Not even one week ago, GameStop decided it would be a good idea to call all of their customers who had reserved Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and ask for it back. While that pissed off a fair number of people, I had received the same call and didn't think much of it at the time. I just laughed, hung up the phone, and went right back to not selling Twilight Princess back to GameStop for a mere $30 in store credit.
The survey was short and sweet, with the sultry robotic-voiced Aeris as my tour guide.
Now, before I begin, let it be known that the suits (or should I say, older gentlemen who wear F.E.A.R. and Mario Kart polo t-shirts) at GameStop are well aware that there is a huge customer-service issue within their stores.
While one can't make a blanket statement and say that you will be ignored or insulted upon entering every GameStop, personal experience and angry blogs seem to indicate that poor customer service is the norm when it comes to video game retail. In fact, a GameStop employee recently quoted a higher up as having said their stores are known for having the worst customer service in retail.
So it's not surprising to see the company going out of its way to pinpoint issues in particular stores. But can't they do it when I'm not trying to eat my oh-so healthy Taco Bell dinner?
"Based on your most recent visit to GameStop, would you recommend this store?"
Fortunately, I know everyone who works at my local GameStop, so I did happen have a pleasant experience.
But this is not always the case -- recent visits to two seperate stores in a single mall had me swearing up and down that I would never, ever set foot in a GameStop or EB Games again. But, you know, they have games; and to be honest, I don't really need help in a game store anyhow. I'm a gigantic nerd and so are you, so what do we care if the people were helpful or not?
"Were you greeted upon entering the store?"
This is an odd question, because a simple greeting is not what GameStop corporate is looking for. The official greeting is, "Hi, did you bring any games or DVDs to trade in today? May I take a semen or blood sample so I may better serve you?" So to answer their question directly, I had to say yes.
But no, I was not accosted at the door and shaken down for my copy of Hotel Dusk.
"How did you perceive your time in the store? Was it what you expected? Shorter? Longer?"
Now what kind of question is this, anyhow? With no other information on what was going on in the store at the time, how can they effectively judge the competency and speed of the person working the cash register?
At the time of my purchase, there was no one at all in the store. It was a simple in and out procedure. Had Little Johnny and his two brothers been in front of me, trying to trade in nine shoe boxes worth of GameCube games, it could have been a different story. It's possible I could have spent upwards of twenty minutes while the GameStop employee inspected an entire library of games. Certainly, Aeris must need more information.
But that was the last question; it ended there, just as soon as it began. Sweet Aeris said goodbye and the line went dead. I felt used. Not only had she stolen precious moments of my time, but I got nothing in return. How about a buy two get one free offer? Ten percent off my next purchase? How about one of those F.E.A.R. polos that all of the GameStop hot shots wear?
Worst of all, I didn't feel that any of my responses could actually be helpful to the company, leading to a better overall customer experience in GameStop stores. With such vague and general questions, it's hard to believe much thought was put into them at all.
So if you were to have the perfect experience at gaming retail, what would it be? If you hate GameStop and EB Games so much, what exactly are you looking for? What are you expectations? Particularly for the hardcore gamer: can gaming retail be saved?