Ok, so perhaps "corrupts" is too strong a word here. Sucks time might be a better fit.
On Monday my epic quest to locate an xbox 360--and to do it without pandering to retailers' power trip of pushing pre-ordering or expensive bundle packages--came to succesful end.
In theory, getting one isn't complicated:
Step 1. Go to big box retailers (circuit city, best buy, compusa, target, etc.), which don't allocate all their xboxs as pre-sells.
Step 2. Ask if they have a system in.
Repeat steps 1 and 2 lots. Eventually, you'll get lucky. And by "eventually," I mean that I've been trying since the November launch date.
The real hell of this is step 2, because that involves actually being able to get assistance at one of these stores, and...
* Terrorists have clearly snuck into our major retail outlets and replaced the employee training manual section on "customer service" with the rules of "hide and go seek".
* Approximately 99% of employees think that they, not the inventory tracking system, know what is in the store and what isn't. They don't.
* Those 99% are right about one thing: the inventory system doesn't know either. Their inventory systems would always report systems they didn't actually have in.
* Apparently they whip employees in the back/inventory rooms. That, or a widespread rejection of empiricism, is the only explanation I can come up with for how loathe folks were to actually check and see if machines were there and actually tagged as being on hold or not.
Anyway, on Monday, much to the shock and awe of several CompUSA employees, it turned out that they did have a free machine in (had just arrived), and I'm now the happy owner of an xbox 360.
It's pretty cool.