275: Confessions of a GameStop Employee - Part Three

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Cassita:

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?

You also have to consider volume and demand. If you ran a business and someone wanted to sell you a copy of a game that you already had five copies of sitting in the used pile, would you offer them more money for it than if you had just one? For the most popular games we easily have upwards of fifteen or more used copies in my store, and nowadays most of those do not quickly sell since everyone who wanted those games has already bought them.

Also, when someone asks for credit or cash for something they trade in, that has to come from somewhere. Let's say you buy something on eBay dirt cheap, but then want to resell it when the time is right. You already paid X amount of money for it, so a mark-up will earn you a profit. However, once you factor in the use of funds to buy the item, the final equation may look like this:

Cash on hand - 50.00 - 10.00 = 40.00
Price of item - 10.00 to 29.99
If sold - Profit is 29.99 - 10.00 = 19.99

Don't get me wrong. I know Gamestop is making a good amount of cash with used sales, and they're not paupers by any means. Reserves, The Edge Card, Warranties, all of those bring in money, and we work with a lot of developers to promote their games. However, since we are a big name company, it brings in a lot of trade-in volume, some of which may never sell until some time later. But, that's business. It's risk versus rewards, and Gamestop has worked out a nice balance between the two.

"I understand that's the company's policy," he said. "But you still should have taken the game and refunded her money."

I had a customer pull this with me on the Modern Warfare 2 launch week.

I knew her kids were lying about getting a copy of the PC version of Final Fantasy XI in the case since the shrink wrap was very clearly the Y-fold, which is professionally done. Needless to say, our DM said to give her the game anyway, and I swear one of her kids shot me a smug grin as they left. Thankfully, we reported them to the other stores and I haven't seen them since.

Actually, I have nice term for people like that who take advantage of companies or people: Leeches.

I used to do the line skipping all the time. If you're not ready, next. But I was dealing with a lot of drunk college kids. You could be incredibly rude to them and completely get away with it.

this was a fantastic read. Quite refreshing or surprising that what people will do to appease others. :\

I lost a retail job I held for 3 years thanks to random crazy women calling in to complain about me, so that particular anecdote hits home. I was a model employee, the regular customers all loved me, but because I was the only guy besides the manager who worked there and I'm the stoic type by nature, people (soccer moms, it was always crazy soccer moms) kept calling our customer feedback line to complain about my "attitude problem". Which I didn't have of course, I was unflinchingly polite and courteous in all my customer interactions, I'm just not gregarious and boundlessly cheerful so whenever there was something else bothering them they would project their issues onto me.

Never mind that I'd have customers asking for my name specifically so they could call and leave positive feedback about me, or telling other patrons all about how helpful I was - when you get X amount of anonymous customer complaints over interval Y, they fire you, whether or not any of the complaints were determined to be actually valid (I'd have to 'review' them with my manager whenever one came in, and the consensus was always that I'd done nothing wrong in my interactions with these customers, not that it mattered).

The best (worst) part is I'd never ever see these complaints coming, because I didn't have customers walking away in a rage or obviously upset (at me anyways, that would happen every so often) - they wouldn't say anything to me, they'd just go home and complain about me to a machine, and then I lost my damn job.

Reading this article kind of dredges up some bad memories. Thank goodness I'm out of the retail business.

Chad Brumfield:
[quote="JeanLuc761" post="6.238189.8538146"]
Retail is a millstone for the human soul.

Very well said! I'm going to remember and use that line. When I worked in retail I always remembered the line from that Smiths song that although it pays my wage, it corrodes my soul. Fortunately, I left retail and hopefully will never return.

About the article, well...his attitude and talk was very poor to Soccer Mom. So although she was clearly a bit crazy, he still behaved poorly and could have been much nicer to her. You never know what people are going through, so it pays to be nice and sympathetic even to crazy people.

I have a reasonable amount of autonomy at my work. I can approve or deny suspect returns, I can discount products to my hearts content, and I can pretty much fill in for any job around the store (techy, cashier, photo-centre girl, or my regular field, sales). This means I don't have to bend over backwards for customers, as all our employees are treated as people by the bosses and management. If other companies have the motto "The customer is always right", our mantra is "The employee is always right." It helps have a relaxed, but highly competent manager running the store. Our old manager was shocking, but he effectively got shipped off to a less important store because he sucked so bad.

The worst thing at our work though, is people coming in to ask for help. We have a Tech Bay, it's opened Monday to Friday, 9 to 5:30. Come in then. I am a salesperson. I am not here to help you with your 8 year old computer which you bought off a competitor, and I am not here to do it for free. I have better things to do with my time. Every minute of mine you waste, is dollars I am not earning. Of course, saying this would result in a customer complaint, and we can't have that. Not that I'd actually get in any notable trouble for it, but it would be a pain in the ass. It actually shits me to tears the amount of people who assume that I'm there to help them. I'm not. I'm a salesman. I'm inherently an asshole. I wish to rip you off and steal from your wallet, to buy myself lunch. I will do this with a smile and a silver tongue, but at the end, I am doing it for myself. And I cannot do this while you tie me up with your useless questions about fucking CDs and your old fucking records. I DO NOT GIVE A FUCK OLD LADY.

/rant

I love gaming, it's a major part of my life, and it's the same with my friends. So it seemed awesome that we opened and ran our own video game store. Reading this stuff is summoning the horrid memories of customers. Nothing ever coming in that was in good condition, and no matter what they brought in, people thought they trading gold. We did disk refurbishes and system repairs, and these people would always lie about taking apart their systems. they would open them up and ALWAYS rip the wire strips, then lie to my face, "it just stopped working."
"Did you take it apart?"
"No."
"Well, do you see these things that look like strips of paper, those are wires and they're destroyed and the guts look like someone was mashing them in to make them fit, also four screws are missing."
Then the people who would show up everyday hang around for hours and never buy anything. The two big ones, "Poke-Kid" and "Stinky". I ran the place for three years and believe that gamers, at least the ones who frequent game stores, are terrible people.

Netrigan:

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.

Exactly. I don't understand why his response was to decide to personally tell off the woman. Just say, "I'm sorry, I don't have the authorization to do that, let me get my manager."

My guess is he couldn't resist being the one to tell the Mom, "I told you so." He would have been much less frustrated, and so would she, most likely, if he had handled the situation better.

It always bothered me during my brief stint at EB Games that the manager would never back you up. It follows a very basic formula:

Manager: Here are the rules. You must follow them.
Cashier: Ok.
Customer: Complaint!
Manager: Ignore the rule for this person.
Cashier: Buh?
Customer: Smugness.

Every time. The manager's justification for bending company policy for every single person who objected to the rules? That if the complaint was escalated to the DM he'd just give them whatever they wanted anyway.
Of course the cashier has to be wrong before the manager will step in and bend the rules for them - the cashier has no discretion to do so himself - but the cashier still gets in trouble for upsetting the customer.

Honestly, one time it even went down like this:
Customer makes unreasonable demand.
I ask manager if this can be done, manager tells me no and makes me feel like an idiot for asking.
I tell the customer no, sorry, we can't do that.
Customer loses her shit and demands to speak with the manager.
Manager immediately grants the customer's request, then berates me for not solving the problem myself.

Of course if I had applied the solution myself, I would have been busted by my manager for breaking policy. The store manager on the other hand doesn't have to justify every little decision to his DM - as long as the store looks good and the sales figures look good, the DM is happy.

But cashiers deal with whoever comes along. You have no capacity to assist them apart from ringing up their sale and making a handful of pre-programmed suggestions: "there's a pre-owned copy of this", "you can trade towards this and save", "if you trade this in before X date you'll get $x trade value" or the farcical favourite: "if you don't pre-order this you'll have to wait weeks for us to restock". As soon as things go off script you've got a customer abusing you and going straight over your head, and a manager abusing you for being the one who got lumped with a problem you're not authorised to solve.

Your longevity at a Gamestop or EB Games is directly linked to the quality of the customers you happen to serve.

Wow. Gamespike. Talk about wild. Though, me, I wouldn't have given her the full refund for a spiked copy of the game.

..So how was B.E.N. supposed to know whether or not to refund her money? Company policy is company policy, plus she was informed on what would happen. Her own fault she was acting all high and mighty. Sometimes I don't get the Dist.managers, if you give in to one customer you have to give in to all of them.

I live in an area where there are like ten gamestops all within a five mile radius and all the employees are very nice and I have yet to see a rabid soccer mom...well I met one douchebag employee, IMO it looked liked he hated video games...and I can't get hired there...even when I'm dishing out more information than some employees.

They get us to bend over backwards to avoid a scene too. People don't seem to understand that EB Employees are people. Just people. We're not retail gods or minions. We're not out to get you. We're just out to get paid and be done with it.

I had that exact same thing happen to me.

Background: I worked at AMC Theaters. The MPAA says that someone with you has to be 18 to see an R-Rated movie. Normally, this job gets dumped on the box office people, but on weekend nights, they put extra people outside R-Rated theaters checking IDs.

One night, I was such a person. A couple that looked 15-16 tries to walk right past me. I stop them and ask for their IDs. The girl says she doesn't have one but is 18 and the guy is 16. I tell them she should go get her ID and come back because I can't let them in thanks to theater policy. They freak out and rage at me for 5 minutes while I try to appease them (and eventually ignore them and continue on to other patrons). They talk to the manager, and he lets them in, simply for causing a fuss.

FUCK. THAT. SHIT.

Falseprophet:

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.

I doubt it would matter. People have a truly amazing ability to set double standards for themselves and expect preferential treatment. People who throw temper tantrums like that aren't doing it because they think things through rationally.

These will be the same people who will be rude to customers, get pissed off at their boss because he's "on their case" when they don't do their job right, and complain about customers having the audacity to ask for no mayo on their hamburger. They will never, ever make the connection when they blow up on a sales clerk that "Hey, I'm being just like that customer I hated for being rude to me last week!".

Travis Abraham:
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.

That's not how "good cop, bad cop" works. The idea is that the bad cop is supposed to make the suspect feel threatened so that the good cop can get the guy's trust by being the good guy who's trying to help him out.

deth2munkies:
I had that exact same thing happen to me.

Background: I worked at AMC Theaters. The MPAA says that someone with you has to be 18 to see an R-Rated movie. Normally, this job gets dumped on the box office people, but on weekend nights, they put extra people outside R-Rated theaters checking IDs.

One night, I was such a person. A couple that looked 15-16 tries to walk right past me. I stop them and ask for their IDs. The girl says she doesn't have one but is 18 and the guy is 16. I tell them she should go get her ID and come back because I can't let them in thanks to theater policy. They freak out and rage at me for 5 minutes while I try to appease them (and eventually ignore them and continue on to other patrons). They talk to the manager, and he lets them in, simply for causing a fuss.

FUCK. THAT. SHIT.

I have a similar story.
I was an usher for the theater I worked at. This normally meant going into the theaters after the movie was over and cleaning up for the next show. Sometimes this meant ripping tickets and letting customers into the lobby. One day a manager ask me to start being the ticket ripper but because the district manager was supposed to be coming this day I had to be extra stick about letting people in with food. I thought no big deal so the day went on and I never had a problem with this until around 7pm some kid tries to walk into the theater with a large pizza. I politely tell him that I can't let him in with the pizza. He basically just stands there with a look of confusion. He then tries to explain that his movie is starting soon and his mother is waiting for him inside. Every time he tries find a new reason for why he should be let in with a huge ass pizza box I simply keep repeating that I can't let him in with food. At one point I even tell him to try and hid the pizza box and sneak it in and I wont care how poorly he did it. Unfortunately it was 7pm one of the busier times to be there and the line to get in was growing rapidly. I start letting the other customers in but I was too late and the massive line had gained the attention of my manager. He decides it's ok for the kid to come in and then ask me why I didn't just let him in. I didn't get in any trouble and the manager is a pretty nice guy this is more the story of the stupid customer.

deth2munkies:
I had that exact same thing happen to me.

Background: I worked at AMC Theaters. The MPAA says that someone with you has to be 18 to see an R-Rated movie. Normally, this job gets dumped on the box office people, but on weekend nights, they put extra people outside R-Rated theaters checking IDs.

One night, I was such a person. A couple that looked 15-16 tries to walk right past me. I stop them and ask for their IDs. The girl says she doesn't have one but is 18 and the guy is 16. I tell them she should go get her ID and come back because I can't let them in thanks to theater policy. They freak out and rage at me for 5 minutes while I try to appease them (and eventually ignore them and continue on to other patrons). They talk to the manager, and he lets them in, simply for causing a fuss.

FUCK. THAT. SHIT.

Growing up, my Dad was the sort who knew how to make a fuss until he got what he wanted. It's amazingly easy. Most employees simply do not give enough of a shit to listen to you complain more than five minutes and will generally give in just to shut you up.

I'm more likely to punish the company than the employee. Not long ago, I bought a used copy of Saints Row from Gamestop. I picked up a copy of the game with the label on it and was taken aback when the employee gave me one of those generic covers. I ask her if I can have the regular cover and she tells me that she can only give that out if its the last copy. Perfectly polite, no attitude, just explaining what her instructions are to me.

Decision time. I can be a total ass and get something of highly dubious worth. Really, all I need to do is make a scene and the cover is mine.

Or I can make the decision to never, ever buy another used game from a company that would use a bait-and-switch policy like that.

I said nothing, returned it the next day, and bought it off of Amazon for cheaper. Now the comic shop *next* door gets my used game business. Excellent customer service policy Gamestop. Keep on reaching for the gutter.

Here's an opposite example of dealing with a customer who called the DM on me.

I was working on a sunday along with my friend Alan (who was the Asst. Manager and I had known for 5 years prior to working with him from his old comic shop) at Software Etc before the buyout. This was the late 90's, so tv's weren't up to date like now.

Anyway we get a call and I answer the phone, it was sunday so it was slow in the mall we were located at, so I answer first basically to find something to do. The person on the other end was kind of shy asking her question, beating around the bush when it turned out that her question was about hooking up a DVD player to an old analog tv without AV jacks.

She apologized and said she knew this was a game store but she hoped I would be able to give her an idea on who to call. I had gotten a DVD player when they had first came out and had to do the same thing so I knew exactly how to hook it up. I asked her if she was willing to come to the mall and buy the stuff at Radio Shack since it was across from us and if so, I could have the stuff ready for her there and all she had to do was go home and hook it up.

I told Alan what I was doing and he said to go ahead since we were so slow that day. I took the cordless phone we had across the hallway to the Shack and told her the things she would need and the prices. She said that the price didn't matter, she just needed it hooked up. So I took the stuf to the cashier and told them what was going on and had him talk to the woman on the phone. When we were done she thanked me and I went across to our store hung the phone up and drew up a diagram to show her how to hook it all up.

Later on we get a call from the same woman and she just wanted to thank me for taking the time to help her (all told it was about 45 minutes to an hour) and that her grandkids were tickled pink they could watch their movies. I told her that it was no problem and my pleasure and tolod her that if she needed any other advice to give me a call and I'd try to help her anytime.

The next week, she comes into the store and buys about $700 worth of games and systems for her grandkids. She made sure to tell the manager that it was her way of thanking us (particualarly me) for helping her out when she really needed it and that she would continue using the store and make sure everyone she knew went there instead of the other stores.

The next time I worked I got a call from the DM. She had called him and told him how i had gone above and beyond the call of duty to help her and how much she had spent in the store since then because of it. He thanked me profusly and told me that as a way of thanking me he was giving me a Playstation and an N64 with two games for each. (I already had both systems, but they made me really popular with my brother when I gave them to him lol).

Sorry for the wall of text, but I just wanted to show that there are good customers and good associates everywhere. I didn't do it for free stuff, I had done it because someone needed help and I knew I could help.

am I the only person on Escapist that dislikes this article series? It's not just one particular reason either.

For one, I don't understand the point of the series. Is it to ridicule GameStop's practices? Because they are very standard in retail nor are they abnormal or difficult in any manner. Or maybe the point of this was to say "retail suxxors", which is repetitive because it's not like we haven't heard a million other people complaining about their adventures in retail. Did the author intend to show just how terrible it was to work at GameStop? It's not actually. It's one of the easiest retail jobs out there. Anyone who can't make it there shouldn't bother with retail at all.

Two, let's discuss the "soccer mom". One thing you need, at least a little bit of, when working in retail is 'empathy'. Look it up. Yes, the 'soccer mom' dismissed your first offer of purchasing it used. So when she returned to the store, you're first reaction is, naturally, to reply with policy and deny her. Here's a couple things you could have done instead to remedy the situation:
a) You could have asked the Manager on Duty (MoD) to listen to the customer's complaint and make a decision whether or not to bend the rules 'this one time'. (note: there is always, I repeat, *always* a manager working at GameStop. It is strictly against policy for there not to be one during store hours.)
b) You could have apologized and explained "I can go ahead and take it back for you this one time but I'm not supposed to. Next time just get used if you're not sure." Then immediately inform your Store Manager or any other active manager of your transaction.
c) When the 'soccer mom' denied the used game, you could have persisted:
"Are you sure? If they don't like it, I can't take it back once they play it."
"Yes, I am sure. I never buy used, always new."
"The great thing about the Used-Game-Program is that if your kids decide they love the game, you can still buy new. All you have to do is bring the used game back into the store and we'll switch it out for a brand new copy. You only pay the difference in cost. If they don't like it then, as I said before, I can just get you a refund. It's like free rental, *cue laughter*"

Notice that? In this hypothetical conversation, you explained to her why she might be making an incorrect decision while addressing her immediate concerns.

Here's what you did instead:
"Do you want used, instead? You can't bring back a new copy."
"No thanks, I always buy new."
"Okay, your loss."
*hour later*
"My children hated this game!"
"Hey, I told you that you couldn't bring it back. You're SOL woman."

Your district manager didn't punish you for following policy. It's 'how' you handled the situation and 'how' you chose to follow that policy. ie with a general lack of respect for the customer, regardless of fault. (for example: "scolding her". Your District Manager isn't wrong, you technically did scold this woman and probably embarrassed her. Would you want to be treated that way if you were in a Walmart or Target?)

You might feel 'justified' but never in retail is it okay to treat your customers as if they are inferior. The customer is the one giving you money. That money funds the operation that writes you a check every two weeks. I'm very surprised that whoever the MoD was that day did not intervene for you. If I were your boss that day, I would have sent you home for talking down to a customer.

I've had quite a few customers similar to this situation. Every time, I simply explained to them what was wrong with the request they offered me and despite solving it for them this time, cautioned them for next time in a respectful and cheerful manner.

Third... well I don't remember what my other talking points were. If your attitude has been this aggressive from day one, I'm not surprised you were fired. You don't belong in retail. You probably do belong in the post office, shut in and away from society so we don't have to hear you whispering to yourself how we are all big idiots or something.

Can't wait for part 4 to see how you get axed. My bet's on that you threw a fit.

Anyone else getting an Acts of Gord feeling? There's some real idiocy out there.

It's sad day for society when adults can get whatever they want just by throwing a tantrum that would have a spoiled 5 year old put to shame. Then having them complain about you behind your back only makes them seem more immature.

Edit: ^this guy needs to visit my link. People just don't treat the regular grunts (pardon the phrase) like this, they'll treat anyone in the store like this, including the owner.

Remember, in retail, the money is the most important thing... and it's attached to customers, so we have to be nice to them, too. When dealing with a difficult customer, you have to try your best to be polite. If you can no longer be polite, hand them off to someone else who can be. The entire strategy is to defuse the situation and find a way to make them happy, not to be right. Given a choice between being right and getting a customer's money, they will always choose the money.

And I'm more than a bit disappointed in the articles. I was expecting some expose of Gamestop's policies. Instead, it's standard issue funny tales from retail. You could call this Confessions Of A Sandwich Artist and it would practically be the same article.

it's not different anywhere else. Managers will always throw you under a bus if they can. Union environments are the exception though, mainly because they can't. entertaining but seriously, I've dealt with thousands(not even exaggerating) of customers like soccer mom. try working in electronics dept. of your local wal mart and you deal with this at least 3 times a day. I always felt bad for those poor girls at the return counter.

That last story cracked me up, reminds me of that Gamesradar article I mentioned in part one, here's a link to other funny/creepy stories http://www.gamesradar.com/ps2/f/nightmares-of-a-game-store-clerk/a-20070412141128349088/g-20060331143728168090/p-2

Netrigan:

And I'm more than a bit disappointed in the articles. I was expecting some expose of Gamestop's policies. Instead, it's standard issue funny tales from retail. You could call this Confessions Of A Sandwich Artist and it would practically be the same article.

I think the point here is "demystification". No it's nothing special but those who've never had the wonderful experience of retail assume that warlocks gather around a cauldron in the black of night behind the store and conjure new devilish tricks to inflict on customers under the fluorescent gloom of the store.

You don't belong in retail.

No one does. There are torments in hell less painful. Here's a few points I've gained from working many long years behind various counters getting my particular career off the ground.

1. You can walk away with the entire store and it is store policy everywhere in america for the cashier not to even look in your general direction. Some stores the cops might even get called but by that time you've already spent your ill gotten gains and will likely never get caught. Just recently in my area two pharmacies were robbed in a day by a man with a post-it note.

2. Retail teaches customers to be assholes. If you want something and aren't getting it you aren't acting dickish enough. My fiance recently had to tell someone that they couldn't purchase lumbering materials with their foodstamp card. After throwing a tantrum they walked away with a very large discount. Meanwhile my poor polite self pays full price.

3. Signs, no matter how large and bright never work. I've had customers slam face first into a door with bright pink signs saying "This door is locked. Use the other door."

4. No matter how courteous, polite, and respectful you are you are being rude to the person in front of you. Especially after the fact.

5. It pays to have regular customers you know on a first name basis. You'll be surprised how often one will come to your aid when the douchebags fly.

6. The only job worse in a retail store than being a cashier is being a retail store manager.

7. Policy only applies to you. Never to the customer, store manager, district store manager, regional store manager, the dirt, or people doing anything illegal.

As for the soccer mom it's difficult to convey attitude and emotion through prose without a great deal of practice and work with a fantastic editor (just to note the editors at the escapist are fantastic and I've worked with a few). People are basically telling poor ben here all the things he could have done differently when they all amount to the same result. Saying to do it this time but you won't do it next time creates a precedent. A precedent is a flaw, a verbal loophole, made by your own words in which the customer can choose to exploit to their benefit for next time. For every customer you've told not to do it next time a good half of them probably turned around and did it again because someone (that someone being you) opened the doorway by doing it for them the first time. Because now they know you can do it and can simply ignore your warnings about next time. So instead of being thrown under the bus you just threw someone else under it. Nice job.

With this in mind I have no tolerance for adults who act like children. I am so much more willing to help someone who is polite and calm even when being completely unreasonable than I do with someone who for the life of them can't grasp the idea of using an inside voice to complain about the clerk not being able to take a week old expired coupon.

Yeah that story with a regional or district manager happens a lot more often than one would think. It is also one of the biggest causes of both shrinkage and chub when you override the actual store policy that normally doesn't have a backup emergency procedure.

In any industry where you have service employees a single complaint can easily lead to termination as unlike the laws of the U.S. police force you are not innocent until proven guilty. If you really want to be a jerk and cause massive unemployment in your local area when it comes to retail make your complaints on the regional level and not the local level because a store manager will normally not fight the chain of command.

I want to live in Canada with two cats, I can BMO self doubt though.

I have never had to deal with such stupidity (largely because when I worked in a restaurant, I hid in the kitchen making food and only had to deal with morons at one remove) but if I ever witness it in a shop, I hope I have the chance to walk up to the imbecile making a scene and call him/her on it.

"I've shopped here for years and I've never been treated so...!"
Pardon me, are you a time traveller?
"Who the hell are you?!"
Just a fellow consumer and I'm mildly curious how you managed to shop here for years when this business opened six months ago. Are you a time traveller or simply the arrogant prick you seem to be?

Yes, it might earn me a fist to the nose but by gods, I'd love to do it.

I'm mildly ticked about gutting only because I really would like to get my meager Club Nintendo bonuses, but is the shrink-wrap thing that big a deal that we have to spend two sessions on it? (I ask in honesty; I grasp that it is indeed at least somewhat of a big deal.)

Netrigan:
The credit card one is classic. I always like when they get annoyed when you ask for their ID when they've written on the back of the card "Ask For ID".

My favorite is when a customer brings in someone else's credit card and gets mad when they're told they can't use it. I haven't had the large percentage of atrocious customers reported by other retail workers in this thread (actually, I found my coworkers much more miserable than the customers on balance), but this one practice is just so prevalent and so, one would think, easy to understand why a store can't do it. I'd usually get one or two customers a day, though, who'd want to pay with their spouse's/parent's/friend's/boss's credit card and would get usually indignant that they couldn't.

SenseOfTumour:
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).

Unless we're talking about something else, I believe that's "differentiated service," the idea that not all customers contribute equal profit to a business and that it's optimal to let the troublesome or low-margin customers go in favor of keeping the good, high-profit ones (in contrast to the "customer is always right" mantra of previous days). It's been floating around for a bit and has little to do with employees, sadly. I'm not yet so optimistic to believe that stores care a whit about keeping their good help.

I am really enjoying this series. I've been through pretty much everything he describes, except for actually working at a games store.

The escapist needs more mini-series like this.

I don't think gutting would be such a problem if we could be sure what games were brand new and had simply had their discs filed away. (because they're still new, obviously) and preowned, traded in stuff that looks the same.

JUMBO PALACE:
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.

Some people are better equipped to handle these kinds of jobs. A good friend of mine has been a manager in a few different stores and she has even better stories than I do. However she isn't as jaded about her time in retail and is also more of a people person who can roll with the punches that you take in that line of work. Not every day in retail is a nightmare but when your work hours are generally pretty boring and routine, it makes those times when things get really bad stand out even more vividly.

JeanLuc761:

GeneticallyModifiedDucks:
It's like people are deaf... I can only imagine what working for a store like that must be like.

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.

Easiest way I deal with it is to focus on the customers who are actually there to enjoy themselves. Parents who smile graciously when I help them out, kids who walk out of the store saying "Thank you!" while clutching a new DS game, or the occasional regular who chats up the staff for fifteen minutes about the newest games. That makes the job worth it, even though I occasionally want to take an Xbox and crack it over the head of some of our customers.

I still have yet to forgive people for their inability to put game cases back where they found them.

I've been in retail for about 3 weeks(cashier at a very large, 2 floor sporting goods store) and I've gotta say, I love it. I've had one angry customer, who threatened to "tear me a new one" because I asked to see his I.D with his credit card. One day someone is gonna take his card and buy like 3 treadmills. See if he ever gets pissed about someone asking for his I.D again.

I think it's important to remember not to take it personally. I get rude people, but they're generally forgotten about as soon as I get that next customer.

I play by the rule that if you're nice to me, I'm nice to you. If you're nice, I'll take that expired coupon that I really shouldn't take, or give you a discount on an item that is listed on the "not valid" section of the coupon.

If you're a prick, I kill you with kindness, and make sure to tell you to have a nice day in the most cheerful way I possibly can. And keep your coupons to yourself. Even if they are valid; "I can't use that coupon on this item.".

Great story at the end, i always feel a kind of selfish smugness whenever i read stuff like this when it indeed involves soccer moms, thirteen year old adolescences, and other idiots.

Minus bending over backwards for the idiot though of course. :p

-Samurai-:

I've been in retail for about 3 weeks(cashier at a very large, 2 floor sporting goods store) and I've gotta say, I love it. I've had one angry customer, who threatened to "tear me a new one" because I asked to see his I.D with his credit card. One day someone is gonna take his card and buy like 3 treadmills. See if he ever gets pissed about someone asking for his I.D again.

It takes a bit of time to wear on you. Wait until you can see problem customers a mile away and you're pretty much doomed to live out the little drama that they create.

Only decent strategy I've ever developed it pass the buck to management when things start getting bad and hope you have reasonably cool management. Because irrational people will make up stuff about you to get you in trouble, just because they're annoyed with you for doing your job. Having management that can think "hmmm, Steven has never acted this way before with a customer, maybe this person is bat-shit insane" helps smooth over those bumps.

But mostly, don't take anything personally, even when management over-turns you... because 9 times out of 10, that's what they're going to do when dealing with a difficult customer and if they're a good manager, they'll just give you a handy hint on how to deal with that next time and that'll be that. You just don't want to ever get in a shouting match with a customer because you'll lose... possibly your job.

Brandchan:
I also have never felt so much sexism then when I worked at a game Store (not even when I worked at a comic book shop). Not from the other employees or managers but from the customers. I still remember a time when a father and young son come in and start asking about the three MLB games that came out recently. In the end I had to say "I'm not sure which one is the best I don't play sports games" to which the young boy who was maybe seven states "You're a girl so you don't know anything about video games". I look up and his father was shaking his head in agreement! I was so pissed. I wanted to be like "I'VE PLAYED GAMES LONGER THEN YOU HAVE BEEN ALIVE!" I just couldn't believe the Father either. In the end they ask my fellow male employee and she said the same thing I did, he didn't play sports games so he didn't know. At least I felt some justification in that.

Word.

I used to manage the games department of a department store. I say manage, I was technically a "supervisor", which magically gave me all the responsibility and workload of BOTH a manager AND a till monkey, while still only paying me minimum wage. I lost count of how many people called me over just to ask me to fetch one of my male underlings so they could ask him a question.

I do, however, recall each time said underling then had to refer back to me for an answer. With some relish.

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