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Casual Gamers Forcing Gamestop to Rethink Store Layouts 93

Posted by Zonk
from the pfff-newbies dept.
The Guardian Gamesblog has up a post noting that Gamestop will be rearranging stores to meet casual gamer needs. For example, they'll be creating a section just for music games (karaoke, guitar games, etc). They'll also be putting together a 'family-friendly' area, with a focus on titles like Nintendogs, Lego Star Wars, and the like. The post is based off of an interview in The New York Times with Daniel A. DeMatteo, Gamestop's vice chairman and chief operating officer. In his mind casual games are now so important to sales that the company is having to do some 'radical retail re-thinking': "There is a real breadth of properties now appealing to a much broader audience than we've seen before. Honestly, we are having to retool the way we think of things in our stores in terms of merchandising, layout and also customer service because it is no longer only the hardcore gamer walking in who knows exactly what he wants."
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Casual Gamers Forcing Gamestop to Rethink Store Layouts

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  • Hype. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @11:37AM (#20573589)
    My local GameStop just got a new Plan-o-gram. What changed? They moved the used DVD movie rack closer to the front of the store. -yawn-

    This isn't news, it's an advertisement.
    • by SeePage87 (923251)

      My local GameStop just got a new Plan-o-gram. What changed? They moved the used DVD movie rack closer to the front of the store. -yawn-

      This isn't news, it's an advertisement.

      The article said they "will be" rearranging the store. Have you considered that they haven't made the changes yet?
  • by heinousjay (683506) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @11:37AM (#20573595) Journal
    Does that mean that I can actually buy a game or two there without them hounding me about reservations? If so, I might rescind my personal boycott.
    • by Aladrin (926209) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @11:41AM (#20573655)
      Just get a sticker that says:

      Ask me about reserving a game and
                    I WILL KILL YOU

      and stick it to your shirt. Alternatively, you could have cards printed that say that and hand it to the person before you begin to speak to them. It'll make them think twice about asking other people, and they probably won't ever ask you again.
      • by _xeno_ (155264) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @12:17PM (#20574335) Homepage Journal

        The last time I was at a GameStop, they asked me if I wanted to get an extended warranty on the game for $3. Since I was third in line, I'd heard the "Do you want to buy an extended warranty for $3? It allows you to replace the game for free if it becomes scratched or anything. No? OK, do you want to reserve $RELATED_GAME{$PURCHASED_GAME} today?" twice already. I guess I was a little more forceful with my "NO!" than intended, because the clerk skipped the rest of the spiel.

        So I'd add:

        And if you ask me to buy a warranty on the game:
        I WILL KILL YOUR FAMILY TOO

        • by radish (98371) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @02:51PM (#20577089) Homepage
          The warranty is the source of one of my favorite GameStop stories. There's a store near my office, and being basically the only place in downtown NY that sells anything game related (sidenote: MASSIVE untapped market there retail people!) I used to go there quite often at lunch to browse. So a couple of years ago they started this whole "Gameplay Guarantee" thing, but as usual with their offers there's really no descriptions written down anywhere of what you get for your $3. The first time I bought a game and they offered it to me, the clerk said that it was basically a 100% guarantee that allowed you to return it anytime in the first year for ANY reason. He said you could return it if you didn't like it, if you beat it, whatever - for a full refund. That seemed too good to miss, so I started adding the $3 on all my purchases (when they asked, half the time they added it without asking).

          Roll forwards 6 months, and I have a bunch of old PSP games I no longer play. Of course I kept the receipts for the guarantee so in I go to get my refunds. I hadn't been in the store for a while but I noticed right away that all the staff were new, even the manager. I go up to the counter, explain that I'd like to return these games I'd finished playing, and the clerk starts telling me that the guarantee is only for DAMAGED games before the manager stops her, tells her to give me the refunds (over $200) and explains to me that the entire store were busted for mis-selling the guarantee (they were paid commission on each one) and were all fired. He says they were getting 2 or 3 people a day coming in with the same story and they were honouring the refunds as a sign of goodwill. It must have been costing them a fortune...
          • After Egghead on Maiden Lane went out of business, so did most home software sales in downtown Manhattan. You have a choice, J&R, Staples or travel all the way up to Waverly.

          • by brouski (827510)
            One of the checkout drones at Best Buy did the same thing to me the other day when I bought the Darkness for 360. Complete with finger quotes for "scratched".

            I should have taken her up on it.
        • by scombs (1012701)
          If you don't like this policy, please send a complaint to corporate. The employee isn't just doing it to be an annoying asshole, they're doing it to keep their job. Their continued employment depends on them asking everyone that enters the store if they want to preorder something. If their quota of preorders and warranties isn't up to snuff, they're fired. And don't complain to the person at the register, or even the manager, because they can't do anything about it. It's just their job. I still don't unders
          • Hey buddy, what do you make? Seven, eight bucks an hour? Get another job if you're being made to do distasteful stuff for low prices. You have no claim to sympathy from customers, since you are the customer service. If you do shit that annoys me, I'm calling you out on it.
            • by bakana (918482)
              This is the american attitude. I don't give a fuck it doesn't make sense. Since I'm paying you for something, it should make sense to you regardless. NO! Just because you pay someone for something doesn't make it okay to think anything goes. My absolute favorite is, I pay you guys for a service, hell yeah I expect to speak to the owner of the company, I don't give a fuck that it is 3 AM in the fucking morning. People behave as if logic and customer service don't go together. Yes, that kid takes low m
              • I shop elsewhere, after I give shit to the people who annoyed me. I don't care if it's their choice to do it. At some point, the decision was made by the person harassing me to harass me. I'm under no obligation to make the process pleasant for them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by StarvingSE (875139)
      My personal boycott is due to their overly high prices on used games. I am not a big console gamer, but enjoy the occasional ps2 title. I go in and still find titles 3+ years old selling for more than $20 used. Seems a bit ridiculous to me, seeing that if one were to try to sell said games to gamestop they'd get about $5.00 for it.
      • by Fozzyuw (950608) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @12:40PM (#20574799)

        I go in and still find titles 3+ years old selling for more than $20 used. Seems a bit ridiculous to me, seeing that if one were to try to sell said games to gamestop they'd get about $5.00 for it.

        Supply/Demand and the business model.

        Supply and Demand

        I can walk into a Gamestop and buy a used PS2 game for $3 or for $80+. It depends on the game. No joke. Buy a copy of Madden Football [year-2] (aka it's 2008, get 2006) or a professional wrestling game and it'll probably be $3. Conversely, just the other day I found Marvel vs Capcom 2 for the PS2 for $79.99, no box slip, no manual, etc. Why? Because you cannot find MvC2 or games like some "Baulders Gate" or "Champions of Norrath", etc High Demand, Low Supply. It's economics, you cannot fault them for that.

        Business Model

        Used games is where stores like Gamestop make their money. It's not selling consoles or new games. The games industry has very tight control over the games price and the profit garnered from each game. Suffice it to say, the margins are small. Without used games, such speciality stores probably wouldn't be able to operate.

        Use it to your advantage

        Is it disappointing to see used games sell for $45 when the new game is $50? Sure. Then buy the new version (or save yourself $5, because, hey, it's $5. That's 1-2 beers at a bar.) Not happy that they'll only give you $0.50 or $3 for your 3 year old game? Then sell it on Ebay, in classified ads, or many other options. Reselling video games are not an exclusive right to Gamestop.

        I understand how Everyone wants something for nothing, but I'm willing to see a service for what it's worth. It cleans to my house and I take full advantage of promotions that are always running that sometimes net me the same or more money for trade-ins than I paid for it. I can also maximize it to cost less than renting new games. At least, console games can be traded in, unlike PC games.

        Sometimes we luck out and get a great game for real cheap, other times we're out of luck when you really want to get Marvel vs Capcom 2 but have to pay a premium for it, sometimes 2x or 3x what it cost (try looking up prices for Final Fantasy VII [amazon.com] for the original Playstation and see that it goes for $50-$300, which is much lower now that the hype died down after the movie and sequel game have come and gone)

        Cheers,
        Fozzy

        • by Dewin (989206)

          I can walk into a Gamestop and buy a used PS2 game for $3 or for $80+. It depends on the game. No joke. Buy a copy of Madden Football [year-2] (aka it's 2008, get 2006) or a professional wrestling game and it'll probably be $3. Conversely, just the other day I found Marvel vs Capcom 2 for the PS2 for $79.99, no box slip, no manual, etc. Why? Because you cannot find MvC2 or games like some "Baulders Gate" or "Champions of Norrath", etc High Demand, Low Supply. It's economics, you cannot fault them for that.

          M

    • by MasaMuneCyrus (779918) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @01:58PM (#20576229)
      My personal boycott is because they open my god-damn games. You can't go into Gamestop to buy anything without them having taken off the plastic wrap (or for PC games, cut or torn off the seal), opened the game up, and sloppily thrown the game disc(s) into crappy paper sleeves to store in a cabinet.

      What if someone were to buy a game as a Christmas present, only to find out that someone else had already bought it? As soon as they walk out the Gamestop door, that game is now worth the $5 trade-in value, even if you've never opened it and still have the receipt; because the plastic-wrap is no longer on the game, you can't prove that you didn't open it.

      It's bullshit policy. I want my "new" games, "new", not "mint" condition.
      • by fbjon (692006)
        Don't they have gift-wrap returnable-if-still-sealed plastic bags for that? I can usually get them for CD albums at least.
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        I'm not sure about gamestop, but EBGames, which does the same thing, puts a little sticker so once you break the seal, you can no longer bring it back.
        • by Draconix (653959)
          EBGames is Gamestop. As are Babbages and Funcoland. Gamestop owns all the big chain game stores.
  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sesshomaru (173381) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @11:38AM (#20573599) Journal
    Translation: "Now that non-geeks are playing games, we'll have to do actual customer service, instead of just throwing things onto the shelf as we had in the past."

    Maybe they can also start firing the employees who tell clueless Mom's that "Mario is coming out on the Xbox, but it is going to be a cooler version than the Gamecube with better graphics. Don't buy a Gamecube, it's lame. Nintendo is going out of business soon." (System names can be rearranged based on employee biases...)

  • "There is a real breadth of properties now appealing to a much broader audience than we've seen before. Honestly, we are having to retool the way we think of things in our stores in terms of merchandising, layout and also customer service because it is no longer only the hardcore gamer walking in who knows exactly what he wants."

    That's funny. Whenever I go into gamestop or EBX, I tend to stay away from customer service. I swear, they hire the most inept people who don't have a clue about games.

    Me:
    • by adona1 (1078711)
      Agreed. The employees nowadays tend to have very little idea about anything except the moneymaking blockbusters. Case in point - I went to EB last week and saw they were starting to hype Hellgate: London [wikipedia.org]. I saw it had EA's logo down the bottom, which surprised me as I thought it was being done by Blizzard (before anyone jumps in to correct me, I'm aware of who's doing it [now] and how Blizzard is Associated). The employee's response? "Um...I don't really know anything about Hellgate....or Blizzard..."

      Hea
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @11:38AM (#20573613)
    Casual gamers can get their merchandise right up front. Place the hardcore games on the top floor.

    Hardcore gamers should have to go through at least 3 levels and 2 bosses before being able to get to their goods.
    • by kturner (1154521)
      Too bad someone will end up hacking their way to the top and calling everyone below them n00bs.
  • by James Kilton (714163) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @11:43AM (#20573687)
    This immediately came to mind: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2007/03/30/ [penny-arcade.com]
  • by RichPowers (998637) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @11:44AM (#20573707)
    I hate those labels, but I'll save that rant for another time.

    This has to do with "informed vs. clueless" gamers. Informed gamers, the people who've been playing games for years, know that GS is run by assholes, employs assholes, and overprices its games. Informed gamers know they can get better deals online or at other retailers.

    GS is appealing to the soccer moms and new gamers who go there because of brand recognition. These people won't realize if the employee is pushing a shitty game on them or that they're paying more than they have to.

    I apologize for the elitist tone, but anyone interested in saving money and preserving their dignity shouldn't shop at GS :P
    • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @12:19PM (#20574383) Homepage Journal
      You hate those labels but you are ready to provide your own? Good going.
    • by brkello (642429)
      It always impresses me. No matter how jaded or cynical I become, there is always someone on Slashdot that makes me look normal...even optimistic!
    • Informed gamers, the people who've been playing games for years, know that GS is run by assholes, employs assholes, and overprices its games. Informed gamers know they can get better deals online or at other retailers.

      I don't want to get into a fight here, but I have to say that this was not my experience with GameStop at all. I am a casual gamer, and also a clueless gamer. A roommate and I had a Sega Saturn in 1995. He bought out my half and took the game with him when he left. After the Saturn, I did

      • by Jim Hall (2985)

        Just as in any store run by humans, there are good store locations and bad store locations. I have two GameStops near my house. One is about a mile south of me, and seems to employ a lot of weenies who think you are taking up their valuable time that could be better spent goofing off behind the counter. One of them even fakes a British accent. I go there because it's convenient, and when I know what I'm looking for. I never ask those assholes for advice.

        The other GameStop is about 3 miles north of me, and

    • By your logic, only clueless (== casual?) gamers would shop and GameStop.

      If so, the redesign is a good idea. They should also install rails around any sharp corner and use non-slip floor mats (since your clueless gamers will probably drool a lot). ;)

      • by KDR_11k (778916)
        I would argue that, yes, that seems to be the case. Gamestop doesn't offer the best prices, best selection or anything best at all, the games are often unwrapped and covered in stickers, stock is low, many boxes are preorders that you have to look at twice to actually identify as such, the stores are tiny and cramped and half the space is taken up by used games that really aren't a bargain. Their only real advantages is that they have "game" in the name which immediately makes it clear what they're selling
    • Those of us whose time is worth a lot like being able to stop by any mall, shopping center or such, see an identifiable logo, walk in, get the game we want with a reasonable amount of confidence it'll be there, and leave.

      There's a lot more dignity in a GS than in the weird-smelling boutique game shop run by a guy who looks like the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons. Not that I don't go there, too, particularly if I'm looking for something no longer in print or for a vintage platform. But your elitism is easi
  • Does this mean I'll actually be able to walk into the store and buy a game without having pre-ordered it two months in advance?

    That would be a major improvement for Gamestop.
    • by EtoilePB (1087031)
      That actually has to do with the central distribution. If the company gets, say, 2000 copies of Title X, and they have demonstrated intrest for 800 units at Store A, and interest for 500 units at Store B, and interest in 20 units at Store C, then stores A and B are getting all the extra and Store C is hosed. So managers and employees plug the pre-orders, because then not only do they get the available reserved copies of the game, but also they get a bigger slice of the non-reserved copies.

      (And Store C's m
    • Re:Pre-order (Score:4, Interesting)

      by gknoy (899301) <gknoy@anaLISPsaz ... m minus language> on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @01:56PM (#20576191)
      Sounds like my Burning Crusade experience.

      Went to Gamestop. The guy said, "Well, the UPS guy may get here today, or tomorrow. I think we'll have more then." So, I went nearly-next-door (in the same shopping center) to Best Buy, where there were multiple tables literally overflowing with the game. I walked up, grabbed a box, and checked out.

      My game-buying experiences at Best Buy have been nearly-always been better than Gamestop. Not only do they have more PC games (local GameStops have practically all XBox/PS3 games), but I don't have to do the preorder BS. Heck, I saw DEFCON there... quite the shocker. :)
    • by xero314 (722674)

      Does this mean I'll actually be able to walk into the store and buy a game without having pre-ordered it two months in advance?

      I buy most of my games at Gamestop (I only purchase new so the prices don't bother me) and I rarely ever preorder (only ever preordered twice). Yet even without preordering I have no problem getting the games I am looking for, often on release day. Of course I have made it clear to my local shops that if they don't have it in stock I will go somewhere else. And believe it or not, this actually works.

      And there is very little more satisfying than purchasing a product and going back to the store that was

      • by Tridus (79566)
        I have the opposite experience. Whenever I go EB (owned by Gamestop of course) to buy a new game, they don't have any and I get snarky comments about how I should have pre-ordered.

        So I walk down the street to the resident big-box store which somehow manages to have copies in stock.
        • by xero314 (722674)

          So I walk down the street to the resident big-box store which somehow manages to have copies in stock.
          Now you just need to walk back to the EB/Gamestop and show them how much you didn't spend at their store, and inform any in the store where they can find the game in stock. Do it enough, being sure to get the managers attention, and they will start stocking the games you are likely to buy. They may be pricks but they are still business owners/operators.
  • by netsavior (627338) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @11:46AM (#20573751)
    So my son and I (he is pre-school aged) went to the gamestop... he knows he can ask for games in the PS2, gamecube, Wii or gameboy sections and we will talk about it... Now they have a kid's section with games for all systems randomly strewn about the shelves. Which was particularly confusing to... KIDS. It just ended up Can I get this one? No that is PS3. Can I get this one? No that is Xbox.

    I mean I am sure there are families out there with every single system, but I found it particularly annoying that the new layout basically assumes you have all systems.
  • Good (Score:3, Interesting)

    by p0tat03 (985078) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @12:07PM (#20574143)
    I was just at the local EB a few nights ago, and in walks a girl and her mother. They looked around for a bit, and then noticed that all of the casual girly games (Barbie Horse Adventures or Nancy Drew or whatever) are all... 8 feet above the ground, on the highest shelf possible. The actual reachable shelves were stocked with shooters and EA sports titles. They had to get a guy over to bring each interesting game down for them. So yes, retooling their layout is certainly necessary.
    • by kurokaze (221063)
      No different than your local supermarket putting certain brands/products at eye level while others are on the top shelf or the bottom.

      A) its marketing, they want to push those products because putting them at eye level gives them incredible visibility or
      B) the company whose product is at eye level paid a premium to get it there.
  • by Homr Zodyssey (905161) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @12:09PM (#20574167) Journal
    Maybe they should think about having more actual product on the shelves. Perhaps even games for PCs!

    I understand that these guys have limited floor-space. You can double that if you count the nearby EBGames that's owned by the same corporation, resides in the same shopping center/mall and has the exact same crap in stock.

    I am primarily a PC gamer, and I am frustrated every time I go into one of these stores by the three giant walls of empty game-boxes labeled "Coming Soon!", and the tiny half-rack 3-year-old PC games (still at full price). I take a short walk to the other store, and find that they have the exact same selection.
    • Go to Best Buy, then.
    • I'm going to guess that like anything else, this varies by store. At my local Gamestop, PC games have 4 racks devoted to them, and are decently priced. Still much smaller than the console section, but c'est la vie, I guess. It's generally a better option than Best Buy, they tend to have games which BB long since stopped carrying.
    • Short answer, its harder to sell used PC games. Used games is where they make their money.

      Plus the PC game market is small compared to consoles. Which is why you still see all those 3-year-old games still unsold.

    • At one of those places, I found one of the big old-timey boxes of Duke Nukem 3D. Price? $45.95. And this was just this summer.
  • Everytime I go there, the place is always freaking crowded, and store layout is a random mess, and if it weren't for the fact that one can find an odd gem used game there, I really detest visiting the place. (I sometimes hear of games many moons after release, or it piques my interest later, and thus have to hunt for it).

    It seems for new releases, I just bypass GS/EB and head to my local big-box electronics retailer, who may often be equally crowded, but at least manages to make it not appear so (at least,
    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by zippthorne (748122)
      Further, why does every Gamestop & EB smell like someone peed on the floor?
      • by d0rp (888607)
        Maybe because someone did?
      • Hey, gimme some love, mods. This was clearly more trollish than off-topicish. I mean, the topic is what gamestop needs to do to increase sales, and in my case, changing whatever they use to clean the floor (or getting rid of that stupid carpet altogether) so it doesn't upset my olfactory sense would get me to browse more often.

        After that, not cramming the PC games onto a few shelfs on an island so they get all crushed and dog-eared would be a good start. If I'm going to pay $50-$60 for a brand new game,
    • by Seculus (788503)
      Nobody goes there anymore. The place is just too crowded, you know ?
  • by Astarica (986098) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @12:21PM (#20574435)
    A lot of time I have no idea what I was going to get, and if the box art looks interesting and I've at least heard of people talking about the game I'd give it a shot. However in Gamestop you can usually only see the spine of the box, and I'm less likely to pull a game out of the shelf just because it has an interesting name. Not to mention Gamestop seems to have their games sorted alphabeticlaly up to the letter G, and after that you have no idea where the rest of the games are. I'd rather go to Best Buy to buy games because at least I won't miss something that catches my interest.
  • Since a large chunk of the gaming market is turning to "casual gaming" (thx Nintendo) Gamestop is sure to mndlessly follow whatever trend hits next. Now only if they can hire employees that are actually knowledgeable about games and not just a bunch of quota-meeting, nerdy fanboys.
  • It has been my long-held opinion that the cause of the videogame crash of 1983 was due to a lack of supply rather than a lack of demand. Warner bungled up Atari, the industry leader, and Atari stopped producing quality hardware and software. There was a vacuum in supply until Nintendo came along.

    Ten years from now, will they be saying that family videogames experienced a crash between Tetris and the Wii?

  • ...are the biggest problems with Gamestop's stores. It seems they go out of their way to find the most crooked people to work there - and it shows. They push every game as if it's going to be the best selling game of all time, and when you find out that it stinks, suddenly - it's about the crack-head prices they will give you for your basically new game you just bought yesterday.

    They need to hire people with some morales, and not be afriad to tell people that certain games just -suck-. Selling the wrong
    • by p0tat03 (985078)
      Is this a problem with bad employees, or a problem with a cut-throat management style that will kick anyone to the curb for failing to make absurd sales numbers?
    • You know, when I look at all of the negative opinions I see in this thread, I have to wonder if I shop at a Bizarro Gamestop. I hear people talking about how their employees are crooked, rude, and pushy, how the game selection is limited, and their prices are a ripoff. But my store just doesn't seem to work that way.

      For me, the local Gamestop is the best place to pick up games instead of the worst. We've got a Best Buy close by, but their selection of non-PC games is mediocre, and their service is simply
      • by hibiki_r (649814)
        Good gamestops exist, it's just that they are in the minority.

        There's about a dozen gamestops in my area. There was ONE that I enjoyed going to, and it had all the characteristics of the one you describe. Recently they changed their management: An awful manager that used to be the most unhelpful SOB from another store took over, and now their helpful employees are gone. Needless to say, after the 4th upsell in a row on the same freaking game I'm back to going to big box stores for anything other than low di
  • Will they start stocking more copies of things like Peggles, Diner Dash and other Popcap-like games in the PC section?

    Will they finally organize their shelves so that games are arranged in - gasp - alphabetical order?

    Or will they not do anything at all? I mean, think about it. Casual gamers are the folks who are going to be shopping in malls, where Gamestops exist mainly, or at places like Best Buy, Walmart, etc. So, the customers will already be there. What more do the stores have to do?

    But no, it soun
    • Your Gamestop has a PC section? The one near me hasn't for years, the entire thing is PS/Xbox/Wii only. The only PC game they carry is wow, locked up behind the counter. If you want anything else, you have to pre-order it.
  • in the 100 sq ft storefronts they have? I call shenanigans.
  • So-called casual gamers don't go to GameStop to buy videogames, they go to Wal-Mart. Hell, I wouldn't really blame anyone for avoiding GameStop though, it's like the Radio Shack of videogaming. Wake up and order online instead.
  • And, I created a solution. Called it ABSRG. or Alphabetize by section, rating, then Genre. Walmart currently uses it, and Target uses it on a limited basis.

    Its nothing new! Been around for like 3 or 4 years.

    It increases sales among games overall by upwards of 30 percent. I proved this in several Circuit City stores, a Gamestop, 3 Targets, and at least 2 Walmarts I have the pictures to prove it. I could have patented it. But I decided to just let it go open in order to increase game sales. Which have d

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