Confessions of a Game Store Clerk - Part Two

GamesRadar: So what is the stupidest conversation you've ever gotten into with a customer?

#1: There was this one guy who used to reserve everything using his character name from Everquest...

#2: Countless times I've heard customers go on with the "I just bought 'blank' and now you're telling me they don't even make games for it anymore" speech. Apparently that's how they "get your money." Sir, it was your choice to buy a Dreamcast at a pawn shop in 2007, not mine. Just last week a guy called and asked if we had any top loading NES consoles. No, and if we did, I would have bought them all by now. Then there's always, "You don't have 'em? Then where am I supposed to find paddles for my Sega!?"

#5: Me: "Hi, can I help you find something?" Her: "Yes, I'm looking for Mario Bros. for PlayStation." Me: "Oh. Well, they don't make it for PlayStation. We've got it for several Nintendo systems." Her: "They do too make it for PlayStation!" Me: "Trust me, they don't. Sony and Nintendo are in competition with one another, and Mario games are one of Nintendo's biggest sellers. They'd actually be helping their competition by making a Mario game for PlayStation, and they'd never do that." Her: "I saw it here last week!" Me: "... ... ...We're sold out." Her: "Oh, darn. Thanks anyway!"

GamesRadar: And the dumbest fact ever uttered by a customer?

#2: That the Xbox 360 can play UMDs.

#7: That Kingdom Hearts 3 is going to be on the Wii. Oh, and that it's going to feature Mario wielding a key blade.

#6: I had a customer absolutely swear that if he placed a slice of white bread on top of his Playstation, it would play DVDs without fail. Not wheat, mind you... and a bagel doesn't count either. It was absolutely ridiculous, but he swore up and down that it worked. It wouldn't play them unless there was a slice of white bread on top of the machine.

GamesRadar: And the most confused you've seen a customer? Maybe some mixed-up titles?

#2: "Pook-a-Man Smack" instead of Pokémon Snap is one. When I first started working there, a lady came in with a Christmas list and was looking for, "Deeno Crisis, Deeno Crisis 2, Deeno Crisis 3, Deeno Crisis 4 and Final Crisis." I've heard The Legend of Zelda: "The Orca of Time" several times. Of course, there's always Game Boy DS, Play Boy, Nintendo GameBox, and Game Boy Advanced... with a "d," which is apparently "too advanced for my kids. Where's the regular Game Boy?"

#1:SOCOM pronounced "So dot com" or "Sock 'em." Deus Ex pronounced "Deuce Ex" or Otogi pronounced "Audigy."

#6:SOCOM was "Suck 'em" and GTA was "Grand Auto Theft"... man, there are a ton more that I simply can't think of. It did drive me crazy when people would want "a remote" or "a paddle" for a system. "It's a freakin' controller people!"

#3: Someone asked if we still carried the "Gencaster." That would be kinda cool - a Genesis and a Dreamcast.

#2: Customers still don't know what the hell the PSP is, which is evident because the only time we sell games for PSP is when someone grabs one thinking it's a PS2 game. Kid: "Wow. They changed the box size! Look how small it is." Mom: "What did you buy?" Kid: "A PlayStation game." Me: "That's actually a PSP game." Mom: "A what?" Me: "PSP. The handheld." Mom: "Oh, he doesn't have that. We'll take the PlayStation version, then." Me: "Actually, they don't make that game for PlayStation 2. It's only on PSP." Mom: "Maybe Wal-Mart has it."

GamesRadar: Does your advice and information ever get through to them?

#7: I feel that what I say goes in one ear and out the other.

#1: If they ask for my advice, it generally means they're open to receiving it. When I offer it without being prompted, it usually meets with a less-than enthusiastic response.

#2: If I intervene and tell them that Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 is a better game than something like Drake & Josh or Unfabulous, sometimes they'll listen. Sometimes they approach the counter with the original rubbish game they were going to get, though.

GamesRadar: Do they ever try to bargain with you?

#4: All the time...

#1:...To which I would answer, "We're not a flea market, man. We're a business."

#5: Yes, it's hilarious. Is this your first time in a retail store?

#2: "How much can you take off of this? Come on. I spend a lot of money in here!"

#8: "I'll take you out to dinner." That's what I've been told...

#6: They always want a controller thrown in for free if they buy a system... on top of the one it already comes with.

GamesRadar: Almost afraid to ask, but what is the absolute worst behavior you've seen from a customer at your store?

#3: Oh, I've been called every cuss word in the book. Threats made on my life. There was one guy who even threw a 32 oz. Coke he got at McDonalds at me.

#6: The most appalling behavior came on the release day of GTA: Vice City. We were expecting to get the shipment at 8:30 AM and were going to open early for it. The shipment was late, so we placed a sign on the door apologizing and notifying the customers that we'd open as soon as we got the shipment. We had a mother walk in around 11:00 AM with a kid that couldn't have been more than 7 or 8 years old. She was livid and wanted to know why we hadn't opened on time. Said it was inexcusable and had the nerve to let us know that her son was late to school because he couldn't get his game on time.

#2: Customers threaten with the good 'ol "give me corporate's number" bit all the time. I don't know how many times I've heard "I'll never shop here again," only to see them in the store a week later. Sometimes the person at the service desk gets threatened with violence, but not often. That usually happens around Christmas.

#5: The idiot customers attending the dreaded "Black Friday" made two lines despite our clear instructions on where to go to follow the one line. Some poor seasonal/temporary worker was called in to combine the two lines and one of the guys who had to merge a few carts back got so pissed he spit in the seasonal guy's face. And for just a few carts back.

#1: I remember this one guy who only bought WWII or Vietnam-era FPS games because he just wanted "to kill the krauts and the _____." (Ed. note: Another insensitive racial slur... use your imagination.) He was disappointed in most of the games because they were T rated and didn't show blood.

#8: Well, how about a gun being pulled on you... a car running through your store... someone pulling a Mission: Impossible act through the ceiling at your store... a knife being pulled on you... and being stunned my a stun gun. I think that's enough said there.

GamesRadar: Wow. But do you feel like the customers themselves are ever mistreated by your store?

#1: Not at all. We still had to keep to the adage "the customer is always right," even when they were total asses. We knew that if push came to shove, corporate would side with the irate customer long before they'd back up an expendable employee.

#7: They never receive treatment that they don't deserve. My store is very quid pro quo.

#6: And considering the amount of crap we have to put up with, the customers are lucky we don't kill them.

GamesRadar: Okay. So if you could say one thing to all of your future customers, what would it be?

#6: I don't set the price on the games, and I don't determine how much to give a customer for a trade-in. Don't bitch to me about the price. If you don't like it, buy the game somewhere else, or bitch to corporate headquarters.

#7: Become a regular. Patronize one location and come in once a week, or every other week, and get to know the guys behind the counter. It's the best way to get us to help you out.

#5: Use the Internet. Become informed. Know what you're asking for.

Continue on...
Part Three - The Games, The Fanboys, The Aftermath, The Regret

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!