Whoa my dudes…the incompetence of Wal-Mart’s layaway pre-order system was real.
I called them up yesterday and asked firstly if they would have a midnight launch or if I could come get my Switch at midnight. After much back and forth with one of the electronics managers they told me that no, they would not, even though they were a 24/7 store there were no plans for a midnight release…all merchandise would by out on the floor at 8:00 Match 3rd but don’t expect much since they only plan to get about 2-3 units for non-pre-order peeps to hopefully snag. I said I was a pre-orderer and they said then I would need to pick up the Switch at the layaway counter. I said I also want to be able to maybe pick up accessories but those would not be in layaway and they ensured me that since the merchandise would be out in the morning, as long as I got there in the morning by 8:00 I would be fine.
I was worried that being a lone female at midnight, in a relatively high crime neighborhood, coming out of a WalMart with the Switch would place a big red target on my back, I admit. I have read reports of people at the new3ds launch that muggings were happening so this was a concern since murders are not unheard of there and why I explicitly called before making plans to pick-up at midnight.
So fast forward to today…
I get to Wal-Mart at 7:30 and head back to layaway, which was dead as a door-nail with the lights off, so I fetch an electronics employee. They tell me that the layaway person may not be in until 10 since that is when Layaway opens. I told them that I was told I could have picked up even at midnight if I wanted and and that’s when the guy said oh, they did in fact have a midnight launch for the Switch and were unsure if any of the Switch units actually made it back to Layaway for the pre-order people.
You can imagine my expression at this point.
So he decides that even though he is not a layaway employees and only had a basic grasp of the layaway system, to which I know nothing since I never used layaway before, he goes back to check. I’m waiting for about 20 minutes and another fellow shows up to wait along with me in the dark. I asked if he too was here for a pre-order Switch and of course he was.
The guy that went back into the layaway finally comes out and said there was a couple units back there so I take a breath of relief. I was going to ask for a red/blue unit but I figured…no, that would be too much to hope for so I get ready to pony up, since I have to pay at layaway and then buy anything else I could find separately in electronics like other Joy-Cons and such, in electronics as a second purchase. At this point he called another employee on the phone because something went amiss while figuring out the layaway. He made a couple different calls. meanwhile the dude and I just waited anxiously.
Then the guy says that I need to buy at Layaway but then return it to electronics, and do an even exchange for the same unit again. I was like…huh? He said that layaway items don’t put the serial number of the unit on the receipt so if anything bad happened to my Switch I would not be able to return it without that number. I had to buy it in layaway to get out of the layaway system and then go back to electronics with him for the rest of the exchange. So I was worried but he ensured me he would not charge my card twice but he’d do an even exchange.
Another employee at electronics had no idea of any of this either so the guy informed her of the mess as he was doing the exchange with me and I signed a bunch of receipts. Apparently the guy he called on the phone was the midnight layaway guy and that guy said this was the only way to do the pre-orders correctly. Finally it all gets sorted out and I go back into electronics to see what I can find of Switch accessories/games. They had plenty of charging grips, pro controllers, more joy-cons…but here’s the kicker…they had at least 7 Switch units behind the glass that were unsold or spoken for AND they were the red/blue neon units!
So not only did they have a midnight launch like they said they would not but they had extra units after all of the people at midnight went through…more than just 2 or 3 the other guy said on the phone…and they also had plenty of stock in everything else…except for the games. They had Zelda and Bomberman only on the shelves and hadn’t even put out the 1-2 Switch ones…they had a stack of them behind the counter I noted so maybe they sold out of the ones behind the glass at midnight and hadn’t re-stocked? Maybe they didn’t get a chance to stock the stack yet? Who knows…
So I high-tailed it out of there and couldn’t get out of the parking lot and home fast enough. Now I’m sitting here with the Switch and staring at it, wondering what I will do next. I’m angrily supposed to throw it on Ebay but I dunno. I don’t really have an interest in Zelda, Bomberman, or whatever. Truth be told the only games that interested me was Arms or Snipperclips and the rest of the offerings fell flat for me. So I guess I’ll have to decide what I’m going to do but right now I just need to wind down after THAT fiasco at Wally World…and never do that again!