274: Confessions of a GameStop Employee - Part Two

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This is an awesome series; can't wait to see the next one!

Not to mention the many, many, many shoppers who want you to know you've murdered Santa Claus for their child because you cannot pull a Nintento Wii out of your ass 30 minutes before closing time on Christmas fucking Eve.

Well it's obvious that slack-jawed, game-returning, sports-game fans aren't that smart to begin with. Don't bother buying a game that you're just going to return. Use good judgment to buy games that you'll be proud to own in the future, and if you really fuck up and get an awful game, return it as soon as you realize it sucks. Not that hard.

You know, I don't remember ever trading in a game, and I have always been hesitant to buy them used because of these stories. I want like new used, and I take pretty good care of my games, have the catridges, boxes and manuals for all the SNES games I bought knew, and that was... a couple of decades ago.

JeanLuc761:
Man, Ben is right on. As a current employee at Gamestop, everything he's said (possible exception being the quality of the game discs) is perfectly accurate.

Folks, we don't want to treat you badly. We want you to turn your games into us, we want you to be respectful, and we WANT you to stand up for yourself if you don't like the trade-in credit you're going to get. There isn't a single person on this earth who is being FORCED to trade their games in at our store.

It honestly comes down to this: Customers, more often than not, are complete assholes when in the store. I'm sorry, but it's true. Here's a few examples of what I see on a daily basis:

1) Customers bitching about the price of new games
2) Customers bitching about the price of used games
3) Customers bitching about the condition of used games
4) Customers responding to "Are you okay this game is rated M for Mature" with "No," then buying the game anyway.
5) Customers bitching at us to shut up when all we're doing is our damn jobs (Asking about EDGE card, warranties, that kind of stuff).
6) Customers APPARENTLY forgetting how the alphabet works, meaning that we have to spend the last two hours of the day fixing all the walls because apparently people are too lazy to put things back where they got them

The list honestly goes on and on and on. Treat your Gamestop clerks well, and we'll be nice to you. Treat us like scum, and we won't be quite so jolly.

I love my local Gamestop. I'm pretty much friends with everyone that works there, we got each others #'s, gamertags, etc.

#6 is probably what started us all off as friends as when during Christmas a few years back (when the manager now had just taken over) and they were getting slammed and the store looked like shit. Games were laying everywhere (it's in a shopping center near Walmart and people would drop their kids off while they shopped), so I just took it upon my self to reorganize them the right way and helped a few customers find games while they were busy.

Even now, I still help them out if I'm there and they are slammed. The DM was told I actually had the highest Edge card sales of everyone since I would explain it to people. I don't want to work there, but I enjoy helping people find what they want without the pressure to make a sale, you know?

tldr; I treat my local Gamestop clerks well and they take care of me with some of the extra preorder stuff and displays (and nice green 360 cases when I need them lol)

At all of the Gamestops I've been to, the alphabetization has been pretty bad. Not that I'm blaming it on either the customers or the employees, just saying, it can be really hard to find things that way.

People that do take care of their games properly usually never sell them, at all.
(Ponders how much dust his box of NES 8bit games in the attic has gathered by now.)

Frankly, I have to agree with Mattaui and the guy who posted the link to the collegehumor website. What 'Ben' doesn't seem to realise is that to most people, games are just games. They don't care about the packaging or whether it's in mint condition or not, they just want the best out of their expensive purchase.

I work in Local Government, and if you want to deal with difficult people, try working there. Many people don't understand the legal procedures we have to follow and why we cannot simply do what they want us to do straight away. As a result you often get bad customers, but in my experience you also get a decent amount of polite people. My view is that 'Ben' obviously needs to wind his ego down a notch and appreciate that not everyone thinks video games are sacrosanct, and he needs to remember that he paid to provide these services. If he hates it that much, he should find another job in an area outside of retail, as he must've guessed what dealing with people would be like. There must be some perks to working from Gamestop, otherwise no-one would want to.

#1 rule of all time: games never had any monetary value at all

If anyone wants to read some truly epic game retail stories, check out http://www.actsofgord.com

This might seem like advertising but... well I just think it's a great site. It dates back to around 2000 so some of the stories are out of date, but I think it contrasts well with this article because this was written by a guy that owned his own store and was truly passionate about games.

The customers were considered with equal disdain.

People who think Ben is being a dick here... eh. Try and keep in mind that retail, when you're selling something you're passionate about like games... it ruins you.

As for people not caring for their things, it amazes me whenever I go to EB Games that they seem baffled by my choice not to buy a game guarantee. "It's fine", I assure them, "I haven't scratched a disc yet". The only scratched disc in my collection is my pre-owned copy of Rainbow Six Vegas which was like that when I got it, for $15. And it worked just fine for the hours and hours of T-Hunt I poured into it before Halo 3 came out.

All of my games are accounted for. On a shelf, discs in their correct cases, manuals in the cases. I seldom read the manual these days so there's often not even any reason for me to take it out to begin with.

On the other had I have this friend. His game cases are in a large box on the floor by his couch. Pull out ten at random and I guarantee only one will have disc and manual present and accounted for. The rest will have one or both pieces missing, or the wrong disc. Game discs are pilled up in various surfaces around his apartment, manuals are in an untidy heap in one corner where they've been tossed aside after a brief perusal.
Every time I go over there I wish I could spend an hour alone with his games just to tidy them up - and I am not generally a tidy person.

Sometimes something is so utterly wrong that I have no choice but to correct it. I hesitate to loan him games, but he assures me he treats other peoples' stuff with a lot more respect... and everything has come back intact so far.

GoldenShadow:
I totally agree with the way Ben thinks. I am the same way. I still have original game boxes, manuals and everything from just about every SNES game I had, and thats from almost 20 years ago. Not to mention my collection of N64, Gamecube, Wii, PS3, oh and my collection of PC game boxes, before I converted to pure digital with Steam. I have my original Super Metroid Cart, the original box and instruction manual all together still.

I note here that you're also not selling your game to GameStop for $2.50. The reason that GS sees all the games in crap shape is that GS will take games in crap shape, and won't pay more for ones that are complete and (nearly) pristine. Ain't none of them going to offer you $75 for your Metroid thinking that they can sell it for $90 to the on other collector in the area, whom you probably know and have already turned down his maximum price... So that's exactly what they get coming in: crap games that have no value elsewhere.

Yeah I had customers get angry at me, like I was trying to rob them, because the games their excited child brought in totaled to $15.

I don't know why they don't just buy a darn resurfacer to have in every store! When we sold games that were battered crap, we used to just advise customers to go down to the video store and have their disc resurfaced for a buck.

VondeVon:
Yeah I had customers get angry at me, like I was trying to rob them, because the games their excited child brought in totaled to $15.

I don't know why they don't just buy a darn resurfacer to have in every store! When we sold games that were battered crap, we used to just advise customers to go down to the video store and have their disc resurfaced for a buck.

Some game stores used to have resurfacers in-store, but I gotta believe the reason they stopped is because they didn't want people seeing how it was done and realizing that all they're doing is sanding down the surface of the disc. If they keep it mysterious, people can be duped into believing resurfaced discs are as good as new.

zana bonanza:

And yeah, retail does suck. But if you can't stay zen, you shouldn't work in one. Even when I get a rude customer, I still treat them as nicely as everyone else. Then I bitch about them later to fellow co-workers, and we usually end up swapping bad customer stories and having a laugh about it rather than building up rage, or whatever.

There's a place for that now.

rockyoumonkeys:
I gotta believe the reason they stopped is because they didn't want people seeing how it was done and realizing that all they're doing is sanding down the surface of the disc. If they keep it mysterious, people can be duped into believing resurfaced discs are as good as new.

That does sound depressingly likely.

Forget mandatory military service. Mandatory retail service. Make people work at least one year behind the counter, so they at least understand how it feels to be on the receiving end of the BS.

I used to work at BK. I put quite a few dents in the freezer door following "interactions" with customers...

that pretty much explained to me why my 5 year old ratchet and clank was worth so little...though great article and great eye opener

Just becuase 'Ben' sounds like a dick here, doesn't mean he acted like a dick at work. I find it interesting that so many people have mentioned their GS employees are polite, and not figured out they likely feel exactly the same as Ben does. I've worked retail for 7 years now... it's entirely possible (and not nessecarily uncommon) to smile at someone and say 'no, it's no problem at all' while secretly wishing you could smash a vase over their head.

Most people are easy to deal with- they ask a question or two, you answer, money and product is exchanged and you part ways. Some days the questions get grating, but you get over that quick enough. But the stupids, the crazys, the rude people... you still get a couple of those a week, and it wears on you for as long as you still care about your work. And although it's been said by everyone else, yes, people really CAN be that stupid! I've had to explain how velcro works to customers. Twice.

As for what people do to their games... sometimes it's kids who don't know any better. I babysat a kid several years back who ripped off the plastic wraparound that holds the game art off of his brand-new Gran Turismo 4 as soon as he got it Christmas Day. It was his first game for his new PS2. They didn't have a DVD player, so it was his first encounter with a DVD-style disc case. It's hard to blame an over-excited 6 year old who just wants to try his new game system for not realizing where the shrinkwrap stopped on a form of packaging he'd never seen before. Of course, sometimes it's just mind-boggling. I had a friend in high school who couldn't take care of her games to save her life. We went to her house once- she had her copy of Final Fantasy 10 in hand and complete. I went to the restroom. When I came out, the game was in the system in the living room, the manual was on the dining room table, and the case was in her bedroom. I actually asked her how the hell she pulled that off in 3 minutes and why- she just shrugged. I've never figured that one out.

I don't mind the refurb process if the game's not running anymore- sure, it may 'shorten the disc's lifespan'... it already doesn't work! Functional for half as long as a pristine disc is better than broken right now.

Spoiler alert: A guy who comes in with a bunch of unboxed discs stole them. His "friend" went to the bathroom and he opened up a bunch of his "friend's" old games and shoved the discs in his bag, then put the boxes back where they were before the "friend" came back.

Susan Arendt:

justjrandomuser:
While I do understand his contempt for the condition of the games people trade in, I must admit that I am confused by the fact that he does not seem to understand why. Is he assuming that the average game is some single male in their 20's living alone? Games get scratched for various reasons not the least of which is children and room mates. You can be as meticulous as you like but more often than not someone will take the disc out of a machine and set it somewhere other than its case. From there its a downhill slide.

The same thing goes for the instructions. They get taken out and thumbed through or torn. Unless are a very fastidious obsessive person or you live in situation where you are the only person with access to the media, then life will happen. I understand the feeling of, "How can people pay $60.00 for something and let it get torn up?" Just understand most people aren't using the discs as Frisbees and the manuals as toilet paper... most of them anyway.

He's not talking about the random bends and tears that you're describing. Sure, that happens to most folks. The kind of stuff that gets traded in at GameStop, however, you genuinely have to wonder if someone took steel wool to the game disc. Or held the instructions over a burner on the stove. It's flabbergasting not only that someone would be ok with letting their property get into such a state, but that they genuinely believe they'll get a fair amount of cash in exchange for it.

I see what your saying.

We have a disc resurfacer in store, and we always explain how it works so that people don't think it's just some sort of magic box of unicorn jizz that can fix their discs indefinitely.

I don't mind what people do with their own property, but if they expect to be able to trade it in afterwards, they should know that they need to take reasonable care of it.

Bear in mind, what Ben is describing here is the bullshit that his store has been lumped with by the other branches when it's just setting up. Once a store is up and running and the staff are responsible for the quality of the games they're buying and selling, it's fine. I work in a game shop, I buy almost exclusively pre-owned.

Re: the trade in value of games.

I'm a current Gamestop employee. I have frequently had people bitch and whine about the trade in value of games, even so far as having a woman accuse me of ripping people off and making "bank" off their games. (Sidenote: an almost 40 year old woman should not be using the word "bank" at all, nonetheless a dozen or so times. It just looks and sounds ridiculous)

Truth be told, it is a service provided to customers. Yes, GS does make money off the service, just as anyone else in any other field within a capitalist society is going to attempt to make as much money as they can off the service they provide.

You, the consumer, have a choice. You can trade your game(s) in, or you can keep them and sell them some other way. So please, please, please stop bitching about it. If you're trading them in, you're accepting what you're getting for them as an appropriate amount of money. If you disagree, then by all means, keep your frigging games and be on your merry way. I won't be offended, even if I did just spend the last five to ten minutes checking out your 50 odd PS2 games and entering them into the computer.

Something you probably haven't thought about (those of you who still insist on complaining about the trade in value of used games), is that GS is going to end up eating a shit ton of money on games they accept which then don't sell. Next time you go into your local GS, take a look at the original Xbox game section, or the ever expanding PS2 section, or hell, ask them how many used PS2 systems they have in their system room. I bet the answer will be around 50 or so (we have around 75 used PS2 systems in ours). GS will be eating a lot of that profit loss because there's no way in hell those will all sell. They could probably send them off to be recycled or something, but I would bet that they won't get what they paid for them.

So when you see them turn around and sell a game for 50 bucks that they bought from you for 20 or 25, that extra 25 bucks does not just come out as straight "profit". It's capitalizing on a new games relevance and popularity to offset the loss from other, less likely to sell games...and yes, likely with a bit of money to make the service provided worth while.

nomadic_chad, last year we cleared out another store's stockroom and I spent a day giving away original Xboxes and Gamecubes to anybody who would take one.

Still nothing new to be seen. I didn't expect the large quality of horrid condition but I know they exist and I know people grumble about trade in value. My games are always mint with a manual, despite the fact that I get no extra credit for it (which would be a good incentive), even if the next guy turns in a disk that looks like someone ran over it with a forklift. I wish I got more credit for my games but I realize that its really all just pennies on the dollar no matter what because games don't have that high of a used demand.

DuelLadyS:
Just becuase 'Ben' sounds like a dick here, doesn't mean he acted like a dick at work. I find it interesting that so many people have mentioned their GS employees are polite, and not figured out they likely feel exactly the same as Ben does. I've worked retail for 7 years now... it's entirely possible (and not nessecarily uncommon) to smile at someone and say 'no, it's no problem at all' while secretly wishing you could smash a vase over their head.

It's amazing how quickly you learn to do that in retail. The mouth says "I like you as a customer", while your eyes say "I want to do unspeakable things to you with a wire brush".

We used to have a "wall of stupid" in the back. Usually just a copy of a receipt taped to the wall (so mgmt didn't know what it was about), but every one had an awful story to go with.

I'd like to add to those who say "it's not every customer". It really isn't. But one selfish, rude, insane jackass will hurt you more than the satisfaction you get from helping 10 regular customers. You just can't break even.

I remember when I worked at Gamestop and the exact same situations would happen to me. When people would throw fits it was really hard to not just rage at them. I take pristine, god-like care of my games and it still annoys me to hell and back whenever I go over to a friends place and see discs laying on the floor or pushed aside without cases. Even though I don't work there anymore, that feeling of rage follows me everywhere. And yes, sports games might as well be beer coasters.

Oh wow Scott got another internet writing gig on the side.
Now off to go watch some more Reviews on the Run online . . .

I loved this article, although I do have one qualm with it:

What about customers returning games that were in used condition when they bought them? When ever I want to buy a game that hasn't been released within the last month I always get a used disc. Always. I have no choice in the matter. I get a minor discount for it, but honestly I'd rather pay an extra few bucks and have a fresh copy I could consider my own.

I mean, the used games I've bought? I'd never think of returning them for store credit: they're so damaged looking I'd expect the cashier to refuse and then mumble about how I'm an idiot as I leave.

Sure it's great to be able to get a game cheap because it's been used, but opening the case of something I've been dying to play just to find it scratched to all hell really doesn't give me the feeling of excitment I want.

Tilted_Logic, generally speaking, the till monkey is supposed to check the disc - and be seen to check the disc - as a way of covering that. As in, if the customer comes back a few days later saying the disc isn't working because it's so badly scratched, the store needs to be able to say "Well, we checked it when we handed it out, and it was fine, so these teethmarks must be yours."

I know that in the real world, that doesn't happen every time though: so what I'd say to you, and to everybody else in this thread, is to have a quick look at the disc the second it's handed to you, in store. If you're not happy with the condition of it, just politely, informally, ask if you can have a different one. We're quite happy to grab you another one, it's no skin off our nose and we'd rather save you a trip and ourselves a return.

Another thing that doesn't offend us is if you decide not to take the price you've been quoted. That is absolutely cool with us. Don't feel like we're trying to pressure you in any way to take less than you're happy to take just because you queued and we're standing there. We're just waiting to see what you decide, not to bully you into handing over the goods.

One thing that does bug the shit out of me though, personally, is somebody who will interrupt a transaction I'm already doing with somebody else to "just" ask a question about a release date or something that I'd have to check or look up. You're not "just" asking a question. You guys, you guys are skipping the queue. No if's or but's about it. Fuck off and don't skip my queue, you douchebags. You were not raised in the wild. Now, you might think it's bizarre that I can't automatically recall the release date of the next Call of Duty or whatever off the top of my head, but believe it or not I have roughly 700 other dates and titles to think about this year, so no, I can't.

Something that I think is worth mentioning is that, believe it or not, a lot of people who end up working in game stores do actually like games, because people who like games will obviously apply to game stores for work. Thus, despite management's best efforts, they will end up with at least somebody who knows something about what they're talking about. However, our actual product training is basically nil; so unless we keep on top of developments in our own time and talk among ourselves, yes, our product knowledge can be patchy.

We manage though - I mean, I have an Xbox, so I know primarily Xbox stuff. The guy I'm usually on shift with has a PS3. Together we're the perfect crimefighting team.

Jenny Decimal:
Tilted_Logic, generally speaking, the till monkey is supposed to check the disc - and be seen to check the disc - as a way of covering that. As in, if the customer comes back a few days later saying the disc isn't working because it's so badly scratched, the store needs to be able to say "Well, we checked it when we handed it out, and it was fine, so these teethmarks must be yours."

I know that in the real world, that doesn't happen every time though: so what I'd say to you, and to everybody else in this thread, is to have a quick look at the disc the second it's handed to you, in store. If you're not happy with the condition of it, just politely, informally, ask if you can have a different one. We're quite happy to grab you another one, it's no skin off our nose and we'd rather save you a trip and ourselves a return.

Another thing that doesn't offend us is if you decide not to take the price you've been quoted. That is absolutely cool with us. Don't feel like we're trying to pressure you in any way to take less than you're happy to take just because you queued and we're standing there. We're just waiting to see what you decide, not to bully you into handing over the goods.

The employees at our local GS always open the case and check that the disc is playable and the manual is still there, so I have no assumptions what-so-ever that they're giving me a bad game. I've never had anything but great interactions with GS employees, I suppose my post was more focused at Ben specifically; his opinion that anyone who hands in a scratched game is at fault and mildly crazy to have gotten it into such a sorry state.

Thanks for the info Jenny :)

90% of GameStop workers that I've had to deal with have all acted with this "I know all and my shit doesn't stink" persona. I just don't get why they think it's ok to act around customers that way. Most of them need serious customer training.

Nazz3:

DPunch4:
Ok Ben doesn't sound like a dick at all to me. Every one of you ignorant idiot fucks who leaves your games out of case lying around needs to be stoned to death. I let my friend borrow my brand new game cuz I was finishing an old one, next day I come over and ON THE CONCRETE FLOOR OF HIS GARAGE was my new copy of Just Cause 2, not in the fucking box. I'm OCD. I was NOT happy.

I get furious when my bro does that kinda stuff. MY game disks, which I paid a lot of money and worked for, being scattered across my room all scratched, and even worse if they're on the sunlight. Also, how fucking hard is it to grab the disks from the sides instead of leaving your fingerprints all over the disk...

Oh and also, one time when the PS3 was in his room, he accidentally dropped the controller to somewhere behind his disk, many days later I found it all dusty over there with a cracked analog stick...

Which is why im not letting him touch my PSP.

For the longest time there has been an erroneous impression that getting scratches on CDs, DVDs, etc. is okay because [magically] they'll still work. It's probably born from marketing hype that was originally trying to sell people on disc media back when such media was new and unfamiliar. Unfortunately, people then get the impression that the media are indestructible.

One of the maddening XBox flaws was an issue that caused them to scratch the discs, which I suspect is where those concentric circles come from on used games, and occasionally movie rental DVDs. It's been bad enough that Microsoft achieved in excess of a 50% failure rate with their XBox 360s, but incredible to also be responsible for causing damage to rental media.

Anyhoo, I didn't fabricate that 50% failure rate. Here's a reference:
http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2010/07/01/reality-check-the-iphone-4-launch-in-perspective

jabrwock:
I'd like to add to those who say "it's not every customer". It really isn't. But one selfish, rude, insane jackass will hurt you more than the satisfaction you get from helping 10 regular customers. You just can't break even.

The trick with troublesome customers is to develop talent at remaining detached from whatever is upsetting them, such that it doesn't color your impressions with everyone else. Listening and understanding can be good. Just be aware that people can be having bad days that has no connection with you personally, or the situation at hand.

Onyx Oblivion:
I've never had bad used copies from my Gamestop...

And nice tip with the disc. Does that work for Bluray, I wonder?

And I've always understood why the trade in value is dirt low for old games...because Gamestop wants to make a profit, and no one is going to buy your damn copy of Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad.

I bought it!!!

Seriously though, where I work we get a lot of fucked up games, but we also get plent that are well kept as well

When someone trades in a pristine condition game I usually add a little extra credit as a thanks and tell them i'm impressed how well they kept the games, plus very rarely do we get screwed up ps3 games thanks to blu-ray.

We also get lots of games still with the manuals, a good trick is to remove the manual before putting the game out on display and putting it with the disc to avoid theft, also use it as backing for the disc in the plastic wallett as this also prevents the disc geting scratched.

Nazz3:

DPunch4:
Ok Ben doesn't sound like a dick at all to me. Every one of you ignorant idiot fucks who leaves your games out of case lying around needs to be stoned to death. I let my friend borrow my brand new game cuz I was finishing an old one, next day I come over and ON THE CONCRETE FLOOR OF HIS GARAGE was my new copy of Just Cause 2, not in the fucking box. I'm OCD. I was NOT happy.

I get furious when my bro does that kinda stuff. MY game disks, which I paid a lot of money and worked for, being scattered across my room all scratched, and even worse if they're on the sunlight. Also, how fucking hard is it to grab the disks from the sides instead of leaving your fingerprints all over the disk...

Oh and also, one time when the PS3 was in his room, he accidentally dropped the controller to somewhere behind his disk, many days later I found it all dusty over there with a cracked analog stick...

Which is why im not letting him touch my PSP.

Simple solution: Sell your stuff to him as 'used'. When he has to pay for them he will take better care of them. QED. No pay, no touch. Simple. Nice safe box+padlock = deterrent enough.

Little brothers these days.

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