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GameStop yin and yang

November 21, 2006

I’ve never been a GameStop hater. I know where they’re coming from, but i’m usually in and out the place, never having much more words than “can i have [game] for [system]?” I have witnessed and been subject to the smug salespeople’s idiot games talk. In their world, and in the world of many fangeeks, GameStop employees are overlords with divine right, acting as a medium between the game publisher gods and the humble masses. Seemingly, they think they’re the only ones who have access to the IGN webpage.

In reality? They’re all – men and women – out of shape, pallid, disheveled, self-assertive losers who memorize ship dates to think they are someone in the industry. Retail industry maybe… Or not even.

As i was mentioning in the comments here, i attempted to return Rayman Raving Rabbids earlier today to no success. I went to three GameStops in total, probably the most i’ve been to in one day ever. In the first is where the vein near my left eye almost burst.

I was around Broadway looking for some place, and came upon a tucked away GameStop that i’ve only been to once before. I go in. It’s cozy, with a high ceiling. Looking around, it’s probably the tidiest one i’ve seen. Wii and DS section are right by the door, all 3 next-gen kiosks are on, by the window, side by side. With the scarce amount of space it had, it damn well better be neat. I notice a Wii countdown clock with zeros all across. The 2 guys behind the counter seem occupied with something below the counter’s horizon.

I unzip my jacket, waiting for one of them to cater to me. Eventually the tall one asks me what i need. I hand him Rayman to trade in. He checks the disk, scans, types some keys, and asks if i want to buy anything. I say Zelda, he says they got it, he asks for my ID for the trade-in. I tell him i don’t have one, he looks back at his flat panel monitor and hands back Rayman. I’ve seen this being done before, the asking of ID for trade-ins, but i have no clue why they do it and had forgotten about it until it came up here, with me. So then i ask “is it an age thing?”

He looks up without turning his head from his leaned forward position, and goes “No, it’s a we need ID for trade-ins thing.”

Muscles around my mouth clench up a little. I stash Rayman back into my jacket. As i’m walking out and his response marinates in my head, the tumor builds. Yes, this is different from usual GameStop employee’s pearls of wisdom, but still, he’s a GameStop employee.

What an asshole. I wanted to know why they needed ID for trade-ins now, after all these years of hounding every single customer about bringing in their entire Xbox and GameCube library if used, no questions asked — besides “Do you wanna reserve this game yet?”. Listen, dude, i’m sorry that you were outbid on eBay last night over some 2-month old graphics card and that your 6-month old one currently in place doesn’t cut it for crisply rendered cybering in Second Life, but don’t be a dick and take it out on paying customers, Lurch. GameStop being a prick, you tall doof.

Further on up or down the street a few blocks thataway, i enter the GameStop that’s become my most visited in recent time. Knowing that they’d ask for ID, i just ask the guy who i assume is a manager about not having ID at the other store and if there was any way around that. He and the girl at the next register explain in a cool manner that GameStop has to abide by New York’s pawn shop laws, which state that they need ID whenever they buy something off a customer, like pawn shops do.

I say “no problem” as he continues to inform me, trying to let him know that it’s not a problem, and give him a good thank you. I meant that “thank you”, too. Rarely does that happen, but he was very cool about it and let me know what was up. I officially like this GameStop as of today.

Shithead from the other GameStop…jerk me off.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. frisby permalink
    November 21, 2006 12:34 am

    Well Written

  2. November 21, 2006 1:14 am

    Thanks, but i just have to change one thing. Reread for effect, i’ll write the old line here.

    “i’m sorry that you were outbid on eBay last night over some 2-month old graphics card and that your 6-month old one currently in place doesn’t cut it for high-res Nightfall.”

    Better, no?

  3. frisby permalink
    November 21, 2006 1:17 am


    Nice addition.

    I read somewhere second life was shut down because of a worm.

  4. November 21, 2006 1:21 am

    I just read that myself.

    How will the GameStop employees survive that tragedy!?

  5. November 21, 2006 5:55 am

    There are GameStops and there are GameStops… Fortunately one of the best in this town is around the corner from my apartment, so I visit a lot, and the guys there know me already.

  6. November 21, 2006 1:14 pm

    Funny thing: the third GameStop i went to was the one i used to frequent for years until i was about 18. It was whacky. I went in there, not one of the people i’d know were there. The store was a little neater, and the employees were fresh faces that didn’t know who the fuck i was. Not even the manager was there. And i knew all of them.

    I had been staying away from that GameStop for a while because i hadn’t been going to GameStop too much period, and it was out of my way, but yesterday i needed a favor with the trade-in, so i was hoping someone i knew was there to hook me up. Feels like they all vanished with no record of their existance. Too freaky.

    So when that failed, i recall this regular old game shop called Cybergames i used to go to even before that, when i was around 13. I had stopped going because i had bought this GBA game (Game and Watch Gallery 4, worst game ever) and i left oweing the honduran/mexican guy 5 bucks, promising to return. Anyway, i walk a couple blocks to where i remember it being, on the same avenue, hoping it was still there. And if it was, there had to be different people now, like with this old GameStop.

    I get there, see the sign, peer in. Same guy that let me owe him the 5 stares right at me when i walk in. I can’t believe this. This is funny. I pretend to look at some PSP games, mind you i don’t have a PSP. Eventually i ask the other guy, who’s reading a newspaper and is closer to me, if those 4 Wii games on the wall are all they have. He confirms, other guy comes up. I say i wanna trade in Rayman, which is something they don’t have in their Wii collection. I ask them if i need ID, just in case. They both look at me like i spoke in another language, shake their heads, the mexican guy says “your face is more than enough” with his accent and calm demeanor that instantly triggered my memory of him, and i wondered if he said that because he recognized me. Calmly paranoid at this point.

    They open it, look at the back of the disc, and ask how it is. I say so-so. Then they ask me how Wii itself is. I say it’s fantastic and Wii Sports is the funnest game i’ve ever played. Guy nods smiling at every response like he knew what i was gonna say. Mexican dude asks if i want anything, i say Zelda, he says they get it tomorrow and i’d get 25 for Rayman. He tells me to keep Rayman until i go back, so i took it and left.

    If he brings up the fiver, i’ll just give it to him. He’s cool/funny, and deserves it more than those bastard GameStops do. Too bad it’s so out of my way. I had to share that, sorry. Just so funny how these things happen.

  7. November 21, 2006 1:53 pm

    Rollin, this is what happened to ALL the GameStops: EB merger!

    Since the merger, it seems that GameStop has become the ugly stepsister of EB Games, and of course, the competition is gone, so they can do whatever they want.

    The GameStop by my apartment opened AFTER the merger, so the people in it are from around the neighborhood. Heck, one of the guys that works there lives in the same apartment building I do!

  8. frisby permalink
    November 21, 2006 1:57 pm

    You better just hand the dude a five. Sounds too cool to have on your conscience.

    If I ever make it to the big NY I may have to stop in there and pay respects to kick as stores like this one.

  9. November 21, 2006 8:17 pm

    I used to wonder where Kevin Smith got his inspiration for “Clerks”, but now I know. It’s a little different here where I am. There are asshole clerks for sure, but more often than not they kowtow to the customer’s needs and just stfu.

    On another note…I remember a story about some idiot kids shoplifting games from one gamestop…and trading them in at another one a few blocks away. Maybe that helps explain the paranoia over IDs as well. Doesn’t excuse asshole behaviour though.

  10. November 21, 2006 8:32 pm

    To follow up: I went back to buy Zelda at the other shop. Cool guy turns into an ass and says “it’s 20 now” for Rayman, rather than the 25 from the night before. I don’t question it and say it ok, just for my karma whether he remembers me or not. As he’s ringing it up, he says i need to pay him a difference of 39 bucks. Not only did he dock me a five off the trade, but he overcharged me for Zelda.

    Fucking hindsight is 20/20, i hate it. I shoulda just went the safe route and bought Zelda at launch. Or something i was actually interested in for legitimate reasons, like Madden. In total, getting to Zelda cost me about $110.

    I’m not spending another dime on retail Wii games until next year. Fuck them, fuck that shop, fuck Nintendo’s overpriced tech demos. Zelda’s fan-fuckin-tastic, though. So cinematic.

  11. Christine permalink
    December 21, 2007 12:25 am

    Not to criticize or anything, but it seems like you should be pissed at Gamestop for requiring their employees to ask for ID when they do trade-ins. That is of course, if the dude behind the counter wasn’t rude in the way he asked for it.

    My boyfriend took a part time job at Gamestop recently, and has had similar problems with customers getting annoyed or pissed at him for following the rules. He personally thinks that asking for ID when doing trade-ins is stupid as well, but he can’t do anything about it since it is the decision of the company. I wish I could have been there when that customer the other day was giving him dirty looks, an attitude and a mouth full of vulgar bullshit, JUST because he had to follow the rules and ask for ID.

  12. December 21, 2007 1:54 pm

    Well yea, obviously, but the guy was also taking his geek frustration out on me.

    I do wonder why that policy is the way it is. When i bought galaxy, they asked me for my birthday, my phone number and ID. I dunno what the fuck for! Am i allowed to ask them? Apparently not, cause that’s what i did with the guy i wrote about in the above post and he subtley raged on me If there’s a next time, i’ll ask.

    Thanks for sharing, Christine. 🙂

  13. December 26, 2007 3:49 pm

    I think it has to do with the fact that you can simply bring in a bunch of games borrowed from a friend, or worse, from a rental service.

    The name and address registration is for tracking you in case this happens, and the ID is to make sure you are not just making up that name and address…

  14. Mark Hill permalink
    August 11, 2008 9:00 pm

    Lulz! Beautiful.

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