Holiday Game Shopping and Idiots

Another year, another holiday. Another year, more stupidity. Yes, it has already begun. People have begun their insane holiday shopping on Ebay and other Internet shopping sites. What exactly is wrong with you people?

If there's one thing I'll never forget, it was the Christmas season back in 2001. The mega-hot Playstation 2 had launched and they were in short supply. I had a customer come into my store and ask if we had any. I gave him the expected response to which he replied, "Man, I wanted four. They're going for $1,000 on Ebay." I thought he was lying. He was. They were going for upwards of $3,000 when I checked that night.

What was even funnier is that once the season was over and the shipments became steady, I was usually left with at least 5 in stock at all times. Why would anyone spend that much money for a $300 video game system? They will be available. Just do some work. Call around. You'll find them. Don't play dumb.

But here we are in 2004 and it's begun already and yet again it's Sony's new Playstation model, the "PS Two." Slimmer and lighter, it's a fancy little console that comes in at around $120 at retail. On Ebay, people are sending out $400 checks. Maybe they don't know that just about every store is getting in new shipments now. Maybe they think it's an entirely new console. Maybe they should do some research and learn that it doesn't support the hyped-up Playstation hard drive. Maybe they should learn that it has tons of trouble running PS One games.

Do they care? Obviously not. It wouldn't be surprising to see this trend keep going with Nintendo's new DS either. Analysts are already predicting this system to be huge for the holidays. Is it the game companies fault? Partly. Any new game console is going to have demand (though the PS Two isn't exactly "new") and they should be prepared. Is it the seller's fault? No. If you could make $2700 profit on a game console, wouldn't you? I'm not happy with those sellers that buy multiple consoles at once and take them away from people who genuinely want them for the given purpose, but they know you're going to pay it. So, it's your fault.

Don't be stupid this year, please. There will be 5 major gaming consoles vying for consumer dollars. If the one your kid asked for is out of stock, look at a different one. Each one of those systems has great games and there isn't a single kid in the world that will reject a shiny new system. Most of the big titles are available across all three platforms. Do a little research and buy one. Just do it at retail price for everyone's sake. If that doesn't work, just give the person a massive gift card to cover the cost of the console and some games. That's smart.

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