2100 Microsoft Points - what cost?

I recently bought 6300 MSP, as I am wont to do whenever I want to take advantage of a cheap deal, such as the recent one at Smiths. I bought three separate 2100 point cards, as it was the cheapest way to get them.

I received them yesterday. I received three items, exactly the same, whose serial numbers show were one after another from the same batch of cards, in three separate envelopes. Despite ordering all three in the same order, I got an invoice for each in each envelope. Take a look:

Now, this is ridiculous. I'll of course be letting WH Smith know what I think of this, and while I'll be re-using the envelopes for other things I'm sure you can see while I have an issue with it.

But the real culprit here isn't Smiths. Even if they bundled it together in one envelope, I'd still have a load of waste. Take a look at that image above again - each card has plastic shrink-wrap, a plastic DVD case, a paper sleeve, a card insert, and the card itself with the code on. And I can't see any reason for it - any information on any part of the package is actually repeated on the card. And to top it all off take a look at the inside:

The case is specially manufactured for the card. It's not a regular DVD case. There is no other use for this piece of plastic than to provide a safe shipping container for a piece of goddamned cardboard. Your average person is going to extract the useful part of this, and throw the case directly into the recycling - or, more likely, the general waste bin.

Here's how I could have received these cards:

One standard envelope, one sheet of paper for an invoice, and three credit-card-sized cards. I could even just receive the codes through email, although I understand that might require a little more communication between Microsoft and retailers - the recent news that Amazon has opened a digital goods store for Xbox Live in the US is a great step in the right direction for this.

I really can't see the reason for this much packaging. I can see the reason for some, possibly to prevent theft from stores, but never this much, and retailers already lock the actual product behind the counter in any case. Protecting it in transit is not an issue. Neither is preventing the silver covering from rubbing off - in America, this has already been replaced with a tear-off strip in some instances, although reportedly they're still available to buy in even more mind-boggling packaging - those infernal impenetrable blister packs.

Are there any other reasons for this? To make the customer feel like they're buying something more tangible? Aren't we beyond that?


Aero said...

I don't understand why they make those orange cases either. They used to put them in normal game cases which you could at least re-use but then they switched to these for some bizarre reason. It seems like they want to harm the environment and waste money.

LewieP said...

"as I am wont to do whenever I want to take advantage of a cheap deal"

What the hell does that mean? ;P

Very good point, well made.

mr8kc said...

Indeed Will. This is a frustrating part of the material world we are in. They even seem to make the cases as large as possible!

I would even consider buying a /sliughtly/ more expensive code online to remove the need for the packaging.

Anonymous said...

As you said, it is to prevent theft. And no its not always locked behind counters at stores. HMV for example have their 2100 points out live on the floor.

Joe said...

At least Wii Points cases are re-usable. Hopefully DSi points will be, too.

Anonymous said...

they will be sent in three packages as they probably come from a vat free channel - the total parcel price has to be under 18 quid for you to save the vat...

Anonymous said...

I re-use the cases to hold SD cards. :)