ash zelda speaking, screenshot of ashzelda's email, ash zelda


‘That’s a scam, right?’: TikToker shares her local Dave & Buster’s doesn’t carry advertised prizes, but viewers think she was lied to (updated)

The Winner's Circle employee told her that the arcade only had high value prizes for display.


Daysia Tolentino

Internet Culture

Posted on Jul 25, 2021   Updated on Jul 26, 2021, 1:29 pm CDT

One TikToker wanted to cash in her 3,900 Dave & Buster’s tickets for a nice prize but discovered that her local store had none of the big ticket items it advertised.

“I knew that the prizes were just overpriced pieces of junk,” the TikToker @ashzelda, or Ash, prefaced the video. “That’s just the name of the game. But I thought that they at least existed, and they don’t.”


I see people on here winning stuff at Dave and busters all the time, how did I not know you couldn’t actually get a prize?? #daveandbusters

♬ original sound – Ash

She continued by explaining that she and her partner had been frequenting their local Dave & Buster’s since getting vaccinated in May. They were competing with each other to see who could win enough tickets to get a “Game Over” light first. On Thursday, Ash got to the target 3,900 tickets needed for the light and attempted to redeem her coveted prize at the “Winner’s Circle.” She said it was “the lowest value item in the case.”

“At the back of the Dave & Buster’s prize store, there are glass cases and they have all the high value ticket items,” Ash explained. “So [the light] is like the lowest value, high value ticket item. They have like 100,000 tickets for a Roomba or 400,000 tickets for a VR headset. That was in there.”

Ash said that the Winner’s Circle worker apologized and said they didn’t have the light in stock. Ash, disappointed, began looking at other prizes as an alternative, and the worker told her that the store did not carry any prizes that were displayed in the high-value cases. The worker also told her that they didn’t carry Squishmallows for redemption even though they were displayed around the Winner’s Circle. 

“Essentially, if it’s not something you can pick up in the little store and bring to the counter, they don’t have it,” Ash summarized. 

Ash was confused because she said there were a lot of boxes, presumably full of prizes, that were in the store. She asked the worker to clarify that they didn’t have any of the big ticket items, and the worker told her the big prizes were just for display. 

“I was kind of flabbergasted ‘cause that’s a scam right?” Ash questioned. “That’s like false advertising. I wasn’t gonna take it up with this minimum wage employee. Obviously, they couldn’t do anything.”

Ash stated the point of playing games at Dave & Buster’s is to win tickets and, eventually, prizes. She said that while she mostly enjoys the competition aspect of playing at the arcade, it felt “weird” that cashing in a big prize didn’t seem to be an option.

Some viewers, including a few claiming to be former Dave & Buster’s employees, took to the comments to call the Winner’s Circle worker a liar.

“I’ve worked for them and that’s a lie she just didn’t want to go into the back and get it for you,” one viewer said. 

“Sis I worked in winners circle for two years she LIED she was just lazy!” an alleged worker said.

In Body Image

“I worked for them for 4 years,” another commenter wrote. “She lied to you. We have an entire warehouse full of the prizes and boxes and boxes of them. The rare ticket items we may sell out of, but that’s extremely rare. She lied to you. I did work winners circle. We got shipment of this stuff all the time also. And if it was sold out, they’d sell the display one.”

Others tried to give the employee the benefit of the doubt, citing Ash’s mention that the Dave & Buster’s near her opened relatively recently—about a year ago during the start of the pandemic.

“New store = likely new employees, potentially items not yet shipped, potentially unhelpful employees,” one user offered. “Either way, I HOPE YOU GET YOUR SIGN.”

Ash addressed some of the comments in a follow up video. In response to the suggestion that her local store may be going through growing pains, she said that didn’t occur to her previously because the store has been open for over a year. She also wasn’t sure if the employee was lying but stated that she had seen the worker go into the backroom to get other patrons prizes.

Ash also clarified that she asked the employee if it was a temporary stocking issue, but the employee said they didn’t carry the items at all, adding that they didn’t know if they would be receiving any of the big prizes eventually.

“Many of you said it’s just my location that’s sketch and you have had no problem with Dave & Buster’s and I’m actually very glad to hear that. Literally not a single person said this ever happened to them… but I’m really glad this has not happened to anyone, anywhere else.”

Ash reached out to Dave & Buster’s Guest Relations department but has not received a response yet. The Daily Dot reached out to Ash and Dave & Buster’s.

Update 1:24pm CT July 26: Ash told the Daily Dot that she has not received a response from Dave & Buster’s but is hoping the situation was a miscommunication.

“I was just hoping to hear from other people on TikTok if it was a common occurrence, and apparently it’s not!,” she said. “Which I’m happy to hear, I really do just have the worst of luck.”

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*First Published: Jul 25, 2021, 3:22 pm CDT