A Hostile Encounter at GameStop Reveals Improper Customer Service

By Kenneth Richardson

August 2, 2010

In our society, different kinds of people offer different goods and services. These various goods and services are ranked in order of necessity and they comprise supply in demand. This fragile economic system depends very much upon the good intentions of the servicer. In my last run-in with America’s biggest video game chain, all hell nearly broke loose. It is when people with even the slightest amount of authority or pull lose sight of our fragile economy that things take a turn for the worst. This was the case yesterday.

Now i’m not going to lie here; I’m about to tell you everything that transpired between myself and GameStop employees yesterday. As I explain this you will realize that my own intentions were rather sinister, but they fit neatly into protocol. The employees’ intentions (and actions) were nothing short of appalling. So I had come to return my temporary copy of BlazBlue: Contiuum Shift which I had acquired just four short days earlier. The reason why is because my folks needed gas money, and we had all agreed when they first shelled out the $40 for BB:CS that when this happened we could return the game no questions asked, and I would give their money back to them.

I am no newbie when it comes to the swindling and scheming of GameStop merchandise. Obtaining receipts you don’t own, returning used games for continued store credit, switching tags on game cases, I’ve done it all. I consider myself more a loop hole exploiter, or hacker, than a criminal. After all, I’m not really breaking laws, but engaging in behavior that is not entirely honest. But you’re not here to learn about me and instead are here to learn about GameStop and their continuously shoddy practices. So this is how it happened.

I walked into GameStop on Grand River in Detroit, MI. Let the record show that it was not the same store I bought the latest BlazBlue at, but I figured this would work better. It was also closer to our house and my mom was running rather low on gas. In I went with a ‘neused’ copy of the game. Neused is when something was “New” at purchase and then “Used” when you return it IF you have opened it. I forgot about the neused rule during my calculations which was a complete and total fail but I figured complications would result from having a new copy of the game, which I got initially because there weren’t any used copies available (it was just two days after release).

I stood in line with game and receipt in hand, watching the lame movie previews on the TVs around the store. When I got to the register, there was a younger man dealing with me, which I preferred to the very unkempt looking female attendant, whose dusty looking dreadlocks neared her back. I handed him the game and said “Hi, I’m returning this game because it like, freezes up whenever I jump online.” I said it was faulty. Faulty is a good call because it gives you more options. You have gained at least a bit of sympathy at this point, because whether you liked the game or not, you’re returning merchandise that they sold to you so you can’t continue either way.

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He took the game and looked at the receipt. As he did this he said,” Okay, so did you get the game new or used?” Since i knew it would come, i looked at him and said “New.” He then proceeded to ask, ” Okay, and what would you like to do, do you wanna get another one or…” He was going to offer me store credit. I cut him off and said, “I’d like a refund. It really isn’t that fun anyways.” It pained me to lie about BlazBlue: Contiuum Shift like that. The game is superb. But anyway, he looked over at the unwashed woman and said, “Hey, he wants a refund but he bought it new. So do I give it to him or..?” She looked over from behind her crooked spectacles and said, “If he got it new he can get a new one. You can’t refund it if it’s new.”

This shocked me a bit. I thought that new merchandise could be returned. “Sir,” I said, “it says on this receipt that I can return new games.” He shook his head. “Only if it’s unopened. Once you open it, it isn’t new anymore.” I nodded, taking with me that small bit of information. “So then it’s used, right?” He nodded, “Yes it is.” I looked down at the game. “It says on the receipt that used merchandise can be returned for up to a week for a full refund also.” I had become stern. If he was going to explain GameStop’s garbage return policy to me, he would feel like garbage doing so.

“No bro, you bought it new.”

“So then, give me my refund.” He looked over at his superior.

“Look man, if it was up to me, I’d give you the refund, it doesn’t matter to me.” I mocked his attempt at coalition, “Then do so.” He shook his head. “Now you know I can’t.” When he said this, I began to examine him. I was much bigger than him (no surprise there) and he was already afraid from my irritation. I had held the line up for some time now, and we were all getting a bit agitated with him. But then i remembered that I had school tomorrow, and that even if I were to harm this man, GameStop’s BS policy would be the same. So I looked down at the floor and calmly asked him, “So what are my options then?”

He replied “I can give you forty-two dollars in store credit or a new copy of the game.” Without thinking I demanded, “Give me the game again.” He could tell I was disoriented. Why else would I ask for a game that I had just told him I disliked? Because I was angry as hell. He quickly turned around and fumbled with the glass case that held new, unopened releases. He handed it to me. “My receipt please,” I said, my confidence restored. With a sly smile I returned to the car, a little ruffled, but victorious.

I observed the tight shrink wrap around the game. I read again the line in the receipt: “New and unopened merchandise may be returned….” and I handed both the game and receipt to my mom and said, “Tell them you bought this for me today and brought it home to learn I had it already.” I was practically bubbling with the anarchic win when my mom went into the store. She remained there for what seemed like a half of an hour. When she returned, she still had the unopened game and receipt.

She said that the superior told her she knew that I had just given her the game, and that if any fast ones were going to get pulled, they wouldn’t be on her. I was in fumes, I could have probably burned down the establishment with the wrath of my mind alone. She went against protocol. My mom gave her an unopened game and the receipt for its purchase and that employee wouldn’t give her the money back, even when that is store policy. So it occurred to me then that we couldn’t get a refund, because the dread-locked woman didn’t want us to have one. Her minute little authority, at an establishment that is still owned by someone else, stopped me from recovering what was rightfully mine.

Now at the end of the day, the unopened copy was all I needed to head right over to GameStop in Southfield and get a full refund in under two whole minutes. So I was still the victor, but at what cost? If she was able to blatantly ignore the very rules by which we engage the store, whose to say this won’t grow? Pretty soon, someone will do the same thing and she’ll send a bulletin to all the stores describing the situation and telling them to disobey the rules as well. Also, by simply detailing the receipt, they would know they had the right person, because it does reflect that previous, “faulty” transaction. Then, eventually, gamers would actually have to keep new games sealed to return them as new.

Until that time however, keep in mind that you must return the game FIRST because it was faulty. That is how I got another unsealed copy, if you remember. Then, go to a different store and drop it like it’s hot. Even if ugly, unkempt, dirty dread-locked wench employees can bend the rules to their liking, you can do the same.

In closing, GameStop really needs to do something about that return policy. New and faulty games may as well have not been opened because they’re broken and if you never opened it, you would never have known that. So therefore if I purchase a new, faulty game, I should be able to refund. Now you see why flipping GameStop does not make you a crook. What’s more is that they’re only going to slap used on that broken game and then sell it to the next customer, so who is really the crook here? I’ll leave that up to you. Happy gaming and GameStop’ing readers!

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Kenneth Richardson

Kenneth is a Graphics and Game Design student who's worked as an author for DualShockers.com since June of 2010. His favorite gaming genres are Fighting, Role Playing and Sadistic Action games like Ninja Gaiden and Bayonetta. In addition to gaming, he is also strongly interested in music, fashion, art, culture, literature, education, religion, cuisine, photography, architecture, philosophy, film, dance, and most forms of creative expression.

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