We’ve all been in a game store; hell, I’ve been in one earlier today. Most of you, I assume, are the kind of people who get in, get what you went in for, and get out; no mess, no fuss. I tend to hang around, have a chat with the staff, ask how their days are going, because I used to work in retail and I know what it’s like.
But then we have the others.
You’ve probably seen some weird things as a customer in a game store, but you’ve seen nothing until you’ve worked in one. I caught up with a few of those who’ve sold games for a living, and collected some of the more unusual stories here.
Venture on, gentle reader, and see what life is like on the other side of the counter.
[All staff and retailer names have been changed in the interest of anonymity and not getting sued. Now they’re all named after cool video game characters. You’re welcome, sources.]
“I worked in a game store when I was 18, so think Ireland 10 years ago and female gamer shock. We used to have a guy come into our store every day, about 10 minutes before we closed. He’d buy a really cheap second hand game or DVD, then hang around and try to talk to me. He’d even wait outside the shop and try to follow me when I left work. It was super creepy.
“After a while of this, maybe a month or two, he’d come in and trade them all in again, and the whole thing would start again. It got to the stage that my assistant manager would drive me home after every shift. “
“There was a regular customer that used to come in every Friday morning to buy games. He was one one of those typical guys who clearly lives at home with their mum, and only leave their room once a week to buy games. Well, as with a lot of these guys, he was scared of girls, but for some reason particularly of me. If it was just guys on the shop floor he would do his typical walk around, but anytime he saw me he would head straight for the door. I was never mean to the guy, but this happened every time!
“We eventually started putting bets on to see how long he would take to leave once I came out. Then after a while we would bet as to what would be his reaction if me or another girl would approach him in the most cheerful way possible; you have to make your own fun in retail sometimes. The reactions were hilarious! I remember once he just looked at me and said "No", then just walked off. Another time, a different girl greeted him and he just froze on spot for about 30 seconds before walking off. There were a few like that, but this one really sticks in my memory.”
“Being a girl in gaming a few years ago was a little tough. We used to get a lot of dickheads coming in who would refuse to ask me any gaming questions. It was funny to see their faces when some of my male coworkers couldn't answer questions and would have to come to me to ask the imbeciles that would say straight to my face "No, I don't need help, you won't know it, I'll ask a guy". That was day to day.
“With time, I learned to deal with such douchebags, but the funniest was an actual lady doing the same antics. You would think females wouldn't be sexist themselves, but they really are just as bad when it comes to gamer girls”
Sexism isn’t the most surprising thing to encounter in gaming, as pretty much everyone can name at least one instance where they saw something a bit off. But that’s probably the weirdest thing, right?
“People used to leave their kids on our demo pods while they popped out to do their shopping elsewhere. I'm talking 5 year olds being left in the store for up to an hour at a time. We were retail staff, not babysitters.
“Overall, parents were just the worst, especially when they were stressed out. Christmas always resulted in us being accused of ruining little Jimmy's Christmas by hiding whatever the [insert hottest game that Christmas was]. The parents would always scream at us, even if it was Christmas Eve. I even had one woman start prodding her kid to make him cry to highlight what monsters we were for not having magically known that she was gonna come in and need this game last minute before Christmas.
“Yeah, we saw a lot of crazy in there.”
“Yeah, we got a shit ton of careless parents buying violent games for kids as young as six. I’d try to warn them, but most of the time they’d just shrug and buy it anyway.
“Kid wants it, what you gonna do?”
“One Christmas Eve, a parent tries to cut across a customer, ignoring the 30 person long queue, to try get us to get the games he wanted. So I say “Sorry sir, we have some customers ahead of you, please join the queue and we'll help you as soon as we can.”
“The parent, fuming and cursing, goes to the end of the queue. And he kept fuming and cursing the whole time, making huge moaning and pissed off noises, basically trying to turn the other customer against us for having a big queue. When he gets to the front, he comes up to me and says he needs Forza 3. At the time Forza 3 was a new release, just out in October, and this was 4pm on xmas eve! Sorry dude, no luck.
“But of course I don’t say that.
“I say ‘Sorry, we have none in stock at the moment, it’s been pretty popular for Christmas.’ And then it all kicks off.’
“The guy starts screaming stuff like ‘NO! You don't get it! I need Forza!’
“I try to diffuse the situation, telling him that we don’t have any at the moment, but we'll get them in in few days and to come back then. But he wasn’t having any of it, and starts screaming even louder that he didn’t care, we must be lying, we have one in the back, and he wasn’t leaving the store without it.
“After this, he stands at the till for like half an hour staring at me and my colleagues with the angriest face ever. And I’m not exaggerating, I mean a literal 30 terrifying minutes, until we had to call a security guard, who had to drag him out. All the while he was being removed he kept screaming ‘I just want to get Forza! Just Forza! And they won't sell it to me!’
It’s not just customers either; other staff can have their moments too
Continue reading on page 2.