I Like To Move It

I Like To Move It
Confessions of a GameStop Employee - Part Three

Scott Jones | 12 Oct 2010 12:36
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(If you missed parts one and two, you can catch up here and here.)

Shrink Wrap, Game Advisers, and Third Keys

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In addition to gutting duty and performing highly-scientific tests to determine whether or not a game disc could be resurrected, I also learned how to shrink wrap games. If you've ever bought a game at GameStop and suspected that the shrink wrap around your game was not the factory-sealed original shrink wrap, that's because it probably wasn't.

The shrink wrap machine in our store was in the stock room. Though the idea of sealing plastic around a game box might sound like alchemy, shrink wrapping technology is incredibly crude. Our machine basically consisted of a roll of plastic wrap and a super-charged hair dryer. You can go online right now and buy a shrink wrap machine and shrink wrap to your heart's content.

Here's how to shrink wrap: The roll of shrink wrap is double-layered. The bottom and left sides of the wrap are already sealed at the seams. What you do is this: You slide the game box into the plastic from the right. The bottom of the metal arm gets hot. You swing the now-hot arm down to seal the plastic over the top of the game box. You rotate the game box 90 degrees and swing the hot arm down to seal the right side of the box. Once the box is sealed, you take the super-charged hair dryer and point it at the plastic-covered game box until the plastic shrinks to a point where it fits snugly.

Voila. Shrink wrapped.

At first I was really excited to learn how to shrink wrap. I felt like I was learning some kind of trade secret, like how to roll back the miles on a used car or something. But the shrink wrap machine is the most underwhelming thing in the world. And shrink-wrapping duty is almost as dull as gutting duty. Only the danger of burning myself with the super charged hair dryer kept shrink wrapping from being dull.

The rest of the employees in our store were pretty much in my age group, with a direct correlation between age and responsibility, position, and salary. The catch-all, entry level position - my position - was referred to in GameStop speak as "Game Adviser."

Beyond the Game Advisers, there were three managers: the Store Manager, the Assistant Manager, and Senior Game Advisor, who we also referred to as the "Third Key", since he was the third person with a key to the store.

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