A Nice Hard Slap – “It Doesn’t Exist”

Retail folks, be on guard. I’m coming after you. There’s a very small-minded view for folks who are in one retail gig for a long time. They get tunnel vision. Their longtime status as a member of COMPANY X has them so trained as to what their own company’s inventory is that they forget that it’s not the be all and end all of what’s out there.

It sucks when an educated consumer like myself comes in.

For example, I often tell the Barnes & Noble employees what new releases came out on a given day as I’m typically looking for the smaller and more obscure titles. Aside from the few folks I’ve gotten to know there, their first response is typically something to the effect of “well if we don’t have it, it probably didn’t come out”. In reality, once they check the computer and see that it DID come out but wasn’t ordered by their company, they typically feel like there was probably something that went wrong at the warehouse that caused the product to be absent.

Retail chains can’t carry every title. It’s foolish to think they could. But, more often than not they tend to prefer to have five times as many copies of a title they’ll only sell a few of rather than have only a few copies of more diverse titles. Barnes & Noble’s not a great example because they have limited space and are a little costlier than most. Then again, with the discount card I find the difference often minute. Especially considering you can grab a coffee and a magazine there and not have to deal with imbeciles like at certain other “big box” stores.

I know the typical knee-jerk response from a reader here would be something to the effect of “order it online”, and I often do. Online is definitely low-impact and easy. I just like to mix it up and there’s something still somewhat magical about new release day and the ability to browse or make an impulse buy on something having looked at the packaging and compared it to the other stuff out there. I do believe that Barnes & Noble as well as other large chains should always order and stock whatever the latest version of a title is when a new version comes out [exception: shit like the themed releases of stuff like Animal House that are lesser releases than there ones that have been out forever].

I love my PSP like the morning sunlight. I also love to play puzzle games or old school titles on it because it’s something that you don’t have to devote a lot of time to. When IGN favorably reviewed The Williams Pinball Hall of Fame release for the Wii I was tempted to pick it up until I found out that the same title also came out for PSP. Pinball is perfect for the handheld and for some reason I still enjoy the hell out of arcade pinball so I decided next time I was at Gamestop I’d be leaving with a copy. The game had been out for weeks and I’ve learned not to go in one of those places within two days of shipping date and expect to find a copy. I gave it time. In my old age I’m becoming much more patient.

“That game doesn’t exist.”

“It must be an import title because we don’t have it.”

“Must have been taken off the calendar.”

These are the responses I got from employees at three locations. Though I know they all use the same computer system to keep track of titles I know as a former manager of a Software, ETC. that sometimes the computer is a prickly mistress.

No dice. No pinball for me. A rudimentary search of their website bore no fruit either. Then I realized that pinball is extremely unsexy to most and deduced that perhaps it was a Target exclusive or something. I clicked on CHUD.com’s Amazon link and I realized what I should have done in the first place.

The narrow minded paradigm of retail clerks too long left stewing in their own little universe almost got the best of me. Shame on me for that.

- Nick Nunziata exists like a motherfucker and is enjoying the pinball game he bought from the CHUD.com Amazon link.