275: Confessions of a GameStop Employee - Part Three

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Yeah, something I hear that is slowly gaining popularity in retail is the simple concept that good employees are more valuable than shitty whining customers. There's really not much profit in a customer than bitches about everything in front of other customers (making you look bad) then demands to return everything at full price (losing you profit). Whereas a good member of staff both helps your store run smoothly and makes you money.

I agree customer satisfaction is important, but treat the good ones as well if not better than the bad ones, rewarding being an asshole with better service is just going to create more assholes.

EDIT: I should say we unofficially stuck to this, as an unwritten rule, even my manager, when I worked in a music and DVD store for a few years. If someone brought back something 'Hello, I bought this as a gift, it appears my sister got bought it as a gift, I wonder if I could exchange it at all?' We'll bend over backwards to make sure she leaves happy, receipt or no receipt, the loyalty tracks a lot and we also just remember a lot of our customers.

However, the moment we hear 'I know my rights!' you're getting the bare minimum level of customer service it takes to get you out of the damn store.

Welcome to the world of retail. I work currebntly as a cashier in local store. Few customers like that in a day.

You work in retail and you had to learn how to use a shrink-wrap machine and deal with angry and unreasonable customers? Get outa town! And wait, you tried to hold an angry customer to store policy but they complained to management and you got overruled? No way!

This entire series started off bad and has gotten worse. It should be titled 'Why No One Aspires To Work In Retail'.

After I worked public service for a few years (and even as a professional librarian, you get crapped on almost as much as a retail clerk), I can't really get angry with front-line staff. I empathize far too much with their situation.

I'd suggest that everyone should have to work a minimum period of public service before they're allowed into stores and malls. But then again, my friend used to be a waiter and is harder than anyone else I know on waitstaff.

Ah well, I'm sure if the economy keeps going the way it is, everyone will know the "joys" of working retail sooner or later.

You could have just picked up the phone and called someone higher up the foodchain. xD

Falseprophet:
After I worked public service for a few years (and even as a professional librarian, you get crapped on almost as much as a retail clerk), I can't really get angry with front-line staff. I empathize far too much with their situation.

I'd suggest that everyone should have to work a minimum period of public service before they're allowed into stores and malls. But then again, my friend used to be a waiter and is harder than anyone else I know on waitstaff.

Ah well, I'm sure if the economy keeps going the way it is, everyone will know the "joys" of working retail sooner or later.

Thanks and a thousand times yes, if every schoolkid was required to do a month's service at Walmart or McD's or even, yeah, Gamestop, then perhaps in 20 year's time we'd have less arrogant people who see anyone behind a counter as an irritant drone getting in the way of their purchasing.

We're people dammit!

As such, the rare times I've needed to complain, it has been in writing, to head office, and I've made it clear who is at fault, as I know how easy it is to blame the first person in a store shirt for what went wrong.

I'd suggest 90%+ of the time when a store clerk is being bawled at by some angry dick, it's not because of something they did.

Hence the expression: "The customer is ALWAYS right". Period.

SenseOfTumour:

We're people dammit!

Doesn't seem that way sometimes, does it? That always aggravated me to no end. I have a job, I'm good at my job, and it's a necessary position to fill. Still, some people think it's appropriate to somehow look down upon me for being in retail, and I see this all the time.

It makes. no. sense.

Blammage:
Hence the expression: "The customer is ALWAYS right". Period.

That's wrong an astonishing percent of the time.

The customer is, often, more wrong than he cares to admit.

Fr]anc[is:
Um, what the heck does he mean by spiked? Thrown...? Or are there giant spikes conveniently placed about town where he is?

I imagine stamped on with a heel, but that's just off the top of my head...

Love it. Puts a new insight on my job at sears warehouse, Glad I do not have to deal with customers much.

PayneTrayne:
Fantastic read. I deal with crazy soccer moms all the time seeing as I work at a Chuck E Cheese, and like your place. Most people are only doing it cause they don't have many goals, are in between school, or are simply just goddamn bored.

I always wanted to work at the local EBGames, but after reading these, I may change my mind.....then again these stories do seem like they'd be funny to tell.

ha! i worked at chuck e cheese for like 5 years. it always amazed me how parents could be more stupid than their kids. i worked in the game room and was taken back by the depths of stupidity that people waded in. a fine example is putting in tokens in games that didn't work and then thinking that putting in more will make it work.

anyway as a gamestop customer I have seen just how stupid the parents are when it comes to their kids games.

How stupid is this woman that her immediate thought process was that "I don't know if my son will like this game, I better buy him a new copy." Did the thought of just renting it ever occur in that thought process?

BlackStar42:

Fr]anc[is:
Um, what the heck does he mean by spiked? Thrown...? Or are there giant spikes conveniently placed about town where he is?

I imagine stamped on with a heel, but that's just off the top of my head...

Going to guess it's the american football definition.
Spike -
n. Football The act of slamming (the ball) to the ground after succeeding in an important play, as after scoring a touchdown.
v. Football Throwing (the ball) down to the ground.

coldfrog:
Here's a nice "observed" story that I was reminded of reading this. I was shopping in a Gamestop when a little kid comes in, probably 12, with his brother who is even younger, asking for COD4. Naturally (well, I don't know how well most do it, but to me this was an easy choice) he refused. The kid offered his mother's ID and credit card. He told the boy he could not give him the game, he could only give it to someone who is at least 18. The kid says OK. He walks out the door to a minivan parked and idling right in front of the store. He comes back with his mom, who of course left the van there, running, and then begins to berate the employee for making her get out of the car. She tells him to just give him the game, which he says he still can't because of the rating, he can only accept payment and hand the game directly to her. She tells him that he can decide for himself if it's appropriate or not, but it takes a few more minutes of her being pissed off before she just grabs the credit card to buy the game like she's been greatly inconvenienced. It was utterly ridiculous, and of course, the worst part is that the kids were both just standing there the whole time watching this ridiculous display. I rather feel sorry for those kids, though I felt the one at least handled it rather better than his mother did. Hopefully he'll grow up smarter.

Had a similar experience back at a EB Games many many moons ago. Shortly after GTA3 came out. A kid about the same age wants to buy GTA3, Ray the store manager says that he can't sell the game to him due to his age and that he would need his mother or father to come in and buy it. 10 - 15 minutes later, in walks kid with Mom. Mom is a bit confused because the kid told her that the store wouldn't sell him a game.

Ray explains that the game is rated 'M' for mature and that store policy does not allow him to sell a M rated game to a minor. Now, the mom looks VERY confused and she asks Ray why the game is rated M. Ray states the laudry list of reasons why. The ability to kill anyone, steal any car, drugs, prostitution, etc... I chime in and explain a few of the first missions to her.

Mom looks a bit concerned.. Then she looks at her boy and says "Is this really the sort of game you want to play? to which the boy says back "yeah, my best friend (whatever his name was) has it and it's way cool!" Mom hands over credit card, and I lose a little more faith in humanity...

P.S. I LOVE YOUR SIFL & OLLY AVATAR!

While I agree that "Soccer Mom" was foolish, it has been my experience that certain Gamestop employees looove humiliating people who know less about video games than them. I would not be surprised if this employee took a little glee in telling the woman she could not get her money back. People love saying, "I told you so."

I'm not saying the district manager was correct, but I've worked in food services, retail and as a clerk collecting library fines. If there is one consistent thing I found while working in these places, it's this:

The customer is always right, but if the clerk ever has the chance to smirk at the customer's stupidity and deny them something they want, they're going for it.

It's very rare to find a clerk who isn't bitter about the way they are treated by over privileged customers.

Chad Brumfield:

JeanLuc761:

It's often very frustrating, but I don't think any more so than any other retail job. The general public has an almost astounding lack of respect for retail employees (or so it seems). You just find ways to cope.

The things I've read about in this series are exactly the same for any retail job. I've sold men's clothing, computers, worked in a book store and worked at a Target. The only thing that changes are the details concerning what you sell, the services your company offers customers and what clothes you're required to wear. Retail is a millstone for the human soul.

From what I hear (from stuff like this and my girlfriend) working retail must just be awful. I worked at a semi-upscale fast food restaurant for two years and I have to say, it's not much different in the service industry. People just don't have any respect for the employees. so many people have selected hearing and then blame their own mistakes on you.

JeanLuc761:

Blammage:
Hence the expression: "The customer is ALWAYS right". Period.

That's wrong an astonishing percent of the time.

The customer is, often, more wrong than he cares to admit.

You are absolutely 100% correct.

Hey Scott spelled B E N, haha, good one!

What's with all the GameStop topics and news popping up everywhere?

Is any of it really that big of a deal?

Sometimes it just doesn't pay to to do your job.

Cassita:
What's with all the GameStop topics and news popping up everywhere?

Is any of it really that big of a deal?

A lot of people find it interesting, so it's been popular as of late (especially given the reputation the store has).

If you aren't interested, don't read/comment about it.

JeanLuc761:

Cassita:
What's with all the GameStop topics and news popping up everywhere?

Is any of it really that big of a deal?

A lot of people find it interesting, so it's been popular as of late (especially given the reputation the store has).

If you aren't interested, don't read/comment about it.

No, no, I'm not hating - I just don't understand the fascination. I feel like I'm missing something.

All I know is they markup products and sell used games at a great profit.

/shrug

Seems like smart business to me.

What am I missing?

interestingly enough i always chat with the people who work at my local EB games. hell i may hate the company but the workers are decent guys and they dont deserve the crap they get from alot of these people

Edit: reading along more posts i have to wonder how most people complain when they go. iv had to complain once on a mistake when buying a used game(the game wasnt in the case, i was in a hurry he forgot to put it in, i still had the reciept blah blah blah) so yeah when i got home i was pissed, complaining to myself, saying hw hard is his job and all that. Then i calmed down and went to the store and explained what happened. i thought this was a fair way to handle it. i go in every few months and they know me so no one was too pissed or got chewed out.

I was actually pissed about that district manager. What a dick. Your not wrong they really will do anything to appease a customer. Doesn't matter how wrong they are. Or how many of their own home grown rules they have to break, Which you are forbidden to break, they will just choose the easiest option. Now I have been in similar situations and every time you get thrown clean under the bus. It is in these situations that I find ways to deliberate subvert rules to appease a customer, only to then use the previous district managers actions to explain away my actions. Can't reprimand me without reprimanding him.

Man I love unions.

Reading this is interesting.
Where I live, GameStop is having a job fair tomorrow and I plan on going to get a job. It's interesting learning about it before I go.

And I feel his pain. I have been working in Retail (Cracker Barrel) for 3 1/2 years now. It gets aggrivating. I remember this one lady wanted this Dracula that danced and sang thriller. It had a sign under it that said 'Halloween Slap and Pop 4.99' She brought it to the register and when it rung up, it was 12.99. I came to help her, looked at the sign and then looked at the tag on the dracula. It said that the Dracula was a 'Halloween Singing Pal'. The Slap and Pops were right beside them on the shelves. I explained that someone must have moved the sign when they were looking at it. I showed her both tags and prices to show that it was an honest mistake. She said that all other Cracker Barrels would give it to her for that price (which my Retail Manager said was a lie and I knew it was). I walked over to my GM and told him what happened. He said that since he wasn't the Retail Manager, he didn't have the authority to change the price for her. She got all upset (mainly because he asked why she wanted the price change). She asked for the Home Office number and said that she would never shop at another Cracker Barrel again. She did call Home Office and filed a complaint. My DM asked what happened and I let my Retail Manager know what happened the day afterwards. I never got fussed at though because I did what was right. ^^

I hate people who try to get something for nothing. One reason I don't like my job. But I do have to say, aside from the stupid people, I am starting to like Retail.

Retails sucks. (Fuel station attendant). End of story. It's made me far more confident and increased my conversational ability but man it sucks. I can't understand the viewpoint of customers like this, I just could not be like or act like this.

Some of the stories I could tell, jeez. A few basic rules I've found out from being a Fuel Station Attendant.

Fuel Prices go up, you are the bad guy, your fuel station is the bad guy. (The standard margin for a fuel station over here is four cents in the Liter, everything else is what we are charged when it is put in the tank. Which means everytime it goes up for the remaining fuel we make a little profit(normally 10-20,000L in the tank), and everytime it goes down we run at a loss).

No matter what, it is your fault. The customer put Diesel in his petrol or Petrol in his Diesel, it's your fault for not having big enough signs or warnings. [Even though Diesel has a protector that you have to release before picking it up].

Denying a kid access to R18 stuff because the parent is lazy means you are going to have to cope with about 5 minutes of being lectured at.

No matter how many warnings you give, or how many times you verify that this is what they want, if it goes wrong it's your fault. [My petrol station still has Forecourt attendants that will help, we have to double check the amount and the fuel type. It's still our fault, and we didn't hear properly if there is a mistake made of course].

No matter how busy you are with other things that are potentially dangerous if left unsupervised or for one reason or another can't be left, you MUST drop everything right away to server a customer who is either inept with the fuel pump and can't use or understand it, or too lazy to get out of their car.

When you attempt to get someone's attention while they are in the middle of a conversation or on the cell phone you are instantly the bad guy and will get a 5 minute lecture about being rude, no matter if they are holding up ten ton of people, doing something dangerous/potentially lethal, or illegal.

No matter how many signs you post saying something is out of order, or can't be used, someone will ALWAYS attempt to use it and then proceed to complain that it they can't.

If you are running around doing work, but stop and bend over backwards to allow someone access to the toliets even though they shouldn't have access for one reason or another, they will always complain about the slightest bit of filth even though you have already told them it will be dirty because today has been overtly busy and thus nobody has had time to clean it.

It doesn't matter if they have to walk 5 cm or 500 metres, stuff will never ever go back in the place it was picked up from. Drinks have are an even more special case in that it doesn't matter if they have to walk back to the fridge to pick another drink up/change their current one/put it back, it will normally go one or two spots awry of where it should be. Sometimes it can be 5 or 6 spots.

If the customer leaves a fuel cap off, it is your fault.

If the customer should have an accident and drive into a fuel bowser or other item, then it is the design of the Fuel Station at fault as it was obviously not wide enough, or the length of the hoses should be longer. (Each bay is at least 1 and a half car lengths wide, with most being 2 and a half [the one's on the outside are 1 and a half], the length of the hose is enough to reach the otherside of a car that has parked as far away as possible).

Customers are incapable of reading signs no matter how big or flashy. This is your fault.

---

Actually, I lied. One story simply because it is so fresh in my mind.
Backstory:
My particular brand of Fuel Stations over here do not get to pick when they are filled up, it is determined by the "Brand" who use our Tank Readings to estimate when we should be filled up. A few days ago, there was a GST changeover, which meant the "Brand" would not fill us up that night as we are privately owned, simply using the Branding and complying to the regulations of the "Brand", thus it would cost them and it would be too complex. This coupled with the fact that since the GST rise was coming we had an extra busy day, meant the next day we ran out of 91, 95 and came to within 200L of running out of Diesel.
Story:
This charming customer popped in with his Jeep Wrangler, and entered $65 of 95 on the machine and proceeded to attempt to fill this into his car. The Bowser stopped at $53.28 and would not fill any more. He got my attention and explained to me that his car was next to empty and should take another $50 of fuel at least before ending. I told him that we had been running low on 95 and why, and told him if he would like I could check the dips to see if we had indeed run out. He asked me too, and so I did. We had about 1000L left, which is empty. (As the Bowser's can not draw from the tank if it drops below a certain amount). I explained to him that his car indeed was not full but we were now out of 95 along with 91 and that what he had received was the last of the 95. I told him that if he really wanted to put $65 into his car that there was another (different branded) fuel station about 900M up the road. He then started complaining about how this is not good enough, blaming me and the service station for running out of fuel. I explained to him again that it was not our fault, it was an almost entirely automated service done by the "Brand". He continued to complain blaming me, and said he would not pay for the $53.28 because it was not what he wanted. He asked for $65 and that since he didn't get it, he would not pay. My Manager was currently 200K's away and unreachable so I was left on my own to deal with it. 15 minutes of arguing later, he finally agreed to pay it. I was then left with another 10 minutes of him lecturing at me how it was not good enough and how he was going to complain about this service station and that he would never ever visit here again.

Onyx Oblivion:
I hate people like that...who don't listen and then feel entitled.

Me too but for every one of them there's a completely reasonable person who just dislikes gamestop's practices.
What I've gathered from these articles are that gamestop customers are cretins while my personal experience at NYC gamestops is that everyone involved with that company is a cretin: except for the Rockefeller Center store (which runs like a normal store; you walk in, you buy something, and you go).
At first I was hoping to hear an expose about what the higher ups and major shareholders do with all their money or the real deal behind used games being sold as new or (given my experiences there) meth parties in the back room for all I know. Unfortunately it has turned out to be a rather predictable collection of anecdotes.

My old manager NEVER appeased crazy people and I loved him for it. Since our District Manger's office was located in our store, and since he was rarely ever actually in his office, it was surprisingly easy for our Manager to treat morons exactly as they deserved by giving them the DM's office number when they wanted to make complaints and then standing back smugly as they punched the phone number into their cells, knowing the customer would wait impatiently, oblivious, as all the other employees listened to the faint ringing of an unanswered phone coming through the wall and tried not to laugh.

That man fostered a team of rebel anti-retailers; we were polite and courteous to customers, always helpful with a great repore, but God help the loudmouthed asshole who ignored our carefully explained policies and stepped out of line. This resulted in us having either the absolute best or worst customer reviews, depending on who you asked. It actually confounded the higher-ups as to why people were either giving us perfect 10's or 0's. As you can imagine, his upfront, no bullshit attitude left him at odds with his own bosses, and once Upper Management went through a rearranging, most of us didn't last long.

As a Third Key for Game Stop, this scenario happened all the time. District Managers are like the good cop to your bad cop. You do your job, and they undermine everything they tell you to do, and like it says, throw you under the bus!

Everything in all three parts is totally true.

Can't wait for the final part, these are awesome!!

My sympathies. I rely on policy to back me up, and it's destabilising when your Manager just overrules that. On a whim they can make you seem unreasonable or even look like a bad employee, simply for following procedure.

I've had a customer scream abuse at me for explaining why I couldn't refund his broken-in-two disc (someone told him they could return it within 7 days for ANY reason) only for my manager to breeze in and laugh it off, refund the money and then advise me to just do it next time before they got so angry.

"So I should always just refund it?" I checked.
"No, of course not." He scoffed. "Just whenever they look like they're about to make a scene."

More sterling EB leadership.

I dont understand the point of returns policies, when the managers just ignore it and throw you under.

I always follow it to the letter, figuring that I can at least fall back on that, but will often find myself undermined in an attempt to 'appease' an unreasonable customer.

CitySquirrel:
I love that these stores have policies the employees are expected to follow (or get fired) but then they have to magically determine the proper time to ignore the policies. This is despite the fact that it has been made clear they do not have that kind of authority.

Exactly! And without support from those in positions above you, you have the recipe for true misery and injustice for the person behind the counter. The rage he felt can be understood by anyone who has ever been in that position, it's lose/lose and bitter in it's unfairness.

I've always thought that people who mistreat people working for small dollars and little satisfaction in retail have never been behind a counter at any time in their life. Anyone who has tends to be much more considerate, and rightly so.

Aesthetical Quietus:
When you attempt to get someone's attention while they are in the middle of a conversation or on the cell phone you are instantly the bad guy and will get a 5 minute lecture about being rude, no matter if they are holding up ten ton of people, doing something dangerous/potentially lethal, or illegal.

That totally reminds me of another retail story I have. xD

I currently work at Cracker Barrel (in the story part) and I was behind the cash register helping the cashier bag items because she was getting a pretty big line. She has just finished cashing out a customer (a white older guy) who I will call Guy1 and the next customer (an older African-American guy) who I will call Guy2 was talking to Guy1. The cashier was trying to get Guy2's attention because it was his turn to be rung up. She said 'Can I have the next guest in line' about 3 or 4 times and the other guests tried to get his attention but his conversation was too important.

Well, the cashier went to the customer behind Guy2 (a white female) let's name Girl and Girl gave the cashier her items to be rung up. By the time the cashier gave the total to Girl, Guy2 decided it was time for him to be rung up. He got all upset that he was skipped over and started causing a scene. The cashier tried to explain that she had said it was his turn a couple times, I tried explaining it to him, and so did Girl. He wouldn't listen. The cashier finally rung him up and he left. Later I learned that he had called into Home Office and complained. He wanted me fired because he said I had my hands on my hips and said that we were being recist because she rung up a white lady instead of him. He had yelled all the way to the door on his way out and the employee trainer (who had spoken to him after it happened) said that he had called me names on the way out. I couldn't believe it when I heard it. Thankfully I still have my job but we had to deal with it for weeks because his conversation was more important that anyone else behind him.

silversun101:
My old manager NEVER appeased crazy people and I loved him for it. Since our District Manger's office was located in our store, and since he was rarely ever actually in his office, it was surprisingly easy for our Manager to treat morons exactly as they deserved by giving them the DM's office number when they wanted to make complaints and then standing back smugly as they punched the phone number into their cells, knowing the customer would wait impatiently, oblivious, as all the other employees listened to the faint ringing of an unanswered phone coming through the wall and tried not to laugh.

That would be awesome. I would have to walk away in order not to laugh. I wish that was how it worked were I lived.

meganmeave:
While I agree that "Soccer Mom" was foolish, it has been my experience that certain Gamestop employees looove humiliating people who know less about video games than them. I would not be surprised if this employee took a little glee in telling the woman she could not get her money back. People love saying, "I told you so."

I'm not saying the district manager was correct, but I've worked in food services, retail and as a clerk collecting library fines. If there is one consistent thing I found while working in these places, it's this:

The customer is always right, but if the clerk ever has the chance to smirk at the customer's stupidity and deny them something they want, they're going for it.

It's very rare to find a clerk who isn't bitter about the way they are treated by over privileged customers.

I think that's why they tend to give the customer the benefit of the doubt. I've been on the receiving end of more than a few customer meltdowns and as long as you were following established policy and kept your cool, they won't actually do anything except over-rule you. Best policy when this happens is to immediately get a manager or give the customer contact information. Unless you're a manager, pass the buck and say "I'm sorry, I don't have the authority and could lose my job."

I find those last three words are an effective way to end the stand-off. Since it takes away the "I'll have your job for this" gambit.

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