After roughly 1,200 comments and dozens of emails, I have assembled the first round of your horrible video game store experiences.
It’s disconcerting how many of you seem to have been conned out of your money due to bullshit policies on returns and generally grouchy employees. Fortunately, sharing the misery helps lighten the load (I think). Sit down and prepare for 18 stories that will likely make you wince in empathy. I’ve lightly edited submissions for typos, and bolded some lines for emphasis and readability.
Only Lesbians Play Pokémon
(via Corgi Caer)
I think I was around twenty or so, and I was very much into Pokémon. Loved all the games. It was around 1998 and the card game was in full throw. I remember walking into a Babbage’s and this guy immediately jumped on me asking me if I needed help. Being an adult, I politely said no, I’m good. But the guy would not leave me alone.
Finally, exasperated, I asked if he had any Pokémon games. He kind of stared at me a few seconds and then smirked and said “Little lady like you playing Pokémon? That’s a first. Wouldn’t you like something a little more your type? We have a great Zelda game” OOT had just come out and yes, I already had it. Telling him so he looked slightly discouraged and then made a comment about how he only knew that lesbians ever played Pokemon.
Slightly offended, I looked at him and said, “I AM a lesbian.”
The look on his face was priceless. He back-peddled and stammered something I just can’t remember and then tried to sell me a game. I told him to keep his game to himself and cram it where the sun didn’t shine, and walked out.
He followed me to the door trying to stammer apologies, but I was having none of it. I went to a different place and got better service. And didn’t get harassed.
Store Credit Or 80% Of The Amount In Cash
Thought I’d drop a line about what transpired during the worst trip I ever had to a GameStop…
It was back before the release of the PS4. I had placed my full deposit towards the console months before and was eagerly awaiting launch day so I could swing through and pick mine up. Pre-order receipt in hand, I walked into the store and stood in the half-hour line until I got to the counter and was told that they didn’t have a pre-order for me. I laughed and presented my receipt (printed and highlighted at the very store I was in). They ran the numbers and said that, nope, sorry, they don’t have a reservation under my name.
Confused, I mentioned the receipt and they said they just don’t have record of it in the system and they couldn’t release it without that. I figured, okay, I’ll go and get all the physical proof I could. I took my receipt and went home, printed up my bank statement from the time of the transaction, made sure to link all the numbers to the right place and returned to the store. Still nothing they can do, according to the front desk attendant. I ask to see the manager, which of course irritates the person who wasn’t helping me. Which of course irritates me, I’m SO SORRY that I don’t want to just walk away from a 400-dollar-or-so investment because YOU fucked up!
After some confusion, the manager, who in all fairness did his absolute best to locate my reservation, said that due to some internal error my reservation had been overwritten. Done at this point after 4 hours, I just said “Fine” and asked for a refund. THEN the manager said that he could return the money in store credit for the full amount or 80% of the amount in cash. My jaw dropped. Not only had they fucked me out of the console I had been waiting months for, but I also had the privilege of losing 80 bucks in the process.
I took the cash and went to the Walmart in the shopping block. Got a PS4 in 20 minutes.
And No Effort Had Been Made To Hang Them Properly
This actually happened to me yesterday, 8/30. I was at my local Walmart looking for the Kanan Jarrus Disney Infinity figure, which is unfortunately a Walmart timed exclusive. I had checked the online stock checker prior to going in to the store and it said my store did indeed have him in.
So I go to the Infinity section, which has been consolidated down to 4 rows (it used to be twice that. As an aside, my Walmart keeps its amiibo selection mixed in with Clearance, and does not have a dedicated place for them). Kanan is not there, but there are only two new figures; Yoda and Obi-Wan. So I go to the employee and show him a picture of the figure I want and ask:
“Would you guys have this figure in the back? I know it just came out today but there’s barely any stock over there so I thought I’d ask.”
“Did you see it over there?” He responded.
“Well no, that’s why I...”
“Then we don’t have it.”
“Ooook...you don’t think it might be in the back?”
“We have plenty of that stuff, we probably don’t have room for it.” At this point, he looks at the dates on the tag saying Walmart exclusive, which reads 8/30-9/XX. “Yeah, see it doesn’t come out until tomorrow.”
“Today is the 30th...”
“Well it’s probably sitting in the back then and we haven’t got it out. Try checking tomorrow buddy.”
“Oh ok,” I said and just walked off. I go back this morning and there were 3 Kanans stacked on top of a peg, and no effort had been made to hang them properly. Walmart sucks.
‘Get Out Of My Face’
I was at my local Gamestop one afternoon, I believe it was November, last year, and I was just there to purchase some very old, very used Xbox 360 games, because I am too poor to afford the PS4, so I was doing my best to drag along my last-gen play time. Still am.
So anyway, I picked out three games, and went to pay at the register, and the employee at the register lets me know that my Gamestop “Power Up Rewards” card was going to expire the very next day, and that if I had the time, he could help me out with using all the points I had saved up since dinosaurs roamed the earth, because I had never thought to use them.
So he is helping me out, and of course, we are taking our time because:
A. This was, as Aladdin would say, a whole new world for me, and…
B. He was a new employee.
But I didn’t mind the time it was taking because hell, benefits for me, and as a person who has dabbled in retail before, I could appreciate the effort he was making to actually care for me as a customer, and as an actual human being.
So 45 minutes go by and the floor manager, at the time, comes up and asks him what is taking so long, and he explains it to his boss… His boss, however, sees what was happening as a waste of time, and seeing as Christmas was around the corner, the line was super packed with people… So his boss, clearly deserving such a title, cancels the order, tells me that there is no time for this, and that if I wanted the games, then I’d have to pay full price, or I’d have to come back tomorrow to work out this issue.
The employee, being new, apologizes to me and was freaking out a bit, but I told him I would talk to the manager myself, and I thank him for the help.
When I go talk to the same manager that just pulled that off, I start explaining the situation calmly, because I didn’t want him to think I was one of those horrible screaming customers one sees so frequently at your local Walmart’s and McDonald’s.
Halfway through my sentence, he literally, and I can’t stress this enough, shouts at me to, “THERE IS NOTHING I CAN DO FOR YOU, SO JUST GET OUT OF MY FACE AND LEAVE MY STORE!!!”
I write his name down on my phone, and walk away from the store. Next day I return, ask to speak to the other manager, he let’s me know he knew of the situation and that his employees had told him about the matter, and that he would do what he could to help me out.
Nothing could be done. That lousy excuse for a manager still works there, to this day. And my reward points? Gone with the wind… Just like that, that stupid managers code of conduct, workplace guidelines, and my hope at bargain bin shopping that day…
Ate some pizza afterwards though, which was pretty good!
This occurred when I lived in Austin, Texas and worked for Blizzard at the time. I did in-game support and spent a good 40 hours a week on the system as well as raiding outside of work hours.
Now. I’m a small woman with big... um, benefits. The kind that cause back problems. This was right as Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood came out, and I had preordered and I was way pumped because F - YEAH ASSASSIN’S CREED PARKOUR. So, going for the release at midnight, I approach as one of the first people in line with a friend of mine (a dude), and the comments just start pouring in. From “it’s so nice that you’re holding a place from your boyfriend,” to, “do you even know what StarCraft is?” to my absolute favorite, “do those get in the way when you’re playing?”
The cherry on top was the sales associate who told me that chicks like me are the problem with video games these days, because the developers just want to please us, and it’s women’s fault that content sucks now.
To Disc Repair Or Not Disc Repair
I am sending this because I had a shitty time at a GameStop once after I had an issue with my Xbox 360 copy of GTAV. Though I will preface it by saying that the problem was caused by my negligence.
I had originally bought the game about a week after it had been released at a GameStop near my house that I frequented. After buying the game I noticed a sign on the door saying that they were moving the store within the next week. After a few days of having the game, I had to leave for a short tour with the band that I’m in and brought my Xbox and GTAV since our merch guy had something similar to the GAEMS travel suitcase.
We had a bed set up in the back of our van, and thinking that it would be stable enough, I impatiently set up the 360 so I could watch Michael De Santa do yoga by the pool. I will say right now that this was a stupid move (...and that I should have waited until we got to the venue to set it up) because not long into Mike’s flattering tree pose we hit a bump and the disc got scratched. I booted the game up again and got an error screen saying there was corrupted data. I tried reinstalling the game and deleting my save file, but the disc was unplayable.
Once we got home I had to go to a different GameStop since my go-to spot moved. I brought in the receipt and my copy of the game, asking if GameStop offered any sort of disc repair services. Instead of just telling me they couldn’t do it, they said it was laser burn, that it could not be fixed, and then suggested that I trade the game in, get a $30 credit, and then pay almost $40 (including tax) more for a new copy of the game. I technically didn’t have a real job, so I went home with the game still broken.
On the way back I was thinking about why they would suggest trading the game in and finally put two and two together: because they could fix it and would just resell it for $55 AND they would get more on top of that with me getting a new copy (duh). So I checked at a place called Play N Trade (sadly it’s now closed) that was also near my house. I stopped in there and they told me that yes, they could fix it, and if I paid around $10 for their membership card I would get three free disc repairs with any after costing between $5-7. Afterwards I went home and (even though I had to restart the game) was still able to enjoy it. Shitty start, but at least there are still good people working in retail.
Pre-Orders Get A Game To Release Earlier?
Just a quick one here. I don’t have any as a consumer but I worked at a gamestop for two years. Worked with a guy who would routinely lie to customers in order to get them to reserve games and sign up for subscriptions. He once told some kids that if a game is preordered enough it sometimes will come out earlier. When they looked all happy at that I explicitly told the kids he was wrong and that wouldn’t happen. He was pretty mad at me for costing him those reserves.
He would also lie about being able to cancel reserves since the negative balance affects the employee who happens to process it, so he would refuse to do it. The higher ups naturally liked him because of his numbers and didn’t care how he got them. As I’m sure you have heard GameStop only cares about those numbers and threaten employees with no hours in order to get them, no matter how. District managers also threaten strong stores to do better in order to carry their bad stores, which forces those stores to be even worse.
Oh, and if you see at a GameStop one employee doing all the transactions and another not, while there is a line, the employee not doing any is likely trying to protect his numbers. They aren’t just raw numbers, they gauge them against your transaction percentage. So even if you get 5 reserves in a day but do more than a 100 transactions it would be looked as lesser than someone with 3 reserves but managed to only do 15 transactions because he ignored the register otherwise. The aforementioned guy would do this all the time along with another guy I knew who would log in other people if he wasn’t getting a reserve or a sub on an order.
Since leaving the company I never go back to their stores.
On the day FIFA 15 came out, I started calling around to see who had it in stock. Target insisted it wasn’t out yet (not true). The man I spoke to at Walmart said he couldn’t find it, but actually believed me that it was out. He put me on hold for a several minutes to look for it. When he came back on, he apologized and said not only could he not find Pizza 15, but no one in the store had heard of it, and that I shouldn’t be wasting employee’s time with pranks. I just downloaded it off of Xbox Live instead.
‘Are You An Idiot?’
I very vividly [remember] when I was treated poorly when I went into a GameStop because it was the last time I stepped foot into one. I remember walking in on launch day for Bioshock Infinite and asking to purchase a copy, and the manager asked me if I had preordered it. I kindly responded that I did not but I would like to purchase it anyway. The manager and the other employee looked at each other for a few seconds and then replied with “Are you an idiot?”
I froze and I didn’t actually know how to respond and I just kind of starred at him. He then proceeded “Why would you buy a game on launch day without pre ordering it?” To that I responded “I didn’t really think anything of it I just figured I’d see if you had a copy.” He replied to me “It’s stupid to buy a game on launch day without preordering it.”
At this point I was getting kind of agitated as I replied “You mentioned that already but do you have it?” And so he blankly stared at me for a few seconds then without saying a word just walked into the back of the store. I didn’t know if at this point he was getting the game or just waiting back there till I lost interest and went away.
More than ten minutes later he comes back out and just tosses the game on the counter and goes “Yeah we have it.” At that point I was flat out pissed off and I responded with “So you’re saying you do have it in stock despite me not preordering it.... So the point of me preordering it would be?...” He just blankly looked at me and said “If you preorder it, it guarantees we have a copy for you and you get pre order bonuses now do you want it or not?” I looked at him and paused for a second and just said “Nope” and walked out and bought the game at Best Buy which was in the same mall.
The clerks at Best Buy gave me no hassle and got the game for me quickly and I have not been back into a GameStop since. I realize this probably isn’t even half as bad as other stories but I was just so enraged after it happened that he actually asked if I was an idiot for not preordering something that they had in stock anyway!
This is literally the conversation I had last time I was at gamestop buying a game.
GS: I see your picking up GTA V...would you like the Strategy guide?
GS: I see you do not have a Powerup rewards card. Would you like to sign up? Save on preowned titles and get more for trades?
GS: Would you like to preorder any upcoming titles?
GS: How will you be paying today? You might be pre approved for a GameStop Credit Card, would you like to sign up for one? It will only take a minute?
GS: Well do you have any ipads, tablets, or phones? We give store credit and cash that can be used towards your purchase today?
“Transaction finally Happens”
GS: Thank You for your purchase. On your receipt there is a survey, please let me know how i’m doing. By filling out the survey you may be entered to win a $100 gift card. Thanks!
Every purchase is a worst experience at GameStop.
The Gaming God
A friend of mine was scoffed at for his choice of game.
None of my experiences were quite as bad as this. I don’t remember the exact game he wanted to preorder (I want to say it was DMC or some other notable release). When he told the cashier he wanted to preorder it the cashier actually made a scoffing sound and asked indignantly, “Why would you want to preorder that game?” noting how it would be a terrible game.
My friend and his girlfriend stared in disbelief for a moment and then responded simply saying it looked pretty good to them. The cashier apparently needed to ensure that they understood his authority on the matter by stating once again that it won’t be a good game and that he would know because he is a “gaming god”. They just laughed and insisted on preordering anyways. He gave up on his insistence and did the preorder.
Personally, I would have spoke with his manager and preordered it elsewhere. I cannot fathom how anyone could say something so ridiculous in a real world setting like that. I don’t care what mental illness(es) you have.
An Hour And A Half At Walmart
Walmart had a deal for Borderlands 2 where I could get two copies for PS4 (one for myself, one for my brother) for the price of one last summer. I hadn’t stepped inside a Walmart for at least two years prior, and I have no intention of going back again, after what happened at the store.
It was a weekday night, around nine o’clock. I walked straight to the electronics department and looked for an employee to open the locked shelves with the game racks inside. Only one employee was on staff at the time, apparently, and he was busy dealing with a family trying to buy a TV. I stood around, glancing at him occasionally, not wanting to interrupt him. Several others started waiting in the area for either him or another employee to assist us. Ten minutes went by, some people left, even more came. Eventually the manager walked by, noticed the crowd of fifteen people or so, and said he would get someone to come help us. The first employee was still discussing TVs with that family and paid no attention to the rest of us.
Another five minutes passed and a single employee arrives to help us. I said I was there first, but an angry looking middle aged guy forced himself to the front of the line. After he was finished, I had the guy get the copies of Borderlands from the shelf. At the counter, I said there was a deal online for $30 each and showed him their online store. He seemed satisfied and rang me up.
As I was pulling out the cash to pay, the lights went out. I still don’t know why the power shut off, but we were forced to the front of the store and had to leave all products at the back of the store. I had already been there for nearly thirty minutes at this point, but decided to stick it out. I stood around in front of the store for about fifteen minutes before the lights turned back on. I rushed to the back of the store again, hoping that the employee would still be there. He wasn’t, and I had to wait around again over five minutes for him to show up. When he finally did, he said that the computers needed to reboot and that it would take about ten more minutes since they were over ten years old and not good enough for the store software they ran.
Halfway through the reboot process, the lights went out again. I went to the front of the store and waited again, only for five minutes this time. I went back to the electronics department again, but someone else beat me there. The computers rebooted again, the other person was helped before me, and a third employee finally came to help the dozen or so of us still hanging around. I gave the games to this employee, mentioned the online deal and showed it to him on my phone. This employee did not believe the deal was real and refused to give me that price. I insisted and said that the other guy had already typed in the price and would give it to me, but he didn’t believe me. I had to wait for the manager to come by and tell him to give me the sale price, in which I finally was checked out and could leave. It took over an hour and a half to get out of there with the games and will probably always be the worst buying experience I will have for any sort of media.
tl;dr version: Went to Walmart to get Borderlands 2 half off, electronics department understaffed, power went out twice, guy didn’t believe the online deal, had to wait for manager, over an hour and a half to get rang up and leave.
Note: I know I could’ve ordered it online instead, but I wanted the games that night so my group could finish before one of us went out of town for several weeks.
Turns Out The Asshole Was A Thieving Asshole
(via Edmund Hunsicker)
Some friends and I were heavy into MMORPGs, and decided to try Rift after playing through EQ2, WoW and Guild Wars. We play the beta, get heavily into it, and all decide we want Collector’s Editions when they get announced. The day comes, and I pre-order and my local Gamestop. It was my first pre-order there, because I had just moved across county.
So, launch day comes, and I’m ready to get my copy so I can continue playing the character I started in Early Access. Get down to the store, and I walk up to the desk. First sign something was wrong: the two people behind the counter glance at me, then continue talking to each other. I waited a minute, as I guessed maybe one of them was the store manager talking to his employee. I have been there, done that, so no worries.
Finally the older of the two asks me what I want. As in: “Yes, what do you want?”. A bit annoyed, I say that I am there to pick up my pre-order for Rift Collector’s Edition. He looks at me, and says with a straight face “Those haven’t shipped out yet, they come out next week.”
Now, I’ve been talking to my guildies all morning before heading out to work (and this place before work), and I know for a fact that some of them have already gotten their copies, two of them at midnight releases.
After I tell him I know they have been release, he then tells me “I mean Gamestop isn’t getting them for a week.” I once again call him out on it, informing him that two of my friends picked up their copies at Gamestop Midnight Launches. His reply is then “Well they haven’t been shipped to our store.” I’m about to go off on him, when the other employee says “You know, there are some boxes that came in this morning that haven’t been checked yet, maybe they’re in there.” The elder gives him a sour look, and then goes off in the back to ‘check’.
About ten minutes later, he comes out with the Collector’s Edition, telling me how lucky I was, there was one copy in the box. He also checks my pre-order information THREE TIMES to make sure I’m not trying to pull one over on them and take someone else’s Collector’ Edition.
Transaction concluded, I politely ask who the manager of the store is. Surprise surprise, it’s the man who has been giving me trouble. He has a smirk on his face when he tells me this. I thanked him for the information, and left. I then called the local District Manager, who I knew from when I worked for Gamestop years beforehand.
I found out a week later that they had caught him stealing Collector’s Editions of different games that way, and reselling them on Ebay for much higher prices.
Three years ago I would go to a Gamestop in LA every other week. The people who worked there were smart and all around good employees. That was, UNTIL STEVE CAME. The store had a change in management and this guy named Steve took over the store. He was one of those nerdy, gross, all around unhygienic special snowflakes who had to have everything his way. He unnecessarily yelled at customers and employees for things that were perfectly okay.
One time I was in the store and he yelled at a couple of kids around the age of 8, because they were “fogging up the Gameboy games case” by breathing on it. He was also the Gamestop equivalent of selling drugs to kids. He forced people who worked at the store to charge kids under 17 10 bucks if they wanted to buy M rated games (which is punishable by jail time here in California, but hey, Steve gets what Steve wants). A friend of mine worked there during the time Steve was in charge, and he told me half the employees had quit, and store sales went down 70%.
Steve just never came in on weekends so luckily Saturdays were a safe haven for the store. Sadly, even with no-Steve-Sundays, the store’s lease ran out a year and a half ago. Steve and my friend were transferred to work at the register in another mall in LA. Steve was fired and banned from every Gamestop in California within 3 days.
Why was he fired? He threw a game case at an irate mother trying to return an unopened game an HOUR after its 2 week warranty was up. Whose mother was that? My mother. Fuck Steve.
Should’ve Known Better
(via Started as a Cleric and Ended up an Innkeeper)
There’s a local GameStop I reluctantly shop at because they never bother to update their prices and I frequently find expensive collector’s editions at clearance-level prices. The only problem was that a majority of the staff do not care if you’re alive or dead. I can’t remember a single time when an employee has picked up the phone.
One time I managed to find a new copy of the Anniversary Edition of NBA 2K10 (It was the one that came with the locker you could store blu-ray discs in) and asked the employee at the counter if everything was there since the box had been on display for quite some time and the tape looked like it had been resealed.
The employee continued to ask me if I was stupid because, “it’s a brand new game,” and essentially shooed me away after I paid. Not only was it missing a couple small items, the employee and his manager denied me a refund because, “I should have known what I was getting myself into with a display copy.”
Well That’s Pretty Accusatory
I bought two Gamecube adapters (for the WiiU) from Gamestop in store for my roommate and myself. I was lucky that I got it since it wasn’t even supposed to be in stores yet (restocked). I did order it online but it wasn’t going to ship for another month, so I was going to cancel it.
Next thing you know, my online order did ship. Of course I didn’t need the two I bought in store so I went to return it. I go into the store and the guy working asks me why I don’t need them anymore. I explain the story and he just scoffs at me. Saying, “Good, now someone who ACTUALLY wants it can have it” and “now you can’t make money off this.”
I’m sitting here saying to myself “what the fuck!” I do resell as a hobby but this wasn’t for that. If he really wanted to see if I was telling the truth he could have looked up my order history and seen that I did have the adapters shipped online.
Anyway, I end up contacting corporate and got a formal apology from the district manager. They offered to have me come back and get a game for free but I turned them down. I just wanted to be treated with respect regardless of if I resell or not. No one should be talked to like that at a place they spend money.
Dude, No One Wants To See The Back Of Your Car
During my last year of college, I stopped off in a Gamestop one day to buy my boyfriend (at the time) a copy of Dark Souls for the 360. He had already played the game several times on my PS3, but I figured it’d be nice for him to have it at his apartment and figured it was a nice gesture.
So I go in there and, not wanting to browse or anything, immediately ask the guy for a copy of the game. The two employees in front at the time (both male) were both like, “Oooh, you play Dark Souls?” with stars in their eyes. I explained that, no, I don’t play Dark Souls, but I do like to watch my boyfriend play it. One of them says, “Oh, well, that makes more sense.”
Already a bit peeved, I tell him to just check me out. Well, while that guy is ringing me up, the other guy goes in back, and when he knows he’s not going to get caught, asshole number 1, no fucking joke, WRITES HIS NUMBER ON MY RECEIPT AND SAYS, “Call me if you wanna see the back of my car sometime.”
Yep, this is a thing that actually fucking happened to me. Good thing he gave me physical proof to show his manager later.
The Finger Jabber
November 22, 2005... I arrived at a Circuit City about 5AM to find a small line of people waiting for the release of the Xbox 360. It was known there was going to be scarce supply, and yet retailers were keeping quiet on the number of units they had received.
As the store got closer to opening, some people came and tried to mix into the less-than-linear line, unsuccessfully, as we had remembered our own place in line, and we were talking together and had become familiar. People sent loved ones out for coffee and donuts for everyone. People brought extra blankets and chairs. I was talking to a guy behind me who said he wanted to get it for his son for Christmas for them to enjoy together.
Employees passed us as they went in to work. A manager in his 20s snarled something about a disorderly line and went inside. He reappeared 15 minutes from opening to let us know they had 15 Premium Systems, and 15 Core Systems for sale. The systems were by the registers, and he would hand out tickets for the systems so we could go in when the store opened and purchase them. Of course, everyone was counting up and down the line over and over. A different employee handed out the tickets. I was number 30; I got the last ticket.
I already had preorders on two Premiums at two separate Gamestops, but I was not going to get one until after launch day. I did not want to buy the Core and then buy all of the accessories totaling more than the $100 difference. So I took my ticket, handed it to the guy behind me, who was just about to leave empty handed and told him to have a nice Christmas, and he was overjoyed. I then walked up to the manager who was standing at the door, and asked him if any rainchecks would be offered or if future stock could be put on hold for those of us that waited.
He looked at me and said, “I’m not answering any more questions.” I was shocked and mentioned that we waited a few hours without any indication of how many were for sale, a number they obviously knew before they closed, and I felt that it was a valid question, deserving a bit less obnoxious of a response. He then felt it was necessary to touch me. He jabbed his finger into my chest three times and stated “Right now you are trespassing. You are not a customer, you are not able to buy something, you need to get off of our property before I call the police. I do not have to answer your questions.”
As I felt the blood draining from my face, and I felt my hands tighten, I had to force myself to leave.
Illustration by Tara Jacoby
To contact the author of this post, write to email@example.com or find her on Twitter at @tinaamini.