276: Confessions of a GameStop Employee - Part Four

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Yes, not all parents are bad. I had an awesome dad come in a few months ago. Big bag, $70 worth of sports games, still within that 7 day policy.

"Can I return these?"

"What... seems to be the problem with them?" (Obviously, I'm concerned about the amont of cash in the register; it had been a slow day)

"My kids disrespected me, so they don't get any rewards."

"Oh." (My face lights up, and give the man a fist bump) "I'd be happy to."

The game advisor working with me heard all this, came over, and shook the man's hand.

this tale of working for gamestop was very interesing and funny.

makes me think about not applying to the local EB games.

Loved the series. Go dad, go. :3

OMFG!! I was ROTFLMAO at Hagrid and at Soccer Mom in Part 3!! I was also silently praising Hagrid 'cause it looks like he's one of the ever-decreasing population of decent parents who actually take responsiblity for their kids!! Or at least, who'll actualy return said stolen game to the store, WTIH an apology!! BTW, if Ben is reading this, how long ago did you work in GameStop man? 'Cause you talk about N64 games like it was only yesterday, instead of nearly 10 years ago!?!

This was a great article. Sad to see it go, but glad to see it end well. I have a brother who is applying for a job at a GameStop, so perhaps I can get funny stories from him as well. Well done, Escapist, for putting up this story, and I hope to see more like it one day.

Orekoya:
Meanwhile: "Today I just tried to steal store credit from a local retail, was tricked into giving my home phone number, and am on my way home to my abusive father. FML"

That's a bit rude of an assumption don't you think? Just because he's Hagrid-sized doesn't make him an abusive father.

I'd be livid if my kid stole something. A smack on the head (or two) wouldn't be out of the question. It's just reinforcing the simple fact that STEALING IS WRONG, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU ARE PARTICULARLY STUPID ABOUT IT.

One hell of a read, man. Thanks for sharing!

This was one of the best article series' I have ever read on here. Thank you Escapist for bringing back fond memories of my time behind the counter.

ShadowHarrier:
Yes, not all parents are bad. I had an awesome dad come in a few months ago. Big bag, $70 worth of sports games, still within that 7 day policy.

"Can I return these?"

"What... seems to be the problem with them?" (Obviously, I'm concerned about the amont of cash in the register; it had been a slow day)

"My kids disrespected me, so they don't get any rewards."

"Oh." (My face lights up, and give the man a fist bump) "I'd be happy to."

The game adviser working with me heard all this, came over, and shook the man's hand.

Awesome! I remember recently going into a Gamestop that had these types of signs for Fallout New Vegas image I wondered if that was how Fallout New Vegas Advertises or if the Gamestop made these signs. Also, there were two gamestops in the same mall.

I've switched to (mostly) digital distribution because boxed games just aren't worth it. If I buy a game on Steam it's easily accessed, organized, automatically updated, and I don't have to have a CD in the drive. If I buy the game boxed, I'm going to get a disc which probably uses awful DRM software, and maybe a black and white "quick start" guide or some BS. The digital version is a better deal. It has its drawbacks, but the positive outweigh the negative. I'd be happy to go back to buying PC games the way they used to be over 10 years ago, with nice manuals, maps, and charts... but it's not worth it otherwise.

I understand what you mean by "Gamestop voice". I have a voice for the grocery store I work at and I can't quite remember when I started to use it or even learn it. I think the Gamestop voice is something everybody in retail needs to learn in order to survive.

BrunDeign:

Orekoya:
Meanwhile: "Today I just tried to steal store credit from a local retail, was tricked into giving my home phone number, and am on my way home to my abusive father. FML"

That's a bit rude of an assumption don't you think? Just because he's Hagrid-sized doesn't make him an abusive father.

I'd be livid if my kid stole something. A smack on the head (or two) wouldn't be out of the question. It's just reinforcing the simple fact that STEALING IS WRONG, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU ARE PARTICULARLY STUPID ABOUT IT.

That was a joke. An informative one since statistics have shown that the leading cause of crime in youth is overly authoritative or abusive households, but a joke nonetheless. Sorry if it was too much for you to handle.

Orekoya:

BrunDeign:

Orekoya:
Meanwhile: "Today I just tried to steal store credit from a local retail, was tricked into giving my home phone number, and am on my way home to my abusive father. FML"

That's a bit rude of an assumption don't you think? Just because he's Hagrid-sized doesn't make him an abusive father.

I'd be livid if my kid stole something. A smack on the head (or two) wouldn't be out of the question. It's just reinforcing the simple fact that STEALING IS WRONG, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU ARE PARTICULARLY STUPID ABOUT IT.

That was a joke. An informative one since statistics have shown that the leading cause of crime in youth is overly authoritative or abusive households, but a joke nonetheless. Sorry if it was too much for you to handle.

I was mildly amused so it isn't a complete wash.

Nevyrmoore:
Nice end to this, but I have one gripe. Not about the article itself, but this comment about the way the industry is headed...

Digital distribution is already chipping away at their business model. A day will come when the lights go out on GameStops everywhere. It will happen. It's inevitable. Might be next year. Might be in 10 years. But make no mistake, it's coming.

I chuffin' 'ell hope not! When that day comes, we've effectively given away what rights we still have as video game consumers to the publishers, all in the name of "convienience"...

Plus i doubt the prices will stay low once everyone has switiched to digital download. Eventully the prices will rise as there is more profit without the costs of disc and packaging production. Eventully even downloadable games will still charge the same price as buying the game at a store. Because by then, you have no choice to pay for it anyway.

Wow, those stupid little punks sure had nerve.

Anyways, very good articles man, they sure filled me with insight on Gamestop now, so maybe I'm glad I didn't work there. Then again, I'm sure I could have handled all of that also.

However, as others have pointed out, while I also wish for Gamestop's monopoly to end, there's no way I will accept digital distribution driving ALL retailers out of business. That's just wrong.

So you know how the NES just saw it's 25th anniversary here in the US? How many of you still have your NES? Or SNES? N64? Sega Genesis? Dreamcast? How many of you play any of those consoles regularly? Or at least often enough? Personally, I'm playing through Chrono Trigger on the SNES right now (which is AWE. SOME.). Here it is, 25 years later, and if I can find the hardware that still works, I can enjoy those the same as I did decades ago.

Now how many of you love the modern classics? GTA4? Mass Effect 2? Assassins Creed 2? Fallout 3? Borderlands? If I still have a working 360/PS3 25 years from now, I can enjoy those too... at least the main story. If it weren't for the 'GOTY' and 'Ultimate/Complete' packages, I'd be out of luck if I wanted to play The Ballad of Gay Tony, or Broken Steel or Lair of the Shadow Broker.

This doesn't really apply to the PC guys though, you guys are in another league here. Still love y'all though.

Don't get it twisted, digital distribution and DLC is great for expanding the story/gameplay, fighting piracy/used games sales etc, but once the servers hosting the content go down, it more or less gone forever.

I guess my point here is if I want to play Earthbound today, I could take on the internet, buy it, and play it. If I want to play Sonic 4 15 years from now, I'm boned (as of now at least).

Any gaming store has that kind of story, not just gamestop.
Check this site http://www.actsofgord.com/
In this genre it's a lot better.

This was an interesting read until near the end when you sounded like every other Steam junkie proclaiming the domination of digital distribution. Was that the punchline in all this?

I only go into gamestop looking for PS2 games these days, and I've come to learn alot of them didn't age well anyway. Unskippable sutscenes in games I've beaten get old after a while. Other than that, I have no use for gamestop since Walmart is already open at midnight and I buy all of my pc games on steam anyway.

Well, if you're looking for a part 5, I could possibly supply other little tid bits of information.

I currently work at a Gamestop and I couldn't agree me more with the events listed in this story. Everything he told hit home and are still things going on. The trade in form is now something we fill out on the computer, but for the most part, everything else is spot on.

But for something not really mentioned: The reason we bug you about reservations and the "edge card." For the most part, there is no motivating from the company to ask you to pre-order games and get the discount card. We ask more out of the fact that we get a big wag of the finger if our percentage of transactions with preorders and card subscriptions vs. without. These numbers are used to compare our store to other stores our district and the region.

But in all honestly, there isn't some huge conspiracy to make you pre-order games. I assume people think we are stealing their money or some other business, but here's the deal. I want you to have a copy of your game. We sell out of big titles ALL THE TIME. If the employees at your local store care enough, they ask you to pre order so you can guarantee that game. Our allocations of games are based almost directly pre-orders. If we get no pre-orders on a game, we don't get more then 2 copies. Any money we ask you to put down on a game goes TOWARDS your entire price: it's honestly just layaway. And for anyone who has been trying to track down Collector's Editions of any game, we RARELY get extra CE copies. However many pre orders we get is how many CE are shipped to us.

There's my little story. I might have some more to bring to the table as well. Plus I even made a webcomic about working in gaming retail. wesellgames.tumblr.com

This is part one of I believe 6.

It too is the tale of a (former) gamestop employee. He is significantly less nice to gamestop than this man here.

Its like an hour long rant but its a great listen and I was shocked to hear about some of gamestops shadier business practices.

Give it a look.

I loved these articles. Both hysterical and informative. Especially since the only stores around here are Gamestops, it's nice to know what goes on behind the scenes. I'd love to read more articles in this vein.

blakfayt:
Digital distribution won't happen until copyright laws see reform, which if the game industry sees it's way through, won't be for until the end of time.

I'd also like to add that when gaming becomes digital only, I'll be done.

I don't mind buying some shit in a digital format, but not everything. I was so happy to go to gameStop today to get my copy of Fallout: New Vegas. I can't imagine being quite as pumped if I was waiting on a download instead.

OT- Solid read man, I enjoyed all four parts of this article.

theaceplaya:
So you know how the NES just saw it's 25th anniversary here in the US? How many of you still have your NES? Or SNES? N64? Sega Genesis? Dreamcast? How many of you play any of those consoles regularly? Or at least often enough? Personally, I'm playing through Chrono Trigger on the SNES right now (which is AWE. SOME.). Here it is, 25 years later, and if I can find the hardware that still works, I can enjoy those the same as I did decades ago.

Now how many of you love the modern classics? GTA4? Mass Effect 2? Assassins Creed 2? Fallout 3? Borderlands? If I still have a working 360/PS3 25 years from now, I can enjoy those too... at least the main story. If it weren't for the 'GOTY' and 'Ultimate/Complete' packages, I'd be out of luck if I wanted to play The Ballad of Gay Tony, or Broken Steel or Lair of the Shadow Broker.

This doesn't really apply to the PC guys though, you guys are in another league here. Still love y'all though.

Don't get it twisted, digital distribution and DLC is great for expanding the story/gameplay, fighting piracy/used games sales etc, but once the servers hosting the content go down, it more or less gone forever.

I guess my point here is if I want to play Earthbound today, I could take on the internet, buy it, and play it. If I want to play Sonic 4 15 years from now, I'm boned (as of now at least).

You're only boned if you delete the games off of your ps3 or 360 HDD.

Which, if you have a big enough one (mine is a 500gb), you shouldn't do. I know I don't delete anything and I still have over 435gb left on my drive.

You see I was one of the people who were nice to game stop employess I didn't steal anything, if they offered me a cheaper used game I was extremely thankful...no joke I loved it when they claimed to have the game cheaper used...and I didn't get pissy when I couldn't return a game...now of course I take my games to either a pawn shop or the local game king (I know the manager so I get retail for my game trade ins)

GrinningManiac:
What a wonderful story

Mabye one day I'll have a GameStop voice

Once ya do, tell me how to obtain one...

Anyways, I don't think digital distribution will be the king so fast. Myself and many others would prefer to own a physical copy.

A Gamestop voice includes, but isn't limited too:

-Being able to talk to parents while not sounding like your trying to sell them something they don't need
-An urban touch
-Appropriate inflections that don't make you sound like an idiot
-A complete absence of a condescending attitude
-Being polite to anyone of any race, gender, and age.
-Not being a jerk-wad.

I seem to recall hearing stories about a lot of shrink in gamestops occurring due to employee theft. not sure if that happened in your store (I think you would have mentioned it) or if it was heresay and rumor to spread bad pr about GS.

Either way, I don't shop there at all. If there is a hole in the wall, small business game store in your area, support them instead. They probably carry more, and for better prices, in my experience, anyway.

Really great series, keep it up.

Finally, an end to this pointless, poorly written retail rant. I'm literally shaking my head because I'm befuddled as to what this series was supposed to accomplish.

But But BUT...

But I LUV my boxed copies! they come with all my favourite things. Posters, manuals that you can hold, disks, installation codes, nice boxes. I just hate buying online. I do avoid Gamestop though, I realize that you can't really sell PC Games (physical copies) and make alot of profit, I actually find quite a few steals at office stores :P (3 games for 15 bucks I got Merc 2, BF 1942, and the GW trilogy so my friend could finally get his hands on it).

People are idiots. Not all people, of course, but some people are most definitely idiots.

I'm attempting to get a job at Gamestop, as well. (It looks like I have a good chance too, as some of them are just now hiring for the holidays.) This series has made me a little apprehensive about what I may experience there, but I believe it has also helped me to understand the tasks I would be set and the perspectives of the company, the manager, the employee, and even the customers.

On the topic of digital distribution, I greatly prefer the physical copy, as I'm a collector (I realized that a while ago. It's why I don't rent or borrow games as much, too.), and want to have that substantial proof of that box sitting on my shelf. I have nothing against digital distribution, it's just not my preferred medium.

Comparing games to books is impractical, though. Reading an eBook is fundamentally different from a hard copy - everything is different to the senses. Playing a game is the opposite - the actual act of playing a game is identical.

I believe that physical copies are far from doomed, and that they will remain for at least a long time, if not permanently.

On a slightly unrelated topic, I actually don't get most of my games from a retailer like Gamestop. I order them from Amazon. You can do it without even leaving the house, and oftentimes it's even cheaper. (It's possible to get no tax as a member and there are often sales and discounts - if not as big as Steam's)

I read them all and to be honest it just seems like another day in retail.

Awesome article, Scott. Really. Makes me remember my time as a GA at a Game Stop about the time Halo 2 was released and then working for a Game Crazy for about a year after that. It's in those special places in the retail world (ie Game stores, Hot Topic and the like) that it really does give you a sense of "Us" and "Them". 'Us' being the game geeks that work there and 'Them' being the average (or non-average) people that come in that are simply not on our level when it comes to understanding gaming.

Oh, and when you mentioned "Fanboys" working for a game store, it reminded me so much of a manager at a Game Crazy that I worked for for a while that was the way-above-average Nintendo fan boy. In fact, this is why I was sent as an assistant manager there because his entire staff were Nintendo heads and had no real clue about PS2 and Xbox (at the time) games. For good or for ill, it was an interesting time.

Again, thanks for the article and the trip down memory lane. :)

Orekoya:

BrunDeign:

Orekoya:
Meanwhile: "Today I just tried to steal store credit from a local retail, was tricked into giving my home phone number, and am on my way home to my abusive father. FML"

That's a bit rude of an assumption don't you think? Just because he's Hagrid-sized doesn't make him an abusive father.

I'd be livid if my kid stole something. A smack on the head (or two) wouldn't be out of the question. It's just reinforcing the simple fact that STEALING IS WRONG, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU ARE PARTICULARLY STUPID ABOUT IT.

That was a joke. An informative one since statistics have shown that the leading cause of crime in youth is overly authoritative or abusive households, but a joke nonetheless. Sorry if it was too much for you to handle.

Aren't jokes supposed to be funny?

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