Once upon a time (15 – 20 years ago), I used to be a big fan of video games. These days, I just don’t have the time or the desire to sit down and really get into a game. Back then, I loved playing role playing games (RPG) like the Final Fantasy series and its many spinoffs. I remember when Final Fantasy 7 came out for PlayStation and it was groundbreaking at the time. The visuals were amazing and the game play was deep. Everyone wanted to follow the story of Cloud and Sephiroth – it was an intense story for the gaming community!
With a history as an engaged RPG gamer you might have predicted that I was really excited when I heard that during last week’s Cyber Monday sale, Square-Enix was offering Final Fantasy 7 for a ridiculously low price. In fact, Square put pretty much their entire collection on sale at prices that were 60% off. It was crazy!
But you might imagine my surprise when I tried to purchase a few downloadable versions of some classic Final Fantasy games only to be met with an error screen on the Square website. I tried to purchase those downloads for about an hour and a half and just couldn’t get past the error screen.
It was the most frustrating experience you could imagine.
Or at least it was the most frustrating experience you could imagine until I contacted Square’s help line to see if they could help me with problem I encountered. And lucky for you folks, I’ve saved the entire back and forth conversation for you to read and most likely be disgusted by as I was disgusted. Here’s how the e-mail conversation started:
I tried to purchase both Final Fantasy 7 and Final Fantasy 8 PC editions during your Cyber Monday sale, but the order form on the website kept coming up with an error message. Is it possible to still buy those two games and the Cyber Monday prices? I’m a long-time Square fan and I hope that you understand my frustration when I could have gotten these two games at a great price, but your website wouldn’t work for me. Thanks.
I think I was pretty rational and calm in that query. Here is Square’s first awful response:
Thank you for contacting the Square Enix online store. We apologize for the inconvenience. We show that the Cyber sale already ended. Please attempt a new order. To place a new order, go to: http://store.na.square-enix.com/store/sqenixus/en_US/ResetShoppingCart
Ugh… talk about a useless, non-response. If I owned Square-Enix and I saw that this was the response that one of my customer service people sent back to the question that I posed, I’d fire them for not being able to comprehend basic English or customer intent. Here is my response to Square:
It appears that you didn’t listen to my concern. The items that I wanted to buy were on sale during your Cyber Monday sale. Your website did not work during your Cyber Monday sale. I tried to purchase the items several times during your Cyber Monday sale and your website would not work. This is false advertising and is against the law in America.
I’m asking that you recognize that your website – not me or anything on my end – but your website failed during the period that your sale was active. And as an act of repentance for your website failing during your sale, I’ve asked that you offer me the two games that I was attempting to purchase for the price that they were offered during the failure of your website.
The response you provided doesn’t address any of those points. Please try again.
I mean – I can’t be any clearer in that response, can I? Well, get ready for more useless help from Square. This was their response:
Thank you for contacting the Square Enix online store. We apologize for the inconvenience this issue may have caused you.
Unfortunately, we are no longer able to place an order for the price on the Cyber Monday promotion. You may need to complete the order at the current price that is showing online. However, we can submit a request to match the promotional price once the order has been completed. Please be reminded that this request is not a guarantee the the price will be matched.
If you wanted to place an order, you may do so. Once it is completed, please provide the promotional offer information that details the price you are referring to.
That’s right, folks – Square’s response to my request was to tell me to buy the products at full price and then request that I be offered the promotional price… after I made the purchases! In what world does that make sense? Well, I attempted to explain this to the dopes at Square:
This isn’t an acceptable resolution to the problem. You certainly wouldn’t accept my “conditional” payment and forward me the software with the condition being that I’m only sending you the money if I get the discount that your broken website wouldn’t allow me to get on Cyber Monday. You’d be fools to give away your product on the hope that I was going to pay in full just like I’d be a fool to pay you in full with the hope that you’d live up to meeting the sale price (which, let’s be honest, you absolutely wouldn’t do).
So this has been a useless interaction for me. I look forward to sharing it with my fellow gamers and folks who have generally been disenfranchised by a once-great company.
They haven’t/didn’t respond to my last e-mail, but that’s okay. The steep decline in the popularity of their now-craptastic Final Fantasy series speaks volumes to how far this company has fallen. People used to line up outside of stores to get the latest Final Fantasy games. Now? Well, fan backlash was so strong against Final Fantasy 14 that it forced Square to take the game off of the market and totally recreate the product. When your company has fallen that far, it’s no wonder that your customer “service” team isn’t able to meet the type of simple request that I asked in my question.
Oh how the mighty have fallen…