03 February 2007

Munn-dane Writing: In Defense of EB Games/GameStop

I was hovering around digg and unfortunately came across this article from Aeropause. Titled "Hey GameStop! Stop Opening My New Games!", this whine-laden fiasco written by one James Munn is aimed at GameStop's policy of opening new games (hence the informative title). As lots of people know, GameStop is now the majority owner of EB Games, even those here in Canada. Since we have the same practice, I figured I'd take a shot at deciphering this crap-fest.

I stood there and watched the clerk open the cabinet and lift out a Sid Meier's Pirates designed users manual. I see him pop open an empty PSP case and slide it in."I said NEW." I replied angrily, having seen this before and knew what he would say
I'm trying to figure out what's actu
ally happened here. He would not receive an empty PSP case, they're simply not around. Unless he's told ahead of time that "this case was damaged during shipping, if you still want it in a different case we can knock off ten percent", there is absolutely no way he'd be getting an empty case. No, what he likely left out was that the clerk searched in the system for the game, found that one copy was left (the game is selling surprisingly well, so this is highly possible), and went to get the case from the floor. Afterwards, the clerk finds the game behind the counter, wrapped in (depending on the store) a Ziploc bag or a paper CD sleeve (like some PC games come in). I will say this now and reiterate it later: THESE GAMES HAVE NEVER BEEN PLAYED, THEREFORE, THEY ARE NOT USED. As for Munn's outburst of "I said NEW"? Yeah, retail employees love that tone. In fact, they get off on it. We know what you said, asshole. If Munn wanted some confirmation on the product, then he could try asking politely. I'm not his mom, I shouldn't have to tell him this...but then, if she had told him how to behave in the first place, he'd probably have kicked the jackass habit before it ever started.

*voice shaking* "This is new," I was furious at this point. It was cold and late and I didn't have time for his crap. "So if I walk out the door right now with that unsealed case then walk back in here next week with it in the same condition, you'll give me full return credit as a new game? I mean, it IS new after all right!?"

I have to say, "*voice shaking*" really puts me in the moment. It's like I'm there. Munn claims a furious demeanour. "It was cold and late and I didn't have time for his crap." Honestly, it was probably the same sentiment on the other side of the counter.

What Munn says about the policy is the main catalyst for my anger. It shows a customer who is uninformed, believes they know better than the employee, and is cheap. Unfortunately, a small, but noticable, percentage of customers are just like him.

Munn continues to claim he's had employees "trying to sneak the game into a bag" and admonishes GameStop for trying to "repeatedly pull this crap on unsuspecting buyers".

While I could easily tell him not to shop there if it bothers him so much, I'd rather drag that point out: "It's a pretty underhanded practice and even though I did end up buying Pirates yesterday, it was only because the game cost me $15 of a gift card." Reading Munn's glorified RSS feed blog (leeching news from Kotaku, Joystiq, etc.), it appears that at least three members of the Munn household "writes" for it. If James has such a problem with GameStop, his family would know, no doubt. So why are they buying him gift cards at a store he so despises for their "underhanded practices"? There's also this gem: "I was waiting for it and called them on it, but I'm sick and tired of having to do it every time." Man, what a rebel. That's like a Crash Test Dummy trying to tell Ford not to be a dick. Sure, you don't like it, but you'll be back.

What I'd like to know is wh
at Munn does at his game store. By that, I mean the one he must own, in order to know better. At EB Games/GameStop, we're stuck having to put cases out on the floor for display purposes. When we open the games for display ("gutting"), we do it carefully. We are gamers too, and we do give a damn about the product. When we gut the game, we print a SKU label, put the disc in a Ziploc bag, and put it in a drawer where it's alphabetized and safe. The display case is put on the floor, and the other copies are put behind the counter or in the back room, still wrapped. If the wrapped ones sell out, we're stuck selling the display copy. The display copy, mind you, is still brand new. It has never been played. So, we put the disc in the case, and seal it with a clear plastic sticker. It is still brand new. The consumer gains nothing with the purchase of the sealed one over the floor copy (unless the consumer has a bizarre shrink-wrap fetish, which I'm sure exists in the internet tubes somewhere). If a customer has a problem with it (granted, the price stickers can be a pain, but you deal with that at HMV and Chapters and no one complains), most of us, time willing, will get them a new case without price tags. Just ask.

The shrink-wrap and the stickers used to seal the cases serve the same purpose: giving the consumer a chance for a refund if they change their minds before they open the game. People will argue "Oh, well I didn't know the game was going to suck." Wahhh. There's a reason Blockbuster, game magazines, and GameRankings exist. If someone buys a game and either beats it or dislikes it within the 7 - 14 day warranty period, they should not be eligible for a refund. I know for a fact that if you try that at a CD store like HMV or FYE you'll get your ass laughed at. Why should a game store be any different? If you buy it, you're stuck with it. I'm aware that it's a corporate-friendly mentality, but when you're on my side of the counter you begin to understand why it makes sense. In the last week I've seen three articles on Wii mod chips, talked to a few customers about modding an Xbox 360 and sold a copy of Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories for the sole reason of exploiting the firmware on the PSP. So what's to stop people from buying a game, ripping an ISO of it and returning it? If you're going to do that, use GameFly, Zip or Blockbuster, they don't care. Why spend more money with more chance of not getting it back? Beyond the pirates, it's completely unfeasible to expect a refund on something you paid $50 for and don't like. Do your research.So what is the difference between a sealed game and a resealed game? There isn't one. Employees don't steal things from the game, and if we do, we're charged and fired. We are the first ones investigated if a copy of World of Warcraft comes back with a damaged or missing CD key. You're protected by a 7- or 14-day warranty (depending on what store you shop at), meaning if there is a problem with your game, even if you do the damage, the store will replace the game for you (provided you have your receipt, which is embarrassingly hard for a lot of people, it seems). You will get another copy of the SAME GAME. This is not hard to understand. If you were able to get something else, you'd be at a rental joint.

I honestly don't know what else to say. James Munn, you are a whiner. You and your ilk make retail the hell that it can be. Just because your game is not factory fresh doesn't mean the store is screwing you over. Go ahead, pop
Pirates into your PSP. Enjoy it and convince yourself you've had a victory over Game$top. Next time, think ahead about the awful trials you are continously privy to at our store and turn right the hell around and go to Best Buy. We don't want you.

Bonus edit:

I just wanted to mention one thing. Our stores have to have display copies of games on the floor. We can't afford to have a demo or promo case for every single game we sell (really, we can't. A game store isn't as profitable as you'd think). It is entirely irrational to expect a store to do that. If you get to the store and you're stuck with the last copy of the game, either suck it up and buy it or go somewhere else.


Anonymous said...

The pot calling the kettle black.

What about when you get a "new" game and it has previous save files on it?

Anonymous said...

Coming from another Gamestop employee, you forgot to mention about checking out games. For those wondering yes, we check out games, we always get it used if its available in supply. If we have it new and in supply we usually take the gut.

Anonymous said...

Yet another employee posting on a blog that sadly won't get as much facetime as the Bullshit anti article. We check out used games as Anon said. If you get a new cartridge game and it has a saved game on it? Sorry, they messed up and let someone check out a new game and thats against the rules. Hell if you want to bring it up to corporate go ahead and do it, but chances are noones gunna get in trouble. Either way, its a fuggin cartridge, Wash taht little bastard and it will be fine, who really cares?

Anonymous said...

Thanks man, its about time another employee stepped forward to defend the store.

I just wanted to say that as far as the cartridge goes, the person should have taken it back and spoken with the manager. If that was the gutted copy, it would have had the clear sticker or white price label on the box and they could simply look up who checked it out.

Finally, why the hell did an employee actually bother to check out a cartridge based game? Those are posted online within hours of being released. Dumb asses, I swear.

Anonymous said...

Haha, another EB employee trying his best to defend the store. Whatever your excuses may be, it doesn't change the fact that EB games is a shady business.