Sympathy for the Dealer

I first worked for the company now known as GameStop in 1995. At the time, of course, that name wasn’t even a glimmer in some marketing go-getter’s eye, and most consumers thought of the store, if they thought of it at all, as Software Etc. or Babbage’s. These were the days before digital distribution, before warranties against disc scratches, before money down for reservations, before PC titles were at best relegated to a back corner kiosk, before multiple-SKU transactions were a priority, before return policies were lobotomized, and before hiring priorities rejected the idea of gaming enthusiasts as salespeople.

These were also the days before the company was particularly profitable.

For an early twenty-something with a penchant for video games, Software Etc. was a pretty good place to work. There were, of course, sales initiatives and metrics to be tracked, but by and large the mandate was simple: Sell video games to make customers happy. There was a culture of customer service and product knowledge that was encouraged from the top down, because the leadership of the company believed supremely in two things. First, that video games were the entertainment media of the future. Second, that the best way to succeed was to aggressively pursue customer satisfaction and convenience for gamers.

By 1996 the parent company of Software Etc., NeoStar Retail Group, was filing for Chapter 11 and seeking to liquidate assets and sell off more than 600 stores. It became painfully evident in the days following and over the long, slow restructuring to become the monolithic retail force known today as GameStop that the company’s leadership had been right in exactly one of its core beliefs.

If there is one fact I want to stress about GameStop and understanding its modern motivations, it is this. Many if not most of the key executives and board members that drive the direction of the company today are the same ones that watched the Babbage’s of old get burned and stepped in at the eleventh hour. It’s not that these individuals have no concept of a conscience for customer issues; it’s just that they have empirical data that ties noble idealism in the gaming retail space to insolvency and collapse.

Like a lot of people, I don’t really shop at GameStop anymore. I don’t really like how they do business. That’s not a grand gesture, so much as an individual choice about how and where I make my purchases. That also doesn’t mean I automatically uninstalled Impulse upon learning of their acquisition, or that I won’t haunt the doorway of some strip-mall Gamestop sometime in the future. It just means I’ve found generally better buying options for me.

However, in the modern gaming retail environment, GameStop’s actions and decisions deeply impact the course and policies of the industry and market at large. They are virtually unchallenged in North America as a gaming boutique shop, and even much larger companies are impacted by and in some cases driven to try to match their policies. Where goes GameStop, so goes video gaming retail.

It is then at least useful to understand what motivates the company, and I think a lot of that answer can be charted back to the rocky waters of the late ‘90s. The company some of us remember fondly as a cool place to buy our games is remembered in GameStop’s board room as a catastrophically failed model — the dark days to which they shall never be returned.

When you remember being able to bring back incompatible PC games for a refund, they remember a distribution warehouse with mountains of inventory rejected by vendors as a physical reminder of lost revenue. When you remember being able to simply walk into the store and buy the latest game without having to go through the silly process of a reservation, they remember backrooms stacked high with dozens of copies of games that would never sell because they’d stocked far too much. When you remember hanging out chatting with the local Software Etc. assistant manager, they remember overpaying a directionless and undisciplined staff with limited sales experience and misplaced priorities.

When I take a moment and think about GameStop’s choices in the days since thousands were laid off and the business almost collapsed, it is no wonder to me that the company charts the course it does. Put simply, were I a board member on this company and responding to the complaints of gaming’s elite, I might say, “We tried it your way, and you guys ran us out of business.” This modern incarnation of the retailer may be a lot of things, but you can’t say that they aren’t disciplined or didn’t learn from their mistakes.

For example, I fundamentally agree that they made the wrong choice in telling employees to break into a new product to remove offending promotions from competitors, as was done with PC versions of Deus Ex Human Revolution. But I also understand why it happened. If somehow a competitor snuck a small piece of promotional material into something I was selling, I would end that as quickly and thoroughly as I could. The old Software Etc. wouldn’t have done that, and it was that kind of tepid response to clear threats that lead them straight into bankruptcy.

There were, of course, a lot of things that led to Neostar’s Chapter 11 filing in 1996, and I don’t mean to imply that a customer-friendly approach to retail directly caused the company’s collapse. On the contrary, a reckless phase of over-expansion, squandering of financial reserves, and the expansion of market forces aligned against Neostar in 1996 all played a role. This was an age where Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart, Toys R Us and other major retailers had finally decided to take a big bite out of the gaming revenue apple, leaving the specialty retailer struggling to keep up in a market that they had, until recently, nearly owned.

I remember being the manager of my store in the Christmas season of ‘96, when we couldn’t put stock on the shelves. A new game would come out, and it would be days and weeks before the company could scrap together the money to put games like Master of Orion II, Diablo, Shadows of the Empire and Red Alert on the shelves. Customers walked in my front door and were greeted with depressingly bare walls and empty promises. Some of those practices you may dislike so much these days — specifically putting down money for reservations and refusing returns on opened games — were a result of the cash-strapped company scrambling to infuse capital into the business so it could make payroll and have enough left over to pay vendors.

It was a devastatingly depressing time, and I was there at the Annual Manager’s Meeting in Dallas when then head of Barnes & Noble, Leonard Riggio, showed up like a white knight to restructure, realign and rebuild the company from the ground up as a smarter, leaner, meaner competitor in the market. We greeted his vision of the future of the company with a standing ovation.

The GameStop you know now was, for all intents and purposes, conceived if not born that day. There was one mandate: Make sure we do whatever is necessary to never get back into this position of near-collapse. The result is 15 years of growth, profitability and laser-focused discipline that has earned both the ire of gamers and several billion dollars.

Admittedly, by the time I returned to working for the games retailer a few years later, all of those practices and policies that are so commonly complained about now were solidified as standard industry practice. It was an entirely different culture, and though I only worked at the retailer for a couple more years in both a sales and management capacity, I found not unexpectedly that I was no longer a part of a specialty organization that catered to enthusiasts, but was instead a cog in the prototypical soulless, corporate construction. It is fair to say that to make its money, GameStop had to lose its soul.

Which brings us to the modern day, and a business that really has very little to do with or interest in the kind of people likely to read this. Despite what may or may not be the truth, GameStop’s executives and board members see catering exclusively to gamers as a good way to go out of business. The company isn’t looking for forgiveness, and that’s not meant to be an excuse. It’s just meant to be a sketch of the truth from someone who lived in the dark times that turned an idealistically naive company into a cynical profit machine.

Comments

Scratched wrote:
BadKen wrote:
Scratched wrote:

An idea that keeps cropping up is the digital-only console, with nothing for the retailer and all the game revenue going to the platform holder or publisher, but the classic reason that wouldn't happen is that no store would carry the base hardware needed to essentially kill retail. What I'm wondering is going back to what was said in 2004 by Bill Gates, "hardware will be free". What if one branch of console gaming future was a giveaway console, and all the revenue comes from online.

Sounds to me like you're describing OnLive.

Close enough.

Going off topic: What I was thinking exactly was that instead of a video streaming microconsole box, a company release a small, efficient console with a decent hard drive and no optical drive, aiming at refined current-gen tech that's cheap to make. Give that away free and make the money back as they have to buy games directly, or if you want to deter people from just getting free doorstops and bankrupting you, make the initial buy in the cost of a few games, which you get credit for when you start using it. Extend the current-gen, and you could probably run it alongside a newer next-gen full-fat console.

I'm sure someone could poke some holes in my business plan.

If this happened, I wouldn't get one. If it became the only option, I'd find another hobby. In order to migitage to low cost, the box would have to be so cheap that it would have failure rates that would make first generation Xbox 360s look like the refrigerator that my grandmother bought when she got married in the 1940s and continued to work until we had to donate it to the goodwill in the early part of the 21st century.

Having read/listened to the horror stories of people trying to get their Xbox or Wii downloads back after a hardware failure, I don't want to contemplate the amount of hassle we'll have to go through when the free POSbox dies and takes all of our DLC with it.

If it's one competitor, I won't buy it. If it's the only model going forward, I'll shift to board gaming. Everything is moving toward multiplayer/co-op anyway, and at least Games Workshop doesn't try to tell me I'm not allowed to modify or give away the box of miniatures I bought from them.

I have to say, I find it really curious how so many people think that one self-interested corporation is evil incarnate and never can be trusted, yet are so eager to give some other self-interested corporation so much more control over their gaming libraries than the first one ever will have. Seriously, one company is guilty of requiring clerks to ask if you want to put a down payment on a future game and selling used games at a discount, and the other requires you to sign an EULA that says they're not obligated provide anything in exchange for the money you give them. And the one that gets trashed for being anti-consumer is the first one? Why? Do we really hate leaving the house that much?

I suppose the thing is that all parties involved want to push the boundaries to see how much they can get away with, and the other side reacting when that pushes them out of their comfort zone. As many have said, the trick is finding the balance where trade can occur.

_DarkEmperor_ wrote:

What gets me is why do people buy at Game Stop?

Their soul-less approach to retail would fail even worse if people just stopped going there!

What is WRONG with you people!??

Seriously - WTF, y'all!?? It's just that SIMPLE!!!

Maybe I'm lucky, but the GameStop I shop at has a good staff - They know me and I know them. I'm in often enough to buy a title or reserve something that they know what to recommend and what not to. They know I don't trade in a lot of games really, so I don't get a bunch of sales pitches I don't want. So all in all, I've been happy. I detest Wal-mart for ANYTHING and won't shop there unless I have no choice, and I have had bad experiences buying via mail and digital download. So while I do once in a great while buy a digital download game, I'll continue going to GameStop. It's easier for me in a lot of ways, and I enjoy it.

They go out of their way for me too. When Bioshock 2 came out, I was dying to get one of those giant window posters for the game. I couldn't get the time off work to be there at opening, but the manager agreed to hold it and have someone else pick it up for me. So I got a great poster at no charge that is hanging in my man-cave.

My only complaint about "my" store is that the staff seems to turn over a lot. Maybe it is just the nature of retail, maybe it is just that store and/or company. All I know is that by time I've gotten to the point where I like an associate, they have left.

Is the title supposed to be sarcastic? Just failing to see why anyone should have any emotional response, a brief care in their heart, or true sympathy to a company you titled a "cynical profit machine". They either get my dollars or they don't, capitalism is just fine, but genuine emotional investment?

Frankly, I don't see where all the bad blood and the demonization comes from. GameStop became profitable and a good business once they saw the reality of the market instead of a make-believe ideal world that didn't exist. Is seeing reality equivalent to losing one's soul? I don't see it that way.

Maybe it's because I come from a country that's poorer than most Americans can imagine, but I have zero problems with a company being focused on profit. I don't think it's cynical, and I don't think it's bad. In fact, I think it's fantastic because a company that's profitable will invite more investors, put out more shops, and hire more people, who will then have food to put on the table as opposed to having to beg on the streets for money to save their kid from death by starvation.

The local game shop franchise also stocks up on preorders, and I have no problems with that whatsoever. I'll preorder what I like to ensure that the inventory is present. If not, I take my chances along with everyone else. I've cultivated a relationship with some shop owners, so they can ensure inventory when I ask them to, even without the preorder. Of course, that kind of thing is dependent on me actually buying what I said I'd buy, even if I had already acquired a copy of the game elsewhere.

If I had a complaint about this, it's that the local franchise refuses to delve into selling used games, which I have to purchase from a rather shadier source.

I have no moral quandry with shopping at GameStop, but I only go there for used games. It's rare that I'll drop $60 for any new release. And most of the time, I can get it new for less from Amazon anyway.

Regarding the "soul" discussion, I get into this argument with my grandmother often since she adamantly refuses to shop at big box stores or any kind of chain in favor of mom & pop stores and such. That's really her decision. My response is summed up thusly, "Why in the hell would I pay more for the exact same product that I can get someplace else for less?" Maybe the answer is friendlier service, or other amenities. Maybe their scones are just that f$%king good.

Bottom line is, if you want my money, have something I want that I can't get anyplace else for less money. Everything else is just details. Maybe those details are worth the extra coin to some people, but they're hardly universal.

The original article wrote:

This was an age where Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart, Toys R Us and other major retailers had finally decided to take a big bite out of the gaming revenue apple, leaving the specialty retailer struggling to keep up in a market that they had, until recently, nearly owned.

This was also an age where multimedia was the rage and the console market -- which seemed fertile after Nintendo and Sega had spent the latter half of the 80's rebuilding the industry in North America -- almost flirted with another crash by trying to chase it.

Here's a list of console and handheld hardware released in North America over the first half of the decade:

1990 - Neo Geo AES, TurboGrafx-CD, TurboExpress (handheld TG-16)
1991 - SNES, Game Gear, CD-i
1992 - Sega CD, Turbo Duo (TG-16 and TG-CD combined)
1993 - Atari Jaguar, 3DO
1994 - Sega 32X, Neo Geo CD, Sega CDX (Genesis and Sega CD combined)
1995 - Atari Jaguar CD, Playstation, Sega Saturn, Sega Nomad (handheld Genesis), Virtual Boy

Sure, there are some winners in that list (SNES, Playstation, maybe Saturn), but just look at the rest of it. In the first half of the decade, we're talking about eighteen different hardware releases, many of them are extensions to existing console hardware, combinations of existing console hardware, or redundant handheld iterations of existing console hardware. Many of them are utter failures and, with over half of them based upon CD media (multimedia!), they were expensive failures to boot.

So, if you're a specialty gaming store in the early 90's and you're looking to engage the market, especially in the face of major-market competitors, how many of these systems do you put on your shelves? How much of your shelf space do you reserve for the 3DO's software library - I mean, Panasonic's an established and trustworthy electronics company, right? All of those parents (re: consumers with disposable income) will recognize Atari, won't they?

I don't doubt that GameStop has crunched the numbers and determined that their current course of action is the most efficient path to profit -- it's not like the market has proven them otherwise! -- and I wouldn't dispute that they're a different beast than the customer-friendly specialty retailers I remember frequenting as a teenager. But I wonder if it's the flood of bad products, rather than the pursuit of customer satisfaction, that played a larger role in the demise of Software Etc. and other retailers of its kind.

beeporama wrote:

Because we are a small minority of their business if we even shop there at all (like Elysium said, if you are even reading this website, you probably aren't their target market anymore). They're selling to moms, they're selling to snot-nosed kids making impulse purchases at the mall, they're selling to brahs who only come in twice a year. And none of those people really care if GameStop has "soul." Go to your local stripmall and ask the people walking in what is wrong with them; don't ask us.

And in a lot of places, now, there is no competition other than Wal-Mart. So even if they were to buy "ethically" it's just a question of the lesser evil.

How sanctimonious. If you don't realize that Gamestop is a small niche boutique that has to turn a profit then you are living in your own world. Shopping at Gamestop isn't ethical?! How insulting to the people who go there. Do you really view yourself better then all of those people? I shop at Gamestop. Why you ask? Because it's easy and convenient. I can buy used games for titles I am unsure of. Preorder games so I can pick them up day and date. Plus the staff in the Gamestops near me have been as helpful and knowledgeable about games as anyone else on message boards.

Does that make me a moron now? Have I suddenly lost my ethical standard simply because Gamestop had to become a profitable business? No. If you don't want to shop there because you prefer not to deal with a company that you disagree with then good for you. But to look down on others because of that is horribly mistaken.

"Does that make me a moron now? Have I suddenly lost my ethical standard simply because Gamestop had to become a profitable business? No. If you don't want to shop there because you prefer not to deal with a company that you disagree with then good for you. But to look down on others because of that is horribly mistaken."

People like you are why we can't have nice things!

http://www.abolitionist.com/transhum...

ccesarano wrote:

However, this is also why they've started pushing pre-order bonuses for games. They want to guarantee that money in the bank, and by adding in bonuses to people that reserve it at GameStop they can get it. As far as I'm aware, Steam doesn't currently offer a "Download it on Steam and get the Gabe Newell Boomer skin for FREE!" or anything.

You're not looking hard enough. There's a free TF2 hat or item with every 2nd or 3rd game pre-order on Steam lately.

ccesarano wrote:

As a consumer AND as a salesman I hated this. I didn't want to put a sticker on someone's "New" copy of a game. It was bad enough you'd get the one-in-a-million customer that wouldn't buy a game off the wall because it had been gutted. Once you put stickers on there and the box collects the nasty dirt from disgusting unwashed customer hands, you get people that will pass up a game they just searched five other stores looking for. We saw a drop in sales, but corporate didn't care because the drop was insignificant.

I remember another time the district manager was hanging around. Some kid came up to me with two N64 games, one of them being Daikatana 64. "Um, are you buying this because it's a joke and you or your friends want to laugh at it? Or because you think it's going to be a fun game?" "It looks cool, and it's only $1.99!" I explained to the customer that the game was a complete joke amongst the industry and his money would be better spent on another title. I helped him find another game that wasn't too expensive and was pretty good. He asked my name and thanked me. After the sale and the customer was out of the store, the district manager walked over to me and said "You NEVER tell a game not to buy a game unless they ask you if it's any good, and even then avoid having a solid opinion".

Yet a week later that customer came back in, thanking me, and asking me for more recommendations. I didn't get a lot of pre-orders or sell a lot of Game Informer subscriptions, but I kept the walls neat and orderly and customers knew me. They would go to the mall, completely avoid the GameStop and EB in there and then come across the street to ask me (and some of my co-workers) about what had come out.

This is the sort of attitude I applied because it's what draws me to a store. I don't want someone to see me as an anonymous transaction, and so I didn't. The only time I would ask if anyone would want to reserve a game is if they came off as the type of person that would. In the end, most of my reservations came from returning customers that trusted my opinion.

I spent some time at Gamestop and this is how I operated as well. The daily job was a joy, talking with customers, helping them find games. Making relationships and learning names and recommending things. But all I ever heard from the district manager was "sell more magazine subs". Customer satisfaction meant nothing. Only subs and pre-order numbers.

RedneckBiker wrote:
_DarkEmperor_ wrote:

What gets me is why do people buy at Game Stop?

Their soul-less approach to retail would fail even worse if people just stopped going there!

What is WRONG with you people!??

Seriously - WTF, y'all!?? It's just that SIMPLE!!!

Maybe I'm lucky, but the GameStop I shop at has a good staff - They know me and I know them. I'm in often enough to buy a title or reserve something that they know what to recommend and what not to. They know I don't trade in a lot of games really, so I don't get a bunch of sales pitches I don't want. So all in all, I've been happy. I detest Wal-mart for ANYTHING and won't shop there unless I have no choice, and I have had bad experiences buying via mail and digital download. So while I do once in a great while buy a digital download game, I'll continue going to GameStop. It's easier for me in a lot of ways, and I enjoy it.

They go out of their way for me too. When Bioshock 2 came out, I was dying to get one of those giant window posters for the game. I couldn't get the time off work to be there at opening, but the manager agreed to hold it and have someone else pick it up for me. So I got a great poster at no charge that is hanging in my man-cave.

My only complaint about "my" store is that the staff seems to turn over a lot. Maybe it is just the nature of retail, maybe it is just that store and/or company. All I know is that by time I've gotten to the point where I like an associate, they have left.

And this is exactly why there's turnover. Those guys are giving you good service, but not harassing you enough about those subs and pre-order numbers. So they get fired because their number suck. Or they get bitched at so much by the district manager that they just quit.

VlonewolfV wrote:

How sanctimonious. If you don't realize that Gamestop is a small niche boutique that has to turn a profit then you are living in your own world. Shopping at Gamestop isn't ethical?! How insulting to the people who go there. Do you really view yourself better then all of those people? I shop at Gamestop. Why you ask? Because it's easy and convenient. I can buy used games for titles I am unsure of. Preorder games so I can pick them up day and date. Plus the staff in the Gamestops near me have been as helpful and knowledgeable about games as anyone else on message boards.

Does that make me a moron now? Have I suddenly lost my ethical standard simply because Gamestop had to become a profitable business? No. If you don't want to shop there because you prefer not to deal with a company that you disagree with then good for you. But to look down on others because of that is horribly mistaken.

Speaking of being sanctimonious...

VlonewolfV wrote:
beeporama wrote:

And in a lot of places, now, there is no competition other than Wal-Mart. So even if they were to buy "ethically" it's just a question of the lesser evil.

How sanctimonious. If you don't realize that Gamestop is a small niche boutique that has to turn a profit then you are living in your own world. Shopping at Gamestop isn't ethical?!

I did put "ethically" in quotes there to indicate that I didn't necessarily believe it wan an appropriate term. If you read up in the thread you'll see that I'm defending Gamestop's need to make a profit. With some reluctance, sure. But if I implied that I'm looking down on the people who shop there, I apologize, it wasn't my intention.

(I did speak disdainfully of kids, yes, but that's just because I hate children universally. :twisted:)

I will say that I dissed Wal-Mart though. To be clear, I am trying to say that buying at Wal-Mart is easily more "evil" than buying at Gamestop by almost any ethical yardstick. If you have that choice... some people don't even have that.

hbi2k wrote:

Re: "soul"

I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that when they speak of large corporations having / lacking / losing a "soul," they're using that as a shorthand way of saying "a corporate culture that focuses on the long-term benefits of offering good customer service and a pleasant shopping experience, even at the occasional expense of a bit of short-term profit" when they don't feel like going to the trouble of typing the latter out.

Obviously the motive is profit either way, and obviously large corporations don't have the human characteristics we sometimes attribute to them, but I'd like to assume that everyone involved understands that in the same way a newscaster who says "the White House issued a press statement" isn't referring to the physical building.

It's just that there's more going on than shorthand (not that "ktnxbi" doesn't communicate something slightly different than "OK, thank you. Goodbye!"). When "the White House issues," the many individuals and groups of the executive branch are being treated as a cohesive whole (instead of a giant collection of individuals with competing loyalties) with a singular volition (as if organizations could publish, rather than have things issued by individuals on behalf of the organization). I just think that it's important to remember that the metaphors we use are not true, and to keep that in mind.

GioClark wrote:

Bottom line is, if you want my money, have something I want that I can't get anyplace else for less money. Everything else is just details. Maybe those details are worth the extra coin to some people, but they're hardly universal.

That's cool; you're dealing with the corporation on the same terms that the corporation deals with you. There may be small stores that really do run on intentionally less efficient models in order to do what they think is valuable in ways that don't fit into accounting books, but it's a mistake to think that you owe anything to Chevy or Ford because one loves (or has loved) you more.

wordsmythe wrote:

It's just that there's more going on than shorthand (not that "ktnxbi" doesn't communicate something slightly different than "OK, thank you. Goodbye!"). When "the White House issues," the many individuals and groups of the executive branch are being treated as a cohesive whole (instead of a giant collection of individuals with competing loyalties) with a singular volition (as if organizations could publish, rather than have things issued by individuals on behalf of the organization). I just think that it's important to remember that the metaphors we use are not true, and to keep that in mind.

Fair enough; I just think that it's possible to go to the opposite extreme and insist on a silly amount of literalism in these kinds of discussions. To continue with the White House analogy, everyone involved knows that it's not literally true that the entire Executive Branch of government is of a single mind and that treating them as if it were so is simply a useful shorthand. It's very seldom useful for the news anchor to chide the White House correspondent by reminding them, "Remember, Ted, the White House is not a person and should not be treated as such."

I'd like to think that everyone in this thread has lived in a capitalist society long enough to know about the profit motives and impersonal nature of corporations.

hbi2k wrote:

I'd like to think that everyone in this thread has lived in a capitalist society long enough to know about the profit motives and impersonal nature of corporations.

The problem being that we've all lived in an advertising-saturated society for at least as long.

Yeah, fair enough. You've won me over. Let's rage against some machines together!

hbi2k wrote:

Yeah, fair enough. You've won me over. Let's rage against some machines together!

I want to pierce my lip, it doesn't hurt, it feels fine!

I'm going underground with the moles.

Digging holes?

I have been working at Barnes & Noble for about 5 years and it has been going through very much the same changes. It is interesting to see the shift in employee focus move from book knowledge and customer service to selling memberships and signing up people for email lists. It often infuriates me, but then I think of what happened to Borders, and understand why the focus has shifted. The rise of digital distribution is heavily affecting the book market (similarly to games) and in order to survive, changes must be made.

There is one local GameStop that I tend to buy all my video games from. The people working there are always super friendly. Unlike the "big box stores," they seem to be just as interested in the niche games as they are in selling the major AAA blah blah blah. Its fun to indulge in that videogame nerd camaraderie every once in a while irl. That being said, the experience I've had at other GameStops is not always consistently good; and that, combined with the fact that most of the unique game stores have been muscled out (much like B&N + Borders did with independent bookstores), I can sympathize with the hate.

At least we have a specialty store to go to for a while longer...

Yesterday I was hanging around the GameStop by my job. They have a deal going on where if you put your trade-in credit towards buying a used game, you get 50% more credit. While I was there the employees would go over to their old PS2 section, grab a $0.99 copy of Madden 2002 or something, scan it in and give them the bonus credit if they weren't buying anything immediately or were buying a new game.

"But I don't want Madden 2002 for PS2"

"Just throw it out" they'd respond.

Now that's a good group of guys.

ccesarano wrote:

Yesterday I was hanging around the GameStop by my job. They have a deal going on where if you put your trade-in credit towards buying a used game, you get 50% more credit. While I was there the employees would go over to their old PS2 section, grab a $0.99 copy of Madden 2002 or something, scan it in and give them the bonus credit if they weren't buying anything immediately or were buying a new game.

"But I don't want Madden 2002 for PS2"

"Just throw it out" they'd respond.

Now that's a bad GameStop employee.

FTFY! They should have offered to let you trade it in!

Not really. A game that sells for 99 cents is only going to net you a penny or nickel in trade in value.

ccesarano wrote:

Yesterday I was hanging around the GameStop by my job. They have a deal going on where if you put your trade-in credit towards buying a used game, you get 50% more credit. While I was there the employees would go over to their old PS2 section, grab a $0.99 copy of Madden 2002 or something, scan it in and give them the bonus credit if they weren't buying anything immediately or were buying a new game.

"But I don't want Madden 2002 for PS2"

"Just throw it out" they'd respond.

Now that's a good group of guys.

That's pretty awesome if another Gamestop encouraged that, too. There are a lot of grey areas in the policies we're given, and the company is typically cut and dry about it- certain things are definite, but otherwise... if we can get away with helping people, all the more power for it.

Now, as for why I went to work at GS recently... the last place I worked at, a Pizza Hut, had me working 10-12 hour days, no breaks, and either alone or sending all the other employees home early (save for 1 driver always on the road), just to save labor so we didn't get shut down because the company thought we were not profitable ENOUGH. I was a low end manager, hadn't ever gotten the raises i was promised, and so mad at having to tell people who I had worked hard to earn their trust in my leadership that the only way to save their jobs was to give them no hours.

Enter Gamestop- gave me a much more respectable wage, is very specific about ensuring fair breaks, treatment, hours, etc. And amazingly, once on the inside, it really didn't seem the evil tower of doom up on the cliffside with lightning behind it, instead it was the shining cornerstone of the failing mall with bad lighting of its own. Their policies, while confounding for some consumers, all have a reason behind them typically steeped in the old customer service- but blackened a bit because of theft, abuse of policy, and general stupidity over the years.

Some things you can blame on the store- there is always someone looking for a quick buck, people steal stuff all the time both big and small. Some things you can blame on people being stupid- you can't expect a company not to try to make things fool proof even if its inconvenient, just because someone did something REALLY bad on accident.

and also, ....... When major retail chains shut down because of any reason, you have to realize that the other, surviving chains, have to NOT do what they did so they can stay afloat.

And remember- 'Good' employees keep the store going by making sales, Great employees don't make the sale and make sure you do your homework about things so you make the right choice, and will keep coming back happy.

If y'all want to know about the dark secrets behind those evil gamestop policies, i can also expound further, but i think i've typed long enough. Back to Rage!

People still go to stores?

I guess I don't see the issues other people see, but my only options for purchasing games without emptying my gastank are Walmart, Target, or the GameStop by my house. D:

Of course, my GameStop has gamers for employees, and not just of the Video variety, a couple of them play Magic, I think one still has a group that plays D&D.
I go there when I need a break from staring at the screen, just to shoot the sh*t. o3o

Very good article, and maybe they didn't intend for this to happen, but my experience is that most gamestop employees are gamers and I talk to them about games when I'm in there.
Did the gamers simply not stop applying 'til one of them got the job?
Are gamers simply a larger portion of the population, enough so that it's just a coincidence?
It's weird sometimes, what they have versus what they have not.
Several times I look to gamestop first and fail and so must then go to Target or *shudder* Best Buy (I bought Barnyard Blast: Swine of the Night there).