Best Buy's Pre-Orders for the SNES Classic Were a Goddamn Nightmare

Illustration for article titled Best Buy's Pre-Orders for the SNES Classic Were a Goddamn Nightmare

While playing the “just one more episode” game with Netflix last night, I noticed a tweet from a former coworker: Best Buy, it seemed, had opened up pre-orders for the SNES Classic. Nintendo’s followup to the much sought-after NES-themed nostalgia box was sure to sell out quickly. But the hard part was getting Best Buy to take my money, and it turns out I was far from the only one with issues.

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Back in November, pre-sales for the NES Classic managed to crash Amazon. And earlier this year, some Nintendo Switch purchases were missing tracking codes. The SNES Classic even went up (briefly) on Walmart’s website due to a “technical glitch” in July. Fortunately, Best Buy’s SNES Classic pre-sale didn’t have these issues. Unfortunately, the store’s website instead refused to ship to the addresses of many potential buyers and spat back errors claiming no stores within 250 miles were available for pickup orders.

After being told my home address was a no-go and trying to put in pickup orders for Best Buy locations in Manhattan, Queens, or Brooklyn at least a dozen times, I tried the Gizmodo offices. 2 West 17th was declined, but 114 5th avenue was accepted, despite these being two entrances to the same building.

About an hour after ordering, Best Buy sent me a confirmation email. Many others, it appears, were not so lucky:

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We’ve reached out to Best Buy for comment about what went wrong with their pre-sale and will update if we hear back.

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Senior reporter. Tech + labor /// bgmwrites@gmail.com Keybase: keybase.io/bryangm Securedrop: http://gmg7jl25ony5g7ws.onion/

DISCUSSION

hammerstump
Hammerstump

This wasn’t unique to Best Buy.

Slept through the Amazon and Best Buy pre-orders.

Refreshed walmart.com at exactly 13:00:00 ET and pre-ordered. Had one in my cart but couldn’t check out in time.

Refreshed target.com at exactly 13:15:00 and pre-ordered. Had one in my cart but couldn’t check out in time.

Walked into my local GameStop around 14:00 ET (way too late, right?) and weakly asked the clerk, “SNES Classic pre-order?”

Bracing for yet another disappointment, I was surprised by an enthusiastic “Absolutely!”

Paid in full on the spot. There were more available, but I just wanted one to share with my sons. Hopefully the next person to walk in as a last-ditch effort gets the same happy surprise I just got.

I understand there’s little incentive to an online retailer to prevent bots outside of the nebulous concept of “customer goodwill” but take a cue from TicketMaster/Fandango/etc and do some session ID management so it’s truly first come/first served instead of first checked-out/first served.