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Phillyman

I Used To Work At GameStop, Now I’m Never Shopping There Again

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Alright, so I know there are plenty of "OMG I HATEZ GAMESTOP" stories out there, but my experience this weekend was truly... exemplar.

I was in GS on a whim looking for Heavenly Sword. I know it's an ancient game by most standards these days, but I wanted a hack and slasher for when I'm on the bike. I went into the GS, and a guy who hits every damn negative stereotype about a GameStop employee walks over.

Employee: "Hey, can I help you look for anything?"

Me: *holding Heavenly Sword in hand, looking at Demon's Souls with my boyfriend, he's holding a ME2 Collector's Edition* "Nope, I'm good."

Employee: "Sure, great! Just let me know if you need any help. By the way, Madden 13's coming out, we're doing a launch event you should think about!"

Now, if he had made any attempt to actually upsell me on something I'd be interested in, I'd give him a pass. But come on, if you try to upsell someone holding an RPG hack and slash, looking at another RPG hack and slash, with their boyfriend holding a space opera RPG, DO NOT TRY TO SELL ME ON MADDEN. It's simple probability. If I seem to be interested in RPG's, I could perhaps be interested in another RPG. I am most likely not interested in Madden.

So he heads on back behind the counter, chatting to his coworker about another launch event he completely botched. Yeah, that's comforting. After wandering the store for a bit looking for other games, I took the case to the front.

Now, the case I'd grabbed was used, but was one of those miraculously intact copies with the art, box, manual, and presumably a disc. I'd turned down a copy at the GS across the street because it had their crappy replacement cases just a few minutes earlier, in fact. I knew the drill--the disc would be behind the counter, kept safely hidden away to make sure no one just walked out with it.

In addition, I've worked at GS before. I know how they try to manipulate their sales by trying to sell 'bad' copies before the good ones, or by resealing the games they use as employee demo discs if the game is new. What I didn't know was that they've started a new way of displaying their used games. They store 'full' copies in the drawer, with only one shelf copy to sell folks on the item. All of the 'bad' copies (no manual, no cover art, replacement box, etc.) are hidden in the drawers to swap out with the display copy.

He took the full copy I'd held and went into the drawer, gesturing at a bin of sleeves for upcoming games.

Employee: "Take a look at that pile right there of games, and let me know if there's anything you'd like to preorder."

Me: "I'm good, thanks." *makes no move towards the little bin*

He took the perfect case, turned around, and rummaged in the drawer for a disc. As he did so, we both saw there was a case with the horrific fake insert. They'd clearly set this up to [switch the copies] if at all possible--if the person making the purchase doesn't care, he was obviously supposed to sell me the 'bad' copy.

Employee: "Do you mind--"

Me: "I'd like the full copy, please."

I think he might have refused to sell me the nice copy if it weren't clear he'd lose the sale entirely if he did. He scanned it, and did some weird shuffle with the cases--it looked like he was trying to decide whether or not to sell me the nice copy or not. Thankfully, he did not try to do this. Then came the pitches.

Employee: "I see your card's expired; do you want to renew it for a discount today and the magazine? It'll pay for itself over the course of the year and save you a lot of money."

Me: "No thanks, I hardly ever shop at GameStop these days." *HINT HINT*

Employee: "Alright then. Did you see anything you're interested in preordering from GameStop? Just five dollars down gets you a copy of the game the day it comes out, for no extra charge."

Me: "No thanks, like I said, I'm hardly ever in here, and I use Steam."

Employee: "You sure? You could preorder…" (he trails off, trying to think of something)

Me: "No really, I'm not interested."

Employee: "Alright. Do you want a protection plan on this game? One dollar protects it against scratches or damage and gets you a replacement.

Me: "I'm fine, I'm just interested in the game."

Employee: "It's only a dollar, you know…"

Me: "I'm just here for the game. Thanks."

This is exactly why I ran to Steam as soon as I realized what a wonderful thing it is. This is exactly why I now speak of GameStop in such disgusted tones. I quit just before the indoctrination really got going (thank God), because if this is what resulted from it, I'm glad I got out when I did. This is not customer service. This is harassment. This is a complete denial of the customer's desires or reasons for being in the store. I repeatedly stated I was not interested in any of the upsells or alternatives he suggested.

http://consumerist.com/2012/08/i-used-to-work-at-gamestop-now-im-never-shopping-there-again.html

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If I've ever had anything close to this happen at any GS I've been to, it was never to that extreme. Some of the stores around here even go out of their way to keep the original case/manual/etc intact for used games, but they can't help if the person who trades one in gives them an incomplete copy. Finally, I've only ever had them give me the *best* copy of a disc they had available, without having to even ask.

The only thing I'd wish was done was for their electronic inventory to track whether a game was "complete" (case/manual/etc) or not. This could be a simple check box(es) that the employee marks when taking a trade in so that a future buyer who is browsing their local store's inventory online for complete copies knows whether the trip to the store is worth it.

As for the militant upselling, almost every corporate run store puts this requirement on their employees, and I've learned to just tune it out. Sure, this guy got a bit overzelaous, but maybe he had just been disciplined for not doing it at all.

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Gamestop sucks. There's no reason to shop there except that it ate all the other stores around. Thankfully, small shops are making a comeback.

If you're ever in Connecticut, Matt's Comics, Cards & Collectibles has a great selection of used & new retro games, not to mention a ton of comics, action figures and awesome memoribilia. Oh, and it's located in Enfield.

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I disagree, Steam sucks. That program alone ruined HL2 for me and caused me to quit PC gaming. I will not put up with invasive DRM and malware like that. I just want the game, not hours of hoops to jump through.

As for GS it must have been a new guy. They're all told what to say but most employees know what kind of customer they can skip. My local shops are pretty good at not trying to upsell me, I'm there often enough and they won't pester me if I say no. Hell I couldn't tell ya the last game I preordered. I wait for sales. Anyway the used games are hidden behind the counter but I've never had trouble getting the best copy. They've even let me take the manual out of the floor copy if the one I'm getting isn't complete.

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