Podzilla 1985

Monday, August 25, 2014

Gamestop - You Will Never Find a More Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy

This post has been a long time coming. I've put this off for years because I have good friends that work at Gamestop. Well, as of this week, that is no longer a problem.

And fuck you Gamestop, for eliminating that problem.

Full disclosure time - I once worked at Gamestop. That isn't a secret to a lot of people that know me. In fact, most people know me FROM Gamestop. Long before they knew me by name, or at least by my attachment to this site, I was simply the Gamestop Guy. I worked at the West Park Mall Gamestop in the fabulous city of Cape Girardeau for almost four and a half years as both an assistant manager and occasional manager.

I was good.

I was the kind of Gamestop employee that a corporation loves. I'm smart, funny, charismatic, I knew and loved the product, and I was naive enough to do whatever they asked of me to better their bottom line at the cost of my happiness. I was dedicated to Gamestop in a way I've never been able to duplicate anywhere else, because like most people I thought a job dealing with video games would be the cat's pajamas.

And to be fair, it was. For about two months. Then I began to see the seedy side of Gamestop that people post about online all the time. I saw the corporate greed and lack of respect for the video game culture. It was a culture I grew up with and respected, because video games are in my blood and some of my best memories are sharing moments with friends and family while staring at a TV and holding a six button controller. I hated this side of Gamestop, and I started a love/hate relationship with the company as a whole.

I felt abused, but my significant other would apologize and throw me a free game every once in a while to keep me by their side.

I bought into the lies. I bought into the belief of power to the players, and I defended Gamestop against all naysayers. I was still naive, and I loved video games. Gamestop was the only pony in the show, and I enjoyed the perks more than I hated the negatives. I'm ashamed to say that I constantly gave up little pieces of my soul constantly just to please the corporate fat cats who I assumed were watching me like a hawk. I wanted to impress them, because I planned on being with the company for a very long time.

Well, a very long time ended up being about four and a half years.

By the end of my run at Gamestop I was a miserable sonofabitch. Spiritually, I was a broken man after year upon year of listening to the company try to tell me how to sucker more money out of people. It was all about the money. I know what you're saying! "Of course it's about the money, it's a business!"

Well, yeah, that goes without saying. I had no problem making them money. After all, I was good. I was a goddamn legend. I made them plenty of money in my four and a half years there, and thanks to a team of employees that were the best those bastards will ever see, we went from a rock bottom store to top five in the entire company.

And all the while I was smiling to the customers that I knew I was hustling, I was dying inside. I hated myself for the corporate lickspit I had become.

My time came to an end when I just couldn't take it anymore, and I did something very stupid. I was already fed up with that company, and when they installed this new Gamestop TV that would constantly loop the same commercials every 10 minutes for 12 hours a day, I was done. Even worse was the fact that it would automatically turn on in the mornings before the store opened, and I would be subjected to awful skits and lectures from this corporate puppet named JMac on how to get even more money from people. It was insufferable.

I became so annoyed with it that one day I posted a message on my own private Facebook that would get me fired. Looking back on it, it was a stupid thing to say, but anyone that knows me knows that I have a sense of humor that can be described as extreme sometimes. And so, annoyed and feeling as extreme as ever, I posted that while I don't advocate violence against women, someone should rape and murder JMac.

About two or three months later I got my pink slip. After four and a half years of success and taking that store to the highest point it would ever see, I was let go. I had never been written up before. My numbers were some of the best in the business. My customer rapport was unrivaled. None of it mattered. There were no second chances for me. My district manager had called me just a week before to offer her condolences to me about my father's failing health and told me to let her know if there was anything Gamestop could do for me. And then, she helped ruin my life.

I became very depressed. We were ruined financially. We couldn't pay our bills, and our credit took a nose dive. I put on my best suit and searched for a new job the day I got fired. I didn't find a new job for about a month, and of course during that time Gamestop completely denied my unemployment. I was bitter. Extremely bitter. I tried to be a gentleman about it, and I even squashed my friend Louie's attempt to harass Gamestop over my firing. I just wanted it to be over.

It got better as time went on. I still had friends who worked there, and I wanted to help them. I wanted them to succeed because they are great people and I wanted nothing but the best for them. I was hurt, though. I'm still hurt. I still hold a grudge against that place for tossing me aside so easily, like everything I had done for them meant nothing. I still shopped there, but it was only out of devotion to my friends and because it was a necessary evil for my new venture.

One half of that equation has been eliminated. On Sunday, August 24th, Gamestop no. 261 closed its doors for the final time.

If you go by the store you'll see big signs that say "We're Moving!" Those signs direct you to the other Cape location, which is near a Wal Mart. That seems fitting, because both stores are corporate money machines that could care less about me or you until you start making it rain on them. You know, like the whores they really are.

"We're Moving!"

I think that irritates me the most about what is happening to this store that I called home for so many years. It doesn't make me upset in the same way that I've been upset for the past few days. That was from reminiscing about the past, and that feeling of nostalgia still brings a tear to my eye and an ache to my black heart.

No, this corporate lie, and that's what it is, just flat out pisses me off.

Call it what it is, Gamestop. You're not moving anywhere. Sure, your precious merchandise is making the trip over to that hellhole you call home, but all of the good people who dedicated themselves to making you money aren't going anywhere except to the unemployment line. Hey, I know, it's business, these kind of things happen. But don't protect your image by playing it off like it's just a whimsical adventure to a new kingdom. People are going to lose their jobs, and they deserved better than the two week notice and goodbye you're giving them.

I can testify from personal experience that Gamestop doesn't care about the workers or the customers, and as long as the sheep keep piling into the slaughterhouse they'll continue to be the biggest assholes in retail. I've been on the conference calls. I've listened to the greedy rhetoric and seen the shady business tactics. This is a company, more so than any other one I've known, that sees you as a walking bag of money. If they could make more money selling pig excrement to farmers they would change their name to Shitstop and burn all of their leftover stock in front of a schoolyard.

Piss on you, you bunch of suit wearing bastards who exploit a culture without even really knowing what you're exploiting. Of course it makes sense to put people in power who don't even know what they're selling. They'll never care to change, just as long as they can hustle little Johnny and little Jessica into buying an extra warranty or reserving that hot new title that they're going to have thirty extra copies of anyway. It doesn't matter if the customer gets what they want, as long as Gamestop increases their items per transaction.

There was a time where a good friend of mine that also worked at the store was helping a customer find a good Xbox 360 game. While he was making suggestions, the customer asked if the game Vampire Rain was any good, and before he could tell him that it was universally accepted as awful, the DM appeared out of the tall grass and told him it was fantastic. She said her kids played it all the time. She had never heard of this game before, but that didn't matter. A sale is a sale, right? Now that I think about it, I'm not sure she even has kids!

As much as I hate that corporate joke, I do feel bad for the employees that suffer day to day in the stores. We've all heard the horror stories about Gamestop employees who are practically worthless, and they absolutely do exist. Despite the popular internet opinion, most GS workers are good people who love video games. They are beaten down daily emotionally and mentally by these greedy corporate machines who are never satisfied with their performance. Even during a good week, we were guaranteed to get bitched out about something. Why? Because no matter how much money you make for them, you could always be making more.

Did you just sell two reserves to that kid's parents after fifteen minutes of harassment? Why didn't you sell them a Power Up card too!?

Congrats on selling a used PS4 to that family, but why didn't you talk them into a warranty, extra controller, a couple of games, and a reservation?

If you leave Gamestop with any extra money in your pocket, I applaud you. You're a lucky sonofabitch.

Gamestop is a sinking ship. It may have its ups and downs right now, someday the world will grow tired of their greed and lust for gold. Independent game stores are popping up frequently, and the industry as a whole always seems to be ready to cut Gamestop out of their profits.

Gamestop, let me address this to you specifically, and it's definitely from the heart.

I feel sorry for the good workers who will have to suffer when the you inevitably shoot yourselves in your thick shit skulls because you're a horde of greedy fucks. I hate you, I hate what you stand for, and I hate how you treat people. I gave you more dedication than you ever deserved, and you threw me away like garbage. My story isn't an isolated one either, because you're just as well known for how poorly you treat your workers as you are for how you treat your customers. You are the most despicable kind of dirt, and I can't wait until you die.

If you ever see me step foot in a Gamestop again, it's only because I'm the richest king in the world and I bought the place just to burn it down. When I do, I'm inviting all of the people you screwed over to come piss on your ashes.

I don't want to end this article, if you can call it that, on such a down note. And while I may hate the company for just about everything, I can at least cherish the good memories I made with the very special people I met there. Most of the friends I have came from those years of reckless youth. In all of that misery and bitterness for a company as evil as any Empire, I cling to those good memories.

I'll finish this by reminiscing about where it all began. There were six of us that banded together in the face of tyranny and greed. We were young, hopeful, and stupid to the core.

I miss those crazy bastards.