Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Own It

I heard an interesting theory about why California's budget is in such dire condition:

"It's the Mexicans. They cross over illegally, have a bunch of kids, and then milk the state for welfare. They insist they're entitled to it because, according to them, California was originally theirs. I heard this straight from my Mexican co-worker. He's a young guy with a college degree from SDSU, yet even he believes that America owes him. He says that's what his grandfather thinks, it's what his parents think, and so it's what he thinks. If you don't believe that this is how they think, just drive up to LA. They're on the streets holding up signs that say, 'We built your house.' But where are the signs that say, 'We got paid'?"

I suspect the reality is rather more complicated than that, but I don't doubt that such a person as this college-educated Mexican co-worker does exist. It reminds me of a different story of my own.

Once upon a time, I placed a video game reservation at my local GameStop. Yes, GameStop is one of the worst places in the world, and I would normally never have bought anything from them, but I really wanted the pre-order bonus for this game. I placed my order more than a month in advance. At the time, the bonuses had not yet arrived, so I called back once a week for status updates. Each time, I was simply told that I would get it when I picked up my order.

When the release day arrived, I got my game, but there was no bonus. I asked the clerk, and he told me that they were given out at time of pre-order, and there were so few that they had probably run out before I ever placed my reservation. I knew for a fact that he was lying, but his manager was standing right next to him and supporting this deception. Furious, I went above the manager's head and sent a complaint to the regional manager. She called me back directly to inform me that she had tracked down one of the bonus items for me.

So we should have been square, and the story should have ended there, right?

Yes, it should have, but somehow I was still angry at the lying employees. I decided that, as I had been screwed, so too would I screw them. That GameStop would get no more of my money, yet I would take all the pre-order junk I could get from them. I would place a pre-order, collect the bonus, then return just the game for a full refund. That was the plot I conceived and carried out, and I now have boxes filled with, among other things, the Suikoden V audio CD, Dawn of Mana CD, Pokémon Diamond/Pearl stylus, Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword stylus, Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia CD, Street Fighter IV headband, Resident Evil 5 laser cel, and Bionic Commando patch set. You may have gathered from the titles I named that this has been going on for years now. I don't think the employees even work there anymore. So is it really still about getting even?

It finally struck me as I walked into GameCrazy to return one of my copies of Bionic Commando. What had GameCrazy ever done to earn my ire, if indeed it was still ire driving me? I could pretend that I'm fighting back against the system itself, but that would be a lie. No, the truth is that I wanted the Bionic Commando lunchbox, but I didn't want to pay full price for the game.

I'm not saying that I'm going to stop. But I won't try to excuse my actions either.


Sam Kahn said...

Hey, it's a totally sweet lunchbox.

I wish it would have occurred to me to return the game and then buy it later when it was cheaper. Damn.

Czardoz said...

What a shame. All that swag, but no proper display cases for them. You really should open a museum, or at least a gallery.