*UPDATE*—After a rousing spat of useless back and forth e-mails that wound up only wasting my time, my problems were solved by two intrepid heroes, and other stores being rude to mine.

One of the heroes being the very “cashier guy” mentioned in the letter, the other being a Mysterious Stranger who showed up and gunned down the shitty previous experience. Or...just an associate I never met, but whatever. They had no more OG360s, so they traded me a Slim. Yay! Previous post follows.—

The following is a letter to Gamestop in regards to my recent trip there before the holiday. This is slightly altered from the e-mail I sent. Enjoy.

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Hello,

This is a long e-mail, but I want to include everything.

My fiancé and I went to our local Gamestop recently (11/22/16) to look for a gift for our daughters. They’re 11 and 5 and have been wanting a game system for a while (due to financial reasons, that hasn’t really been an option). We initially wanted to get a PS3 for them, as we already own one. However, while I was perusing online at gamestop.com I saw that the old 20GB XBOX 360s were $49.99 (as cheap as a Wii!) so we decided on that.

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As I said, money is tight in our home, so we don’t have proper internet- instead having to rely on our phones. Sadly, our phones can be as fickle and petty as a jilted ex, so this meant we were unable to actually order online. Luckily, the local store is very close, so we drove over.

When we arrived, a sales rep approached us and asked if we needed help. Upon learning what we were looking to buy, she frequently insisted that we purchase a more expensive system- even suggesting we skip the 360 and go for a used XBOX ONE.

A used Civic? How about a brand new BMW?

Now, I understand sales (my father has been successful in the field for many years), but it doesn’t feel great to constantly be reminded about what I can’t provide my kids- especially when I plainly state what I am after. But that is apparently her job, so whatever I get it. What I didn’t really enjoy was being talked to as though I don’t know the difference between the original model 360, the model S, and the model E.

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I’m well aware that many, many people waltz right into the store not knowing the difference between a Wii and Wii U, let alone the various models of 360s and PS3s, but I am not one of those people. In fact, I seem to be knowledgeable enough to even inform your own employees of minor differences in models (that part is in the next paragraph). I’m sure a significant amount of time could have been saved if the sales rep knew of my preexisting knowledge...were she not so busy using her sales technique of slowly and plainly talking down to me while ignoring the animalistic gibberish she must’ve assumed I was making.

Basic summary of our conversation

Anyway, when I was able to finally get a word in, I again told the rep which model we came for, and no, we didn’t want a pricier one. At first she said they were out of stock (in contradiction to the website). Then she informed me that the model we were interested in did NOT come with a 20GB hard drive- a strange new fact to me since the original 360 model has no internal storage (something neither employee was aware of until I told them apparently)- thus making the $50 “deal” useless. I was assured that’s just Gamestop’s policy and I could add a 20GB hard drive to my purchase for $18. So we put back a game and picked up the basic storage necessary to use the system.

We browsed around for a while waiting for the other rep to be free, as I had already felt insulted, and didn’t wish to continue that, on the day I got to secretly make my kids’ dreams come true. He rang us out and asked about a warranty. However, we turned it down, as the first rep mentioned (when asked if there was some sort of problem with the $50 model) that all systems were guaranteed to work, rendering one unnecessary. The cashier told us the return policy (30days for console, 7 for the hard drive/games). All was fine, we left.

So I could change into my alter ego...

Now on to my real problem.

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I wanted to set the system up with two profiles so my little girls would be impressed that “Santa” gave them a system just for them, while also verifying the console worked.
Sadly, I was not able to do this within the seven day period- life is hectic sometimes, especially with a holiday. I was able to hook everything up after the kids fell asleep on 11/30.

After hooking all the cords where they go, I pressed the power button. As opposed to powering on, the ring of lights began...freaking out? I have no other way to describe it, I’ve never seen it before, and it wasn’t RRoD. All four of the power ring lights began flashing, both different colors and on/off. Not in any discernable pattern, just...all crazy. I pressed the power button to shut it off.

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When I powered it back on, everything was fine. I figured it was an odd fluke, so I made the profiles and set the parental options. I decided it would be best to test the games, just in case. However, I couldn’t tell you if they work or not because what happened next inspired this letter.

I pressed the open tray button and instead if opening for my disc, THE SYSTEM ITSELF MADE A GUT-WRENCHING, UTTERLY CHILLING SCREECH NOISE and the audio AND video on the tv began GLITCHING OUT and SCREAMING like I pulled the cartridge from a running SNES.

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Just for pressing “Open”.

I shut it off immediately and unhooked everything. The console felt like an oven. It was barely on for 10 minutes. Seriously, the system wasn’t connected to the internet, so it was on long enough to type my kids’ names and block games over a T-rating before pressing the open button.

My fiancé is scared that we unwillingly brought a Samsung Galxy S7 situation in our house. I have NEVER seen/heard anything this terrifying in MY LIFE. I’m so glad I tested it and prevented my kids from having some bizarro, nightmare explosive scenario on Christmas. It would be very hard to explain why Santa tried to off them like a Mafia hitman, after all.

“Merry Christmas, you filthy animals!”

The reason I’m writing is because I want to know what to do. I know I can exchange it still, but I am seriously scared of this 360 now, and don’t want some other hapless family to experience a game console go all ISIS on them. It was horrific.

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Please reply at your earliest convenience.

Thanks for your time,
[King] Kagle

[Edit] As I return to my bookmark, it seems that you’ve removed the 20Gb hardrive and added $10 to the price online now.

—This next part ended up going nowhere, so skip to the comments.—

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UPDATE (12/4): Gamestop has contacted me via email. However this seems more like a canned reply they send out to anyone who mentions a console when filing a complaint at tellgamestop.com than an actual reply to me. Anyway:

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Dear Guest.

Thank you for contacting GameStop, I understand your situation but did you already return the console back. You can get a refund with the first 7 days from the purchase date with the receipt on hand to get a refund. If there’s more than 7 days already, unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done in regards to the return.

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Best Regards.

David V.

C101719

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GameStop Customer Care.

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My reply:

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Hello David,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to me.

I’m aware of the return policy, and unfortunately the problems with the console weren’t caught until after the 7 day period. Although, the associate at the cash register (the one that wasn’t condescending) told me it was 30 days, not 7. I’m assuming, however, he meant exchange and not refund?

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However, I’m not sure you fully understand my situation. If it were merely a rude employee and faulty system, I would just exchange it while dealing with someone else (the cashier, for example). I wouldn’t waste time contacting customer support- I’m not petty like that. (Though I guess there’s no way to PROVE that, and it’s probably something a petty person says, but the point stands)

It was difficult to “provide as much detail as possible” as instructed while remaining within the 250 character limit. I guess the limit is for windbags like myself who seem to go on and on- but hey, that’s why I don’t tweet often. Well...that and a lack of “real” internet access. Anyway, I sent a full email to help@gamestop detailing everything, a copy of which I published at this link:

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[link to here]

(though I did clean it up a bit and add humorous pictures, as humor is how I deal with stress and abject terror)

In the interest of full-disclosure, I would like to inform you that I am also in touch with my local District Manager.

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Thanks again,
[King]

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I was premature on saying I was “in touch” with my DM, as so far we’ve only taken turns in a rousing game of phone tag.