Best Buy employee wages Reddit campaign to save vintage R.O.B. robot

via Reddit
A Best Buy employee couldn't let this rare find go.
Two days ago, a Best Buy employee discovered that some nerd-illiterate Nintendo R.O.B. (Robotic Operating Buddy) owner had dropped the 1980s-era gaming system off for recycling.

The employee couldn't allow the rare toy robot to get scrapped. First, he asked his boss if he could take it home, but heard that, per corporate policy, he would get fired if he did. So he took to Reddit.

The post instantly went viral, attracting more than 5,000 comments and 31,000 "up votes." Inspired by the reaction, the employee decided to go rogue and hatch a plan to save robot R.O.B.

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Not long after his initial posting, the employee, who goes by the Reddit handle "ipoopinthesink," wrote an update:
click to enlarge
Reddit members became his co-conspirators, throwing out alternate suggestions (notably here and here).

He included photos of his hiding spot and an original poster he found in the packaging.
Here's the hiding spot Best Buy hero staked out for the robot.
Here's our hero with a poster included with the set. "Blocked my face in case this turns me into a fugitive," he wrote.

This might be a good time to explain what all the fuss is about. This CollegeHumor video breaks down the R.O.B.'s vintage genius perfectly. "The idea is that he plays the game with you," the video's host explains.

Since Nintendo released R.O.B. in 1985, the technology didn't exist for R.O.B. to actually plug into a video game. Instead, the game's remote controller fits into a holster in front of the robot, and R.O.B. manually presses buttons to play a video game.

And the fan base is willing to pay up for the robots that are left:
screenshot of Dicks Vintage Video Systems store on eBay
eBay price the R.O.B. anywhere from $150 to $1,299.99.
Fortunately, the power of Reddit penetrates even Best Buy's corporate campus. After higher-ups heard about the employee's campaign, they picked the robot out of the recycling bin.

"We are in the process of retrieving the robot and gaming system from the store so that we may put it on display here at our corporate headquarters in Richfield," Best Buy spokesman Jon Sandler told Business Insider.

The employee's job might not be so secure. While he didn't end up walking out with the robot or system, Best Buy told Business Insider that it's currently reviewing the situation to make sure all policies were followed. The employee updated his Reddit following to say, "My job is pending. It will take corporate a few days to 'decide appropriate action' stay tuned for updates."

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My Voice Nation Help

Someone truly left an original NES, with a R.O.B.,  controller, and light-gun with the original box and instructions in a  Best Buy recycling bin? Look at the box! It is in pristine condition! Was this set ever even used? My heart breaks! Now, the vast majority of pre-2000 technology is garage sale material at best, but old video game systems should never be tossed out, even if they don't work, as they could be salvaged for parts. The twin cities has a vibrant community of vintage game lovers and at a glut of retro stores. I bet even the worst of them would have paid $100.00 for the set.


Goddamnit Best Buy, this isn't difficult: give the redditor the system, contact the person who recycled it and pay them market value. Introduce the redditor to your marketing department and devise a spectacular set of "candid" photos of him when he "updates Reddit," getting to take home the system, making mention that the recycling mom got the cash windfall too. Good Guy Best Buy gets a Feel Good, Everybody Wins viral campaign that reaches all of Reddit (a CHOICE demographic), and all the word-of-mouth and slow-news-day-rag waves outward from it, for ridiculously cheap. Release a memo way down the line that this never happens again, after the media for it dies down.

Why you would do anything else, I have no idea.

Oscar Quella
Oscar Quella

"Don't worry. We took it for ourselves. Him? Well, he still could be fired." -Best Buy

Kyle J. Holman
Kyle J. Holman

I think the money the company could make off of it on ebay would be quite a bit more than what would have been made from recycling it. They shouldn't fire him. He really should be given a job showing the company what stuff to scavenge for in their recycling program that could net them a bigger profit.


@Oscar Quella "We realized we needed to seize this opportunity for PR, but with the way we're handling this, it's now obvious why our company has been faring so poorly."

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