There is a famous story about the launch of the Super Famicom in Japan – an event that happened 30 years ago today – that Nintendo decided to send the console to stores at night to prevent that Deliveries are intercepted by gangs of yakuza criminals.
The plan, dubbed Operation Midnight Shipping, was worked out by Nintendo President Hiroshi Yamauchi and his right-wing husband Hiroshi Imanishi after the former learned that the Yakuza were planning to steal supplies from the Super Famicom, before they reached the stores. Given the hype surrounding the release of the console – by far the successor to the Famicom, by far the most popular in Japan – the Yakuza rightly sensed that high profits could be made by selling systems at inflated prices on the black market.
The story goes that in the early hours of the 21st. November 1990 300. 000 Super Famicom consoles were quietly loaded into vans and distributed across the country before the yakuza – or the majority of Japan themselves – woke up from their slumber. The operation was kept top secret, and only a small handful of people were made aware of when the trucks would leave, where they would go, and what cargo they contained. As a result, the yakuza were left empty-handed and all 300. 000 launch systems went to their rightful owners.
Fast forward to today, and it seems that the PlayStation 5 launch in the UK wasn’t that lucky – and while the Yakuza is obviously not involved this time around, some shady people seem to have ruined the launch of Sony’s new system for some of its customers who have pre-ordered from online retail giant Amazon.
One of those customers is our own Ant Dickens who, like several other UK shoppers who have pre-ordered on Amazon, found that their PS5 console was replaced with an entirely different item and the packaging sealed with transparent tape (instead of Amazon- own packaging tape). Others had received incorrect items (which happens from time to time), while some customers had marked shipments as « delivered » that didn’t even show up even though the van was in sight of their home:
One buyer was lucky enough to get his PS5, but only after challenging the Amazon delivery driver who apparently had plans to get away with the console:
Amazon made the following statement on our sister site, Push Square, but it appears that at this time only disappointed customers affected by this shameful event can get a full refund as PS5 stock is empty:
We want to make our customers happy, and that is not the case with a small fraction of these orders. We’re really sorry about that and we’re investigating exactly what happened. We reach out to every customer who has had a problem and bring them to their attention so we can fix it. Anyone who has had a problem with an order can contact our customer service team for help.
Obviously, the way people get their consoles has changed in the three decades since the Super Famicom launched in Japan. While Nintendo was able to control how inventory was delivered to retail stores in 1990, online ordering is king in modern times – even more so now that we’re in the middle of a global pandemic that is keeping people away from physical stores.
This obviously opens up the possibility that those in charge of delivering the goods may actually steal them before they reach the customer, especially when you consider that these consoles are almost certainly at a massive profit in the secondary market People who are desperate to own a PS5 this side of Christmas will be sold.
Damien has over a decade of writing experience and a hideously hairy stomach. Rumors that he turned down a role in The Hobbit to work on Nintendo Life are, to the best of our knowledge, completely unfounded.
These delivery men should be fired and go to jail. Amazon should know who is supplying the products in which area, that can’t be too difficult, and telling customers to wait for them to eventually show up is stupid.
@ BTB20 A big part of the problem I think is that it’s the rush to hire people on vacation so Amazon is likely still in need of the manpower so it may have been hired without a great demonstration. In any case, I agree to shoot immediately!
Wow. It’s just awful. It makes me really happy that I made a decision not to try to get a ps5 for a year or two, even if that decision was due to the fact that I finally got a ps4.
A terrible thing. People work to enjoy life and get the things that make them happy. It’s horrible if a thief takes it before you’ve even seen it. If you’re expecting a new console or something similar that will be highly regarded in the news, you should have your phone ready . If you see the delivery man pulling up and not getting out, take pictures of the van or vehicle. When he delivers a package, take a picture of him. and his van . Make him wait for you to open the package at the front door. Check items.
These individuals should be fully prosecuted and served time. And never again get a job where there is contact with valuables. If you can and you find out that you have been betrayed. Hold the guy back and call the police.
But taking pictures of the delivery man and the van is good, at least you can prove who he was. Awe about it so annoyed. So sad .
Never buy consoles at startup. Unless you urgently need to play a new FIFA or a bag of rice.
Pre-ordered my XSX from the MS Store and PS5 from ShopTo, both arrived on their respective start days. But I’ve had large box shipments from Amazon in the past with a corner slightly torn and now I seem to know why. Unfortunately, thieves are everywhere. I have friends in Canada who have packages stolen by porch pirates. It is ridiculous.
Something similar happened to me when I ordered a laptop from Amazon. They sent me a box of cereal. Amazon kept calling me a liar and saying they delivered the laptop and refused to refund me. They only gave way after I posted the story on Reddit and received thousands of views and hundreds of comments. I would never order an expensive item from Amazon in the UK again. You are terrible.
@ LaytonPuzzle27 while yes the rioters need to be stopped when they get upset, and yes we have seen them steal televisions and expensive stuff, this is not the case here. It seems that the case here is that the delivery people are the thieves.
@Preposterous exactly. There are so many bugs in a new console (although I would have bought one if I couldn’t transfer my ps4 games to the ps5 later). Not to mention waiting a year or two to get the « updated » one like when the switch released the model with the better battery.
I always get new consoles from Nintendo’s own store (not sure if there is a Playstation equivalent) or GAME. They use Royal Mail which has a better rep. Argos also use their own delivery staff. I don’t know what the price differences are, but would be worth it for the reliability.
I am proud to say that I have never used Amazon before! When it comes to console launches, I always pre-order and pick them up at the store on launch day.
I never buy anything expansive from Amazon. Too high a risk for employees with a short lifespan within the supply chain. I wouldn’t even steal a pen from my workplace myself.
@Scorpagion is unfortunately too common. I don’t trust anyone delivering expensive electronic items to their front door. I’m trying to buy from John Lewis and have it delivered to the local Waitrose.
@ theriku260 I think the Switch v2 has the same battery. The battery life is better
Edit: I have a similar story, but not anywhere near as expensive or via Amazon (even though it’s an Amazon product). . A few years ago I ordered a Fire Stick for my MIL as a Christmas present from Best Buy (it was on sale). We were just on our way home from the day it was delivered. In the truest sense of the word maybe 6 minutes difference from the notification and when we drove to the house.
To cut a long story short, the package was torn open and the Fire Stick was stolen. But not just opened and stolen. The entire package has been tampered with. It looked almost patched together from pieces of other packages. It was bizarre. To this day, I’m pretty sure it was the UPS driver who did that. My neighborhood is only filled with seniors. I doubt it was a neighbor. I think it could possibly have been someone who followed the truck. But why not just take the entire package? Fortunately (after a couple of weeks of back and forth with UPS and Best Buy) I received a refund and was able to purchase it from another location. But it certainly made me very tired in the future.
This is insane and reminds me of something you would expect from robbin ‘season (name given for the pre-Christmas time in Atlanta when robberies are increasing exponentially). . This is a serious problem for people who lost $ 500 on this stuff: / I worked in customer service and remembered having to check returned consoles after hearing stories from people who turned PS4s or XB1s off Removed the packaging and replaced it with something of the same weight before successfully returning it
Yes, a DVD player was just missing and replaced with something else. All of this happened to me last December too. They have obviously been traded in order to keep the more expensive item that they can sell or keep for themselves.
This becomes a bigger problem wherever I live. My friend had stolen 2-3 games in the mail. I’ve never had anything stolen before, but someone sometimes ripped open the packages.
Obviously this sucks and nobody wants it to happen to them, but these people who trigger Twitter tantrums and ask what they’re doing are just ridiculous. Anyone who has ever used Amazon knows how to request a replacement / return / refund or contact customer service and spoiler alert. It’s not about throwing a random tweet without any really relevant information. There’s a nifty little button on the Amazon order page that you can use to report a problem or ask for a replacement: use this one.
Go both ways. I remember having to escort UPS after some drivers were attacked and robbed during PS3 launch (I can’t start Wii launch) and someone tried to rob a store I was working at on PS4 launch day. The sad part is that these gamestops had otherwise low crime rates. That being said, I hope thieves will be released and prosecuted. It’s usually the drivers. Far too hard to do that in the camps. You can, but you are in front of the camera making sure you can’t have any personal items on the floor. Worked for FedEx and Amazon for years.
this bag of rice seems insanely fun ^! then the bag says that the time is well spent, heheh yes to play with the rice instead of the ps5, which I would lock up for assalt on an amazon driver
I know stories like this are in the minority, but it doesn’t make me half-wary of ordering consoles from online retailers.
On the other hand, it only seems to be a problem with newly infiltrated technologies, be it consoles, graphics cards or phones. When there are plenty of supplies, you never really see it.
However, it should be fairly easy to track down the culprits for them so that the police can incriminate them if they are not too busy investigating mean news on the internet.
I have ordered from ebay in the past and my package had arrived completely empty (was cut open and then glued back together, the knife marks were very obvious under the tape). . At least these guys get « something » XD.
the joys of zero hour contract suppliers & lax reception standards due to Covid. All kinds of packages are just left outside of homes or delivered to the wrong person. or stolen!
I invested in a video doorbell after neighbors stole packages. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t help if the delivery drivers manipulate them in the van
This is one of the reasons I like to wait for the dust to clear before buying one of these next-gen consoles.
While this situation reminded me that I ordered some new home phones, the package was lost for about a week and when it finally arrived it looked like it had been repackaged. I got my house phones, but I also got an opened box for an Apple Watch that someone else must have ordered. . . Of course there was no clock in it, but I got a free USB power adapter out of it.
Had a similar situation at Walmart when the NES Classic was still being sold. Had to shop for Easter, saw they had 5-6 in electronics so asked if they could leave one in front. they did. I finish shopping and ask the system to pay for it. They say it has already been picked up. Turns out one guy had watched me ask her to stop outside the store, bought EVERYONE else, then went up front and bought mine. I’m still mad because this would be a mothers day gift as the original Super Mario Bros is one of her favorite games. And if I ever find out who did it, I’ll probably go to jail for the rest of my life.
@Deltath I think it’s more about seeing how many experience the theft. It’s easier to prove to a retailer when multiple posts are saying the same thing.
If we can find a way to include pre-orders or brought-in consoles with specific serial numbers embedded in the console rather than outside of the console to a specific purchaser upon purchase. . We will catch the theives or, most likely, confiscate the product and interview those caught by serial number with the system that does not belong to them. . and if it was brought by a seller. . It will lead back to them. . but then what if you later brought one back from an original buyer? Would the serial numbers matter then? Well, I would say it wouldn’t, as Sony should have something on its platform that a customer would hit or tick a box to say it was sold. . So if we say I’m buying a used one, that serial number is mine now and I would go to the Sony platform and register the serial number under my name instead. . and so on. . Sony therefore only needs a large database of serial numbers to connect buyers to the purchase. . And have a backup console system on hand just in case something like the shenanigans behavior happens like the one described above. And if the thief caught them in the act, they deliver the package or not. . plus fired or retroactive. . I say if it’s on the truck it must be delivered without exception. . But hey, I’m just trying to solve the problem or look for a solution instead of doing nothing. .
News 30 years after Nintendo’s « Operation Midnight Shipping » and console launches are still fraught with danger
Nintendo Switch, F-Zero, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Video Game Console, Mario Kart 8
World News – USA – 30 Years after the Start of Nintendo’s « Operation Midnight Shipping » and Console Are still full of danger
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