The Fortnite phenomenon is at it again. This time, it means people are raiding their local Best Buys, Targets, and any other stores with electronics, pretending they’re interested in the latest in personal consumer electronics from Samsung, but in reality, they’re hoping to covertly nab an exclusive Fortnite skin before the store employee realizes something is up. The result has been signs like this, per reddit, going up:
This isn’t deterring people, obviously. If one store won’t let you in, find another. But even if if you find a store that leaves you alone, the unlock is tied to the hardware, which means only one person can get the skin before the demo unit becomes useless.
“I consciously chose a location that is less populated to increase my chances of acquiring the skin,” said one Fortnite player I spoke with. “I avoided malls or shopping centers.”
There are, naturally, video tutorials to help explain the process:
The vast majority of skins in Fortnite are unlocked by the sheer act of playing Fornite, or spending money. The “galaxy” skin, which makes players look like a glowing demigod, requires jumping through an expensive hoop; it’s only unlocked by playing three rounds of Fortnite on a Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 phone, which will cost you at least $1,000, or Galaxy Tab S4 tablet, which is only slightly cheaper in its Wi-Fi only form at $650.
Your other option? Finding a demo unit for one of the two devices, forcing the hardware into a mode that allows it to connect to the Internet, downloading Fortnite, syncing your account with the game, and playing three rounds as quickly as possible.
“I walked in and, of course, I am greeted and asked if I needed any help,” said the same player. “I said that I would like to take a look at the Note 9 and I’m considering an upgrade. The woman walked me to it and said if I had any more questions to let her know.”
After being intrigued by the sheer size of the device—it’s basically a tablet that makes calls—this player got to work, downloading away. While playing, several employees noticed they were playing Fortnite. Trying to throw them off the scent, they mentioned a phone running Fortnite well would be a worthwhile reason to upgrade. Each time, the employee would walk away, none the wiser. 40 minutes later, the deed was done.
Eventually, the skin unlocked on their account. (It can take up to 48 hours, which means you might not know if you've used a bogus Note 9 until after the window has passed.)
Others haven’t been so lucky, with skin-hungry fans documenting their failures:
“The day the skin went live, we had kids as young as 10 years old, to teens, and even people in their 20s coming in asking if we had the Note 9 on display,” said one Best Buy employee I spoke to. “Some of us who work there were already anticipating this, mostly because we wanted to do the same as well.”
The day the Note 9 came out, a steady stream of kids poured into this particular Best Buy, asking if it was possible to get the skin without buying a phone. The official answer was no, but in reality, lots of people were doing this all over the country already, using the methods mentioned above. These same methods were being regularly used by employees at this Best Buy to make sure they nabbed the skin before anyone else.
Since the Note 9 came out on August 24, at least 50 people have come in looking to get the skin—and that’s only what this employee noticed. They haven’t put up any signs quite yet, but management is aware of what’s going on, and asked employees to make sure devices aren’t being coaxed into doing things they aren’t supposed to.
“[It] has been quite the experience, though!” said the employee. “I’ve never seen so many people try and do so much just for a skin, but I also understand it because I did the same thing.”
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