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It's mainly about the characters. There was ACAB, a guy who had ACAB tattooed on his head and other various body parts. I remember his ID having ACAB on it but can't remember if it was a bill or a driving license. There was Old Nazi with his swastika tatoos. The big lad who I banned for racist comments who forever more would shout "NOT A REAL GAME SHOP" every time he walked past. Smelly Goth who would hang around the counter and try to make conversation but he smelled like a drain (looked like he'd bathed in one) and had fingernails that were far too long.

 

What was always good for a laugh was porn on traded in consoles. You'd get PSPs loaded with filth. One time a woman brought a PS2 in so we hooked it up to the TV to test it, popped open the drive and there was a smutty disc in there. I said something to the tune of "We don't pay extra for this, sorry" and she said "Oh I know who's that is, I'll make sure he gets it back." She was a good sport.

Occasionally getting told we'd be waited for after work after giving what some people thought were unfair trade prices, or refusing a sale for BBFC related reason was a pleasure.

 

Speaking of BBFC, parents buying GTA for their offspring fell into 2 categories: those that had no idea, and those that never gave a shit. One time a woman asked if GTA III was appropriate for her 10 year old (who was stood next to her) and I defaulted to the "Kill a prostitute with a baseball bat and get your money back" line. The child gave me the filthiest look I've ever seen. You had to make your own amusement, really and spoiling childrens fun was a good way to do that.

@Sabreman most likely has a better memory and better stories. Most of mine are just a muddle of things these days.

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8 minutes ago, moosegrinder said:

 

Speaking of BBFC, parents buying GTA for their offspring fell into 2 categories: those that had no idea, and those that never gave a shit. One time a woman asked if GTA III was appropriate for her 10 year old (who was stood next to her) and I defaulted to the "Kill a prostitute with a baseball bat and get your money back" line. The child gave me the filthiest look I've ever seen. You had to make your own amusement, really and spoiling childrens fun was a good way to do that.
 

 

My favourite one was when they reply 'ah, it's nothing they haven't seen at school!"

 

Killing prositutes and running people over a regular occurance at midlands schools obviously

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Oh! We used to break street date all the time. It was the only way we could make the fucking shitty 8% mark up on new games. We'd sell them early, no bag, no receipt, rrp. We'd sell out of massive games on a Thursday and have to order more for the Friday.

 

When Metal Gear Solid 3 came out I was doing the rounds the day before to Game and Gamestation to see what their prices were and if they had offers on etc when the Game manager stopped me and said "We've reported you." I'm like "Pardon?" And he said "to the distributor and Konami for selling Metal Gear Solid 3 early."  I smiled and said "Ok."

 

It was pretty pathetic really. Obviously people would have gone in to Game and flourished it about because that's what people do, but we absolutely left no paper trail with it. I doubt the distributor actually fucking cared because they got another order out of the piss arse little indie who sold double figure copies of the game the big retailers would do hundreds of.

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5 hours ago, moosegrinder said:

It's mainly about the characters. There was ACAB, a guy who had ACAB tattooed on his head and other various body parts. I remember his ID having ACAB on it but can't remember if it was a bill or a driving license. There was Old Nazi with his swastika tatoos. The big lad who I banned for racist comments who forever more would shout "NOT A REAL GAME SHOP" every time he walked past. Smelly Goth who would hang around the counter and try to make conversation but he smelled like a drain (looked like he'd bathed in one) and had fingernails that were far too long.


Racking my brain trying to figure out which four forumites you’re referring to here. I’ve got my suspicions but I’m really not 100%.

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Things I miss: the outrageous "rumours". The many weird and wonderful characters:

 

  • The drunks hanging around the front door waiting for the shop to open, with a plastic bag full of cheap lager cans and their rentals (typically three different soccer games plus the latest mediocre blockbuster-movie-to-videogame) they needed to return.
  • The actual real-life pimp constantly haggling about the prices of games, always finding the tiniest scratches on either the box or CD a reason to knock £5 off the price. At one point the managers told him that he doesn't allow customers to haggle over his merchandise either.
  • The diehard Tenchu fan, who talked about nothing else and basically compared most action and/or stealth game of the day to you guessed it, Tenchu.
  • The obligatory hophead/weed dealer.
  • The weirdo who claimed had studied enough Japanese so he could fully understand the story of the import copy of Shenmue the shop had on display.
  • The self-proclaimed l337 hacker.
  • The scrounger who claimed he was a "professional PlayStation consultant" when all he did was hang around different game stores telling kids what they should buy for their PlayStation.
  • The one with serious anger management issues.
  • The actual computer whizz, who's now a part of the Fortnite engine team.

 

Things I don't miss: the overpriced imports, the rigged competitions, the completely inaccurate release lists, the managers treating their staff and clients like unavoidable nuisances, the (later arrested) pedo that did his "gaming business trips" to Thailand and the Philippines. 

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6 hours ago, Giddas said:

The funniest joke I ever heard in my childhood was in Software Plus in Romford told by one of the assistants.

 

"How does an ice cream man do a shit?"

 

Bloke mimics his arse going round in a circle.

 

Software Plus in Romford! Man, that's a blast from the past. I have some strong memories of that place, I still occasionally walk past where it used to be when I go to Romford (which isn't often).

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12 hours ago, DualSense said:

once that ruse was spotted the same manager then created a store loyalty card which was scanned on every purchase where the customer didn't use the loyalty card.  It got spotted as the card had many many thousands of points on it. 

 

Our fake loyalty silo was under the name Darth Vader.

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I've never worked in retail, hut would obviously spend a good bit of time in games shops. One incident that sticks in mind was in the PS2 days, a quite posh sounding and well dressed guy in his 40s really couldn't get his head around why he couldn't just do a straight swap of his used game for a new one. His (loud) justification for this was that they were still selling the game he was trying to trade in for the same price as the game he wanted to trade it in for.

 

I'm also trying to remember who told me this one, I think it was a mate of a mate who worked in the Manchester Arndale shop. Pretty much every weekend, they'd get parents who would leave their kids in the shop while they went shopping. They didn't mind so much, because they wouldn't leave them for very long. But one day, a woman came in as the opened with a little kid, who was maybe 6 or 7. She plonked him in front of a demo pod and said "stay there, here's your lunch, I'll be back at two". The guy working there fortunately heard this and ran over to tell her she couldn't do that. He said he felt kinda sorry for her because she had a shift in one of the other shops and had noone to look after her son, but he literally had to threaten to call the police to stop her from leaving him there for five hours.

 

Whenever I worked on a stand at ECTS for whatever games company I was at, we'd always wonder how Game, Gamestation and EB managed to stay in business when they all employed at least 40 to 50 Directors of Purchasing, National Buying Managers and VP of Global Purchasing. They were all in their early 20s and they were all after freebies...

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I didn't work in retail but we had a games event at my work.
A colleague and I were down in the public atrium, where the event was taking place, reminiscing about Punch Out - specifically the King Hippo fight. My colleague said - "You had to punch him in the gut and then, when his shorts fell down you could lay into him". At which point, a completely outraged old bloke butted in and exclaimed "You shoudln't be punching ANYONE in the gut!". He then made a swift exit as we tried to explain we were just talking about a game. He wasn't having any of it.
We probably could have got a warning for that if he'd actually made a complaint, even though it seemed perfectly innocent. I guess it's easy for things to be misconstrued.  

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14 hours ago, Gabe said:

Software Plus in Romford! Man, that's a blast from the past. I have some strong memories of that place, I still occasionally walk past where it used to be when I go to Romford (which isn't often).

 

When I made the mighty leap from Vic-20 to Amiga A500 it was superceded by LAN Computing in Chadwell Heath

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On a more positive note. I remember when the dreamcast hype train was in full force... at least it was for me and my best friend. buying any magazine with new info. getting absolutely psyched for it. 

 

I remember waiting for about 40 minutes to download a 30 second postage stamp sized video of sonic adventure but still being wowed by the graphics. 

 

Then day wandering into the indie games shop to find that they had a Japanese import. live in the flesh. running Tokyo highway battle or whatever it was called. we'd hyped ourselves so much for this console that it was like spotting a celebrity or something, I was star struck. 

 

So I guess despite lots of stories of poor personal hygiene and petty theft, there could be something wonderful about a games shop and games discovery that has gone with high res YouTube videos 

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1 hour ago, cowfields said:

So I guess despite lots of stories of poor personal hygiene and petty theft, there could be something wonderful about a games shop and games discovery that has gone with high res YouTube videos 

Without doubt, the most fun days of buying games was back in the days of only having a cover to go on. Such a voyage of discovery!

 

1 hour ago, Giddas said:

 

When I made the mighty leap from Vic-20 to Amiga A500 it was superceded by LAN Computing in Chadwell Heath

Ah, my local became Software City in Gants Hill, though there was also Thatz Entertainment in Romford Market, where I used to look in awe at the Sega Master System games.

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I my last two years at university working at the games counter in Toys R Us in Birmingham. I also had the issue of parents wanting me to hand copies of Vice City to their kids and apart from only managing to sell one PC in two years when my target was one a day I haven’t got any stories that compare to what other people here have experienced. In fact my main memory is the times woman walked off in tears because I couldn’t find a copy of The Getaway she’d purchased with the ticket system when it was the hottest game that year and out of stock everywhere else. It finally turned up at the end of the day because whoever stocked the shelves in the storeroom the customers collected their games from had put them at the bottom of the pile of games next to The Getaway on the shelves and they reappeared copies of that game sold out during the day. So I know I ruined at least one child’s Christmas when I worked there.

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I started off in Future Zone, which then became Electronics Boutique. It wasn't much fun after that really, with the pressure to sell and upsell and stand on the shop floor greeting everyone instead of just helping customers when they actually wanted it. And gone were the days of setting up a couple of PS1s behind the till and playing co-op Doom all day when it was quiet. Sure, Future Zone was probably failing terribly before the buyout, but I wasn't concerned about such details. Plus I never got a pay rise for all the extra stuff I had to do.

 

Short anecdotes - Gordon Strachan used to come in sometimes. He was a Coventry player at the time. One day I sold him Championship Manager 2, and a few months later he became the Cov manager, so that's a pretty good advert for it I guess.

 

Another time a local developer came in wanting to ask us about the kind of cover art he might put on his game to stand out on the shelves. He also gave us a demo of the game. Trying to be positive, I said I reckoned it would be good when it was finished. He said it already was finished. It didn't sell well when it came out. Now I'm a critic. 

 

To my eternal shame, I stayed quiet when a kid came to the counter with a copy of Rise of the Robots on SNES and proceeded to count out the entirety of - presumably - his Xmas money and pocket money savings. £60. Streetfighter II Turbo was right there next to it on the shelf. Still, I suppose such errors are part of the learning process. 

 

The manager got into a blazing row with a customer who wanted a refund on the 32X he's bought his kid for Xmas, because it was shit. Obviously he had a point, but we only gave refunds on faulty stuff at that time. He eventually had to walk out with £170 of gift vouchers. He then contacted head office, which caved in and told him he could have the refund, so he got to come back all smug for his money. The manager left soon after that.

 

Finally, the launch of the Saturn was by far the most pathetic thing I've ever witnessed in retail. It's hard to grasp what Sega (Europe) must have been thinking at that point. No wonder it failed.

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God that post brought back a triggering memory, you sound like you had the same situation as me.... Where Future Zone for bought by Electronics Boutique, I worked for Game for a few years, loving it, before EB bought them too. And like you say, we started approaching every customer that walked in, pressure selling, upselling etc. What specifically was an issue for me was that my Game store was twice the size of EB 2 doors away, my bosses had briefed me to "bury EB" and we did everything we could to steal away their business. We'd accept their gift vouchers, make jokes at their expense, beat prices, we even opened with 20% off everything across the whole store, in the run up to Xmas.  

 

Then EB bought Game and the manager and Area Manager I'd been very sarcastic to for weeks became my bosses.  Gulp.  

 

EB brought product loan, but other than that their business appeared to me to be entirely run by humourless bastards with no interest in the subject.   They started off as a greetings card company and would have been equally happy selling anything - it was weird to have a boss calling our regular customers dorks, and having no interest in playing a game. I'd never been stressed and miserable at work and suddenly I was, doing ostensibly exactly the same job in the same store where I was really happy.

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On 04/08/2022 at 13:49, schmojo said:

I had a great time working for both Gamestation and Game. 

 

Had an entertaining colleague who used to swear at me through the CCTV camera speaker over my shoulder and I was dealing with customers. We had a kickabout with Champ Man promotional balls that wrecked the shop's merchandising as was shown to us on CCTV the following day.

 

Back when I drank slightly too much, and as a result had to recover too much, the hero of a manager would ask if I fancied being in the back for some shrink wrapping instead of public facing. Though that was for her benefit as much as mine, and I'm not sure the confined plastic fumes helped. But man, if I couldn't wrap a Master System 1, 6 games and the little arcade stick nobody could.

 

Obviously there were plentiful creatures on both sides of the counter, myself included, but it's all fondly remembered. Even met a partner of 4 years working there. Shout out to the Newcastle and Leeds dirtbags.

 

 


I used to love the Leeds Gamestation. My fondest memory was asking if they had any Snes games, maybe around 2004, and this chap, maybe you?, gets a large suit case out from under the counter filled with Snes carts, some absolute gold in there. Secret of Mana, Terranigma, LttP, Metroid, all the best ones. Gave me them for a fiver each :)

 

Around the same time I popped in and they had some Mega CD games just come in. I ummed and arred between Sonic CD and Snatcher, both a fiver. Picked Sonic, then thought why not buy both! Went back half and hour later but Snatcher had gone. That was always the one that got away

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Love reading these. I have to sympathize with anyone who works in retail, some of the characters you have to deal with. I have only ever been a customer of some of those stores and have seen (and smelt) some of the characters you describe, and some of them were actually the staff.

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10 minutes ago, erhgiez said:


I used to love the Leeds Gamestation. My fondest memory was asking if they had any Snes games, maybe around 2004, and this chap, maybe you?, gets a large suit case out from under the counter filled with Snes carts, some absolute gold in there. Secret of Mana, Terranigma, LttP, Metroid, all the best ones. Gave me them for a fiver each :)

 

Around the same time I popped in and they had some Mega CD games just come in. I ummed and arred between Sonic CD and Snatcher, both a fiver. Picked Sonic, then thought why not buy both! Went back half and hour later but Snatcher had gone. That was always the one that got away

 

Alas, wouldn't have been me. I was only part time at both, and only Game in Leeds. Would've still been in Newcastle around that time.

 

The old, old Gamestation in Leeds (the second in the country, I believe?) was pretty great. I bought my first Saturn from there second hand for (I think) £150. New Generation Consoles on Mill Hill was always an exciting place to see brand new import shit too.

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On 04/08/2022 at 19:00, moosegrinder said:

Oh! We used to break street date all the time. It was the only way we could make the fucking shitty 8% mark up on new games. We'd sell them early, no bag, no receipt, rrp. We'd sell out of massive games on a Thursday and have to order more for the Friday.

 

When Metal Gear Solid 3 came out I was doing the rounds the day before to Game and Gamestation to see what their prices were and if they had offers on etc when the Game manager stopped me and said "We've reported you." I'm like "Pardon?" And he said "to the distributor and Konami for selling Metal Gear Solid 3 early."  I smiled and said "Ok."

 

It was pretty pathetic really. Obviously people would have gone in to Game and flourished it about because that's what people do, but we absolutely left no paper trail with it. I doubt the distributor actually fucking cared because they got another order out of the piss arse little indie who sold double figure copies of the game the big retailers would do hundreds of.


Your piss arse little indie was awesome :) 

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I have never had a retail job in my life AND am sure I’ve told this story  before… but anyway.

 

In the early 90s my friends and I were in a games shop in Cardiff, which I’m sure was simply called Virtual Reality because some of the shop was given over to Virtuality machines you could use for £1 a go.

 

In walked local sports hero Colin Jackson with another bloke and they were perusing the Mega Drive section. He was very much taken with Desert Strike. He told his mate he was going to buy it. His mate said ‘But you don’t even own a Mega Drive’.

 

He had a look of concentration on his face then said ‘OK, I’ll buy one of those as well then’ as he grabbed one of the shelf.

 

We were in awe.

 

Still confused why he went to a shop to look at Mega Drive games though if he didn’t have one.

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