Wednesday, August 30, 2006

New Release!

And, sometimes I just get silly..........

So when ya closing?

Human beings have an innate longing to see each other fail. Somebody trips, everyone around them points and laughs. Nascar - if you don't see a crash, you feel cheated of your five hours of watching cars go around in circles. Bush gets elected for another four years. Watching others fail can make us feel better about ourselves, right? Seems like that same thought process translates into other people's businesses also.

I constanly have people come up to me when checking out asking, "so, when are you guys closing down?" I'm in pretty good with the staff there, being one of the three of them myself, so this usually comes as a shock. Did I not get that memo? I think since we're a small store people think we're doomed to failure. Here are some of the reasons why people have assumed we are closing up shop:

1) The shelving has been rearranged. We have the store divided by consoles, with DVD movies mostly in the middle. The owner likes to move things around every few months to keep things interesting. Everytime this happens, customers panic and think it's game

2) "You didn't get a copy of the new release (insert really obscure game here) in. Are you closing?" No, that game just won't sell.

3) There's more than two empty spaces on the shelf. All this means is that we have other customers with similar interests, such as gaming.

4) We were either closed for a holiday, or opened up five minutes late one day.

5) "I haven't seen the owner the last three times I've been in - are you selling the business?"

6) There arent any used consoles for sale. This is rare, since consoles come in frequently, but there are times when nobody wants to ditch their PS2, and we must be belly up if we don't have any.

7) The .25 cent candy machines are empty.

8) The demo 360 unit is switched off.

So remember people, unless the door is barred and it's pitch black inside, and as long as there are games to be bought and sold, we'll be there for ya......

Saturday, August 26, 2006

GTA: Corrupting youth without even playing it.......

There are a lot of little things you need to remember when working in a game store - the fact that Mario Party 5 trade-ins should include the microphone, most Resident Evil Gamecube games have two discs (although the case should give that away), Wavebird controllers should have the same settings on controller and receiver, and don't sell "M" rated games to kids. I've had some people argue that it's illegal allow a minor to purchase an "M" title, however this is not true: the rating is there as a guideline, it's not an enforcable law. Working at the store is a crash course in multitasking: you constantly need to run the CD cleaner, ring people up, answer calls, tell them when the PS3 is due out and how they're probably not going to get one unless they work for Sony, etc. So naturally, being spread so thin, I might let a GTA title slip out the door to someone who's not old enough to shave yet.

This was the case with one 15ish year old kid. He bought the game in the afternoon, and about two hours later he's back in the store with his dad. The kid's face is red and he looks like he's gonna explode. The father tells me that his son is not allowed to play this game, and is really cool about it. I was expecting some yelling, and got some, but not from the dad, this (fifteen year old, remember) started throwing the biggest hissy fit you've ever seen.

"Dad, why can't I play GTA! My friend can play it, you're such a f......... ass hole!"

"Now son, you know I don't allow you to play mature games....."

"Wuh wuh wuh mature.........I f........ hate you dad. Whatever." All this is said in the mocking, condescending tone, I wish I had audio I could play for you......

"Pick another game out son, you have store credit now......"

The kid grabs 50 Cent Bulletproof and say "I guess I can't buy this one either.........what do you know anyway.......god, you're such a moron......."

I have to hand it to the dad, he's the most patient person I've seen. If I had a kid who talked to me like that, you'd have GTA reinacted in the store as I drag the punk out and issue a reset on him, Mortal Kombat style. Thankfully nobody is directing this anger at me, just some domestic disputes at the local game store.

By now I swear this kid is almost in tears, still muttering things at his dad both out loud and under his breath. I can't remember what game he finally ended up with, but this time it was certainly parent approved. I can honestly say I've seen four year olds who dragged a copy of Shark Tale to their parents only to be denied throw less of a tantrum. Thanks to Rockstar Games for spoiling another one of America's youth................

Friday, August 25, 2006

Everyone is a tough guy

So i had some guy come in for a Madden. He wanted me to sell it to him tax free cause "All i have is 50 man." I told em...i couldnt help em...we have to pay taxes. He insisted that what i said was i told em to take it up with the state. He then kept saying i was full of shit and told me i was charging to much for tax. So i said 7%....gotta pay it. Then he tells me that the local walmart was selling it for 35$. So i told em "Thats good for them...go buy it there then."

So knowing he is not going to win this battle he tells his friend..."oh man lets hurry up and get outta here before i beat this kid up." I'm pretty avg for a guy....but this guy was almost dwarf sized and about half my weight...i couldnt help but smile and laugh a then what happens? Of course he puts Madden on the counter and buys it..full price with tax. Me being the cocky bastard i am sold it with a smile. Not just any smile...I probably coulda been the new joker with the smile i had on my face. Oh yeah, he paid with 60 dollars....haha...and once all said and done he told me thanks and have a nice day...haha..

Ya know....why do ya have to come in here acting like a tough guy for a video game...its my job to make money and i dont care who he is...hes not going to get it discounted cause he comes in and acts tough. Actually I almost overcharged him cause he tried pulling that crap. Just goes to show ya why i give up on people...what was he going to do if i acted more cocky to em...punch me and go to jail over a price of a video game? Really...we make dollars off new games...dollars...its not like i am getting over on anyone...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Why do some people bother...

There should be a test that people have to take to be able to use the phone or even to converse with others. This is the week that Madden 07 came out and basically all hell breaks loose. The thing that gets me the most about this day is the needy phone calls. Up to a week before the game shipped we got calls asking if it came out yet...when weekend hit....i must have took at least 50 calls...telling everyone "Monday....on Monday." Yes, Monday being a day store got them a day early so we started selling them off...and this caused more stupid phone calls...

I think the funniest one i heard was one my boss got. The person on the phone asked him if we had madden yet..and my boss said yes we have it...then the person on the phone asks how are you selling it already..i thought it wasnt out....then why the hell are you calling if you thought it wasnt out...did ya just want someone to talk to about it? I mean really...we have things to do.

I had a kid call me today and ask if its true that if you had madden 2004-2006 you get madden 2007 for free.....someone must be playing a sick joke on that kid...everyone knows the old madden games are worthless once the new ones are out. We buy them all day long for 1-2 dollars and sell them at the flea markets.

I swear if we didnt need to get some phone calls everyday i'd have it off the hook all day.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Some of whats to come!

I have not had to much time to tell a lot of my stories lately with Madden day and my girlfriend leaving for college soon, but fear not...more stories to come!

I have some great Madden day stories to well as inside store blunders from the craziness...I also have some stories about the good rather than the stay tuned this week!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Directions not included with some games....

Not everyone who walks into a store is a customer - there are some cleverly disguised patrons that wander in to certain businesses with other goals in mind than to buy something. These range from vendors who want to sell candy for "charity", people looking to use the bathroom (even though it's clearly stated NO RESTROOMS), vagrants panhandling for bus change, and the lest offensive of the lot, people asking for directions (not game manuals, but a verbal road map of how to get somewhere).

We're somewhat close to Atlantic City, so you get people asking how to pick up the Atlantic City Expressway from the store. Very simple, so I spell it out for them and they go gamble their savings away rather then invest in something like an X-Box 360. One time a regular was in when someone was looking to go to AC, so after I did my best navigation system imitation, the regular told me stories of when he used to work in the city........

He used to be a hot dog vendor, and always had people asking him how to get around the city. At first he'd help them out and point them in the right direction. But it starts to wear on you after the first 10 or so people ask each day, so he'd start messing with folks a bit. His one trick was to send them a way that would wind up exactly where they were standing now.......basically a large square without telling them the obvious "three lefts". Sometimes this would take creativity......

Then my favorite would be the "blind cutoff" - The aimless wanderer would approach the cart, and say "excuse me, can you tell me how to get to........", and right before they would give a destination, the regular would say "sure, just head down two blocks, make a right, follow that straight down and you can't miss it." 10 out of 10 times the person would say thanks and continue on, not realizing they never gave a destination! At least Mapquest doesn't have sufficient AI to start breaking your stones just yet...........

Monday, August 14, 2006

"Wanna buy my goods?"

One fine day I was working the store, listening to the arena rock On Demand channel (because where else can you hear Damn Yankees being played at least once a day?), when a teenager strolled in wanting to sell an I-Pod Nano. Sometimes we carry the newer technology gadgets, but for the most part we only deal with game consoles and game related accessories. So here's how the conversation goes:

"Hey, would you guys want to buy an I-Pod Nano?"

"Well, not at the moment, we sold a handful when they first came out, but not anymore."

"Yeah, I just found it in the's cool! You can even see the people's pictures on here, they just took a vacation to DC! Check it out....." (Ok, first thing, if you want to sell something that isn't yours, DON'T mention it isn't yours. Second, looking at someone's vacation pictures is like inviting yourself into their house and walking around like you own the place. I think it bothered me more that this kid peered into the soul of this family uninvited more than he wound up with their I-Pod. Then again, the owners should have kept a closer watch on it anyway.......If I carried around a piece of equipment over $200 bucks you better believe I'm going to know exactly where it is at all times.)

"Wow, that's neat......didn't you even think to turn it in?" - This was a very stupid question to ask on my part. If he's here trying to sell it, the thought of actually trying to return it to the rightful owners would be the farthest thing from his mind. But I had to see what the response would be. All I got was a simple -

"Ah, no."

I told him I couldn't use it and he went on his merry way. I'm sure the kids going to grow up to be used car salesman and use some line like:

"Would you be interested in this 1997 Saturn, sir? The previous drug runner owner just had the flood damage taken care of, and the replacement brake pads should hold out for about another three months."

Saturday, August 12, 2006

One day while working a group of about four twenty-somethings came in and checked out the movie section of the store. They didn't seem to find what they wanted, so on the way out they asked me for the new edition of Wizard of Oz.

I thought it a little strange, since most younger people are more into new releases, horror, and the like......Wizard is a good movie, but old and black and white in some places........and colorless movies are like Kryptonite to todays youth. Lucky for them I had a copy behind the counter that I just resurfaced. I showed it to them, and you'd think I just handed them the winning lottery ticket. Smiles, high fives, shreaks of joy, maybe even an orgazism or two.

I had to make a comment on why they would get so exicted over that movie, and they dropped the urban legend on me: You know whats coming.......Pink Floyd.......Dark Side........The Wizard synching up perfectly. They said they were all going to take it home and verify that it worked. I wasn't informed as to what exactly Pink Floyd had to do with flying monkeys, so I demanded an explanation.

The leader of the group explained to me that if you start playing Dark Side right at the end of the thrid roar from the MGM lion, the music would synch up with the film. And not only once, you can set the CD to loop and the trick still works. But what exactly does "synch up" mean, I inquired? Well, sometimes it's the lips moving with the lyrics, sometimes it's the subject matter of the song with the plot of the movie, but it's appapently magical. I have yet to try this out for myself, but one day when I can gather up enough of my friends and find a used copy of Wizard, I'll have to see this for myself.

Then I thought of other versions that might work:
The Wiz / The latest 50 Cent CD
Bad Santa / Any Toby Keith CD
Showgirls / Any Britney Spears CD
Brokeback Mountain / Any Lance Bass CD

Try some out for yourself and see if you can discover any movies and music that synch up!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Kick Me i must have a kick me sign on my back or something to the same effect that brings bad luck or something...I was sitting here on a dead summer Saturday morning...There was nothing going on..i was done all the work i needed to one came in...eventually this guy came in and wanted to get a cd cleaned....

We have a 20,000 industrial machine here that takes scratches outta discs and basically can turn any disc thats not cracked into a brand new shiny perfect disc. Including those GTA discs...but that is another story.

So...he comes in and asks about it...
Guy: So you can repair the discs?
Me: Yep..its 5 will make it perfect.
Guy: how does it work?

So i explain how it works....

Guy: So your pirating games?

At this point i was totally this guy that stupid..or does he have some other motive....but lucky for me...this wasnt my first day...

Me: No simply takes scratches out..not copying the disc.
Guy: But, the game is broken and your fixing it. Are you giving money to the game makers?
Me: No sir the company already got the money for this game. All we do is offer a service to fix the disc if its damaged.
Guy:So your not giving money to the company when you do this and your taking money outta their pockets.
Me: No sir..they already got the money....people mess their games up..this is why the sell things such as the game doctor....(which is crap btw....)
Guy: No...your pirating...whats your name?
Me: so i tell em...cause its not like its going to make a difference...
Guy: You'll be hearing from my lawyer...
Me: Ok no take a buisness card so you know how to find me..

The guy got all pissed at me and stormed out....needless to say..its been over a year and i havent heard from anyone or anything...go figure....

This guy was retired and prob bored and needed money and trying to sue anyone for anything....but try someone else who is a fucking idiot...and not someone who knows how to do his damn job....I deal with shit like this all the time...its why i have the job...

And for anyone who doesn't are allowed to make backup copies of games you own...your just not allowed to sell them...and resurfacing isnt creating a new disc...therefore we arent selling a copied disc...just fixing a damaged disc....which is perfectly allowed...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Beggers can be losers..........

Here's an incident that almost ended my retail gaming career before it even got started. This took place shortly after I was hired for the store, I think about my third shift in. I had several things going on at once, which is the usual when you're the only person working the store. I'm waiting on a guy in line buying a lot of new release movies, so spending that much money will get you most of my attention. Behind him is a store regular wanting to sell a PS2 set.

As I'm ringing up the movie guy, a colorful character walks in and starts talking to the ps2 lady. They talked like they knew each other and I didn't think much of it. Until I started to actually look at the guy - he's dressed in street gear, which isn't too unusual, but he's got his jaw wired shut or something, and he's holding some kind of drink in his hand. He starts talking, and I see a Flavor Flav style metal grill in his teeth, and after a few words I figure out what kind of drink he's carrying - beer. I don't catch the whole converstation, but the ps2 lady points next door, and he leaves.

She walks up and I start to hook up her set to verify it works. She explains that he was soliciting her for some bus money, and she told him to try next door. She was creeped out by him, and said he's drunk and I should lock the front door. Not a bad idea, so I start to do that, when the store owner comes in - which takes some pressure off of me. We mention the colorful character, and speak of the devil, he strolls back in and starts yelling at everyone - "why'd you shend me necht door - they didn't give me no dolla either! Ya coulda just said no....." I thought he was going to punch the woman, the way he was looking at her. He then curses off everyone in the store, and the owner gets into it with him. It took a fake phone call to the cops to finally get him to leave.

I ask the owner if this is what I have to expect all the time. He said no, and thankfully Flavor hasn't returned to the store, probably nursing that jaw back to health, which I can pretty much guess someone caused with a large fist to his face. Makes me appreciate the geeks who come in and talk you to death that much more: at least they are non-threatening.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Outrageous pricing

I had a customer once that was buying some PS2 games, and she said she would be shipping them to her family, who lived in Trinidad. I asked her about the gaming scene there, and she said it was expensive......MAD expensive. One ps2 game would cost $400 (is she thinking Neo Geo?) I don't know how true this is, but I know I'm not paying a cent over $200 for my lastest GTA cloned game.....

I had just purchased an original NES system and collection of games - we still deal with "retro" gaming, even though most larger stores such as Gamestop have phased them out. I had the set on the floor behind me, and a younger guy buying something said "oh, you're lucky to have a NES, they go for like $700 on E-bay!". I didn't argue with him, since I just saw it on ebay for around five bucks including some games. People just seem to love to inflate how much stuff is worth.........I tried to sell him an Atari 2600 for $32,000 but no sale ;(