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nintendoll avatar 11:28 AM on 08.21.2011  (server time)
Memoirs of an Ex-GameStop Employee

Yes, this is in response to the much debated GameStop Employees Are Jerks blog a few days ago. TheManChild's experience working there brought back memories of the good old days, and I thought it was time for a trip down memory lane.

Working at GameStop was pretty much the epitome of jobs when I was in high school. My sister was a keyholder at a different store (she exacted her revenge on the store by hiding pieces of fried chicken in the ceiling tiles), and I had friends in each of the three (yes, three) GameStops in the mall.

I actually got hired there because I used to sit on the floor behind the counter and play DS while waiting for my friend Bonnie to finish her shift. I'd usually end up helping customers find things or start talking game recommendations when I got bored so the manager just eventually just put me on payroll.

I was surprised at the things I could get away with. Like covering the Guitar Hero demo controller with sparkly My Little Pony stickers (see above), getting into a staple war with my coworker, or answering the phone and pretending to be an automated service ("Thank You for calling GameStop! Press 1 if you would like to buy a game. Press 2 to trade in a game. Press 3 to preorder the hottest new titles!).

The store I ended up in was located in a back corner that no one ever went to so it was nice and quiet where I worked....until the damned Babies'R'Us opened up across the hall.

Now, this seems like such a small, unimportant thing to happen to a mall with over 1 million square feet of retail space. However, due to the the wave of horrible parenting gripping the nation, this meant that Mommy would send her children into the videogame store to play while she was shopping (oddly enough, I have NEVER seen a father do this).

So, with the opening of poorly spelled baby superstore, came the arrival of many unattended children between the ages of 6-11. These children would play our interactive Xbox and Playstation displays for hours (screaming to boot), open every single game box, sit on the floor to read copies of GameInformer, and in one case run around knocking as many game cases off the rack as possible.

At first, we developed what we called "Code 16." 16 was the numbered circuit on our breaker that powered the interactive displays. If a kid was sitting there playing the Guitar Hero demo over and over for an hour, we'd simply flip off the circuit. Usually, this conversation would follow:

Annoying Kid: "Hey, the thing stopped working."

Me: "Yeah...that happens sometimes."


-Annoying Kid leaves, goes to GameStop across the hall-

A few times, the kids would throw us a frightened look, the bolt out of the store in fear that something they did caused the machine to break. Unfortunately, after a while this didn't seem to work anymore as children would get dropped off already holding their Nintendo DS, and just sit in the middle of the floor to play MarioKart.

My assistant manager (who also happened to be my good friend of 4 or 5 years) was not happy with this situation. She decided to use her friendship with mall security to her advantage: they became the Small Children Relocation Service. All we had to do was tell them we had a lost kid in our store and a few minutes later, a uniformed man would escort the children away like there criminals they were.

This is an actual photo of a security guard from the mall I worked at.

There were many other adventures, of course, so I'll just list a few:

-My sister worked the midnight release of Halo 2. Between 9pm (when the store closed) and midnight, all that separated the crowd from the new game was a pull-down grill. So the staff ordered pizza, popped the game into an Xbox and played for 3 hours, with the back of the TV facing the crowd, talking loudly about how awesome the game was.

-My district manager got so pissed at a customer (who had insisted that when she opened the boxed for her used Xbox, that she found a VCR instead and brought the VCR and demanded that she get a new Xbox for her troubles) that he went into the back room, took the new Xbox out and promptly poured water all over it. He then dried it, resealed the box, and presented it to the crazy lady.

-My friend Bonnie and I both ended up with stalkers. At first it was innocent, like they got us presents and hung out in the store. Then Bonnie got a voicemail on her phone that was almost 20 minutes long from a guy high out of his brain talking about all of the sex things he wanted to do with her. So the next thing she got was a restraining order.

Sad to say, a year or so ago the company finally realized they didn't need 3 stores in one mall, and closed the one I used to work at. They didn't bother to remodel any of the shelving in the store which makes me wonder...have the employees in the new men's clothing shop begun to find the hidden, sparkly pony stickers I left behind in every corner of the store?

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