"We don't have to remind retailers of the strength we have right now. We are simply making an observation and that reinforces our point quite nicely with retailers."
Those words were spoken by Reggie Fils-Aime in a Reuters interview when asked if Nintendo would threaten retailers who were forcing bundles on consumers trying to buy the still hard-to-find Wii. One retailer I spoke with told me that a Nintendo shipment wasn't so much a box of systems as it was a briefcase full of money; the store was assured a good sales day as the systems flew off the shelves along with extra controllers and games.
Still, it's a safe bet—with the coveted status of the Wii and the holiday season being what it is—that some retailers will still try to force bundles or other unscrupulous things on gamers. We thought we'd give you some advice as to how handle this situation should it arise.
- Stay calm. Yelling or threatening isn't going to do much in the store. The managers are overworked, underpaid, and if you don't want the system, the next person will. Take a deep breath and realize there isn't much you can do right at that moment.Ask for the manager's name, and be sure to get the store number. Ask who the next person up in the chain of command is, and ask for that person's contact information as well.Ask once more to simply buy what you want, and say if this isn't allowed, you'll be contacting corporate to lodge a complaint. This is the store's get out of jail card: they can take it and make you go away, or they can say no and you get to go home and let slip the dogs of war.Still no love? Leave. Nothing else you can do there. Carpet bomb the company with complaints. Make sure everyone, all the way up the chain of command, knows what happened. Be specific and clear in your language with what happened, who you spoke to, and at which store.Contact Nintendo. Give them all the information about the store, the manager, the area—everything you have. Let them know that retailers are forcing bundles, and that it makes you less likely to buy Nintendo products if the store continues the practice.Contact me. If we get enough complaints, we'll launch a hall of shame for retailers taking advantage of the shortage. Bad publicity is a quick way to make sure the retailer gets the message. Since no one likes being taken advantage of, I think it's unlikely that we'll be the only gaming site that runs the story.
"Retailers have already been given feedback that we are not big fans of [forced bundles]. We think it masks some of the price advantage we have versus our competition and, frankly, the consumer should decide what they want," Fils-Aime said, and we agree. Forced bundles suck, and for retail managers looking to make a quick profit off the shortage, the temptation will be there. The following steps above may take a little bit of time, but it will make sure that the retailers get the message that we won't be gouged for our consoles. If done properly and with a clear head, it should spur action against the location and the manager very quickly; no one wants to lose shipments of hardware.