Being Used?

In the years that I was a Gamestop manager — dark days in which the sun was blotted from the sky and malevolence slouched through the halls of dingy shopping malls in the guise of poison-tongued high schoolers – I took quiet exception with countless official policies and products. Eventually I purged myself of these demons in a number of articles back around 2005, a very public exorcism which discussed at length how the company conducted its business and more importantly how talking about it made me feel a hell of a lot better, or at least cleaner.

In all that time, however, the one widely lodged complaint for which I could never really generate enthusiastic ire was on the matter of used games. To my addled mind, used games continue to seem like a pretty nice idea; a prime example of how the rare capitalistic initiative can benefit both retailer and consumer.

If you are a developer or publisher, I get it. I sympathize; really, I do. There’s a big damn hole in the bucket, dear Liza, and Gamestop chairman Dick Fontaine is standing there unapologetically holding a drill. But as a consumer I have to say that in the first, second and third place I’m watching out for numero uno, and I like not spending money. Or more precisely spending a little less money, so I continue to be baffled when well-meaning game buyers rise in a single voice against the anathema of used game sales.

Let’s not sugar coat it, when you trade in your game at Gamestop you are getting a return dramatically below the retained market value of your product. The company then turns around, often without doing anything but printing up a sticker, and resells your game at a substantial increase. As a trade-in customer, I accept when I walk in with my trades that I am substituting value for convenience. Yes, I could probably, nay certainly, demand higher through Ebay, but honest to God who has that kind of time any more?

That said, I don’t think there’s a big “A Ha!” moment when the monster profit margin is revealed between the cost at which the retailer buys the game from you and the price at which they resell the game. Here’s a hint, it’s big — really big. It is, by far, the biggest margin in the stores, but — and here’s the key — only if they manage to sell it.

The profit potential on used games is without question the goal of a strong used games market, but the real benefit to consumers in the deal is that we have an unlimited market for our used games. In short, Gamestop never says no.

Outside of clearly broken games or product for systems that aren’t sold anymore, if you walk in with a current or nearly current generation console game, you get something. It may be pennies on the dollar, but it is guaranteed. Imagine, for a moment, the monumental overhead and inventory nightmares this creates on a national level. How many beat up copies of Kameo are sitting in some Indiana Jones warehouse never to be sold? How much loss will the company have to soak up on Tony Hawk: Ride buyback as consumers looked to sell quickly while the value was high.

I don’t argue that Gamestop doesn’t make quite a bit of money by reselling games like Dragon Age or Borderlands, but the error that many armchair critics make is in not realizing how much of that money goes against the loss on Fusion Frenzy 2 or CSI game trades.

Still, it’s not like the proposition hasn’t worked out. This is a little bit like oil companies complaining about the cost of refinery and drilling development as they make tens of billions in a quarter, or pharmaceutical companies cashing in only on designer drugs for profitable illnesses … except of course, we are talking about a luxury product whose stagnant price point hasn’t kept up with inflation for decades. But, I’m not equivocating or making excuses, because let’s face it. Gamestop has been rolling in the money pool for a few years now.

Even if the Gamestops of the world pulled in monster profit on every single used game taken in, I still can’t get behind the consumer based fury. I am a fan of choice, of being offered the option of a reduced price. The math behind how Gamestop manages their inventory doesn’t factor into the question of would I like a given game for $59.99 or $54.99.

This is the point in the conversation, I suppose, where hearts bleed for the starving developers who never see the profit of those resell transactions. Bleeding hearts which I assume are asleep at the switch in the discussion of Ebay and other consumer resell avenues. Bleeding hearts which seem to get a nice healthy clotting agent when issues of Day One DLC or the proclaimed need for price point hikes to address the rising costs of development and piracy issues come up.

Forgive my cynicism, but a lot of the arguments against trade-ins and used game sales seem awfully convenient. There is something, which I admit I understand in my amygdala if not my more cognitive brain centers, about knowing that when you hand over your $50 bucks to the counter jockey, you are paying for something at double the price the company bought at. What I don’t understand is why it is better to buy essentially the same product for five or ten dollars more just because it bites into the margin of your supplier.

And, that's the point. It seems totally unreasonable to me to reject, even demand the elimination of a lower price point option simply because you don't like how much money the provider is making on the deal. It is a gut check reaction that seems more based out of an anti-Gamestop cultural undercurrent than anything else. If, for example Valve offered a way to resell your games back to them through Steam -- and this is a genius idea that I endorse with what can only be termed 'gusto' -- and buy through a digital used market, I have a hard time imagining the same fiery torches and proverbial pitchforks being raised.

I am willing to concede the argument from those who simply prefer a product in pristine, new condition. I have no beef with them, and even join their ranks on many games, but that doesn’t discredit the idea of having choice. Ultimately, used sales work to the benefit of both retailer and consumers keeping costs low and retailers competitive. Yes, one side usually comes out of the deal a little better, but that’s the way of good business.

For all the things that Gamestop and other retailers deserve to be criticized for, this once perhaps we should just take our $5.00 off and go about our business.

Comments

I'm having a hard time squaring this article with your previous article talking about what a great thing DLC is because it supports the developers directly, and another where you were mourning the passing of the "New EA philosophy" which died because of poor sales.

On DLC, again it's all about choice and competition. I like that developers and retailers are in competition over my dollars. It keeps the industry healthy and it keeps people trying new things. There is no conflict in being able to choose. I don't even have a problem with developers doing things that subvert the used market, after all then when I buy something for full price I'm getting a distinct value advantage over the used that didn't exist before.

As for EA's philosophy, poor sales are what they are. I don't buy the philosophy that used markets make it impossible to compete. Companies are clearly being successful with a vital used market out there. Let's not forget that EA initiated its change in direction while used games were as hot a topic as they were now.

I find no trouble squaring the opinions.

I've got nothing against used game sales, but can't remember actually buying anything new or used at a Gamestop. Maybe an EB or so back before they were bought, but in general I buy new from Amazon or Best Buy, and if I'm buying used it's from Amazon, ebay, or a trade from goozex.

And if I'm unloading something, it's either Amazon or goozex.

I buy new games that have a multiplayer component that I want to get into immediately and games I get good deals on new. If it's single player and I have no pressing need to play it right now, I'll wait until I find a good deal or can trade for it on goozex.

Games like GoW2 I think have good ideas for discouraging used sales with content available only to the first person to use the code that comes with the game. Creative way to combat the used market without being overly obnoxious. More power too them, and yes, that might factor into my decision.

I'll be glad to buy new once the market goes all digital download if the prices are right and there are periodic sales like we see on Steam. I don't go out of my way to buy used, I go out of my way to save money however I can.

I'm with Darko on this, I will buy new if I can't wait, buy from a person if I can, or wait for a sale if I'm feeling patient (which I normally am).

To me the trade-in/used option at Gamestop is like a loan shark in the sense that it is a valid option but the terms are set dramatically in favor of the service provider to the point where it feels to me like a very last option. Granted no legs (maybe some spirits) are broken at Gamestop.

Making a habit of trading in your games for 33% or less of their value and buying 'used' games at 92% of the value of a new game just doesn't make much sense to me for anyone except for Gamestop.

Gamestop plays towards the lazy or uninformed crowd and when I have been lazy and traded games in to buy a 'used' game, just like a loan shark, I know I'm being raked over the coals but I'm accepting the terms because at that moment my laziness gives me no other options.

Thankfully this is rare. I won't say I stand against Gamestop or would compaign to stop them from doing business but at the same time I wouldn't stand up to advocate them either.

If I make the occasional GameStop purchase I prefer to buy new, but I have no problem with the used game option existing, or other customers using it.

I purchased my first console, an xbox with a "free" used copy of Halo, from GameStop.com. The console came with a broken DVD drive, a broken A/V cable, and a copy of halo that was in a paper sleeve.

Elysium wrote:

As for EA's philosophy, poor sales are what they are. I don't buy the philosophy that used markets make it impossible to compete. Companies are clearly being successful with a vital used market out there. Let's not forget that EA initiated its change in direction while used games were as hot a topic as they were now.

Do you think it is possible that the broken game sales model of week 1 sales or bust is worsened by the flood of used copies going on the shelf during week 2 and thus making it difficult for the new copies to sell after week 1?

Nelly K wrote:

I was browsing in a Gamestop last night and I put my finger on what bugs me the most about that place. It's not that their profit margins are ludicrous. It's not that all the kids in the store were getting duped into thinking they got a good deal on that used copy of Modern Warfare. No. It's knowing that this is the way it's always been and it probably won't change any time soon, at least until digital distribution becomes THE thing. The philosophy of Gamestop is unapologetic and steadfast: It's not illegal to profit off the ignorance of your consumer base. $55 for a used copy of Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2? C'mon. $39.99 for a used copy of NHL 2k10 on Wii? That's the NEW price at Best Buy (not exactly the last bastion of amazing bargains these days). In fact, I didn't see anything on the shelves at Gamestop that I couldn't find cheaper elsewhere (new or used). You're NOT getting a good deal there. Then again, I guess good deal is in the eye of the beholder. Something tells me Gamestop is all too aware of this and that, ultimately, is what makes me feel dirty going in there in the first place.

True enough. If you have the patience, you can always find a better deal. But I know that Gamestop probably ordered dozens of copies of ME2, so if I walk in there, I'm pretty sure I'm going to get it. At a highly diversified retailer (Target, Best Buy, WalMart, whatever), it's quite possible I'll find a copy, but not a sure thing. When you're busy as hell (Gamer with Job, with Family, with Pets, whatever), sometimes it's worth a few extra bucks to be able to pop in and out, mission accomplished.

That said, I'm no fan of GS. They smell funny, and I don't want anyone there to talk to me or touch me (and I don't want a 1 preorder on something else, 2 a strategy guide to go with my game, or 3 a subscription to your stupid magazine). But it's nice to have options (to bring it back to Elysium's main thrust here) when you need them.

I used to work in a used book store and I always wonder where the creator love goes when it comes to other forms of used media. People like a nice used copy - be it games, music, video or books. Gamestop has non-competitive prices, intrusive hand-selling/suggestive selling policies and a poor selection. Criticize them for that rather than selling used games.

I also think there's an interesting undercurrent of distaste running around about Gamestop shoppers that might be worth exploring at some point. I've seen words like lazy and uninformed casually spat about quite a bit.

Elysium wrote:
I have seen too many people getting ripped off to dare support their used game market.

This is where I start to get hung up. Define "ripped off"? Am I ripped off being when I traded in Brutal Legend for $25 because I didn't want to deal with the hassle of Ebay and I knew that I was done with it?

Also, let's not kid ourselves. Ebay may be a lot of things, but it's not a pure person to person transaction. A lot of the times you are still dealing with a company, just on a different scope, and at least with Gamestop I have some form of immediate recourse if the deal goes wrong.

No, if that you are using time as your justification. The difference is, you are informed. The individuals getting "ripped off" are the ones that don't know any better. I call this act taking advantage of someone. I find it offensive as a consumer and a businessman.

Ebay might not always provide a true person to person transaction, but you're still getting something at a fair market price. It is still a bidding process (even buy it now is subject to the fact that people are not going to pay much more than ended auction prices). Ebay offers a fairer system than "take this $25 for Dragon Age and buy MW2 for $55". Right now on Ebay each is going for somewhere between $35 and $45. That's a 28.5% difference (assuming you sold DA:O for $35 and bought MW2 for $45) compared to 120% at Gamestop. Can anyone logically and morally argue against that 91% discrepancy? Doubtful.

Also, what am I doing wrong with my quote up there?

Elysium wrote:

I also think there's an interesting undercurrent of distaste running around about Gamestop shoppers that might be worth exploring at some point. I've seen words like lazy and uninformed casually spat about quite a bit.

Mine's in a not-great Chicago neighborhood, so maybe it's not indicative: it has the shabby glitz of a beatup Mississippi Riverboat casino (replace broke elderly smokers on oxygen with dirty broke kids who just come in to play the janky free sample machines).

No, if that you are using time as your justification. The difference is, you are informed. The individuals getting "ripped off" are the ones that don't know any better. I call this act taking advantage of someone. I find it offensive as a consumer and a businessman.

I get where you are coming from, and I'm not trying to be combative, but why does it fall on Gamestop to inform their customers of the other options that are available. Should the Gamestop employee be saying, "We'll give you $25 for this, but honestly you can get twice that on Ebay." A rip off would be if they were giving false information "No one else takes your trade in, except us" or they were giving different deals to difference customers, but simply providing a transaction in an open market doesn't strike me as a rip off at all.

Ebay offers a fairer system than "take this $25 for Dragon Age and buy MW2 for $55". Right now on Ebay each is going for somewhere between $35 and $45. That's a 28.5% difference (assuming you sold DA:O for $35 and bought MW2 for $45) compared to 120% at Gamestop. Can anyone logically and morally argue against that 91% discrepancy? Doubtful.

My problem here is not in the evidence, but the emotionalizing of things. Fair? Moral? Also, it fails to take into account either convenience or time. If I do the same transaction in the same order -- sell my copy of DA and then buy MW2 -- there may be a week or more time between the start and completion of everything. I also have to do a lot more work. What about shipping costs? I just think people are making an awful lot of conclusions about deciding to sacrifice ten or twenty dollars for the convenience of handling a speedy, insured transaction.

jbz wrote:

But I know that Gamestop probably ordered dozens of copies of ME2, so if I walk in there, I'm pretty sure I'm going to get it. At a highly diversified retailer (Target, Best Buy, WalMart, whatever), it's quite possible I'll find a copy, but not a sure thing. When you're busy as hell (Gamer with Job, with Family, with Pets, whatever), sometimes it's worth a few extra bucks to be able to pop in and out, mission accomplished.

Around here, it's the exact opposite situation. If I go to EB looking for a new release, I can almost guarantee that they'll either be sold out, or only have copies for people with preorders. On the other hand, I can go to Future Shop/Best Buy/HMV and find piles of the same game.

Elysium wrote:

One in some town named Clovis

It's been 15 years since I lived in Fresno but this made me chuckle..now if I could only remember why.

Darko wrote:

Also, what am I doing wrong with my quote up there?

You, sir, are unfortunately suffering from a case of coffeegrinderitus. The good news is that it should clear up in a week or two.

muttonchop wrote:
jbz wrote:

But I know that Gamestop probably ordered dozens of copies of ME2, so if I walk in there, I'm pretty sure I'm going to get it. At a highly diversified retailer (Target, Best Buy, WalMart, whatever), it's quite possible I'll find a copy, but not a sure thing. When you're busy as hell (Gamer with Job, with Family, with Pets, whatever), sometimes it's worth a few extra bucks to be able to pop in and out, mission accomplished.

Around here, it's the exact opposite situation. If I go to EB looking for a new release, I can almost guarantee that they'll either be sold out, or only have copies for people with preorders. On the other hand, I can go to Future Shop/Best Buy/HMV and find piles of the same game.

I was about to post the same thing. The EB's have only seemed to carry new releases to fit the pre-orders... so I go to Future Shop/Best Buy and ask for one out of their huge pile in a giant cage. Lately it's been a crapshoot, but now we have a shiny new Play N Trade, so it's really not unpossible to travel six blocks without finding another store to buy a game at—even if you don't want to buy at GS/EB.

Me, I just shop like an electron might: path of least resistance. All above comments about paying for convenience and saved time are on the mark.

I get where you are coming from, and I'm not trying to be combative, but why does it fall on Gamestop to inform their customers of the other options that are available. Should the Gamestop employee be saying, "We'll give you $25 for this, but honestly you can get twice that on Ebay." A rip off would be if they were giving false information "No one else takes your trade in, except us" or they were giving different deals to difference customers, but simply providing a transaction in an open market doesn't strike me as a rip off at all.

They have no reason, nor obligation to inform their customers of the competition. They have an obligation to offer products at fair market value or disclose the fact that their products are sold at a premium. If they advertised themselves as an easier alternative to using other retailers or resellers then an underlying markup for the convenience seems perfectly reasonable and justifiable. As they disclose nothing to the consumer, I find this difficult to swallow.

My problem here is not in the evidence, but the emotionalizing of things. Fair? Moral? Also, it fails to take into account either convenience or time. If I do the same transaction in the same order -- sell my copy of DA and then buy MW2 -- there may be a week or more time between the start and completion of everything. I also have to do a lot more work. What about shipping costs? I just think people are making an awful lot of conclusions about deciding to sacrifice ten or twenty dollars for the convenience of handling a speedy, insured transaction.

Fair and moral describe ethical business practices, not emotions. Like I said before, as an informed consumer (or uninformed for that matter) you have the right to spend your money where you wish. I was simply pointing out the discrepancy in the marketplace. If convenience is worth that 91% discrepancy to you, then that's one thing. However, a 13 year old kid has little or no option when it comes to buying used, which is where I have an issue with that $55 vs $25 "rip off".

I realise there's not a direct correlation, but am I the only one who finds it ironic that Elysium would say "screw developers" when in another article not too long ago he was encouraging supporting favoured developers?

I understand that this time he was more focused on what is sensible for consumers, but still...

With Amazon.com getting into the business of used games, I don't really see a point in using Gamestop anymore. Amazon will give you a better price, it's more convenient and it's rare that you really need to offload your games *right now* unless you really really want that new and shiny game that just came out... but then again Gamestop won't have a copy for you anyway since you didn't pre-order it.

I just don't like their business practice of not stocking new games and artificially inflating the rarity (value?) of a new game like they do. It's not like I can't drive down the street to my local Target or Best Buy to pick up the same product for much less hassle.

They have an obligation to offer products at fair market value or disclose the fact that their products are sold at a premium.

No, they really don't. You're under no obligation to make a transaction with Gamestop, and you can most certainly ask how much you'll get for a trade-in before you commit to it. It doesn't take much to get informed, either, especially with the shelves right freaking behind the customer. Check and see how much they sell new and used copies for before trading in. It's really that simple. Anyone who goes into a transaction assuming they're getting the fairest deal and trusting the retailer deserves whatever burns they get.

Elysium wrote:

I also think there's an interesting undercurrent of distaste running around about Gamestop shoppers that might be worth exploring at some point. I've seen words like lazy and uninformed casually spat about quite a bit.

Agreed. This would make for some fascinating investigative reporting, Sociology 101-field-project-style. I'm willing to bet you'd find that quantitatvely, if there were a way to measure such a thing, the typical Gamestop shopper is no more or less obnoxious/ignorant/[insert derogatory adjective here] than the typical Walmart/Best Buy/[insert other major video game retailer here] shopper. In fact, the Gamestop shopper might actually be quite a bit more informed about games given that the store is exclusively focused on this product, but that's neither here nor there.

I tend to buy most of my games new through Amazon these days, but there are a few convenient Gamestops near my office and home that I've had some luck in. There are actually a few cool, knowledgeable people behind the counters at my local stores. That makes all the difference for me, as corny and old-fashioned as that might sound. Of course, I've also encountered my fair share of slack-jawed teenagers mumbling the requisite pre-order pitches, and I can appreciate that this is probably the norm for many shoppers.

I'm not defending Gamestop as some kind of bastion of commerce (or morality), but it could be argued they're actually pretty good at doing what they do. They've managed to grow what could be seen as a niche market into a behemoth brand nationwide. I do find it a little sad that the average consumer probably doesn't understand the extent to which Gamestop's marketing materials inflate what are often middling-to-poor "deals," but I don't get how that makes Gamestop any different from any other business, especially in the retail arena.

The bottom line for me is buyer beware. Think critically about what you're willing to pay for convenience and other intangibles. Do the math on the deals they advertise, and consider if the result is worth it for you. Do your homework on what you think fair market value for a game is, and if Gamestop's price doesn't meet your expectations, go elsewhere. I do find it pretty ridiculous that Gamestop will buy your copy of Mercenaries 2 for $4.00 and sell it for $17.99, but that's their prerogative.

Here are a couple of good alternatives I've used:

Cex USA - they only have retail locations in Boston, NYC, and Philly, but I think you can buy/sell online. Trade-in values are a bit above average in my experience.

eStarland - I've gotten some very good prices on used, hard-to-find games, and trade-in values are comparable if not a bit higher than other outlets. They also do a fair bit of business in retro systems and games.

Clemenstation wrote:

I was going to do my usual Wooo Goozex! thing, but I just found out that the dude who was supposed to be sending me Prototype has, in fact, not sent Prototype but instead took my points, made a quick acquisition and closed his account.

I'm pretty sure I'll be reimbursed, but that's 2 weeks of waiting with no payoff. Gamestop is looking more shiny in this light.

Clem, give a negative feedback to the guy. Since the guy's account is closed, he can't dispute and you'll get your points back automatically.

"I also think there's an interesting undercurrent of distaste running around about Gamestop shoppers that might be worth exploring at some point. I've seen words like lazy and uninformed casually spat about quite a bit."

It's definitely a two-way street. Gamestop thrives on the uninformed like your great EB '05 story punctuated so well. Would make a good separate topic altogether.

It's definitely a two-way street. Gamestop thrives on the uninformed like your great EB '05 story punctuated so well. Would make a good separate topic altogether.

Oh trust me, having been on the inside, let me tell you that there's no love lost among retail managers toward customers they don't like or perceive as "problematic".

Anyone who goes into a transaction assuming they're getting the fairest deal and trusting the retailer deserves whatever burns they get.

Even if you're under 18? While I'm sure Visa, Master Card, or Discover would like to agree with you, they are governed by laws that restrict that situation. Not everyone is privy to the same information as we seem to be here, and that's why I'm arguing that it's not an ethically sound practice.

Darko wrote:
Anyone who goes into a transaction assuming they're getting the fairest deal and trusting the retailer deserves whatever burns they get.

Even if you're under 18? While I'm sure Visa, Master Card, or Discover would like to agree with you, they are governed by laws that restrict that situation. Not everyone is privy to the same information as we seem to be here, and that's why I'm arguing that it's not an ethically sound practice.

Why are 13 year olds using credit cards in your hypothetical?

harrisben wrote:

I realise there's not a direct correlation, but am I the only one who finds it ironic that Elysium would say "screw developers" when in another article not too long ago he was encouraging supporting favoured developers?

I must have missed it, but where is Elysium saying "screw developers" here?

2. If you think GameStop's taking a loss on those ancient games sitting in a warehouse, you're mad. Anything they don't sell is written off before being thrown out if not when the credit is given to the customer, I guarantee it. When my company buys product for inventory, we get to right it off immediately, even if it never sells and then we get to write off its depreciated value if we decide to junk it. They may not be getting as much as if they sold it in retail and they may not be getting it right away but I guarantee you, every used game makes them money at some point in its life.

This is an excellent point.

You should be required to counter-point all of my articles.

kincher skolfax wrote:

In fact, the Gamestop shopper might actually be quite a bit more informed about games given that the store is exclusively focused on this product, but that's neither here nor there.

Sometimes that's worse. It's the "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing" principle. Or, as it perhaps should be dubbed, the Moronic Valley. Between the space of people who just go to Best Buy and grab the latest Madden and the well-informed enthusiast is a frightening creature who fills in his gaps of knowledge with complete horse manure. These are the people who used to come into stores and insist they read that the next Sonic game was to be a Super NES exclusive.

I can't comment on Gamestop, but I was discussing used games with my friend the indie-game shop owner recently. He does a lot of business in trades and outright sales of used games to his shop; his customer base is not a very affluent one, so he often sees the same disc 3 or 4 times in trade.

He was saying that the biggest change for him in the last few years is that he is now dependent on the used game market to stay afloat. The mark up from distributors means that he makes less than £5 on a new game. He can't increase his prices and stay competitive with the big guys and supermarkets. The profit margin on hardware is not even worth talking about.

He can no longer afford the risk of buying big numbers as a result; he is very nervous about ordering 40 copies of Mass Effect 2, split between his 5 branches. He showed me an old invoice he came across; in the heyday of the PS2, he ordered 140 copies of The Simpsons: Hit And Run in 1 week. The only game that has come close to that number in this generation was COD:MW2.

The problem with the used market is the turnaround; I made the mistake of buying Over G from him the week that we met, when the 360 was young, for £40. I soon realised my error and sold it back to him for £10 less than I bought it for, a week later. It is STILL on the shelf in his store, marked for £22 less than he gave me. If it wasn't a running joke by this point, I'm pretty sure he would have just binned it by now.

It is still more of a safe profit for him than brand new titles; the only way that he can realistically make profits on them and remain competitive is basically to play the grey market, importing from Europe (for some reason, Nintendo keep flooding Germany with products, they don't sell, and the distributors get desperate) and the US (imports of non-region coded games with a delayed UK release).

The former is market dependant, and the latter is becoming less common, since simultaneous release is more frequent now. I don't often buy used games or trade in my old stuff, but I don't really have a problem with the used market. Developers have survived with it for a very long time now; they aren't in danger of bleeding out any time soon as a result of used game sales.

Elysium wrote:

This is an excellent point.

You should be required to counter-point all of my articles.

It's not that I enjoy disagreeing with you (well OK, maybe a little bit ;)) and your articles on the whole make awesome points, I just like to add anything to them that I've learned over the years. Trust me, if I hadn't been running my company, I never would have known about the write off bit. Used games are one of those things where I kind of do have a problem with aspects of the concept but I won't fault anyone for taking advantage of it and just voice my objection by not participating in it myself.

Why are 13 year olds using credit cards in your hypothetical?

They're not. That's my point.