Those of you that frequent Gamestop as often as I do, know all about the Gamestop Pro Membership. Those of you that don’t, it is simple…pay an annual fee to get discounts on used games and a magazine subscription to Game Informer, among a few other benefits. It’s been this way for a long time. Recently Gamestop rolled out a new tier of Membership: the “Elite” Pro membership.
Now to be fair, the Elite Pro membership, although it costs more (29.99 annually vs the regular pro at 14.99 ) it does come with increased benefits, including higher discounts and more points you can earn towards free merchandise. What bothers me is the two levels. Why, as a longtime Pro member, am I suddenly made to feel like I am not “elite” enough if I don’t get the upgraded package.
The worst part about this is for the salespeople. I really feel for the workers of Gamestop, who now have to explain to long time customers that they no longer get the “best” discount on items, unless they upgrade to the elite membership. When my cashier tried to “sell” it to me, he also failed to explain how the price increase worked.
Now I already dread the sales pitch the cashier gives me before I buy a game at GameStop. No, I don’t want to preorder anything, I would have told you. No, I don’t want to pay extra for the accidental coverage on my game. I treat my games well, you know because I always bring back the bad ones. Now you are going to insult me by saying even though I’m a “pro”, I’m not “elite” every time I check out, until I upgrade. This is borderline mental abuse, not only to me, but also to the poor cashier that is asked to say this to every customer.
I know it’s not their fault, this is obviously a corporate mistake…and trust me, they know they are going to upset some people. In my case, when they finally tried to ring me up for the new membership, something went wrong and they gave me the wrong total price. Then it was even more then what I was told, when I actually went to pay. Cue the apologetic manager that has probably been dealing with this problem ever since they instituted the new membership level. I nixed the whole thing, and left without “upgrading” because it felt so forced…so greedy.
I think GameStop either needs to do away with the “Pro” and keep the “Elite” or visa versa…but both is going to continue to create problems. Both long time customers like myself, and for the staff that has to explain to some people why they aren’t “elite” enough. Really bad timing on the part of the person who thought “elite” was a positive name for anything, I might add.
Although it is still a bit early to tell what the full effects of this will be, the pre-owned game sales are down 2.4% in the third quarter. I think this is another example of a company scooping too far into gamers pockets and not appreciating us for the money we already spend. Sorry GameStop, I’ll be buying digital copies of older games until you change things. They’ve been having some pretty impressive holiday sales online anyways, with the added bonus of no cashier to nag me about money I’m not spending. Call me inferior, if you must.
Are you annoyed by this Elite Tier? Is a GameStop membership something you have? Should we be excited for the Elite Tier?