Every gamer has had to deal with Gamestop at one point or another in their lives, and I think without hyperbole I can say that the experience is about as million times as devastating as coping with a loved one dying of cancer.
I have my fair share of Gamestop stories to tell, but this article isn’t going to be your average hate letter towards the dregs of the retail industry, oh no. I am going to explain to you why Gamestop employees are jerks; not because they provide shoddy service, but for different reasons entirely, ones that you may not even be able to imagine.
As a former employee of Gamestop, I would know better than anyone, because I was one of those jerks.
My work ethic as a youngster was anything but exemplary, and I can reasonably say that you would be hard pressed to find an employee as loathsome and useless as me. As I got older, I guess nothing really changed; I simply became cleverer, found more ways to hide my incompetence from present and future employers.
At no place did I fail harder as a competent employee, no, human being, than at Gamestop however. Sure, there were my Sears days where I would spend an hour in the bathroom playing games on my cell phone. There were the days at a taco joint (which shall remain nameless) where I got high on nearly every single shift and probably cost the company thousands in lost food sales. (ALL OF THE FOOD GOED INTO MAH BELLY) And there is my current job, where I spend my day hanging out in the Destructoid chat, watching DOTA tournaments, and sometimes, forgetting to breath due to severe apathy and complacency.
But, friends, none of it could compare to Gamestop. Nothing could even come close.
I was the douche behind the counter telling you not to buy an Xbox because it was “totally gay”. I was they guy refusing refunds to young children. (store policy bitch, it ain’t my fault!) I was the guy who would swear and say awkward things in front of customers. I was everything that was wrong with retail game stores, and if I were to ever meet my old self in a dark alley, I would break his legs and force him to sit through a longplay of Halo 2.
My co-workers only tolerated me because I was a goofball, because I could make them laugh. My assistant manager, who looked exactly like Mr. Slate and who quickly rose through the ranks to manager before eventually stressing himself out to the point of going postal, viewed me as the greatest bane of his existence - and I was. There was a time when Nightmare of Druaga, some shitty game nobody cared about dropped in price to like, ten dollars. Of course I wanted in on the action because of my compulsive collector/hoarding tendencies, but by the time I went to buy it, the copy I had reserved was gone.
My boss and my co-worker, who strangely enough, has decided to remain best friends with me for the last eight years or so much to his detriment, were not shocked to see me storm into the place in a rage, demanding they reveal what happen to my copy of Nightmare.
“Who did it, huh? WHO THE FUCK IS RESPONSIBLE?”
My manager rolled his eyes at me, an exercise he had become so accustomed to doing that his eye sockets had slowly been grinded down to make the process more comfortable, revealed what had happened; he had purchased it himself, kind of as a weird joke, a slight against me. No doubt, revenge for me slowly ruining his life, and very well deserved indeed.
I didn’t take that lightly.
“You have until dawn to return my copy of Nightmare, or you will face the consequences.”
You have to understand, I am not an intimidating guy. If someone were to ask me to bench press something, I’d need a detailed diagram explaining what that meant and once I saw that there was weight attached, I’d give up before I even began. But regardless, he didn’t want to listen to my bitching, so he brought it back to the store and gave it to me. He said I could just have it since I was being such a big baby.
And then I turned around and traded in.
For obvious reasons, he had a problem with this.
One time there was a little kid in the store that I didn’t see hiding in one of the aisles, and in the midst of a heated monologue, I shouted something to the effect of “**** that ****** mother****! That’s ******* bull****!” All I saw were the scampering of little feet as the child fled. Another time, I was swinging the store keys by their lanyard on my finger, and they flew off the chain and hit a customer in the chest. Said customer was not pleased as you might imagine.
But the worse part of all? The icing on the cake that absolutely proved my negligence?
Edge card battles.
If you have purchased a used game at Gamestop, you might have been offered an Edge card if the employees were doing their job. What this allows you to do is receive roughly ten percent off of any used purchase in the store. And these things came to us in stacks, box after box, day after day. We actually managed to sell a lot of them, because if you purchased enough games, they payed for themselves. But they had one far more important purpose that only we came to learn, one that provided hours of fun for us, and hours of pain for our manager.
You could throw them like little shurikens, and they would stick into boxes.
For whatever reason, my friend and I were a bit obsessed with Naruto at the time, so we viewed this as a shining opportunity. Both of us took a lot of time, while working of course, to become extremely skilled at throwing these things. We would choose a game on the wall when the store would close, and see who could hit it first. We eventually both got so good at it that we were not satisfied with simple target practice, and wanted to move on to hunt the most dangerous prey – man.
So after hours when the store was closed and the gates were locked, we would each choose our battle ground, pick up a stack of these thick plastic cards, and go to work on one another. It was a battle of epic proportions each night taking place inside the mall, and the only security guard was a mentally handicapped man with a sense of vision that was about as useful as trying to spot an ant hill while skydiving. He didn’t stop us; but then, what man would dare interfere?
Never one to believe you can get too much of a good thing, I decided to carry the battle into work one day, and while my friend was bringing stock out to the front, I called his name. Just as he turned, one of these deadly little missiles smashed him in the forehead, cutting him just above the eye. Frankly, I felt bad; it was the first real injury either of us had sustained, and it was the first time (and last, so far) in my life where I had ever seen him that fucking pissed.
But I also learned how vengeful he could be, about a week later, when he did the same to me, leaving the exact same cut over the opposite eye.
It was like an epic movie rivalry, two friends sustaining the same injury. Needless to say, I was super fucking stoked, at least after I managed to wipe the blood off my face and close the wound.
A month or so later, I was about ready to leave the place I had loved so much, to move on to greener pastures. Sure, I had it made, but my dad insisted it was a dead end job, and he was probably right to do so. In the last few weeks before I finally cut the cord, I became the laziest, worst employee you could imagine. And finally on one of my last days, inventory night I decided to call in sick, leaving my manager who legitimately WAS sick, alone to do accomplish the task, aided only by the district manager and his big fat ass of a companion who had an Ngage. (I figured that would pretty much speak for itself.)
I got a very displeased phone call the next day from my manager.
“So I am trying to count all of this stock, I’m sick as a fucking dog. And then the district manager grabs a ladder to count the shit on the top shelf, and do you know what happens?”
I had no idea.
“He looks down at me, and yells, GET OVER HERE NOW. So I do, and he holds out his hand, which is full of fucking edge cards, and screams, how in the FUCK did these get up here? So for the next hour and a half he takes me in the back room and grills me, and threatens my job. So I just wanted to thank you for being such a good employee, for really making my life worth living. I just wanted you to know how grateful I am.”
Only a year later, he would have a nervous breakdown, move to a different province, and never talk to me again. And I always wondered if it was because of me. I mean, I know it was…but I definitely don’t feel good about it.
There are plenty of stories from the backroom of Gamestop: the army of Domo-Kun’s my friend and built out of cardboard and scattered all around the store so that our manager would see them the next morning, the time I left work for an hour because they were giving away free juice at a train station and had to go home shortly after because I drank the entire two liter jug and gave myself the runs. But those are different tales for different times. I just wanted to shed a bit of insight into everyone’s favorite store, and touch on the real reasons why you should hate people like me; not because of our poor customer service, and not because of our bias, but because we are a bunch of incompetent cunts that can’t do anything right, and because we probably have a lot more fun working than you do.
Things are different now, I’ve grown up and matured, but I will never forget our epic battles, and I will never forget the impact they had on the nation.
And by nation, I mean one very angry bald man who is probably carving a picture of my face with a butcher knife as I type this.