Monday, September 25, 2006

Play it cool, Postman..............

Working at a game store can teach you many lessons about life in general. Here's a runthrough of one transaction and the practical nuggets you can walk away with:

1) Try before you buy.
I had a customer who brought in a Playstation wanting to sell it. This is the old grey system (I can't even call it a PS One due to the remake), which some of you younger kids reading this might not even know about. Youngster history lesson: Sony made a console before the PS2 which was just called a Playstation, think of what you play currently but will no textures and all polygon-like. I knew these systems are old, so I was very careful to check out the condition. When trying the "open" button for the lid, it got stuck, and I couldn't pop the button back out.

2) Take a step back from your situation, you might see things in a different perspective.
I told the guy I couldn't buy it since it has to be fully working. So he took it back, and said "wait a minute, let me try something......" He whips out a knife and starts poking away at the button. At first I thought nothing of it, but this was a good size knife, a little larger than those pocket knives (nothing you could clean a fish with though.) Here's where I started the back-steppin'. I quickly realized there's a guy standing here with a knife, and it's possible things could turn real ugly real fast.

3) Play it cool.........
That goes for just about any situation, from hostage negotiations to talking to women to selling iceboxes. I figured that I could either tell him to put the knife away right away, no weapons allowed here except the kind that could frag an online opponent, or just let things play out. Based on the fact that he wasn't making any threating comments or gestures, I kept it cool. After fiddling with the Playstation for about 3 minutes he couldn't fix the button either, so he said "oh well" and left. Now if someone tries to unjam the drive door to a 360 with a shotgun, that's a whole nother story...........

Friday, September 22, 2006

I Want my Mtv!!!!!!!

Response to ADITLOVG (try to say that one....) has been great. Actaully, better then great. Not only have people found it to be a bit informative and good for a chuckle, some would even call it newsworthy. Mtv news worthy. Hunter and I scored an interview with Stephen Totilo, and you can check it out here. It was a fun time from the initial contact (which was a huge shock to me) all the way up until the final posting. Thanks to everyone out there who has been supporting the site! And if you are enjoying what you read, be sure to drop a comment, we like to hear from people.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Simon's quest............

Well, the kids's name isn't Simon, but he's still on quite a quest. The story starts out like this:

We're located in a small strip mall, so each business gets familiar with most of the other people who work in the stores there. Luckily there are food vendors, so lunch is never far away. Two doors down houses a bakery, great for when you get donut cravings. One of the younger bakery employees comes into our store, and heads for the old NES games. Nothing out of the ordinary so far.......until he goes to check out. I notice he's covered in white powder - this guy's not Tony Montoya, so I asked him about what's going on. He said they just had a food fight over at work - something that happens quite often. That must be a fun way to blow off some steam.......I couldn't very well throw games at people here, it would hurt too much.

We get into a conversation about NES games, and I learn that he's trying to collect a FULL SET of nes games. That's a lot of work, and a lot of money to be spent. Some of the rarer Nintendo Entertainment System games go for over $400, so this kid's got his work cut out. If you want to check his progress, it's all tracked on a webpage here.

On a completely unrelated note, I just had someone return a ps2 set because "it wouldn't play movies". They brought the movie in with them, and it wouldn't play becuase it was a Blu-Ray version. Already people are confused with formats, it's going to be a fun November......

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Telltale Television

Behind the counter, we've got a major part of the business mounted on the wall. If the CD cleaning machine is the heart of our operation, the 52 inch flat panel plasma TV is the brain. This beauty both entertains customers and get you through the long, dragged out slow peroids of the day. Today is the first Sunday of football season, so you know what's playing come 1pm. In fact, last year on a very slow day I was staring glazed eyed at the screen watching a slow paced gridiron game, and then it hit me: "I'm getting paid to sit around and watch football. This is the best job EVAR!"
I enjoy hockey more than football, so during last year's Stanley Cup playoffs, I was getting antsy waiting for the game. I had the playoff channel on about an hour before the game started, and they were running horse jumping, which if you are rich is called EQUESTRIAN. But for the rest of us, it's just horseplay. A customer is checking out, places his games on the counter, looks at the TV, and says:

"Wow, equestrain. You do realize you're watching EQUESTRIAN, right?"

Me: "Oh, I just have this channel on waiting for the Stanley Cup Playoffs."

"Not that there's anything wrong with that........." in his best Seinfeld voice. I guess he didn't believe me.

He used the word equestrian, I should have overcharged him.

Besides, Link rides a horse who jumps stuff, and he's cool, right?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Mr. Bring it back

So last year around when Madden 2006 we had a customer who bought a Gamecube and a Madden 2006. Everything was good and cool with the problems..guy paid. So about two days later the guy wants to return the item...says its not working..wants his money back. We test out all of our sets so we are always sceptical of these calls. Its rare but sometimes it does happen so we told him to bring it in and we will check it out. So he comes in and low and works perfect...and he starts the "it didnt work at my house" excuse... My boss has this unwritten rule...if they tell us the truth help em out..if they lie to us for no reason..then dont take it back. We are easy with returns...but we dont need your made up stories...just tell us you dont like it. So my boss tells him to be on his way and he threatens to KILL my boss...says that he will be waiting for him when the store closes and everything...of course he was all talk...

Fast forward to Madden 2007.....guess who comes into buy a PS2 and a Madden 2007...yup Mr. Bring it back....So by this time i forget what he looked like...and i sold him a soon as he left my boss told me who he was...and i was like oh crap.... My boss asked if i wanted to make a bet that he brings it back or not....but i the next day...sure enough..."my ps2 works with everything but my new madden" we told em to come in and get his money back...but he wanted another set... Giving him another set isnt going to matter since the one we gave him is we told him to just come in and get his money and go get it somewhere else.....

I forgot to tell my boss he called...and i left and sure enough about 20 minutes later! My boss calls me telling me who came in and we shared a laugh about it......and thus named him Mr. Bring it back...

We have nicknames for lots of the customers....Like coffee joe...who has a coffee everytime he comes in....Movie steve who buys a movie everyday....helps us know who we are talking about without having to describe the people....But i'll save that for another story!

Monday, September 04, 2006

1,2,3,4..........I Declare Console War

If you are reading this, then chances are you know about the next generation consoles due out in a few months, right on time for the holiday season. There are a good number of customers who come in and ask who I think is going to win the "console wars" - the X-Box 360, Wii, or PS3. I'd like to state my opintion on this subject by first saying: I HATE THE TERM CONSOLE WARS.

By referring to the introduction of new gaming systems from several different companies as "console wars", the media is relating the entire situation to a business perspective. And while it's true that money makes the world go round, I am first and foremost a gamer. This means that I really, really enjoy playing games, and could care less about Sony's business strategy or Nintendo's fourth quarter profit earning. What the console wars mean to me is that I'm going to have a boatload of new material to play in the near future, so ya know who wins the console wars? I DO.

As a consumer, the console wars world view also reduces me to a mindless peon, who votes for the winner in this contest by shelling out my hard earned money to the company that impresses me with the best new specs. Well guess what, I'm more than just a number on a fourth quarter sales report, I'm someone who enjoys the hobby and would rather have the software developers spend their time making games that are innovate and fun to play, rather than CD-length advertisements for their machines.

And in this "war", does there have to be only one winner and two losers? Can't each console sell well to the specific area of gamers it has been designed for? What these companies should do is combine their efforts, and use their strong points to create the most impressive piece of gaming hardware the world has ever seen:
The Playstation Wii60

This monster console would feature:
Nintendo's outstanding manufacturing quality. I still know of NES systems that run fine after a dust off. Both Microsoft and Sony have had known issues with their units breaking down or overheating. The big N could handle the production of these game systems.

Microsoft's online design. What first struck me about the 360 was the online content, from Live features to downloadable demos. Both Sony and the big "N" have been weak with the online department.

Sony's huge library of games, which just about cover every aspect of gaming, from keeping the little kids entertained to playing through a 60 hour RPG. The Gamecube is still being called a "kid's console", and the 360 is geared for upscale, serious gamers. Having Sony's library of titles and thrid party support would please just about anyone who picks up a game.

So remember, when the smoke and dust settles from the Battle of the Bulge taking place this November, if creativity and quality is delivered by all three companies, YOU, my friend, have emerged victorious in the Console Wars.