The Death of Hastings
The last few weeks have been buzzing with more tragic news concerning gamers’ buying options. The apparent news is that the brick and mortar store Hastings is in serious financial trouble. Hastings is known for selling comics, video games, collectibles, dvds, music, and books. They often have good sales on used games. If this truly is the last gasp of breath for this store, will gamers get to see fantastic clearance deals? What was the final nail in the coffin?
Hasting operates over 120 plus stores all over the US and their motto is "Discover your Entertainment." Most of the Hastings stores are Northwest, Texas, the Midwest, the Southwest or the East Coast. They were founded in the 1960s and their headquarters are in Texas. The demise for the demand of physical media has probably contributed to their problems. Hastings is facing the case of it needs cash within 30 days or else its closing everything. They also own Moviestop and Tradesmart, which will also be closing.
I found out about the closure, due to a posted announcement in store, that as of early June they are no longer doing buybacks or selling any kind of gift cards. Hastings is also no longer selling pre-orders or doing rentals. All previous game rentals are on sale for $50 each, none of these are a good deal. The most recent releases such as Doom or Overwatch can be found cheaper at other stores. All credit must be used by 7/13/2016.
In the past, I have had pretty good experiences with Hastings. There are a few stores in my area and some a few hours away. I remember being a kid in the 1990s and being able to rent PC games there. They also had a section for renting adult movies and adult PC games. I don’t think that exists anymore. When I was buying CDs and DVDs through the last 20 years, I usually tried to buy from them since they had good deals. I used Hastings in college to trade in excess DVDs and CDs to get cash.
Over the last few years, Hastings has always had great deals on used dvds/blu-rays. Often these are buy one, get one for a $1 or buy one, get one free. They have online sales that are 30%-50% off used games and while shipping can get a little spendy, it still works out to the buyer’s favor. 90% of the time the games come complete and in great shape. A few times I got Wii/Wii u games that had cracked rings.
However, over the last year I built up a lot of credit there. One of the reasons is that they offer good trade in values for AAA games for months. Call of Duty Advance Warfare was $40 TIV for more than 6 months. Spiderman for PS4 was another example; it was getting $30+ for several months even after the game had dropped to under $15 at most stores. Often times they had good Black Friday sales and several years ago they would run deals when games were released. Similar to what Gamestop used to have, trade in x games toward this new release and get 30% more. My biggest problem was finding things I wanted to buy at the actual store. If it wasn’t a DVD or Blu-ray, almost all their games could be bought cheaper. Hastings was not very good about keeping up on universal price drops on older games.
So what caused all of this? People have speculated it's the lack of interest in physical media as many consumers are going all digital. Hastings doesn't have terrible prices but they have compete with other B&M stores as well as online marketplaces. Their customer service was pretty good and I never had a problem with returns. I know a lot of people traded in games, books, movies, etc, and it would have been nice if they had a better way to access these values before people went in store. Aggressive pricing and more sales, as well as cutting down the amount of trade in credit offered for items could have helped them in the long run. I will miss Hastings, it was one of the last hold outs from the 1990s and one of the last place people could rent games.
There are still a few good sales going on at Hastings in store. One of these is buy 2 movies get 1 for a $1, buy 1 get 1 50% off on Pop toys and T-shirts are buy 1 get 1 50% off. Right now the best online sale is 40% off previous views games using the code. Here is a link to their ongoing promotions. Some are thinking that Hastings will restructure to an online only business. People on Cheapassgamer have speculated this could be a way out. More on Hastings pending closure and bankruptcy can be found here.