From the Trenches, EB Changes Employee Policy


The average Electronic Boutique employee takes a lot of crap from the gaming public these days. With return policies down the tubes, pre-order demands on the rise and the constant pressure to sell sell sell it's getting harder for real gamers to stomach working at specialty shops. Until now, one perk was that EB employees could "borrow" new games to try so when the time comes to sell them they'd know what they're talking about. Looks like that's on the way out according to one employee. Read on..

Effective immediately, all 10,000-ish employees of Electronics Boutique world-wide can no longer borrow product from stores for any reason. When I first saw the email about this I was like "It must just be for a couple stores" but nope, its everyone. And the cause of denying all these people the ability to better know the games they're selling? A single stupid woman somewhere in the US suing our company. Apparently she bought a game that had been borrowed by an employee. In the US supposedly they have some crazy law that if a game has been used at all it can't be legally sold as new or something (news to me). So everyone loses the ability to sign out games because of her. And of course its not just in the US (where the law applies) it's everywhere.

The downward spiral of game-oriented retail chains continues.

Thanks for the heads up anonymous EB employee, it's nice to see EB is continuing the fine tradition of slowly killing all of the joy surrounding the purchase of new games and selling them.

What do you think? Would you care if an employee handled a game before you did?

- Certis


Damn right, that law is crazy!  What's wrong with letting companies advertise products as new and sell them for new prices when they're really not new? </sarcasm>

Certis, yes, I care.  I have bought games from EB before that were supposedly new and returned them because they had obviously been opened before.  This practice has always made me mad and encouraged me to shop at other stores.  After all, why not just buy the game at Best Buy where I can be sure I am getting a *new* product?

If EB wants its employees to be knowledgable about its merchandise then have a "store copy" of the new stuff that comes in that the employees can play in the back, take home, whatever.  But do not resell it as new.

That quote really sounds Anonymous EB Employee is just pissed because he no longer gets free stuff.

The law is there for a reason. And yes, I'd care. Sucks that they have to do it, but it's bs to sell anything that's been used/opened without letting the customer know.

OK, which one of you here is an EB employee? Which one of you is always trying to pull this "no, but would you like to pre-order it" thing?

I wouldn't really mind if they sold the games that were borrowed at a discounted price. I pretty much only buy my games used from Funcoland (not Gamestop). As long as the disc is in proper working order, what do I care if someone else has used it. It's not like I'm eating food that some guy dropped on the floor.

As far as this whole return policy goes, I think that selling returned games at full price is the same thing. I wouldn't care if I bought a used game for a discounted price. I've always thought that returning a game for any reason other than it doesn't work (physical damage, bugs) is pretty lame. If you bought the game and don't like it, then deal with it, and maybe next time rent it first.

As you can probably guess, I really don't care if the game has been used before I got it. So long as it looks brand spanky new and it works why should I? I mean, EB is stripping PC games out of their boxes before selling anyways so what's the big deal?

Same goes for console games out on display. If an employee takes a game that has been removed from the case regardless so long as he doesn't scratch it and all of the manuals are in perfect condition I'd never even know it was used.

Of course, I wouldn't pay full price for a game that someone else bought and played for a few days first so maybe I'm running a double standard here.

Yes, it would bug me because they're still making me pay full price.

Yes, but do you believe that there is any benefit to the consumer that an EB employee played the game?  I've never met an EB employee that I would consider more knowledgable about a product than a legitimate reviewer.  There is no reason for the employees to be "sampling" the product.  If they want to be "educated" about a product they can read a magazine or website like myself.  Or they can finish college and buy games pointlessly like myself. 


I've always thought that returning a game for any reason other than it doesn't work (physical damage, bugs) is pretty lame. If you bought the game and don't like it, then deal with it, and maybe next time rent it first.

Why is it with other products you are guaranteed the ability to return the product by law, and when it comes to games everyone thinks it's the consumers fault? Maybe you think it's lame, I can understand that, but in no way does it excuse thier behavior. It's called customer satisfaction, I want to know that when I buy a game from EB I will eventually leave happy. That's worth alot of money to me, and I'm willing to pay premium for it. They are ignoring the customer's money and satisfaction in order to chase this phantom target of the population who takes advantage of them. Of all the people I have talked to on the subject, the only ones who think it's a problem are the people who feel guilty about having done it, or know someone who did it. While they may be a very vocal majority on the internet, in real life they are a tiny fraction of the population we like to call "assholes". In reality they could always refuse returns from these guys, but instead decided it was worth treating thier customers like sh*t in order to not be ripped off once or twice before the manager caught on. Either they are incompetent or just plain bastards, I don't care either way, they're not getting my money.

This is way off topic, sorta. Still it's very fun

The idiotic thing is that they are making all this fuss about something that isnt a drop in the ocean compared to shrink.  Shrink is a retail industry term for shoplifting or theft.  Its the reason why games boxes are empty on the shelves and the employee has to go in the back to reshrinkwrap the game when you buy it.   There is no doubt in my mind that shrink accounts for way more lost revenue than returns.

No I dont mind buying something as new that has been openned.  Just like others, it had better be in imaculate condition.  Also, I usually buy the games I want on the day they come out so employees dont have time to play it beforehand or maybe get a day.

My requirements are much looser on console games cuz who needs a manual with them anyways.  Its not like the IWD2 manual that was a bible for weeks during character creation tests.

I agree.

In particular, I am a real stickler for having my discs in perfect condition when brand new.  When I bought a DVD of the movie Gladiator and opened it, the disc had come loose during shipping and apparently rattled around and got all scratched to hell.  I exchanged it for one that wasn't scratched.

In addition, whenever I purchase used games, I ask to inspect the CD/DVD before purchasing.  I had one place refuse to let me handle the disc before buying, so I said something like "ok, guess I'll check the other used gaming shop a couple of blocks away" and left.  Never went back, either.

So with that stated, it's always irked me that when purchasing a game from a shop like Software Etc. (haven't shopped at EB for over 10 years except to purchase Wizardry 8 since nowhere else locally carried it), there was the knowledge that I might actually be buying a used game for full price.  I bought a new game once that was scratched up, so I exchanged it for another new one (they looked annoyed that I bothered to exchange it, but it was barely 20 minutes after I bought it and noticed it was scratched).

This has led me to always open new games in the car before I drive home, just in case I need to exchange it.  I agree with the idea that the store should just have a store copy for games that the employees need to play.  Would you sell a TV listed as new that you'd let an employee take home and "evaluate" for a couple of days or weeks?  How about a computer?  Console system?  Where do you draw the line?

I agree with what LeapingGnome said: it sounds like the store employee is just whining that they have to actually buy the games like the rest of us.  Maybe if they have to deal with that crappy "used trade-in" policy they might raise enough of a stink for stores like EB to start giving a reasonable amount of trade-in credit.

Once long ago when I worked for Walden software (was putting myself through school you see) it was standard practice to repackage returns and put them on shelf as new if they where in new condition. Honestly as long as everything is in pretty much mint condition I could't care less, if however I find the condition wanting and then the software store tells me I can't return it (as they tend to do these days) I would scream bloody murder.

Now, I think the logic here is wrong, there is no FEDERAL law that prohibits the reselling of software as new if it has been opened or anything even that might be construed as that... but there might a state law, and if enough states have similar laws a store might adopt a policy that would prevent them from running afoul of said laws. Personally I'm not familiar with any such law, if there was one I'm dam sure that it would sited as why software stores refuse returns rather then a song and dance about piracy that does not wash, since that is not the case I'm going to go out a on a limb and say it's not true for california, but if somebody knows otherwise I would like to hear about it.