I’ve got a similar story coming up for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, as well as a review for that game. But let’s focus on the Steelbook release of, Mad Max: Fury Road.
I’m a Steelbook collector. My collection isn’t massive, but it’s mine, and I like it. Both classics and fun movies are part of that collection. Needless to say, Fury Road needed to be part of the shelf space. I take issue with Steelbooks. I partly understand why they’re sold the way they are, however am strongly against forced rarity and store exclusivity.
In the United States, Steelbook releases are most often limited to certain stores. Competitors often offer Metalpaks, which is the direct competitor of the Steelbook brand (yes, they’re made by different companies), which collectors still go after. For the sake of the discussion, we’ll call all metal cased DVDS Steelbooks. Steelbooks are almost always exclusive to certain stores. If you’re not strictly an online shopper, and want a Steelbook on day one, you’re going to want to visit said store for the collectable. You might live too far from said store or might even be too busy to pre-order in store, among other blockades.
In my lucky experience, Steelbooks I haven’t preordered can be had if you visit a store within the first few hours of opening – until today.
Excuse this tangential moment, but I need to say something about Bestbuy, a store I don’t abhor, but certainly have my issues with. The last few times in the past twenty-four months I’ve preordered rare goods, boxes arrived at my doorstep way past the suggested delivery date and always damaged. Because of this, when I shop Bestbuy, I like to enter the store and find a product myself to ensure I’m getting the best possible quality. After all, that’s what consumers like you and I deserve, especially as hardworking contributing citizens.
I enter Bestbuy, head to the Mad Max section, and there aren’t any Steelbooks left. I see a customer walk by with one, aimlessly looking at it. I ask, “Excuse me. Is that a Steelbook for Mad Max, and if so, where did you find it?” The man, looking at his copy, stares at me awkwardly for fifteen seconds. I was ready to walk away but he interrupted saying, “It’s down there, but I think I got the last copy?” I’m not one to judge, but it was clear to me that this young man had no idea what he was holding. He was clasping to it, examining it, and wondering what it was that fell into his palms. He watched me go “down there,” and when I couldn’t find one, the dude ran off. Seriously. I think he thought I was going to fight him for it.
I asked a clerk if there were more copies left and he said, “No. Why do people even line up for them?” That was it. Plain and simple. “No,” and why should he check the back and help me? I know for a fact that they get seven Steelbooks per store, and sometimes more. People cancel preorders and so even more are in the back.
I knew of another BB down the road. I hopped in my car, drove over, and entered. Same thing. No steelbooks. Something clicked though. I often read that employees immorally hold copies of things for themselves. Most stores have loose policies regarding this tricky method. An employee can hold onto something, but if a customer walks in and wants it, they have to hand it over. It was time to get pushy.
I asked two people working if there were copies left. They called my question in via radio and in response we heard “No more left.” It’s a Tuesday and no one is in the store at 11:00am. Bull caca it’s not in. So here’s what I did. I simply said, “The other best buy down the road told me to come here.” Within seconds, and I literally mean seconds, an employee said, “Oh, hold on sir. I know exactly where a copy is.” Strange, I thought they were out of stock. He runs over with a copy of the Steelbook blu-ray and says, “I’m so sorry. I have no idea where this came from!”
Kind of odd, huh?
It should never take over fifteen minutes to receive what you’re willing to pay for in store. It’s rude and even worse, disgusting, when goods are hidden from the customer. This isn’t the first case and probably not the first time you’ve read one like this.
All-in-all though, I’m glad I have a copy of a wonderful movie on my shelf now.
Thank you George Miller.