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A lot has been made about the Confessions of a Gamestop Employee article. Some people find it a helpful guide to shopping at Gamestop (mostly bloggers and commenters), and some find it insulting that they should need to cater to a monopoly in the first place; most notable of these is Mike Krahulik of Penny Arcade in this post about Call of Duty 4. No one seems to fall in the middle on this one.

I do. I'm right in the middle, but it's for a different reason: there is such a thing as a good Gamestop and a bad Gamestop, as the article in question states. Fortunately, in my area, I have a lot of good ones. So I tend to go to the good ones (Shelton, the old Funcoland in Orange, bottom floor of the Post Mall in Milford), use the decent ones if I have to (Hamden, Enfield, anywhere in Trumbull), and avoid the bad ones like the plague if at all possible (top floor of the Post Mall in Milford, Holyoke Mall in MA). The difference between a good store and a bad store is the amount of advertisements in the store vs. the amount of games, and of course, the people.

One thing that I like to do is peer into the back case; this way, maybe I see something that catches my fancy. It's usually a lot better than staring at meticulously crafted shleves, and cavernous used shelves which are almost always filled with blank cases. Gamestop must have figured this out, because now, they put up nothing but posters and box cases of one or two games that I don't even want to buy. Literally, in the Orange Store, they had, for the longest time, literally covered the entire case glass with nothing but blank boxes for The Simpson's Game, and on one of the cases, the same thing for NBA Live '08. Mind you, neither of these games was actually out; they wanted preorders. Who cares that I couldn't see anything behind it... and neither could the clerk? BUY THE SIMPSON'S GAME, FUCKER! I mean, who cares if it's a rental at best, eh? Why, when you beat your game a day after buying it, you can bring it back! Trade it in! And we'll let you trade it in for 25-35% of the price you bought it at! And you'll only be able to use it for store credit (at least Funcoland would give you cash occasionally, even if it took awhile to get, and you lost some trade-in value). Where else you gonna go, faggot? We bought everything out! :D

The second thing I require is a good staff. I understand it is impossible to be happy at Gamestop, especially if the staff have a bad District Manager. However, I only have three rules:

1) Know your product
2) Show that you're interested
3) Don't shove anything down my throat.

Part 1, you would think would be mandatory for working in a games store; at least know what you're selling, right? Not so anymore. If there's one thing I hate about Gamestop, it's the fact that they have a bad habit of chasing off - or firing - the gamers in favour of salesmen. These guys can sell anything without knowing what it is... and usually don't know, in this case. To them, it's a script. "Would you like to preorder the hottest new game, _________________? If you trade in ___ games now, you'll get an extra ___ off of ________________! But we've gotten so many preorders, the only way to get __________________ is to preorder it! Sorry! :( Would you like a game guarantee with that? How about the card? No? You sure? Absolutely? You really need this..." I hate salesmen like this, and it's the #1 way to get me to leave your store, near-purchase sitting in your hand. I've had some horror stories, but two stand out, all at Bad Stores: There's my story from Scotia, NY last year, but there's also another time when I was with Aileen in CT. We went to the top floor store (this mall has two Gamestops; the upper one was one of the original Electronics Boutique stores, and the bottom one actually started out as an EB Kids store, when they went through that little experiment. It then became an EBX, and that's what I still call it), and I asked the kid - no more than 17 - if he had Konami Arcade Classics in for DS yet. He looked at me and went "what?". I explained to him "Konami... you know, Contra?" "What's Konami?"

... What's Konami?

Needless to say, I grabbed Aileen and went downstairs to EBX, where I dealt with probably the best staff in Connecticut.

With all this said, the list of "confessions" is pretty up and down; some of it is "no shit" type stuff, some of it is helpful, and some make you scratch your head and go "I didn't know I had to do YOU guys a favour...". So I figured I'd go through and note what I found interesting.

* The "gutted game" policy - I don't see the problem with gutted games. I'm not taking a game home as a collector's piece (though it should be noted that after reading Alex's review of Growlanser, I haven't opened it yet, as I determine if it would be more valuable to just keep it as a collector's piece); I take it home to play it. I don't care if it's been opened, and that I'm getting it home in less than pristine condition. Yes, I want my boxes in top order, but if there's a price tag? I'll either put the sleeve in another box, or I'll peel the tag off. Not a big deal. Granted, I don't like buying used because they put these tags EVERYWHERE, like a branding iron on my inner collector's ass (don't tell a clerk that!), but new? They put the fucking thing in a sleeve, and never show it off otherwise. I don't see the problem, and am so good about this policy that I'll even get the case for the clerk unless he's an idiot.

My game's virginity is not important to me.

* The return policy is meh, however, I'm against taking away the "privlege" of returning shitty games; after all, if it's all profit to these assholes, and all we get is store credit, if someone wants to take in a large game, beat it in a day and bring it back... what's the problem? I didn't know the individual clerks had the power here. Either it's a policy or not.

Then again, if it's going to be a policy, but they HAVE to do it that way, then I guess that way, it stands. I do not like buying a game just to see it sucks, especially if the only profit goes to Gamestop (new games, yes, no returns is acceptable).

* The dreaded reserve/subscription policy. This manager goes into two reasons for the reserve policy. The first one - that an employee is no better than his artificial numbers - is the #1 problem I have with Gamestop, and it's of no fault to the clerk. These people are retards, and cannot see that they are losing good customers because of their policies. They'd rather bring in the retarded casual gamers that will fall for this shit, but only buy three shitty games a year for their screaming spawn kids. "Look, Tammy! The new Hannah Montana game!" "Fuck you, ma!" "Now, now, that's hurting Mommy...". It's like they all went to a class that said "no matter what, your people are serfs; they are your slaves, and should be treated as such". I hate this policy.

But it is a determining factor in how good - or bad - a store is. At EBX in Milford, he doesn't even ask me; he knows why I don't like reserving games (I wait for reviews). But on the other hand, if I do want to reserve a game, then I go right to him, even if I have to get out of my way to do it (and if he's not in, I go to Shelton and see Devin). But the guys that keep shoving it down my throat will end a transaction. First time someone asks me "are you sure", I snap at him, and harshly. After that, I say "cancel the damn transaction", and walk out. You want to keep your job? Good luck after I send in that customer satisfaction form, dipshit. That happens, I'm done with the store. Guy asks me once, I say no, I'm cool. If the guy doesn't ask at all, he's either new or disinterested; that's a strike to me.

The OTHER half of this, however - that being, reserve the game or we won't order it - is fucking bullshit, and problem #2 I have, even if this rarely affects me. I very rarely pick something up on launch day, and even if I do, anything I would get on Launch Day is something that I don't HAVE to reserve to get (this year, I've only gotten three games on launch day: the Pokemon games, and NHL '08). If I were to ever walk into a Gamestop and be told "we don't have any", I'd call bullshit, even though I wouldn't know; after all, the fucking POSTERS are all over the case.

On the other hand, the allotment bullshit is something I personally went through with Smash Court Tennis 3. SCT is a niche tennis game from Namco that is notable only because it's Not Virtua Tennis (which isn't realistic at all). However, SCT2 is probably the best game of all time. So I went in, and tried to reserve it... and was denied. What the fuck? "They only let us take reserves for bigger titles" - and this is a friend of mine at EBX telling me this! So basically, I can't get away from what Gamestop wants to tell me, but if it's something they don't feel like selling me, they're telling me that I can't really get it until "at least three weeks after it's released, if (I'm) lucky"? The game wasn't even in their SYSTEM. Wanna bet Super Smash Bros. Brawl was in that fucking system the moment Miyamoto thought of it in one of his heroin trips? (Tragic ending to this story: I did eventually get Smash Court for PSP, and it sucked 5 ways from Sunday. It's in my trade-in queue)

Furthermore, while I would appreciate the sentiment if I did preorder more, there should be no difference in treatment between a preorder guy and a non-preorder guy. That's bullshit.

* I like the card, mainly because Game Informer - while not EGM by any stretch - is readable. And if I do buy used, then I'd like to have the card handy. I do thank the Gamespot guy for saying that it's not for everyone.

* I dislike Gamestop's trade-in policy. I understand this guy's point about games like Madden, but the fact is that NO game goes for what it should. For example, if I buy a new game and trade it in because it sucks, they're going to end up making a 150% profit - more or less - just on the trade-in and re-sell itself, not to mention the profit from the sale of the original game if they made that. That said, I do thank this guy - again - for encouraging people to check out alternate venues like EBay and Amazon (a much better shot for RPGs and the like).

This is really the biggest stuff that I noticed; everything else is pretty common sense, and I pointed out less than I thought I would. I can speak for the quality of Gamestop perepherials (such as cords), however; Aileen has one of the all-in-one RF switches, and it works beautifully.

All said... I go to Gamestop often, and will continue to go to Shelton and EBX in Milford because I know those guys. That said... I admit I'm not one that likes maximizing Gamestop's profits. So... I don't.

It's really that simple. 8D


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 10th, 2007 04:18 pm (UTC)

Nothing I can add to that. I like the staff at my local Game Stop, since they are almost all transplants from my EB Games that closed one year ago. As long as Donnie and Theresa are cool with me, I will buy stuff from them, though I am increasingly becoming an online shopper. (E-Bay is the only place I have ever seen a copy of Monster Kingdom: Jewel Summoner.)
Nov. 10th, 2007 07:30 pm (UTC)
Well, at least there are some bright spots amidst all the bullshit, right?

Also, check out my latest entry as soon as you can.

Edited at 2007-11-10 07:33 pm (UTC)
Nov. 10th, 2007 08:14 pm (UTC)
I asked the kid - no more than 17 - if he had Konami Arcade Classics in for DS yet. He looked at me and went "what?". I explained to him "Konami... you know, Contra?" "What's Konami?"

Don't forget such obscure series as Metal Gear (Solid) and Castlevania, which, gee, have only existed for like 20 years, give or take... :')

...I should have said that. Although that would've been kind of mean. XD;

Ironically, I don't remember ever being asked if I want to preorder anything. o_0 But then again, I don't go into Gamestop much, so... >_>

EDIT: Stupid HTML >_o

Edited at 2007-11-10 09:15 pm (UTC)
Nov. 10th, 2007 08:51 pm (UTC)
Gabe can go fuck himself; if he hates the goddamn company so much, he can jolly well stop shopping there.

(Also, thanks for motivating me to write a YHCOR update. I needed that.)
Nov. 10th, 2007 09:51 pm (UTC)
It's funny, because I was thinking of cleaning this up and putting it on YHCOR. XD
Nov. 10th, 2007 09:53 pm (UTC)
And you should! There's absolutely no reason for you not to do so. I wholly encourage it if you want to do so; the more posts the merrier.

I'm going to be updating more frequently on account of having not so much to do at work anymore, on account of Chapter 11 and all.

... speaking of YHCOR, you gonna write something for your card? Joel's about done with your picture and he's just waiting for the text to make the card.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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