from the inside
Here is an excerpt from a letter I got from a game store employee. I chose this letter because it covers many of the same issues I got from other employees.
...The store manager is the only one who cares about you reserving games. If the other employees care, it’s only because the manager found some way to make them care. Otherwise we really don’t give a crap. But managers often care a LOT, because almost their entire performance reviews by the district managers are based on their reservation percentage and their subscription percentage (that Game Informer 10% off card I’m sure you’re bombarded with if you ever buy a used game from GameStop). I’ve seen several managers get fired because their numbers were too low, since their numbers reflect the numbers of the district manager, who’s in charge of hiring and firing store managers.
Since reservation numbers are based on the percentage of sales, the store manager probably does not even WANT you to buy a game if you haven’t reserved it. It gets worse. Sometimes managers will instruct their employees not to sell a game that the person didn’t reserve in order to “teach the customer a lesson” about reserving games. What I’m saying here is that it’s very possible that there was a small stack of Otogi copies behind the counter that no one would sell you because they want you to reserve your games in the future. I’ve personally witnessed this happen numerous times with two different managers. They don’t care that the company misses a $50 sale, they only care about getting their customers to reserve games in order to make their own numbers look good. This is very common policy.
Another problem is that sometimes NO extra copies are ordered beyond those that were reserved. At my store, four people reserved Disgaea, and we got four copies in. Apparently the company doesn’t realize that when four people reserve something, at least ten more are going to ask for it the day it’s out without having reserved it, and that’s exactly what happened.
Managers absolutely hate it when we get in enough copies for everyone beyond those who reserved it. My manager was literally cringing when we got about 60 extra copies of Soul Calibur 2 after the reserved copies were held. I, along with the other employees, were instructed to tell people that if they didn’t reserve it, we MIGHT have one or two copies left, and that they had lucked out this time, so they’d better reserve games in the future. Imagine my embarrassment when I had to say this after quite visibly going through a stack of 20 extra games.
I got tons of mail regarding pre-orders, lots of it from game store employees. One thing they almost all told me is that nine times out of ten they actually have the game you want but if you didn’t pre order it they are told not to sell it to you. Lots of them even used the same terminology, that is to say “teaching the customer a lesson”. Which makes me think this is an extremely common practice.
I worked at circuit shitty long enough to understand the various relationships between employees, store managers and district managers. That is why I have no animosity towards the clerks or even the managers at these stores. I know they are just doing what they are told to do. I had to do some pretty messed up shit to people at circuit city in order to sell them extended service plans. I remember one old man who told a friend of mine that he didn’t need the extended service plan because he wouldn’t live that much longer. Whenever you couldn’t get an extended service plan yourself you were often told to call a “closer”, usually a manager who would come over and make an ass of themselves. In this particular case the “closer” was the store manager and when the old man repeated that he would in fact not live long enough to use the extended warranty the manager said “Ahh, but that is the beauty of the circuit city extended service plan, it stays with the product. So after you pass away whoever you leave your TV with will still be able to benefit from it.” It’s hard to believe that one human being could say that to another human being but I swear it’s true. That’s why I don’t blame these guys that work in these stores. I know the kind of inhuman fucking monsters they work for.