You think you've been in the shit, son? I was there when this whole war started. The first wave was alright, only three of those damn Alphas were hard to find. Then supply got scarce. People got screwed.
This was the 4th wave of these goddamn Alphas. I was NOT going to be one of those 7:30 AM infantry at the door of Target, hoping to get a single one or two. I am in it to win it.
(Toning down the military speak now. You get the point...)
So, when my local Gamestop's manager called me yesterday and said to be there at 2PM Central (even though I'm in the Eastern time zone, which made the correct time 3 PM Eastern - dude needs to learn to not recite a memo verbatim), I did what any one would in this situation:
I got there at noon. Three hours to kill. And I did. I used a coupon to buy Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus for the PS Vita. I think I'm on a government watchlist now because of it.
I gotta tell ya, it wasn't pretty. By 1:50 the Gamestop employee on-duty was telling everyone to get ready, that the Amiibo were about to go live. Clearly she didn't understand how time zones work. Three other people got pissed when she said, out loud: "We're in central time, right?"
I flatly replied "No."
Gamestop needs to be a little better with their internal memos, because a lot of employees seem to lack reading comprehension. This isn't the first time this has happened to me, either: The same employees were adamant that Codename: Steam was going out on the same day as Majora's Mask 3D, and that the Monster Hunter 3DS was made out of metal, as opposed to the "brushed metal" plastic used. Seriously, potential Gamestop employees out there: Understand your materials before you unintentionally misinform customers.
I was first in line. Everyone behind me was cool for now. We talked about the available stock in the area, and our hopes for the future. All of us wanted these damn things and I sincerely hope they all got what they wanted.
Unfortunately, I don't think that happened.
The system crashed immediately. No warning, no fanfare, nothing. There were about 15 people behind me, and every point-of-sale computer in the store was locked down HARD. This is what happens when 6000+ stores all access pre-orders at the same time. Nobody gets in. It was insanity. It was literally a case of the Gamestop employee looking at his screen, refreshing the page, and waiting half an hour until the next page loaded, and that's if the page didn't time out.
As I said, I was first in line. I sat at the sales counter and stayed there. I know they weren't going to let someone cut in front of me or anything like that, but I wasn't going to give someone a chance. The Gamestop employee kept trying to update me on every step, but most of his updated were different variations on "The page just timed out."
The people in line behind me watched me like a hawk. I guarantee you that they thought I was doing something to slow the line down. Hell, it took the employee an hour to tell the people in line that the website was slowing to a crawl.
In the end, I got what I wanted. I pre-ordered a 6-pack of the Wave 4 Smash Bros Amiibo, as well as the 3-pack of Splatoon Amiibo. The Gamestop employee was adamant that my pre-order was confirmed, and that they cannot do anything to change that, and that they will not cancel on me. I'll believe it when I have them in my hands. After paying for everything, I got the hell out of there because people were starting to get angry. I could feel it and I did not want to be in that shitstorm.
Seems like within a few minutes of my purchase (the first of them, mind you), they were already sold out of Robin and Lucina, with Wario not far behind.
I cannot believe that Ganestop corporate did not have the foresight to do something structured and stable based on how the other three waves of Amiibos sold (like crazy, if you'll recall). Did they not anticipate this? They really should have. Instead of doing something with structure, like doing a different rollout for different parts of the country, they opened the floodgates to 6000+ stores all at once, and you have people that were second or third in line unable to pre-order something because it sold out. Hell, the only reason it took hours for these to sell is because the computer systems were getting hammered. Some employees at other stores were saying that the traffic was worse than Black Friday by a factor of 20, in-store with customer problems and with the point-of-sale systems. My store couldn't even ring non-Amiibo purchases up because every register was being used for Amiibo pre-ordering. Gamestop workers were putting peoples' potential purchases in a big bin until the pre-ordering stopped, telling people to come back. They probably didn't make any real money for five hours or so.
This was a pre-order day, not a friggin' release day. I shudder to think what would have happened if that was the case. Pre-orders are supposed to allow for hassle-free buying of desired product, and the idea is also in place to AVOID bullshit like long lines and sellouts occurring. When they still do, what do you have?
That said, I can't place the blame entirely on Gamestop: Nintendo needs to make a lot more of these damn things. It's gotten to the point that half of the Amiibos that have allegedly been released are essentially unavailable to purchase. Demand is obviously through the roof. Supply us with more stock, dammit. No more "Please Understand" announcments.
This shit is ridiculous. We're four waves into Smash Bros. Amiibo, and they still haven't figured out that people want these in higher quantities than they've been making? This isn't a test run anymore, Nintendo.
And the less I say about Jigglypuff and Greninja being store exclusives, the better. Fucking stop it.