Friday, June 6, 2008

Confessions of a Game Store Clerk

I love Gamestop. Well, actually I hate Gamestop but I love going there. The one that is closest to me actually has some pretty cool workers. I can talk to them about video games and it's not like trying to explain Grand Theft Auto to other people that hate video games.They actually get the appeal of video games.

Another thing I really enjoy while killing time at Gamestop is listening to and watching ridiculously stupid people try and buy video games.

Either it's the mom trying to figure out if their son has a Wii, Gameboy or DS ("I know it's called Mintenbo something") so she can purchase the latest Hannah Montana game. Or it's the guy that claims he has an advanced copy of Halo 4 and could pwn anyone that tried, also Sony sucks.

Games Radar interviewed eight current and former video game store clerks (probably all of them from Gamestop/EB Games/Game Crazy stores) and ask them everything from the best and worst customers to the butchering of video games titles ("Pook-a-Man Smack"). It's a lot of information but I found it to be pretty funny.

Can you imagine how fun it would be if all of us worked at the same Gamestop? And we didn't get paid minimum wage? It would be like a real life KofC blog. That would be good.

Check it out here. But since I know no one will here are a few highlights:

Starting from the beginning... what made you want to work at a videogame store in the first place?

Employee #4: I got really tired of working at Hollywood Video. That place sucks ass.

f you're not supposed to be playing games, what do you do in an average day?

Employee #6: Clock in, stand around and BS with other employees about the moronic customers that had come in prior to my clocking in, organize the store, sell stuff, attempt to get reservations for games that aren't out yet, sell some more stuff, clean the store, close out the register, and clock out.

Clearly, you don't or didn't all work at the same chain. So what do most game stores or game store sections have in common? Describe the average.

Employee #6: All game stores are exactly alike. If you've walked into one, you've walked into all of them: gaudy, mostly neon advertisements plastered to all available wall space boasting not-so-great deals on crap no one wants; games and guides scattered everywhere by customers whose Mommies never taught them to put things back when they're done with them; all employees gathered behind the counter engaged in intense discussion over the latest nerdy topic; little kids fighting over the demo unit until they're scooped up by mothers who are now done shopping... "Thanks for babysitting my kids for free." You get the idea.

What are some assumptions people make about you?

Employee #3: That we're condescending jerks... which is true in many cases. Especially after the 50th phone call that day asking if we have any Nintendo Wiis in stock.

Which stereotype is most accurate?

Employee #3: Well, most of us are nerds, but that doesn't mean we don't have lives. I love to play games and read books as well as go out to the bar with my girlfriend. [Editor's Note: This guy is a total nerd.]

What about the games? Are you supposed to push particular ones over others?

Employee #7: Certain companies pay to push their games and then our corporate offices track how well we're selling those games. Every month we had a different "Vendor of the Month" that we were forced to push. Telling people that Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter or Enter the Matrix are great games and that they should definitely buy it.

What about the infamous trade-in value? If your store buys back used games, do you personally find the rate fair?

Employee #6: Fair? Not a chance in hell. They'll give $20 for a game that came out last week and cost $60. It can be flawless, still in the wrap, but no receipt, and you'll still get less than half of the original price. The company will then slap a "Used: $54.99" price tag on it. Ridiculous...

Now let's talk about some of the personalities you interact with... starting with coworkers. What kind of conversations do you guys have?

Employee #1: Too many to count.... a few standouts are Star Trek vs. Star Wars, best-looking chicks in a videogame and who would win in a fight... "fictional character #1" or "fictional character #2"? [Editor's Note: LOL]

The most annoying co-worker to work with?

Employee #6: Me: "So I hear you like videogames! We should get along well." Dork: "Yeah I'm a collector. I've got some really rare games." Me: "Oh yeah? Like what?" Dork: "I've got The Sonic Collection for Super Nintendo." Me: "...What's that?" Dork: It's all the Sonic games they made for Genesis on a Super Nintendo cartridge." Me: "Oh. You don't have that, because it doesn't exist."

The customers... let's spend some time on them. You probably have quite a lot to say. To begin with, what's the average one like?

Employee #5: I worked in Southern Illinois. Some didn't have shoes. A few were missing extremities.

The ones you don't like?

Employee #1: Teens who think it's totally okay to copy cheat codes out of the strategy guides...

Do you find that parents buying games for their children are well-informed?

Employee #6:I love it when you get an 8 yr. old trying to talk his mom into buying Grand Theft Auto. I look at the parent and say, "I just need to let you know that this is a mature-rated game. You play a guy working for a mob boss who gets to beat up and kill people, take drugs, steal cars, etc. Oh! And you get to pick up hookers." The looks on the parents' faces is hilarious... and the loathsome look from the kids is great, too.

Employee #2: Grandparents usually won't get the game after they're told why it's rated M, but parents seem to not care most of the time. "He's already played the others" or "he'll just play it at a friends house" are common responses. Then again, I've also dealt with parents who won't get their kids Pokémon because... well, I don't know. The lady didn't tell me. All I know is that he's not allowed to have anything Pokémon.

So what is the stupidest conversation you've ever gotten into with a customer?

Employee #5: Me: "Hi, can I help you find something?" Her: "Yes, I'm looking for Mario Bros. for PlayStation." Me: "Oh. Well, they don't make it for PlayStation. We've got it for several Nintendo systems." Her: "They do too make it for PlayStation!" Me: "Trust me, they don't. Sony and Nintendo are in competition with one another, and Mario games are one of Nintendo's biggest sellers. They'd actually be helping their competition by making a Mario game for PlayStation, and they'd never do that." Her: "I saw it here last week!" Me: "... ... ...We're sold out." Her: "Oh, darn. Thanks anyway!"

The dumbest fact ever uttered by a customer?

Employee #2: That the Xbox 360 can play UMDs.

And the most confused you've seen a customer?

Employee #2: Customers still don't know what the hell the PSP is, which is evident because the only time we sell games for PSP is when someone grabs one thinking it's a PS2 game. Kid: "Wow. They changed the box size! Look how small it is." Mom: "What did you buy?" Kid: "A PlayStation game." Me: "That's actually a PSP game." Mom: "A what?" Me: "PSP. The handheld." Mom: "Oh, he doesn't have that. We'll take the PlayStation version, then." Me: "Actually, they don't make that game for PlayStation 2. It's only on PSP." Mom: "Maybe Wal-Mart has it."

Let's discuss a more specific kind of customer: the fanboy. Who are the most obnoxious?

Employee #2: It's to the point where I can gauge what many customers are going to buy just by looking at them. If it's a guy in his early twenties wearing a white hat and nice clothes, he's probably buying a sports game for PS2. If it's an elderly lady early in the day, she's probably going to buy a movie licensed game for Game Boy Advance because all she knows is that "Buddy loves that Shrek movie."


Daymonster said...

huge wall of text. I apologize.

adeclipse said...

that is awesome though. I actually had thought of working at a Gamestop, but then after thinking about it for a while I think it would ruin how i feel about video games. I just don't think that I could deal with the customers that would be come in, and some of the things they would say.

Daymonster said...

I filled out the manager position application a bit ago, and then I realized what it would really entail. Not just talking about games like I thought.

Pablito Neal said...

Here's an excerpt from another part. They forgot to censor one word, haha

"A customer comes up to me in a panic asking for help with a game. 'Hi ma'am, can I help you?' 'I need the new Zelda game for Xbox 360!' 'I'm sorry, the new Legend of Zelda game is available only on the Nintendo Wii right now, but it IS coming to the Nintendo GameCube in about a month. That title won't be available for the 360 at all.' 'That's bulls***! It's on the 360 and I want it. I bet you have it in the back!' 'Ma'am, the game is made by Nintendo. It's a Nintendo only property and will not appear on any other systems.' 'You're lying to me! You already told me it is going to be on the GameCube next month!' 'Well ma'am, the GameCube and the Wii are both consoles made by Nintendo. You'll never see a Legend of Zelda game on an Xbox or even on a PlayStation. Just like you'll never see Halo on a Nintendo system.' 'You're lying to me! This is fucking bulls***! I just want the new f***ing Zelda game on the f***ing Xbox and you won't f***ing give it to me!' At this point, my manager came over and asked if there was a problem. 'Your employee is the f***ing problem! I want a f***ing game and he won't f***ing help me find it!' He looks at me and before I can even say something, he sees the look on my face and knows that I'm dealing with an idiot. He says 'Alright ma'am, I'll help you. What game were you looking for?' 'I want the f***ing Zelda game for the f***ing Xbox, god damn you!' 'Well ma'am, you won't find that game here. In fact, you won't ever find that game here, and we'd appreciate it if you never found anything else here. Please leave our store and don't come back. That game doesn't exist, it will never exist, and we would appreciate if you would take your vulgar language down to Circuit City so you can piss them off instead of us. We have work to do.' Her jaw dropped, I smiled. 'F*** YOU AND F*** THIS STORE! I'LL FIND THE GAME SOMEWHERE ELSE! I'M NEVER SHOPPING HERE AGAIN!' And she stormed out."

Daymonster said...

I would love to work in a situation where I knew way more than the people I work with on a daily basis. That would be refreshing.

Anonymous said...

daymonster did you win the SATC burrito bet?

Dammer said...

There's a dude in Owatonna that works at both the Gamestop AND the Walmart electronics section.

As for stupid customers, I had a support call this week where one of the people I support had two sets of data she was burning to a CD. Her support call said: "I need to know how to put a page break on the data I'm burning so that I can differentiate between 2007 and 2008." I think to myself: "Does she not know how to use Excel or Word or something?". So, I called the lady in utter confusion and asked: "what exactly are you burning to CD?" and she said: "I take these files off of our shared area and use Roxio to burn them to disc.". My solution: "Oh, then you can just rename the files to 2007 and 2008." The lady: "You can rename a file?!"

Daymonster said...


Yes I did, however I have been unable to collect thus far as she has been on vacation for a few days. And the one day I was going to go it was pouring so she didn't want to walk across the street.