So today after a summer working at a certain game store, I finally had enough. What did the customer do to push me over the edge you ask. Nothing. It was the manager then right? Wrong. It was the way the company was run. It had been my dream to be that guy selling games to people, the perfect college job, getting to chat about games all day. I started with the fire to please the higher ups and worked my hardest to achieve the goals set by my managers. As I continued my training there I was caught off guard one night when a fellow employee showed me the "correct" way to work a certain deal I had already been setting up for the customer. By buying a certain game with another certain game the man would have saved around 10 dollars, but instead the other attendant told me to ring up a different version of the game which was seemingly cheaper but not part of the deal, thus negating the 10 dollar value and cutting it to around 3 dollars off. This never sat well with me but I shrugged it off. It was when the focus of my job went from selling games and keeping the customers at the store happy to making a quota of pre-sales and membership cards that my disposition at my place of work started to falter. Why pester a customer who has already made a purchase and has said no to the pre-sales to then sign up for something else. I know that it's a business and for the company its all about the bottom line and the money earned, but as a human being and as someone who above all else loves and respects gaming I couldn't become that guy.
You know the ones I'm talking about. The guys that you bring up when you tell your friends about how you'll never shop there again because some clown in a God of War shirt kept asking you why you didn't want money down on Black Ops 2. Another issue I had was more minor. It was that only a few of the people working around me had any knowledge of the games themselves. Now these people could tell you the release date of any game on the market, but ask one of them what the premise of Bioshock Infinite is and they immediately call me over, the season help, to spin the take of Bioshock. Most of them hadn't actually played a game since the ps2 era and would simply repeat information they received via an email every morning verbatim, like some kind of robotic sales clerk. Maybe I'm just old enough to remember a time when the guy behind the counter at the local game store were just as into gaming as the folks on the other side of the counter. Maybe it's that nostalgia that drove me to leave the store. Along with the fact that I had found more gainful employment of course. I had planned to give a 2 weeks, and after expressing my grievances over a repeating lack of hours on my schedule I thought I would at least be given enough days the next week to pay fo the back and forth gas. Keep in mind my hours went down because I refused to pressure the customers into a sell, because I know that after I've given my pitch the customer can decide for themselves whether this product is what they want. I would rather see them leaving with a smile excited to play their new copy of GTA 4 or Katamari Damacy, the cursing me under their breath and vowing to never return again. I was reassured in this method when I discovered no customer had ever complained about me, and in fact most knew me by name and always said they appreciated my help in choosing a game, since I never pressured and only assisted if asked. I always gave my honest opinion, i.e. Duke Nuke Forever in my opinion isn't worth anyone's time, so I would never suggest they buy it if they had it in their hand, nor would I ever try to make them change there mind. Growing up I learned about what games I might want by asking the opinions of those that had already played them, and in turn I was never told not to buy something, instead the seller would simply give his opinion and let me make the decision. I tried to mirror this level of consumer/seller respect and honesty. For doing so I was told I should just let them buy it, and always say every game is fun and a good game.
I left on good terms for a better job and hope that my coworkers feel no resentment in me leaving. I simply won;t work in an environment where the customer is just a means to an end, a dollar sign on a spreadsheet. To me places like that destroy the reputation of gamers and gaming more than they help them. Perhaps it was seeing the horrible truth of the game trades for petty cash, only to sell them for a large profit, minus half the included contents. I feel better now, I guess. But it was never that I hated the place I worked, more just the lack of love for what they were selling and the construction of a consumer/seller barrier that made me feel like a terrible person. Like that moment when you tell a little girl her Wii is worth 30 dollars and the parents tell you off. I wish those I left there who truly do love games and gaming culture nothing but luck, but I know that I will be changing the place I purchase games from now on knowing the things I know, since maybe that extra 20 dollars isn't such pain when I know my money goes to the devs.