We’re living in a digital age now. We can buy games with a few joystick touches and clicks of the X button in no time. There’s even the option to unlock digital games at midnight because they were previously downloaded a few days before. No more traveling to a store and receiving a physical copy, only to drive back home and download/install whatever is needed for the title. In all likeliness you probably won’t play your game until an hour later if you went this route. That’s why I haven’t gone to any store for a physical game disc since shortly after the PS4’s launch.
But back in the days of my youth (which isn’t that long ago, let’s be honest) I especially did my best to avoid Gamestop. The trade-in values of their program were never consumer friendly and they always hassled you with mundane questions. Do you want to pre-order this, do you want to pre-order that, are you interested in the power up rewards membership, you’re just a basic member but what about upgrading, do you want me to tell you all the benefits, what’s all your personal info so we know where you live and what email address to spam. None of this is appropriate or professional after someone gives you a firm but respectable “no.” I can’t think of anyone who wants to be borderline harassed when all they wanted to do was pick up a video game and be on their way.
Well I found myself in a predicament earlier this week. I was incredibly busy with multiple reviews and Battlefield 1 was a lot of fun. So I didn’t get the almighty Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 at midnight digitally. (Which, by the way, you can read our review of the game here). I was also out and about in my city doing errands. During which I calculated that the wait to fully download Xenoverse 2 would take a lot longer than simply stopping by a store on the way and picking up a disc. Unfortunately, there were no Best Buys, Walmarts, Targets, or whatever have you. There was only a Gamestop. However, my excitement for the sequel greatly outweighed my issues with the video game retailer. After all, it had been years since I last visited one. Surely things had changed or workers realized how annoying they were being? The answer to that one is a big fat nope.
As I entered the store I saw it was almost empty. There was one other person at the cash register but later found out he was either an employee or a friend of one. Right before I got in line he went off to the PlayStation 4 section and looked at games. The associate behind the counter quickly finished whatever he was stacking and addressed me. I told him I was looking for the PlayStation 4 version of Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2. He confirmed which edition, asked if I pre-ordered it, and brought it to the register. But that’s when the fire nation attack…er…I mean that’s when things went downhill. The first extraneous question asked was, “Are you a pro member?” to which I replied “No” but he still wanted my phone number to check. I wasn’t looking to be a jerk and it was just one question. So I gave him my number but made a crucial error.
When he looked it up he saw that I used to frequent another Gamestop some forty minutes away. I had apparently forgotten that I gave that Gamestop my old physical address and current email. He questioned why I had come from so far away and I politely told him I moved. Now it was a game of updating my home address. Again I appropriately told him it was fine. He insisted and again I thought it’s just one more thing. Five minutes had passed once it was all said and done because of letter confusion. Then came the, “Are you interested in pre-ordering anything that’s coming out?” Now I don’t go around bragging about how knowledgeable I am about video games or what titles I’m definitely buying day one. Still I know what games I want and from where. So if I say, “No I’m good,” the teller should just let it go.
Still, I got too many confirmations of my choice and eventually he asked me if I was aware Titanfall 2 was due soon. Again I told him I was good and instead of dropping it he replied, “come on you’re going to be like that?” In an effort not to be a jerk and just get out of there, I received an insult. At this point I just wanted to leave but lo and behold the game still wasn’t rung out. So I just stood there in silence until the actual transaction took place. I was almost there when he took out his phone, opened the Gamestop rewards program app, and showed me what it offered through a few scrolls. After that it was all about saying word for word what he just showed me.
I again waited in silence until the train of thought was over. Finally, the card machine lit up as if to take my card and in less than thirty seconds, I paid for the game. That is how long this whole debacle should have taken. When I eventually left the store with bag in hand, I realized that over fifteen minutes had passed. The store was completely quite, no line, and I made it clear what I wanted. The process took a lot longer than most would think for something so simple. Yet had I been “firm” in any way I would have been made out to be the bad guy because I was being rude. He would have just been showing me things for my own “benefit” after all.
Also, on the drive back home a seemingly intoxicated man fell over into the street and almost got run over. So there’s that. I understand that Gamestop’s policies might not be the most welcoming to its employees. Treating job security through commissions of pre-orders and the like but harassing your customers to meet quotas is even worse. Once I see someone isn’t interested in something or uttered the words “no I’m fine,” I instantly stop whatever train of thought I had. After I got home and started walking up to my loft apartment, I thought to myself that maybe I was being a little too impatient. That is until I opened my laptop, checked my email, and found what the picture below depicts. From now on there could be a zombie apocalypse and I still won’t set foot in a Gamestop, even if it was full of food, guns, ammo, and had a stable internet connection.