Confessions of a Game Store Clerk - Part Two

GamesRadar: Now let's talk about some of the personalities you interact with... starting with coworkers. What kind of conversations do you guys have?

#1: Too many to count.... a few standouts are Star Trek vs. Star Wars, best-looking chicks in a videogame and who would win in a fight... "fictional character #1" or "fictional character #2"?

#6: Yeah, Star Wars... whether or not Darth Maul was badass. Just to play devil's advocate, I had to throw Jar Jar into the mix. "Dude, Darth Maul's so badass!" "No way, Jar Jar is awesome!" "Oh yeah?! Well if Jar Jar is so awesome, how come Darth Maul doesn't have webpages dedicated to wanting him dead?!" "Because he's already dead. Because he sucks."

GamesRadar: What type of coworker's the best to have around?

#3: That's easy - the type that can work and talk at the same time.

#6: Right... the friends you can BS with when the work is slow, but who know what they're doing and totally have your back when the place is a madhouse.

#5: Those that receive and respond well to one-liners. It was usually too busy to actually congregate, so you only got to interact with others when passing them quickly in an aisle. The best is walking by, saying, "You did not" and getting a response of, "Swear to God, got it at Chunky's for two dollars."

GamesRadar: And the most annoying to work with?

#2: The ones who embellish their accomplishments or lie about things. Like the guy I used to work with who claimed Secret of Mana 2 was released in America in limited numbers, but was eventually recalled. Or when he told me that he was a "beta tester for Squaresoft." This was when he was 17 years old.

#5: Me: "So I hear you like videogames! We should get along well." Dork: "Yeah I'm a collector. I've got some really rare games." Me: "Oh yeah? Like what?" Dork: "I've got The Sonic Collection for Super Nintendo." Me: "...What's that?" Dork: It's all the Sonic games they made for Genesis on a Super Nintendo cartridge." Me: "Oh. You don't have that, because it doesn't exist."

#7: The hardcore anime/Japan gamer. They love crap like Naruto and Dragon Ball Z and insist that you should too.

#6: I'd go with the newbie, aka the "holiday help." They're typically young and completely retail-inept because there isn't enough time to legitimately train them on how to use the register. Instead, you have them fill their time with alphabetizing games, taking out garbage, and saying hello to every single person who walks through the door. The problem, however, is when they get cornered by the question-asking customers. This typically happens at the busiest point in the day. They tiptoe up to the counter to stumble over the customer's original question to you, and try to repeat the answer you gave them after. This normally leaves the customer more confused, so you have to stop what you're doing, answer the customer's question, and then explain the answer to the newbie in the hopes that they'll remember it for next time.

GamesRadar: Ah, the customers... let's spend some time on them. You probably have quite a lot to say. To begin with, what's the average one like?

#1: Male, age 18-25 consumer whore.

#3: Most customers are younger and seem like they need to go back to school. They smell bad, can't seem to ask an intelligent question but always have a dumbass answer.

#5: I worked in Southern Illinois. Some didn't have shoes. A few were missing extremities.

GamesRadar: Yikes. Okay, start with the good. Which ones do you like?

#8: The friendly, respectable ones who know your name, reserve with you and are loyal to you...

#1: Someone who knows what they're looking for and has opinions of their own, but is still willing to listen to the opinions of others.

#5: The type that doesn't speak to you and doesn't make a mess.

GamesRadar: The ones you don't like?

#3: People who asked the same question over and over. I hate having to tell someone we are out of stock on a game and they look at me like I'm lying to them and ask again.

#2: Yeah, like it's my fault they waited until the last day to stop by. Or the ones who ask which of X games are the best and they hold up X really bad games that I've never played nor ever want to play.

#1: Teens who think it's totally okay to copy cheat codes out of the strategy guides...

#5: My least favorite type is what I call an "LC," which stands for "Lonely Collector." Usually this is a 30+ year-old single dude who asks you for the rarest game or whatever, which of course we never have, and then talks to you about it for ages. They sometimes ask if you were into whatever it was they collected, but your answer didn't matter. They talk to you about it anyway, for an embarrassingly long amount of time. It's so awkward having to say, "Well, I'd better get back to work..." when your job should be talking to them, had they not made it so creepy.

#1: Parents who treat us like a free day care and arcade. They drop their kids off, tell them to go play on the demo unit and come back a couple of hours later when they're done shopping.

GamesRadar: Do you find that parents buying games for their children are well-informed?

#6: Are you kidding me? Parents don't have a clue.

#8: We inform them of the ratings...

#5: They know about as much about videogames as they do about their teenagers' sex lives.

#6: I love it when you get an 8 yr. old trying to talk his mom into buying Grand Theft Auto. I look at the parent and say, "I just need to let you know that this is a mature-rated game. You play a guy working for a mob boss who gets to beat up and kill people, take drugs, steal cars, etc. Oh! And you get to pick up hookers." The looks on the parents' faces is hilarious... and the loathsome look from the kids is great, too.

#2: Grandparents usually won't get the game after they're told why it's rated M, but parents seem to not care most of the time. "He's already played the others" or "he'll just play it at a friends house" are common responses. Then again, I've also dealt with parents who won't get their kids Pokémon because... well, I don't know. The lady didn't tell me. All I know is that he's not allowed to have anything Pokémon.

GamesRadar: What else do the customers have trouble understanding?

#8: That we ain't got Wiis!

#5: Backwards compatibility. What a nightmare!

#6: The return policy - or lack thereof - on opened videogame systems.

#4: Yeah, return policy. No receipts, no refunds. Pretty simple.

#1: But we aren't the ones who set the prices, the trade-in values or the policies. Don't kill the messenger.

#3: The benefits to reserving games. It's not rocket science. You reserve the game you want... then you don't have to go looking for it when it comes out. The money you put down goes towards the game, so you're not putting anything extra down. People think it's a trick or something to get their money when really it's a great service for gamers.

#2:...Probably chargers. They never know which Game Boy they have, and it adds even more drama because they think that the DS is a Game Boy, too. They somehow lose the charger for their Game Boy and they can't even tell me what it looks like. That's like losing the gas station for your car. I don't see how it's possible.

Charlie Barratt
I enjoy sunshine, the company of kittens and turning frowns upside down. I am also a fan of sarcasm. Let's be friends!