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I never buy protection.
Now, before you go fleeing for the exits thinking you’ve wandered into a Very Special Episode of The Ed Zone – relax; this is purely gaming related.
I’ll leave the pharmacy chat for Dr. Oz. No, I’m speaking specifically about that Game Disc Protection Plan that every counter jockey at your friendly big-box game store has been coerced to offer you each and every time you look to purchase another game. I guess $3 is not that steep a charge to save you from yourself. But if you have even the tiniest bit of self-control and can be counted on to refrain from using that new copy of Dead Space 2 for skeet practice, that’s three more bones that you can place as down payment on the next round of DLC that should have been on the disc in the first place.
I’m fundamentally opposed to this policy on two fronts.
For starters, my discs move from the case to the system and back to the case again. That’s the extent of their wandering. Occasionally they return to roost at my nearest game emporium, where whatever credit I get can be placed on purchasing the next Must Have title on my list. Not all of my games find this fate, but when you play as many as I do in a year, there’s bound to be a fair share that will simply collect dust. It takes something special to merit “BFF” status on my shelf. So, off they go.
By minimizing a game’s frequent flyer miles, the risk of injury or crash is seriously diminished. So whether it stays home with me or I kick it to the curb in favor of the next hotness, these discs always look like they just got their Born-on-Date that very day, even if I’ve owned the thing for a year. Not one blemish, nor scratch, nor fingerprint – and this is coming from a dude who shares a house with two small children and two rampaging labs. All have been trained to keep their paws off Daddy’s discs. And those that I trust my kids to handle are spotless. They’ve learned by watching me.
And yet, the used sections of the game store look like a forgotten M.A.S.H. unit. With boxes battered into submission, there’s no question that whatever disc that cashier places in the coffer is going to carry a few war wounds. Even the whole “Seven Days to Return It if You Have Any Issues” policy doesn’t provide much comfort. It’s bad enough I darken the doors of these strip mall swap meets a few times a month to get something new to play; the last thing I want to do is add another unnecessary trip because their merchandise never should have been bought back and pawned on me in the first place.
Which brings me to my second issue with the Protection Policy. Insurance implies that you are paying a premium to protect your most precious possessions. Yet every single square inch of the ever-expanding Used Game Section has been sandblasted by Price Stickers, Reduced Price Stickers, Coming Soon Stickers, Promo Stickers, etc. And trying to remove this adhesive assault once you’ve got the game in your mitts is a devilish task. Hell, Sisyphus had it easy when Zeus made him continually push a rock up hill, only to have it roll back down before he reached the top. With every one of these decals you remove, two more pop up in their place. And no amount of rubbing alcohol will do the trick.
My daughter once got gum stuck in her hair. An old wives’ tale told us to use peanut butter to remove the sticky substance. I have no idea who came up with that elixir (no doubt, once upon a time someone was trying to remove peanut butter from their hair and by using gum they realized the reverse was true). Regardless, those fabled old wives spoke the truth; the gum was removed without one follicle pulled from her head. To this day, I am still scratching away at a musty old copy of Twisted Metal Black masquerading as a tag sale. No amount of peanut butter will remedy my cause, not even the chunky kind.
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