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9:23 PM on 05.02.2010  

A Tale of Two

Honestly, I'm really not in the mood for this but I'm pretty sick of Renegade Panda's friend updates saying I fail at blogging...though it may be true.

I remember clearly the night that our manager sat us down and explained to us that certain Game Crazy stores were going to be shut down and that we were safe and still in the game. The feeling I had wasn't exactly proud...but more dirty. Game Crazy wasn't just a job to me. It was a huge part of my life that was the soul cause of me meeting some of best friends. I could only hope and imagine it would be the same for the others within the company and I felt hurt that their stores weren't making the cut.

So we stayed open past the closings.
Going from about 15 stores to seven.
Our family had grown smaller but in the time of need we also became closer.
It wasn't about who could pull the numbers or who had what. We had to buckle down and work together as a team if we wanted to see through this.

Sadly, it seemed luck wasn't on our side and we slowly started watching more stores fall as rent wasn't paid. Including my own store that was lost in the fray in early December.

As I read the article on the front page of Destructoid today some of the comments got me so worked up I wanted to go out back and punch my brick wall.

Game Crazy didn't deserve what happened.
My co-workers didn't.
My friends didn't.
My regulars didn't.
My family didn't.

And I sure as shit, didn't.

My store, my sister stores, and my whole district was nothing less of a family.
We looked out for each other, we had each others backs, we tried hard for our guests, regardless of what some may think. I personally apologize for any horrible customer service some workers may have caused but that doesn't give someone the right to kick us while we're already down.

I now work at a GameStop that opened down the road.
In no way do I hate the company but after being there I have come to the conclusion it's not the same as Game Crazy.

I worked with 3-4 other people at Game Crazy. All of which I was close to. We talked about problems, hung out after work, saw each other almost every day. They were more than the people I worked with. They were my friends.

GameStop on the other hand I have six others I work with. I get close to no hours, I rarely see the same person twice in a week, and I don't talk to them outside of work. We're all strangers and I hate it. GameStop is far more strict and has some major trust issues with their employees. I feel as though I'm their monkey on a set of strings. They don't care about me. I could be replaced tomorrow. So could the customers.

At Game Crazy I knew all our regulars by name.We were required to make an account for them and thus I learned their names by having to pull that account up to purchase, preorder, or return anything. I couldn't tell you a single name from GameStop other than the regulars I had that shopped at Game Crazy.

Maybe I'm too worked up over this. Maybe I'm supposed to see it as just another job.
But I'm not there for a paycheck. I'm there for my love of video games. Game Crazy shared that passion with me. I honestly think I'm one of the only people in my store that even turns on their systems once a day.

Don't get me wrong, GameStop has a lot going for it.
They have things that work.

The OS makes sense, their printers always work, they have a better return policy, and have a much better way of keeping things organized. Sadly, those aren't enough to replace my family. If GameStop took the time to care about not only the customer but the people they hire I think they would be a magnificent company. But who am I? I'm an ex Game Crazy shift leader now working as a GameStop game adviser. What do I matter?

I do have an interview with Play N Trade on Tuesday. We'll see how that goes and maybe after working their for a few days I can either get over the fact no store will ever be like Game Crazy or I'll be pleasantly surprised and they'll show me not all stores have to be run with GameStop mentality to survive.

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