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Gabe / on Thu, Nov 8 2007 at 10:02 am

follow up

I just wanted to make a little addendum to my last post.

I’m well aware that for every John working at an EB there’s fifty guys who are actually doing an awesome job. I’ve been into those stores as well. When I hit the Lynnwood mall, Redmond town center, or Bellevue I always talk to great people. The problem is that this store is right next to our office. Also I’ve done my tour of duty in the retail trenches so I understand that the guys in the stores don’t make the policies. I did three Christmas seasons at Toys R Us and anyone who’s been through one of those can tell you it’s hell. I remember the Tickle Me Elmo Christmas like veterans remember old battles. I also worked at Circuit City where I saw the true face of corporate evil. We were all forced to push extended warranties,  erm I mean "performance guarantees" on our customers. I know how shitty you feel trying to sell someone on something they don’t want or need. I remember we used to have morning meetings where we would tell our managers about the various reasons customers would give us for not purchasing a warranty . The manager would then tell us what the proper response would have been in order to counter the customers reason and get them to purchase the warranty. One of our home audio guys stood up and said his customer was an extremely old man. Bent over and wrinkled the man explained he did not need a five year warranty because he would probably not live that long. The manager at the time Chris (Hi Chris I know you’re reading this) told him that he should have explained to the customer that the warranty was transferable. Doesn’t he want the person who receives the stereo after his death to have the peace of mind that a full five year performance guarantee delivers?

That’s a special kind of evil.

Chris isn’t even a bad guy is the thing. That’s just the sort of person you’re forced to become in that environment.

So I know all about retail and I know who’s calling the shots. My problem with EB policy is that I think it’s downright shady. I got literally dozens of emails from employees all over the country telling me that it is their store’s policy not to sell popular games to customers on launch day unless they have a pre-order. They are literally being told not to sell the games they have in order to teach customers a lesson about pre-ordering. Now that shit is evil. I can’t even imagine how shitty I’d feel as an employee being forced to do something like that.

I wanted to share another interesting mail I got. This is from a reader in Montreal:

I live in Montreal and in 2004 a new Game retailer opened called game buzz

Now they have 4 store, 3 in the downtown area and 1 in the suburb. It’s a small company opened by two guys who wanted a real game store. They offer a much better service than the single EB game in downtown and the only time I go to EB is for collectible exclusive, and always reluctantly. In GameBuzz I was never asked to reserve a game, in fact they don’t even do preorder, if you’d like to reserve a game, they take your name , phone number and when they get the game they keep a copy, call you and keep it for 2 day. The only time I could reserve one was for my Halo3 legendary edition. They do not gut any game, (that the most stupid thing I ever heard after employe checkout, pure shit). They always have a great number of copy of new game (I almost always reserve my game, but when go and get, they always have plenty left) . They do not sell long term "waranty" for used game. They have the greatest inventory I’ve ever seen, old NES game, Atari, import game (jump superstars) figurine, mariokart race track, plushies, duff beer energy drink and all that stuff.

All in all its a fun place to shop and you do not need a freaking walkthrough to go there. I went to France in 2001 and most of their game shop where that way, one beside the others on one street, it was very impressive, I was very happy to see that king of shop arrive in my town.

I wanted to tell you about that because a lot of people say there no other way to work since they’re small shop and they can’t make profit otherwise. Gamebuz started from one single shop in downtown in 2004 and since them open 3 new one. I believe the business is going well.

Sorry for my english tycho,

Now I’ve never been into one of these stores so I can’t personally vouch for this operation. What I can say is that I always hoped a store like this would come along some day. It always seemed to me like intelligent buyers who follow the community and the industry could make smart decisions about how to stock their stores. If this Gamebuzz place is really as great as I’m being told I wish them the best of luck and I hope they open their next store in Seattle.

-Gabe out

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