I was one of the few people that missed pre-ordering Mass Effect 3. I had real life things creep up on me and have been preoccupied with school, and the family. By the time I realized that the game was coming out, both Best Buy and Gamestop told me they had stopped taking pre-orders. I didn't think it was a big deal really. There were plenty of games that I didn't pre-order and was able to pick up on release day; I didn't think this would be any different. It was only later that I realized how wrong I was.
I called roughly ten Gamestops in my general area and was informed by all of them that they did not have a copy available. I called four different Best Buys and was told the same thing. I was getting extremely frustrated and disgusted. I stopped by Costco, Sam's Club and Walmart looking for copies with no success. I stopped by the closest Gamestop and asked the clerk for an explanation about the lack of availability. He told me that this was all Electronic Arts decision. The Collector's edition was a limited release. I can perfectly understand them not wanting to press a large number of the games at $80 when there may not be that many purchasing them after release day, but I live in the greater Detroit area and would think that the availability of an extra Collector's edition would be more likely in an area that size.
Finding a copy online was even more daunting. Ebay and Amazon prices were a joke with the lowest price being $125. I wanted the game, but wasn't willing to pay that much of a premium. After two days of constant checking online, I saw that Gamestop had copies available online again. In addition to that, I found a $10 offer code. After paying for next day shipping and using a $5 Gamestop gift card, the total came up to a little less than $81.
Everything worked out in the end, but I don't like this new reality where I have to pre-order a game if I want to purchase it on release day. I doubt Gamestop or Best Buy would purchase an extra copy or two and it seems that other retailers just don't order the Limited editions at all, but I think the lack of availability online is the more troubling.