Nude Photos, Drugs, and Cockroaches: Wild Stories from Game Shops

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Retail is a tough racket. It's no easy gig. Sometimes, it's boring. Sometimes, it exhausting. And sometimes, it's completely bonkers.


Here are some colorful, disgusting, and just odd moments from the trenches of gaming retail, dealing with your fellow gamers.

Kotaku reached out to a couple retail vets for their war stories.

Eric Jou, former GameStop Employee and current Kotaku writer:

I had this one customer, who would come in and buy used copies of every Pokémon game, and then come back and tell me how said version was messed up and then return it for another version of the same game...

"Johnny", former GameStop Employee:

We had a lot of odd customers, but a particular pair that I remember was this older woman and her young son. They would come in multiple times a week being chauffeured in a white Cadillac Escalade by a driver. What was also odd about them was that the mother would pre-order every single system version of the same game and buy it. Usually, it was a title based off of a movie, like let's say Peter Jackson's King Kong. I don't remember if that particular game was on all of these systems but she would purchase the GBA version, DS, GameCube, PS2, Xbox, every single version for her son to choose from. While this was going on, her un-medicated child would run around the store knocking stuff off the shelves, turning our lives into a living hell. The strangest incident I had with them was when one time late at night, the store was empty, and they came in. The mother decided she was tired. So she found a corner, complained that her back hurt and laid sprawled out on the floor while her child ran his usual muck around the store.

Craig K, former Game Crazy Employee:

Different areas had different customers, one of the most interesting stores I had was in an interesting part of Columbus, Ohio. It was the last store I worked at before all Game Crazys died. The store was in a higher crime area of Columbus so I had seen all sorts of things, like kicking out people doing drug deals, forcing a bum to stop sleeping in our dumpster and having to cancel a midnight launch of God of War III due to police having a guy at gunpoint in front of my store.

I have had some of the greatest costumers and some of the weirdest. On more than one occasion I have had customers try to give me weed or "smoke me out" because they just liked coming in the store. Sometimes it got very weird.

One time a guy walked up to the register and said "What if I told you I had a gun and I was about to rob the place and you need to give me a PS3." I looked at him and said, "Well to start this off I need to see the gun first." He then just walked out...


Kenney, former GameStop Employee:

One time, a boy and his mom brought in a PS2 to trade towards a PS3. The mom had to be there because the kid was under 18 and was too young to complete the transaction. He was looking at games while his mom brought the system up to me. After explaining the amounts they would get and protocol for taking the system (I had to hook it up and run a game disk in it) she agreed and I went to work. After checking the system (which worked fine) I went to check the expansion bay in the back of the system. Upon removing the door, a little baggie with a green substance fell on the counter. The mom and I both stared at it but she grabbed it before I said anything. She brought it over to the boy and asked him what he knew about it. The boy instantly (fearing death) blamed his friends that he had invited to his house a few days prior. The mom just said, "Bullshit" and grabbed him by the arm and dragged him out of the store. On her way out, she told us to keep the system. I only worked at that location for three more months (and there were two other locations in town) but I never saw those people again.

Another time, I was taking a PS2 for trade from a guy and his girlfriend was with him. I ran the test, it tested fine. I checked the expansion bay and there were pictures of his girlfriend (it was clearly her) naked. She, unfortunately, was elsewhere in the store when this happened. The guy grabbed the pictures and asked me if there was any problem with the system. I couldn't help but laugh and tell him "no". We were in the business of selling video game hardware and software, not exposing tools.

Of course we also had the occasional spider or roach infestation in all varieties of consoles: 360s, PS3s, PS2s, even Wiis. However the most disgusting infestation I dealt with was actually a copy of Assassin's Creed for 360. I was taking a stack of used games for trade and after a few months (or a year) you get pretty fast at processing games. Snap the case open, eject the disc, examine quickly, replace the disk, close the case, scan the barcode, rinse and repeat. Assassin's Creed was the last one in the stack so I was expecting nothing, having had no problems from the previous cases. When I opened the case, several small roaches fell out and started to scurry around. The assistant store manager next to me started whacking the roaches with something or another while I quickly shut the case and tossed it in the trash.

The whole time this is going on the guy that who owned these games just stared like nothing was going on. After throwing the case in the trash, I quickly tied-off the bag and brought it out back to the dumpster. When I got back in, I explained that we would not take his games and that he could retrieve his copy of Assassin's Creed from the dumpster behind the store.

When I trade things in (this happens much less the older I get...), I always check every piece prior to bringing them in the store. I could not, for the life of me, understand how people could bring games in to trade the way that they did.

There was another time where a kid brought in three or four game cases which were clearly soaking wet and contained water inside the case. He actually believed that he could trade the titles in like that. His excuse was, "Well, I've played games before after just drying them off and they worked fine."


If you've worked in a video game shop and have any wild stories of your own, hit up the comments and share with the others.



I used to work at Blockbuster and this 6 year old kid comes in and tries to buy Grand Theft Auto IV. I told him he couldn't buy it without his parent's consent, and he said "no problem, my mom said I can have it." His mother not being present, I told him he had to go get her and have her purchase the game for him. So he goes outside and gets his mom, she comes in angry as a motherfucker. "Why won't you sell my kid the game?" I proceeded to tell her that it was rated M for mature and that it was for people 17 and up. She goes "So? What does that mean?" I told her "In this game your 6 year old son will get to kill cops, pick up prostitutes, run over pedestrians, and engage in other rude acts. You're okay with this?" She starts screaming at my manager because I was "criticizing her parenting". The manager threw her out and told her the same thing I told her. Animals.