Journey to Gamestop


Neil Porras

Nintendo’s Switch console was met with overwhelming demand, but after the first stock on March 3rd that lasted minutes people began asking when the next stock would arrive. Major retailers announced a nationwide restock taking place during mid April, but Gamestop claimed to be getting some on the 22nd of March. The race to a Switch began as tens of thousands of people lined outside of Gamestop’s across the country (myself included) just in hope to get a console. This is our story.


The Nintendo Switch Launched March 3rd, 2017 to many retail stores (Walmart, Bestbuy, Gamestop, ToysRus.) across the U.S with less than 10 consoles per store. They quickly ran out of stock within minutes of opening their doors. Some people that pre-ordered or gotten the consoles on the 3rd began reselling on Amazon and Ebay for 2-3x the original prices, with some Ebay bidding wars getting up to 4,000 dollars. The next restock for most stores wouldn’t be for another month and a half, but Gamestop announced that they were getting consoles on the 22nd of March weeks before other stores.

Day 1[ My Wednesday started at 2 in the morning feeling excited, but also exhausted as I got no sleep during the night. After packing up a good breakfast, lawn chair and blankets I headed out to Gamestop at Sugar House. When I arrived I noticed I wasn’t the only one excited to get inside. My spot in line was 9th out of 9 predicted consoles coming in, I was ecstatic. The group I was with were very friendly, as if we knew each other for years. There was a good mix of ages ranging from 11-38 year olds, and all we did was talk about video games the entire morning.


The manager of the store showed up a 8, but said we couldn’t come inside until 10 with the shipment coming in at 11:30. With that news he also said there was a 50% chance they even came today, as the last shipment update took place 3 hours ago in upstate Wyoming. We were let in around 10:10 with 75 others outside the door hoping that some extras came in. Trusty UPS guy came in with 2 small boxes on his cart… Disappointment included.

Day 2[ My Thursday morning started just like the morning before, but with a lot more enthusiasm knowing they were coming in today. I opened the living room door, and was immediately pelted by buckets of rain coming down. I quickly jumped into my car with my jacket already soaked, and took off with my windshield wipers on max. There were 4 of the same guys standing outside, with loose hoodies and almost zero protection from the rain. I setup my lawn chair hugging the side of the store for the maximum amount of protection. I sat there with 2 blankets for 30 minutes before I realized I was completely drenched, and so was everyone else around me. Our spirits were still higher than yesterday’s though, and we talked more under the dim GAMESTOP sign in pitch darkness.


The nearby Shell Gas Station opened up at 6, and Andrew (Number 2) got us giant trash bags to cover us from the rain. This time the manager showed up at 9 and told us a shipment will be here by 12. We all rejoiced to the point where the weather wasn’t affecting us anymore. Eagerly waiting for the doors to open standing in very soggy shoes. We headed inside at 10 and there were 25 other people outside. UPS guy showed up at 11:30 with a 8×8 foot box, manager turned to us and said “Hope the wait was worth it”. It took staff 15 minutes to unbox everything…and only 4 Switches came in… meaning I didn’t get one that day.

Day 3[ I didn’t even care about the switch at this point, it was mostly all about the journey and people I meet. I again woke up at 2am and left with a protein shake in one hand and 2 soggy blankets in the other. I arrived and saw Number 9 from the first day and 7th the second. He was a Westminster student, and was getting the switch for his wife’s birthday, which I found sweet that he would wake up every day before 3 to line up. I stayed in my car, and tried getting sleep but before I did I put up a large teddy bear with a sign saying in Number 2 on a lawn chair outside the front door. I got waken up by the sun’s rays hitting my eyes, and pulled out my phone telling me it was 6:43 with the temperature inside my car being around 40°F.


Number 1 was sitting on the concrete outside the store munching on a snack bar. Number 3 showed up around 7am looking for a switch for his son’s birthday. Reportedly the father said, “He has been a good boy lately, and I don’t want to spend for than 800 for a gamecube”. The manager showed up at 9:45 and quickly set up the store. Letting us enter at 10:15 with just us 3 in the store. He had worked the same days I came in so he called be Number 5 when he saw me, I asked him if he knew a shipment was coming in today. “There is a 25% chance it comes in today, or they come in sometime next week.”


I circled the inside of the store probably 500 times during the hunt. UPS guy came rolling up with a huge box, and the manager looked at us in disappointment, and said he’d be right back. It took him 45 mins to get 5 new Switches out of the cargo box. I walked out the store with one the biggest grins in my life, and drove to chipotle to get burritos for teachers that didn’t put me absent.


The next shipment anywhere nationwide wouldn’t have been until May.