Jump to content

Your stories from gaming retail


dumpster
 Share

Recommended Posts

On 07/08/2022 at 16:17, DualSense said:

.  Then with loyalty cards and extra discounts when trying to compete with other retailers it was no wonder preowned was so popular with the retailers.

I've done an exceptionally long post on this forum about the EB/Game takeover but that's the crux of it   Game were a way bigger business, they had more stores, they were larger stores, had the better reputation and most importantly, they believed that they were doing really well.  But  no-one seemed to be aware that preowned margins were way higher  Electronics Boutique swooped in and made an offer on the company and everyone couldn't believe it. From the day of the takeover, Electronics Boutique hammered the introduction of loyalty cards, the ten day return policy and the pre-owned.  I had to go to my local council offices and ask questions about second-hand retail licences that very first day, because pre-owned, loyalty and 10 day returns were being introduced to the stores NOW. And that's the key thing, because no-one at Game seemed remotely aware of how much business they had been losing to EB.  You could buy a game with no risk - if it's shit, bring it back.  If you complete it in ten days, bring it back.  Then you could use your loyalty vouchers. And if you had no money, trade stuff in.  

 

You'd make a fiver on a new release if you were lucky, so trading a game in for £5 and selling it for £15 was three times the profit.  Game got bought by EB, the smaller company, because no-one at Game discussed margin, and EBs margin was way higher, to the point they could buy their bigger rival.  It felt like Pound Bakery buying Hard Rock Cafe but with hindsight, Game was all about the bottom line and many managers didn't have the business awareness.  All the company talked about was bottom line figure and growth from the previous year. When EB came in we have KPIs for so many different areas of the business, and it seems crazy looking back how much autonomy I had working for a.big national chain, doing pretty much what I liked.

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've kept these pictures for years, for the ironic chuckle they raise. A couple of the more memorable items handed over for trade-in without any sense of self-awareness or shame:

 

1354666501_MISPRDOSUMZDSEXBOX360papamoDUENNTLarge.thumb.jpeg.c865d5a4e33a127f2b6efe26442def77.jpeg646363561_IMG_0788Large.thumb.jpeg.86dd3ca92fc03d7577341d0cd7f09784.jpeg

 

The pic barely does justice to how filthy the consoles were. I don't know what goes through people's heads when they do this. I once turned away a 360 Slim because it was so caked in that brown 'smoker's home' residue it was turning my stomach. Also turned away a Gamecube because it appeared to be full of sand.

 

We had a guy come in pretty much every morning to trade in the DVD box set he'd bought the previous day. He never really got his head around the fact that he would get less back in trade for something than he'd paid for it. As a bonus he stank, and somehow over the course of every night he'd manage to get some kind of goopy substance over all his discs (I know, I know).

 

As retro became more obviously lucrative in the mainstream it was always funny to have some chancer come up and casually ask if we happened to have Symphony of the Night, or Panzer Dragoon Saga or whatnot, in the hopes us dopes working the till wouldn't realise their value.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember when I did a long stint without an assistant manager so was basically doing AFD shifts (All Fucking Day) in a store open 9am - 8pm Mon - Fri, 9am - 6pm Saturdays & 11am - 5pm on Sundays!!

 

I had both my launch Japanese PS3 console delivered to store. So many envious eyes! Not much work was done that day!!

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, T Pot said:

I've got some fantastic memories of working in game retail. The pay was always shite but the jobs were pretty good fun. 

 

- PS3 Midnight Launch. We'd had a big crate of 2L bottles of water delivered to the store by accident. We decided to put a couple in an empty PS3 display box and seal it up. We also sealed up a bunch of display cases too. Bagged it all up and then left it by the cash machine over the road to see if it would get nicked. We had a camera setup filming and had to play dumb when the police stopped out the front and returned it to our store at about 2am. 

 

- Playing tennis in the stock room using guitar hero controllers as the rackets

 

- A known drug dealer / user who usually tried to trade nicked stuff was trading in a pile of old games. When checking one of them a bit of white powder fell out of the box. There was a stack of cash where the manual should be. He didn't notice it, so I didn't say anythign. Traded it in, put it aside for a week and nothing was said, so I kept the cash. I think it was around £500. 

 

- We had a customer called Platinum Piss. Used to browse the PS2 platinum section, sticking of piss. He had one eye that looked in the opposite direction and he would come & pay. "How many coins" was his line, £5 game, 5 coins. He'd count them out 1 coin. 2 coin. 3 coin. He sounded like Gollum when he counted them out. 

 

- I remeber someone getting caught trying to steal from the store so he was turfed out. He picked up a public bin and threw it at the window. It bounced off and rattled him in the face.

 

- Using the remote to turn off the display console TV screens then scaring the kids playing it asking what did they do? Winding them up making them think they broke it.

 

 

 

Lots of sad memories though.  Far too often we'd have deadbeat parents trying to trad their kids games and consoles for drug money when the kid was at school. We also had a couple of instances when we had to get the police involved due to photos of kids saved on devices and another one where a 10-11y/o lassie had taken photos of a text discussion with someone telling her to perform sexual acts etc. They were fucking horrible. 

Omg! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Never worked in retail, but I made an observation in one of the stores in the 90’s. There was a promotion for Tomb Raider 2 (I think) and a model dressed up as Laura Croft was posing with guns and everything. She was surrounded by a mob of teenage virgins, and they just stared at her as she was doing karate kicks and waving her guns around. I bet she hated that gig. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Stevie said:

Never worked in retail, but I made an observation in one of the stores in the 90’s. There was a promotion for Tomb Raider 2 (I think) and a model dressed up as Laura Croft was posing with guns and everything. She was surrounded by a mob of teenage virgins, and they just stared at her as she was doing karate kicks and waving her guns around. I bet she hated that gig. 

 

I worked a booth at Gamescom 2013 for a the launch of Tactical Intervention. It was a fair size booth, we had a stage in the middle, DJ opposite and rows of PCs either side. For the week we had a bunch of women working the stall from a local dancer / stripper / show girl agency. 

 

I remember crowds of of guys just drooling over these lassies, speaking to one back stage and she said that it used to affect her when she started but at this point she loved it because she could get them to do anything. And she wasn't wrong.

 

They were giving out prizes and this specific  one was a GPU. The crowd were going ballistic as two guys were picked. The challenge? Strip to your pants, do ten pushups then run two laps around the booth. Now these guys were overweight clearly socially broken kids. 

 

They did it in a second. The whole time the lassies were dancing around the stage just waving the GPU and taunting the guys. 

 

The whole thing was just, really strange.

 

received_726220428368991.thumb.jpeg.7b81f58f6316dc7278bd52635d9fed9a.jpeg

 

received_985468388740237.thumb.jpeg.288157c85c9ff9535eda9f02536939af.jpeg

 

863204139_R(1).thumb.jpeg.8dd904f2914aeab30c8429b3773e5a2d.jpeg

 

esport_gamescom_by_kere_7.jpg.65270c89246c126278ce45b41368406d.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I worked as an Xmas temp at Edinburgh city centre's Gamestation. It was around, what I reckon was, the heyday of Gamestation's existence: the height of the PS2, GC, DS era, where 4 preowned for £20 or 2 for £10 (or was it £20?) guaranteed something great every time.

 

I'm not actually sure what I did there, though. I wasn't allowed on the tills, so I mostly recall standing around rearranging the games on the shelves into alphabetical order. I was probably there to help people but I don't recall much of that. Certainly no convincing them to buy Fire Emblem when they came in for Fifa.

 

The staff otherwise at the time were a good mix of gamers of all type. The managers didn't seem as much of ones but they were alright. I don't recall any pressure on the staff at the time even in the Christmas period and it wasn't too hectic or grim. Strangely no stories that stand out about weird or smelly people coming into the shop, so I hope I wasn't the weird one! One particular memory, though, was someone getting really annoyed on the phone when I wouldn't tell him when Ape Escape 3 was coming out. I really didn't know how to find out, man!

 

The only bad thing about the job was when I finished - before I used to go in pretty much every week to look for new games while trying to keep a low profile. After the job, I felt a bit embarrassed to do that when people would recognise me. It probably didn't matter looking back, but thankfully there was another excellent Gamestation in a Blockbuster nearby which filled the gap. I don't really remember much of what Gamestation was like after Game bought it. I guess I eventually started going back to my branch on occasions but I don't really remember it closing down. It's a shame, though. I miss that store over most of the others around town.

 

One other thing, talking about managers stealing from the store up thread. I may be misrembering this from another place I worked, but I seem to remember hearing something after leaving that the assistant manager got done for some kind of criminal activity in store. Maybe Gamestation weren't so security concious in those days.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I worked as an Assistant Manager then later as a Manager in Gamestation  just as they started their expansion into Scotland. So many characters both in staff and customer over the years. Lots of good memories but also can remember being told to push an awful football game (although don't remember the title) with a email from "Jeremy Gerkin" endorsing it (who was one of the head guys at the time). Up till that point Gamestation was pretty decent and we had built up a good trust with our customers. We, as a, store, actively took the decision not to push this title (which was getting absolutely panned in the press) and not to show it on our screens (even though it was commanded). It was pretty much at this point where I fell out of love with the job and it all went downhill. 

 

Having said that the managers conference was amazing and I got tons of free promos and a DS Lite, and most importantly went on dodgems with Charles Martinet who made Wario and Mario noises when we collided! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When EB started doing the trade-ins, I couldn't believe how little we had to offer for old games. It was mostly MD and SNES stuff coming in back then, and we'd have to offer £2-3 for a lot of games, going up to £12-15 for new releases that were still selling at full price. People would come in with a stack of 20 games and walk out with a couple of new ones in return. We'd then of course put all those games on the shelf at £5-10 under what they sold for new. 

 

It was a scam, and embarrassing as a member of staff to offer such shitty prices. But although some customers were pretty appalled, a lot didn't care and just wanted to offload old stuff in a convenient way, especially when it came to buying a new console.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was amazing to me how simple and abusable the pre-owned system was back at that time.  For something that became the main focus of the company (massive margins) it was done in such a simple way and pretty much every store (not mine, but probably mine on my day off, I've always taken things way too seriously) staff would not only have the pick of the pre-owned but also they just made up all the values off the top of their heads.  So a customer could go to 3 different staff members and get three different values for their stuff.  Then when it was traded in it became a code, which revealed the value it was traded in for.  For example 7405 was a playstation (7) game (4) traded in for a fiver (05).  So any staff member who's interested in a game can offer the customer less for it, allowing them to buy it cheaper, or they could offer more and simply swap the stickers around.  You wouldn't even need staff discount because that left an audit trail. If someone traded in, say 10 games at a fiver each, you could trade 8 of them at £6, then the one you wanted at £2.  Now I can imagine this sort of thing going on in a charity shop but this was a major chain store and was the most important section of the business. As was mentioned above, you'd get people asking for SOTN or whatever but the chances of any game of any worth when the staff would circle like vultures over anything half decent.  

 

Of course there was also 6500 which was anything (6) you could find (5) for free (00). The till couldn't do the maths on the margin so you'd find, say, a load of stuff in Andy's Records bin when they closed, stick it in your bargain bin on 6500 and even if you sold the items for a penny you'd make 100% margin, artificially inflating the whole pre-owned performance. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, T Pot said:

 

I worked a booth at Gamescom 2013 for a the launch of Tactical Intervention. It was a fair size booth, we had a stage in the middle, DJ opposite and rows of PCs either side. For the week we had a bunch of women working the stall from a local dancer / stripper / show girl agency. 

 

I remember crowds of of guys just drooling over these lassies, speaking to one back stage and she said that it used to affect her when she started but at this point she loved it because she could get them to do anything. And she wasn't wrong.

 

They were giving out prizes and this specific  one was a GPU. The crowd were going ballistic as two guys were picked. The challenge? Strip to your pants, do ten pushups then run two laps around the booth. Now these guys were overweight clearly socially broken kids. 

 

They did it in a second. The whole time the lassies were dancing around the stage just waving the GPU and taunting the guys. 

 

The whole thing was just, really strange.

 

received_726220428368991.thumb.jpeg.7b81f58f6316dc7278bd52635d9fed9a.jpeg

 

received_985468388740237.thumb.jpeg.288157c85c9ff9535eda9f02536939af.jpeg

 

863204139_R(1).thumb.jpeg.8dd904f2914aeab30c8429b3773e5a2d.jpeg

 

esport_gamescom_by_kere_7.jpg.65270c89246c126278ce45b41368406d.jpg


That was a great story, and thank you for the pictures.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Stevie said:


That was a great story, and thank you for the pictures.

 

I wish I had more as the whole week was brilliant. It was my first time out of the UK too. Unfortunately I had a HDD failure years ago and didn't have any backups. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, dumpster said:

 He spent the gift vouchers on an Xbox OG with Halo, and they left in the Rolls Royce that later collided with a truck, killing everyone on board before they even got home.

Please tell me you made this bit up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, dumpster said:

He spent the gift vouchers on an Xbox OG with Halo, and they left in the Rolls Royce that later collided with a truck, killing everyone on board before they even got home.

 

Surely he just held the X button and it flipped back over?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember being very happy with finding a PS2 copy of Ico in the Salisbury branch and a used copy of Rez in one of the many branches of Game that were once in Southampton.

 

I liked Gamestation in Southampton. Bought my 360 there, my PS3, 3DS. However I do remember one guy getting my game disc for me (Resident Evil 5 I think it was), as he was trying to put it into the box he dropped it, then trod on it, picked it up, wiped it across his jeans and then put it in the box.

 

I hated Game’s old price match trade in policy. I remember arguing with a manager/assistant manager as he stated the price match had to be the same day, but the Game website didn’t say this, it stated within 24 hours, so I’d do my CEX price match the night before and go in early the following day. Had to show them the t’s and c’s from their website.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ugh. Matching CEX's bonkers trade prices. It took a while for one to open near us, but once it did it was a nightmare. Typical example: We'd sell FIFA new for £45 (genuinely at a profit of about £1 thanks to EA's disdain for Indies). CEX would be selling it used for... £45, so would be offering something like £35+ trade. People would want us to match their trade in price, but our used copies at best - in the first week only - and at a cheeky stretch - might be £40. Extrapolate that situation to everything else and you have one of the many reasons Indies got completely fucked on the high street.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, dumpster said:

Remembering now a regular customer who bought a PS2, obviously tried to take it to pieces , broke it, stuck it back together the best they could and returned it saying it was supplied to him in this condition. Couldn't believe someone we saw so often and had a good rapport with (I still remember his name) would try it on so badly.  I told him that, come on, let's have some honesty here, you broke it.  But there is a way to help out regular customer. Offered to trade it in as a second hand console against the purchase of a new one. I'd "forget" to test it, but his worthless, rattling ps2 case full of pieces would be worth a £50 trade in.  He accepted. Bought a new PS2, and left.  I took his second hand box of junk,labelled it as faulty new stock, deliberately not writing on the store number, sent it back in the next lot of returns, then took a new one and put it in the pre-owned stock to make it all balance. Effectively we had a brand new sealed PS2 traded in pre-owned at £50. The reason for all this was because that morning we'd had a phone call from the make a a wish foundation and they wanted to have a dedicated member of staff to treat a dying child like royalty and they were coming in to make his wish come true. Sadly all he'd wanted was a PS2 (he could have been a little more adventurous I reckon) so they were trying to make his visit to the shop special and make a big deal of it.  So when Make a Wish arrived with the kid in a Rolls Royce we sold them the £300 quid package with one game, courtesy of the charity, but put it through the till as the pre-owned console which was brand new. Then we gave him £250 in gift vouchers, courtesy of the store. We made zero margin on the console, but the kid and the charity were delighted and it hadn't cost us any extra. The charity had pre paid the £300 so were delighted by our generous gesture. He spent the gift vouchers on an Xbox OG with Halo, and they left in the Rolls Royce that later collided with a truck, killing everyone on board before they even got home.

 

 

  Hide contents

Last line is made up for comic effect but the rest is all true.

 

 

Thanks for this. I read the last line and promptly laughed myself breathless at my desk for several minutes, hyperventilating, shoulders shaking, rictus grin on my face, tears streaming down and a little snot leaking from my nose. My coworker thinks ive lost it

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I worked in cinema retail not game, but have a few moments worth mentioning... 

 

About 1 year after the N64 came out, I browsed the small 2nd hand section of EB and found a N64 game for £10 boxed as new! After reading this thread It may have been the clerk offering their own evaluation on the games value making it so low. It was Mischief Makers! Maybe as it was 2d in a 3d world they didn't think it was worth anything. A big win for me! 

 

Worst launch day experience was 3ds at a local game. Massive queue to the till with only a couple of people on tills. Everyone upselling - even had what seemed like managers in line upselling to customers rather than helping speed up the queue. I was queueing for about an a hour and ten minutes, so left the shop at 01:15 ish. 

 

The upsell was a joke too - they were really trying to push the asphalt racing game, it had terrible reviews and I was happy with ridge racer. The manager*  said stuff like "it's better than ridge racer" "as this has licenced cars the developers have to put more effort into making the game, so it's a better game" (using a lot more words and general upsell talk) "the graphics are really amazing (shows back of box)" 

 

*only members of staff in a suit

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Use of this website is subject to our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Guidelines.