26 October 2010

Confessions of GameStop Employee

A few short days before Crispy Gamer suddenly stroked out, pooped itself, and went to website heaven--R.I.P., old girl--I met a man who had recently done a stint behind the counter at a New York City-area GameStop. As he told me his tales of woe, I began to write them down, hoping to turn the stories into a much larger piece for CG.

Once CG gave up its ghost, I figured there was no reason for this story--which felt important to me--to die along with it. The result: a massive seven thousand-word piece that my friend, writer and editor Susan Arendt, agreed to publish in The Escapist Magazine.

Susan helped trim the story down to a more manageable size, then came up with the idea to split the story into four smaller sections and run it over the course of four weeks. She also urged me to change the pseudonym of the protagonist from "Peppy Hare" to "Ben" (another good call, SA).

Whether Peppy/Ben is dealing with irate moms, learning the fine art of "gutting duty," schooling kids in Super Smash Bros., or putting a stop to budding criminals, his stories consistently offer cool, oddball insights into videogame culture.

A sample:

"Gamers on message boards constantly say - and yes, they typically write the following in caps - 'HOW CAN THEY SELL AN OPEN COPY OF A GAME AS NEW WTFFFFFFF GAMESTOP SUX BALLZ?' The answer from GameStop's corporate perspective is this: Gutting keeps shrink to a minimum. Definition of shrink: Customer theft. Irrefutable fact: If you put an empty box on the shelf, there is no incentive whatsoever for a thief to steal it."

Now that the fourth and final section has been published in TEM, you can read the whole damn thing, in its entirety, right here.

Also: Peppy/Ben, I promised to split my paycheck for the story 50-50 with you. So please come to the window to collect your much-deserved winnings.

And if anyone else out there has a story that you'd like me to tell, you know where you can find me.

One last: follow Susan on Twitter. She's the best.

1 comment:

  1. It's unclear what job experience Ben has or what his educational background is. But to be considered a manager (for most retail businesses), you need to have a degree. It doesn't matter what kind but at the minimum level that's one of the things employers look for. The only managerial position that I know that don't require a degree would be at McDonald's (but I don't think that's what Ben is looking for).

    I do believe that a Gamestop store manager should have a vast knowledge of the current trend of video games. A good manager would know what items to put on sale by knowing which items are popular and which are not. However, I don't think it's necessary to play a lot of video games to know that. I bet the Gamestop store manager Ben was moaning about probably watched Reviews on the Run everyday.

    If Ben wants to become a Gamestop store manager, he should go and get a degree. If he can't afford it, he's just going to have to bear with gutting those video game boxes until he saves up enough money.

    Life's like that.