GameStop has announced a new program called "Me Time, Anytime" in which customers are encouraged to come into one of 1,500 US GameStop locations and try out the DS and its games. From 11a.m. to 2p.m. on October 18 (otherwise known as "not anytime,") this special demo station, called the "Me Time Test Drive" will be available, and employees will, of course, be on hand to answer questions.
In addition, seven GameStops in major cities (see the press release for locations) will host Marquee events from 10a.m. to 6p.m. which will include "refreshments and music" as well as prizes. Nintendo representatives will be present to "help with your Nintendo DS needs." According to the press release, GameStop stores have already started handing out "designer carrying cases" with purchases of a DS console and a new game.
We don't think transparently desperate promotions and free refreshments are going to do anything to bring more people into GameStop. For future events, we'd suggest "We Won't Make a Big Deal Out of It When a Woman Comes In" day and "You Probably Don't Want a Preorder, a Warranty, or a Discount Card, So We Just Won't Bother You About It" day.
GameStop can't take all the blame for this futile, vaguely exploitive promotion. The presence of Nintendo reps at the larger events, as well as the way the "Me Time" name ties so nicely in with Nintendo's own "I Play for Me" campaign suggests that it is a coordinated effort between the retailer and Nintendo.