Putting the F-U In Fun

June 12, 2007

Store: Funcoland
Location: North Haven, CT
Employee Description: A veritable retard rodeo
Submitted By: Chris Kohler

So as bad as EB Games and GameStop employees get, these days, just be glad you never have to go to a Funcoland anymore. Good gravy. That store (now part of the great EBGameFunSoftwareBabbageColandStopGames Etc. monolith) was a hundred times worse, since there didn’t seem to be any oversight at all against rampant employee hoarding and awful customer service.

Employees could and often did take any game that was any good (remember, this was back when the store carried everything all the way back to the NES) and put it in a drawer for themselves until such time as they felt like buying it. Then they’d brag about it; I remember one employee actually showing me a perfect copy of Baku Baku for Saturn, which he was holding on to until the price dropped in the system.

They seemed to hate all customers. Here’s a typical incident, which occurred as I was buying Panzer Dragoon Zwei:

Guy: Hey, would you like to be a Fun Club member? You get a subscription to Game Informer.

Me: I’m not interested.

Guy: (Mock incredulity) You’re not interested in knowing what’s going on in the video game industry?

Guy: Naw, he likes reading all those magazines filled up with ADS.

Remember, this was in 1995, back when Game Informer was one giant ad.

One more before I get back to work: In the summer of 1999, all Funcoland stores got Dreamcast demo units with Sonic Adventure. So I headed in there to see if our branch had one. Nothing. Just as I was about to leave, the employee’s three buddies walk in and I hear him say to them, “Hey guys, wanna play the Dreamcast?” So he goes over, unlocks a display case, and there’s the customer demo unit — kept locked up for the enjoyment of the employee and his pals. Of course, having just given away the secret, he pretty much had to let me play it. But he wasn’t happy.

The store’s still there, except it’s a GameStop now and not nearly as awful a place to be. I’ve never been so happy to see a brand get dismantled.

Guaranteed to work!

June 7, 2007

Store: EB Games
Location: Downtown, Seattle, WA
Employee Description: Clerky McHateshisjob
Submitted By: JBourrie

I’m a firm believer that a game purchased within the launch window should be purchased new. Saving $5 by not paying the developers is counterproductive to gaming as an industry. Yet it never surprises me the lengths some sales vultures will go to convince me that buying used is good for the consumer. From saving an extra quarter by spending $15 on a magazine, to ironic lectures about greedy publishers, I’ve heard every “buy used” pitch imaginable… or so I thought, until I went to EB looking for Metroid Prime.

When I asked for the game, the first thing Clerky did was grab a used copy and ring it up. When I noticed what he had done, I politely asked for a new copy instead. An awkward silence followed, as if he were somehow confused by my request. Then the pitch started, and having deflected this onslaught many times before I didn’t even have to think before answering “no” to each of the standard arguments. I could tell Clerky was getting frustrated, and in one final desperate strike he told me:

“We check all used games for scratches and defects before we sell them. We don’t do that with new games, so we can’t guarantee the game will work unless you buy it used!”

I walked out with a NEW copy of Metroid Prime, and a USED copy of Worms: Armageddon. The next day I returned that copy of Worms because a scratch on the disc froze up my Dreamcast during the loading screen. Years later, Metroid Prime still works perfectly.