Who Scams Customers Out of a Video Game Sale? Dick Does!

April 3rd, 2012 at 10:10 am

Dick Smith Electronics has probably achieved the final nail in it’s already sealed coffin this week after it destroyed the hopes of thousands of customers in offering an extremely crappy video game sale.

The “$7 Million Gaming Sale” was a complete failure, with many stores being completely out of stock before the sale began. Other stores were apparently unaware that such a sale was even happening.

News of the sale broke on Friday when a staffer posted details of the sale online with an internally circulated list of prices. The sale was supposed to feature prices like a Nintendo DSi Console for A$40, and PSP games for as low as $1.

Dick Smith later confirmed the sale and built up hype via it’s Facebook page. However, when store doors opened Monday morning, customers were largely disappointed.

Some stores told customers that a lot of the games were held out back for other customers or even staff members, whereas others denied the sale even existed. Even Dick Smith’s own website had about 8 titles on sale, and most were unavailable.

The clearance sale was a complete failure and has angered the gaming public. Acting General Manager David Wightley blamed the stuff up on online gaming publications who apparently posted lies about the sale;

“We understand a certain amount of misinformation was published online last week that led some customers to believe certain products were on sale when they were not or they were a different discount.” he said.

The only misinformation that was posted was from Dick Smith themselves. Having worked at the company for three years, I got in touch with some people on the inside who told me the sale was intended to clear out “discontinued” and “quit” stock.

In Dick Smith land, “Discontinued” stock is anything that the company has stopped selling; this doesn’t mean the manufacturer has stopped producing it. “Quit” stock is any stock that the company stopped selling weeks, or months, ago that are still sitting on shelves. In general, Discontinued stock is supposed to be sold quickly at a discounted price, whereas Quit stock is so old, they’ll do anything to get rid of it – even discounting items to 90% in some cases.

The problem with doing an advertised sale like this is that, since all the discontinued stock is supposed to be out of the stores anyway, it’s impossible for the company to advertise specific products, since not every store in the country will have the same amount of discontinued stock on hand.

Some stores that do not sell through many video games will have lots of Discontinued games on hand, whereas others will have very little, or none.

So, we think this is what has actually happened. The public was never supposed to see that internally posted memo, however Dick Smith’s denial that they had anything to do with it is a bit of a cop out.

But there were other issues. Some games that were discounted in some stores weren’t priced properly on the shelf, since the price tags could only be printed that morning. This resulted in people overlooking games that were actually on sale.

Dick Smith is currently owned by Woolworths Limited, who earlier this year announced they will attempt to sell the business off since it wasn’t achieving enough profit growth. With lack of planning and ridiculous finger pointing like this, it’s little wonder.

Ty is the founder, Editor-in-Chief and nice guy of Aussie-Gamer.com. The first console Ty owned as a kid was the Sega Master System II which he used to enjoy games like Alex Kidd, Sonic the Hedgehog and Mickey Mouse. Since the early days, Ty's hobby became an obsession and over the years he has amassed a huge collection of video games from all manufacturers. You can read Ty's weekly opinion column here, and follow him on Twitter.

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