Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Best Buy's "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" Steelbook Shortage is Worse than You Could Have Imagined!


I managed to get a copy of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" on BluRay 3D at Best Buy.

I need to be upfront about that so that you understand that my frustration with the situation of getting the disk is real, I am passionate about it, and even though I managed to get a copy, I am still very upset with how Best Buy managed to screw virtually every fan of BluRay 3D in releasing this product onto the world.  You'd think we wouldn't be talking like this.  You'd think that since they went through the trouble to get the exclusive rights to the 3D version of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" they would have plenty of copies in stock to go around.  You'd think - since they thought this was a big enough deal to lure customers into their store - they would be well prepared to take care of those customers when the day came to purchase the item.  This is not the case, and I'm sorry to say the situation was much, MUCH worse than I could have possibly imagined!

For those who are new to the situation, it might be a good idea to read my previous post on the situation, but to summarize, Best Buy got the exclusive rights to the 3D version of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2."  The problem is, they decided to package in one of their limited steelbook editions, which are known for selling out very quickly and never seeing a second pressing.  I had hoped that since this would be the only way to get a 3D copy of the movie, Best Buy would make plenty of these to go around.  That, even though 3D TV's aren't really being sold anymore, they see enough value in the disks to have enough copies made available.  That turned out to not be the case.  In fact, Best Buy has actually gone out of their way to NOT meet what was very clearly a huge demand for this movie on BluRay 3D!  They put the steelbook edition up for pre-order months ago.  It wasn't long before the sets were sold out online.

Despite the heavy demand to make more pre-orders available, no additional sets were put into production.  The remaining sets would be shipped to stores.  Sadly, unless you were waiting in line early at most stores, you wouldn't receive it.  I went to a store in Huntington Beach.  I got there fifteen minutes early.  There were five people in front of me and assumed I would manage to get a copy.  I was dead wrong.  Turns out, the store received a measly TWO copies!  The first in line grabbed both copies and headed straight to the register.  He did a slick walk around the store, going to every spot the sets would potentially be.  It was pretty obvious he was buying as many of them as he could to sell on eBay.  He bought both copies...the stores ENTIRE inventory!  Most of us stood around baffled at the situation.  It was a complete waste of time for us to go there.  It was a complete waste of time for the store to even sell it.  One customer pointed out to an employee "You have this advertised in your ad and you only have two copies?!"

I felt sorry for the man who just wanted his movie and for the employees who were likely going to spend the ENTIRE day having to explain to people why things were handled this way!  I exited the store and called Best Buy at Long Beach.  When I inquired they told me they had gotten two copies and were sold out.  I called Costa Mesa and they only received one.  Irvine got five, but they were already gone.  The store at Orange claimed to still have some.  I got in my car and drove fifteen minutes to the store, hoping and praying that they wouldn't be sold old.  I got to the store and went to the movie display.  No disks.  New Releases?  Nope.  I went to every spot a new release would appear and there was none to be found.  I almost left in frustration but decided I'd ask customer service how many they have received.  Turns out, they had two copies left.  I asked for one and happily bought it.  Apparently, they had gotten closer to nineteen copies, but kept them behind the counter to not only inspire detectives who REALLY wanted it to look closer, but to also insure no one came in and bought all of them off the shelf!

I was partially happy that this form of quick thinking ensured that I got a copy, but I also cringed knowing a few people probably didn't get one of these because they simply didn't think to ask.  For that matter, the fact the employees were aware that this could happen, shows that the scalping market for steelbooks are HUGE (and with the only way to legally buy the 3D version in physical for, the value only goes up)!  Now...for me, the issue is not the casing.  I could honestly care less about it.  It's nice, but nothing to get too excited about.  My big issue was that the BluRay 3D was packaged in this case - and ONLY this case - which would make it almost impossible to find after the first day!  I never thought that we would be in a situation where this version of the movie was limited to so few copies.  Right now, this item has become a popular item to sell on eBay in two ways: The compete set, and just the 3D disk.

That goes to show that not only is the scarcity of the set related primarily to the steelbook casing, but it shows that most people who wanted the case didn't want the 3D disk.  Most fans of the movie would want a case to go with their movie, but if they have to buy it on the third hand market, they will do so.  That means Best Buy not only screwed their customers, they screwed THEMSELVES in the process!  By packaging the 3D version with a limited edition item that had a high demand separate from the disk itself, Best Buy released a product that most people only half wanted.  A good chunk of people who bought the set didn't care about the 3D, and people who want the 3D can no longer get the set.  This is...so messed up I can barely think of words.  Something tells me that someone at Best Buy saw how well the set was selling, assumed it was because of the casing, and decided to keep it rare because these items are more of a bait and switch then they are actual money makers.

In chaining the 3D version as this limited edition item they have pleased no one, and all but insured they have sent whoever might have bought a copy of this movie on BluRay 3D legitimately to the black market to get the disks from the steelbook collectors who didn't care about the disks so much as they cared about having really cool cases to display on their shelves.  Sadly, I don't expect Best Buy to understand what they did or the amount of damage they have done to their reputation by doing things this way, and I fear that they will get more 3D movies exclusively, only to package them in rare steelbook editions that will be gone before the real customers even realize they were there to begin with.  Oh, but on a positive note, you CAN buy the movie digitally in 3D on Vudu!  Um...good for us?  So, while I did end up getting my copy of the movie, I am still very upset by this and it gives me pause to buy from them again if this is how they want to screw with their customers.

For those interested, here is my full review of the movie.

8 comments :

  1. I was depressed when I read this last night. But I am happy to say that this morning Best Buy is again showing this 3D/4K steel book package as available to purchase. I just easily purchased it online at the Best Buy site, and I noticed that it is also available in at least one Best Buy store in my state. Fortunately, I had not yet opened the non-3D version I had purchased at a local retailer, so I can still return that one. Like others have said, the steel book case was irrelevant to me; I just wanted to have the 3D version somehow. Yay 3D, may it live on forever! Tip, this package currently sells for $34.99 at Best Buy. You can get free shipping if you get your order to at least $35.00. (I wound up buying another movie I wanted anyways.) Or I think you can get free shipping to your local Best Buy store regardless of the price.

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  2. Even worse the 3D version has the IMAX aspect ratio for selected scenes. I don't know why Marvel decided not to release the IMAX version for 4K blu-Ray or regular Blu-ray. I mean Tron:Legacy did it. They released the IMAX Version on all copies of Blu-Ray 2D and 3D and DVD, but not on digital. It's a shame what best buy did. I'm very angry.

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  4. Update to my prior comments of yesterday. It is now the next day, and Best Buy web site shows it "As Advertised", but unlike yesterday does not have the "Add to Cart" icon. It instead has a "Check Stores" icon. Clicking that it says "We're sorry. This item is not available for pickup within 250 miles". I agree with others here, and those also discussing it at http://www.highdefdigest.com/news/show/3D/Best_Buy/steelbooks/good-luck-finding-a-guardians-vol-2-4k3d-best-buy-steelbook/39799. If Best Buy wants to be the exclusive distributor of the 3D version of movies, they need to have enough copies. Maybe if they had a version that was not a SteelBook, it might eliminate the scalpers gobbling them up and reselling them online for high prices. I personally do like being able to purchase it as both 4K and 3D, but Best Buy needs enough copies so that can be done. I did get my copy yesterday, but feel bad for other 3D enthusiasts. Plus I want Best Buy to have enough copies for the next title. I feel that it's great that Best Buy was helping keep 3D alive, assuming no other companies was able to distribute this movie in 3D. (Currently there appears to be some kind of quarrel between Amazon and Disney.) But Best Buy needs to provide enough copies, or it can tarnish their reputation.

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  5. I preordered mine from Best Buy but I bought it only to get the 3D version and was not interested of the UHD version.

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  6. AHEM. *Actually*, you can RENT it in 3D on VUDU. They do NOT have it for purchase in 3D. I wrestled with their customs service department for a week trying to get an answer, and was finally informed:

    "Unfortunately, yes we only have the 3D format for rent. The studio (Disney) has not given us the licensing rights to sell the 3D format of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol2"."

    So, yes--the expensive, rare BB steel book which includes a 4K disk I can't use is the ONLY way to cut it in the US. Confirmed. Infuriating.

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    1. Wow. Thanks for letting me know about this!

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  7. I went looking for the Steelbook set late because I carelessly expected Best Buy would have produced enough to last in stores until Black Friday. On Saturday I went to Best Buy in Virginia Beach and found no 3D copies. I finally asked a clerk after checking every BluRay shelf. He checked the computer and found 2 copies of the Steelbook 4K + 3D at the other store in town. I rushed over and got there in time to grab the last one off the promo display in the front of the store. Per the Best Buy app the nearest other store which had one in stock was over 100 miles away in the next state.

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