right now.”
“Because you’re buying Xenoblade, so you’re probably a big RPG fan, right?”
“Well, have you heard about Pandora’s Tower?”
“Yes, I’m aware of the whole situation with those games being ported over from Japan based on customer demand.”
“Yeah, so If enough people buy Xenoblade and The Last Story, then they’ll probably bring Pandora’s Tower over, too.”
“So do you want to preorder The Last Story? It’s only five bucks, and it secures you a copy.”
“No, not right now.”
“Okay, are you a member of our Power Up Rewards program?”
“No, and I’m not interested.”
“If you join you get lots of great perks and bonuses, like extra money on your trade-ins and…” (he continues in this manner for some time). “So would you like to join the rewards program?”
“No, thank you.” By this point I’ve been standing at the counter holding my credit card for about five minutes.
“Okay, you can swipe your card.”
I swipe my credit card, slide it into my wallet, and put it away.
He asks to see my credit card and drivers license.
I fish my wallet out of my pocket, open it, hand over the cards.
He stares at them for a few seconds, inspecting them for god-knows-what, even tilting my license to verify that the hologram on it is legit.
He hands them back, along with the game in a bag.
I speed-walk out the door, wanting to get far away as fast as possible.
Buying a game from Amazon
I type the name of the game into the search field.
I find it immediately, and notice that it costs $10 less than the retail price.
I click the “Buy now with 1-Click” button.
Two days later it arrives at my doorstep.