Any job comes with its own set of rules, and while some are pretty reasonable, occasionally you hear of companies forcing just plain weird rules onto their employees. As many who have worked retail jobs will tell you, there are some rules that just make no sense.
No stranger to controversy and strained employer/employee relations, EB Games and GameStop have a strange selection of rules for each employee to follow. While some come across as simply odd or burdensome, others may fill you with rage due to what some of these employees have had to do while working at the gaming retail giant. From forced destruction of some things to very strict limits in place while behind the counter, there's a lot of work and restraint put into maintaining a job at one of these stores.
This list will lay out some of the lesser-known rules that employees at this company have to follow. Some of it is industry-driven, but other things are just rules that are put into place by GameStop themselves. Whether or not you agree with these rules, they're in place, and all of their employees have to follow them.
The same can be said of GameStop, but for this list, we're going to focus on EB Games. Get ready to discover some weird secrets about everyone's favorite game store.
25 Destroy Perfectly Good Things
If you're a fan of collector's statues, you may want to look away for this one. This rule comes from one Reddit user who states that they were fired for not destroying a statue that had come in with a game a customer traded in. Apparently, when an employee takes in a trade on something like a collector's edition of a game that came with a statue or any other bonus goodies of any sort, they have to be destroyed.
The logic behind not putting the used loot up on shelves makes sense, as there isn't always a lot of shelf space in the stores. But destroying it might be taking things a little too far. Imagine being a fan of one of the games and simply wanting to display it on your own shelf. Being told that you would have to not only throw it out but destroy it so that nobody else could use it would be heartbreaking.
This mentality of "if we can't sell it, nobody can have it" is pretty absurd, but employees have lost their jobs over taking things that would have been thrown out home. Even those who aren't looking to make money off of it or have any other malicious intent have been punished for taking these goodies home.
24 Buy Newly Released Figures
Speaking of figures, there is more than one rule around them for EB Games and GameStop employees. Alongside the rule on destroying used figures and goods from trade-ins, there are also rules on workers buying and pre-ordering certain products. If a product is expected to come in limited to quantities, such as Nintendo's almost comically under-stocked Amiibos, there may be restrictions on the employee's ability to obtain new products.
Reportedly restrictions have come in the form of a limit on total amount of pre-orders that an employee can make or even an outright ban on their ability to buy the new release for a set number of weeks. While this may not completely block employees' ability to get the figures and goods they want as most things are restocked eventually, this process can take quite a while at times and would lead to employees having to wait weeks or months to get what they want.
This rule also feels strange because, while the reasoning behind it is obviously to allow customers a crack at new things without employees being able to snatch them all up, the employees at stores like these are usually also big customers themselves who have wanted increased access to what they're passionate about and having the company try to hinder that passion seems odd.
23 Buying From The Customer
If you've been on the internet, or into an EB Games or GameStop lately, you'll know that the value they place on trade-ins is not very high. Selling directly from one person to another is more likely to get the best price but, for a number of reasons, people continue to trade in their games.
This creates an atmosphere of everyone knowing that trading is not necessarily the best bang for your buck.
It doesn't take a lot of thought to think that if an employee saw someone coming in with a game they want and, knowing that they could give them more than the trade in value but still less than the shelf price, that they could just buy the game from the customer themselves? While this may seem like a pretty good deal for both the employee and customer—it's not allowed by the company.
There have been cases of staff getting fired over buying items directly from customers and while this may not seem like the biggest deal, it's just another way in which the company is controlling employee's lives.
22 No Packaging Allowed
One pretty weird rule held by EB Games and GameStop that's been reported by both employees and customers alike is yet another oddity around their trade in system. While this one is not about the value the company gives on trade, but whether they'll take a certain type of trade. Of course, there are the obvious rules that the games cannot be damaged to the point of being unusable or rules around soiled packaging, but this rule is much the opposite.
The store runs by a rule that customers are not allowed to bring in a game in its original packaging.
Despite new games being superior in that there is absolutely no chance that the game has been damaged, this gaming retailer will not take them for fear that the game is stolen. Do not expect any extra value for your game because it has never left the package because while the company will accept the trade, it will only be after you have removed the packaging. This seems a little silly especially because anyone can just come back with the same game but with no packaging and the company will accept it despite not having accepted it beforehand.
21 Selling Used Over New
Without any prior knowledge, you might think that EB Games and GameStop would rather have you by a new game instead of a used one because it will cost you more and thus give them more money. In fact, the opposite is true and they would much rather have customers buy used games than new releases because used games make the company more money. This is because, while they have to pay the company that made the game money if the game is new, they pay much less to a customer who has brought the game in on trade and thus have a much larger profit margin on a used product.
This has caused the company to try and create ways to make their employees sell from the used bin rather than off the shelf.
Of course in certain cases, this is a win-win situation because the company makes more money while the customer pays less for the game they want. However, there are cases in which someone may not want to buy used because they are afraid of any damages that might be on the disk or that they simply want to have the proper packaging for the game because they are a collector or just like to have all their games displayed nicely.
20 No Dancing Allowed
Working in a shop can get boring at times. When there are no customers around and nothing left to do as far as set up goes the time seems to drag on and on. Of course, you could always try to strike up a chat with one of your coworkers but if you're the only one in the store that's obviously not an option.
Eventually, boredom takes hold after a certain amount of time and you just have to do something. For one EB Games employee during the fledgling days of the internet, the thing they turned to for passing the time was dancing through the store while their phone recorded a video.
According to the employee, there were no damages nor any customers who disproved. However, after the video of the dancing started to spread—eventually, management found out. Despite the dancing having been innocent and not damaging anyone, the employee lost their job over something as little as a dancing video.
Employees have to keep a specific kind of attitude while at work, even when working at a seemingly fun place like EB Games. We hope that not too many people have lost their jobs over something like this.
19 Not Allowed To Sell On eBay
Many unwanted or underused consoles make their way onto the popular auction eBay, but when a new console hits the market there is a tendency to find some people posting up a newly purchased console for those who want to avoid stock shortages while spending extra on the console, at the benefit of the seller of the fresh console.
This can create a system in which employees selling the consoles have a chance to get at them before the customers and then later put them up for sale in order to garner a profit. For obvious reasons, this can be frustrating to those looking to buy and, finding none left at the store, finding themselves having to turn to re-sellers online and pay a heftier price.
This situation isn't ideal and, in an attempt to avoid it, EB Games and GameStop have been known to create rules threatening termination if an employee is found to be reselling their console too close to the release date. While this ultimately makes things better for everyone, it does seem weird for a company to crack down on the activity of their employees in this way.
18 Sales Decorating
Every store puts on sales from time to time, but EB Games and GameStop put them on pretty regularly and with that comes a lot of work on the part of employees. Sale decorations at times cover the entirety of the store, and the company has been known in the past to really push this over the top method of advertising the sales they put on.
While you may not think it when walking around the store, someone has to be putting up and taking down all of the promotional material for these stores and, according to some employee stories, the process can be pretty labor intensive. There are stories of workers having to plaster the entire store with little red flyers only to be told that more can be put up afterward.
And the worst part? There is a history of this decoration being treated as unpaid labor. There are employees that have stated that this part of their job was often conducted during off-hours during which they were not considered to be working and thus went unpaid. With this much work being put in its hard to imagine that those that accomplished it weren't paid for their hard work.
17 Offer Customers Bad Trades
EB Games and GameStop are notorious for their low balling trades that seem to even put the Pawn Stars to shame. Anyone who has taken in one of their precious games in hopes of getting something new to play, only to find out that their game is only worth a few measly dollars knows what I'm talking about. The company is famous for their low trade values and frequently shows up in memes about the subject.
Now you have to almost feel bad for the employees that offer these trades to customers coming in, because it's not their fault that they have to make these offers—its company policy. Having to offer these trades could get somewhat disheartening as an employee who knows that the customer could potentially get a better deal trying to sell the game themselves rather than trading it in.
The reason behind these low trade-in values is obvious—it makes the company more money.
But that does not mean that having to follow it would be any fun at all, nobody wants to see someone give up a game they love for less than it's worth. Unfortunately, that's just the reality there.
16 Edge Offers
Speaking of trade in deals, one of the few ways to squeeze a little bit more out of your trades is by having an Edge card that adds a certain percentage onto your trade value based on your card level. It would be surprising if you could make a trip to EB Games or GameStop without hearing a mention of this rewards program, since employees are required to plug it.
Since Edge cards are free, it's likely that you already have one if you are a frequent shopper. However, the offers do not end there—even if you have an Edge card the employees are required to ask you if you would like to upgrade your card to a higher level. Upgrading costs real money that many would not be willing to spend just to get a few measly perks and a slight increase in trade values, but employees have to ask if you want to regardless.
Asking the same question has to get monotonous after a while. Perhaps even worse would be hearing the same reply over and over with only a few people agreeing to upgrade or getting a card.
15 Checking Those ID Cards
With all the media attention violent video games have garnered over time, it would be hard to miss the influence that violence in video games has had. From the creation of the ESRB to requiring identification before being allowed to purchase certain games. While ratings systems and restrictions on violent games for young children are in the best interest of many, it is kind of funny that those that work in gaming retail have to ask for identification as if they were working in another kind of store.
Of course, EB Games and GameStop employees would have to follow the rules regarding this, and asking for identification is a common aspect of their job. While identification is also used when trading games in, in case the game is reported as being stolen property, the use that comes to mind more easily is when trying to buy an M rated game. Having to ask anyone who looks young for identification when buying one of these games has to get awkward at times, and monotonous at others.
While the process might be useful and/or necessary, being the one to carry it out would be a little annoying—especially when its just a kid who wants to buy a video game.
14 No Sandals Or Torn Jeans
Pretty much any job has a dress code in one form or another. Spoken or unspoken, these rules can be either serious or pretty lenient given the circumstances. Each store has their own take on whats acceptable and whats unacceptable to wear to work and EB Games and GameStop are no exception.
Despite their rise in popularity, torn jeans are one such clothing item that is not allowed to be worn while working behind the counter at one of these stores. While its obvious that worn out old jeans would not be appropriate for a store trying to exude professionalism—fashionably ripped jeans don't carry the same apparent slob look. Despite the fact that many young people wear ripped jeans, which is much of the customer base for this company, its employees are not allowed to follow suit.
Another item on the do not wear list for EB Games and GameStop is sandals. Now its pretty fair that cheap flip-flops are not necessarily appropriate for the workplace, but there are some arguable exceptions to this rule. Things like closed toe sandals or more fashionable pairs are arguably suitable for working retail during the summer but, the rules state they're not allowed.
13 Mandatory T Shirts
Speaking of dress codes, there is another even more strict component of the EB Games and GameStop dress code—this being their mandatory t-shirts. While there are many stores that require specific shirts, these stores generally give you one shirt that you must wear each time you come into work. Working at this gaming retailer, however, there are a plethora of shirts in the mix.
This is because every employee must wear a t-shirt featuring a recently released video game so as to advertise products.
This system does add in choice but it does deviate from the norm in retail as it turns employees into walking billboards for something other than the company they work for.
Having to wear specific shirts is a drag for those who like to put together very unique outfits each day but if you're working at one of these stores chances are you'll enjoy wearing shirts featuring video games. The oddest thing, however, is the rule that the games must be new releases, as it could paint you into a corner as to what shirt you'll have to wear and is a bit of an odd addition to the rule.
12 Hiding Their Opinion
If you've ever been in an argument with a friend over video games then you probably know that video games can create some pretty diverse opinions when it comes to what video games are good and which are worth paying for. Nobody would want to recommend a bad video game for a friend when you could save them the heartbreak, and money, by telling them that it's not good.
However, when you're working as a salesperson for video games there are incentives involved and there are cases of EB Games and GameStop telling their employees to try to get customers to buy games, even if the employee thinks that the game is bad.
Selling games is definitely going to look good on the employee because it shows that they are making the company money. However, convincing a customer to buy a game they may not like can bring backlash of its own and feels wrong to do. A policy of doing what makes money is pretty common in retail, but with game prices rising, buying a game has become a bigger deal and thus buying the wrong game has become more heartbreaking. Still, employees must do what they can.
11 Not Allowed To Share Discount
One of, if not the, best perks about working at a store is the employee discount. Working at a store that sells things that you love and being to not only be around them all the time but also get your favorite things for cheaper is a great perk and a reason that many seek jobs at EB Games and GameStop.
Being able to get games for cheap is a great perk, but it's also awesome to be able to share this amazing perk with friends and family.
While you'll always be able to use the discount for buying presents, this gaming retailer does not allow you to apply your discount to purchases made by anyone other than yourself.
This may vary from store to store and manager to manager, but some have stated that they have been told that it's against the rules to use one's employee discount for others and that serious consequences could come if they do. Any company is out to make as much money as they can, but this might be a bit much. You wouldn't even be able to use your discount card for your parents or significant other.
10 Compete With Digital
Buying games online has slowly become the main avenue by which most gamers acquire their games. Not only do you get to avoid leaving the house, but at places like Valve's Steam store, you can often find unbeatable deals on the games you want.
While this shift to digital downloads over physical copies can be good for the consumer, it certainly isn't great for gaming retailers that once relied heavily on the sale of physical disks. Since stores like EB Games and GameStop are in direct competition with the online sale of video games it only makes sense that they would have to adapt to remain competitive.
While some speculate that the digital shift will eventually spell the end for brick and mortar gaming retailers, inspiring job insecurity in the workers at EB Games and GameStop, it also means that these employees have had to start selling a lot more than just games. Merchandise sales have had to be emphasized in sales guides and stores have had to start selling DLC codes in a physical form in order to bring more revenue to their store.
When you think about it, it is a little absurd to be driving out to a store and buying a little piece of cardboard so that you can download the DLC when you get home when you could have much more easily done the whole process from the couch.
9 Up Sell Up Sell Up Sell
Any company that relies on selling products in order to stay in business stresses the upsell to its employees in some way or another. Upselling is essentially the act of getting a customer to leave having purchased more than just what they came in for. While this could mean that employees would talk about upcoming games in hopes of getting a pre-order out of a customer, it could also mean trying to get the customer to buy accessories or entire games that they either did not want in the first place or do not need at all.
EB Games and GameStop have had their own scandals when it comes to these practices, what with the accounts of their infamous Circle of Life program and other examples of employees being instructed to squeeze as much money out of the customer as they can. These practices are obviously questionable from the consumer's point of view, but being forced to follow them as an employee would perhaps be even worse.
Working in retail, there are really just specific things that you have to do no matter what, even if you don't like it. But somehow, things just seem a lot more shady over there.
8 No Commission
With all these rules around making sales, upselling customers, and a general emphasis on making the sale it would make sense that the company would offer up something in the form of incentives for making a lot of sales. There are many stores and jobs that run this way and it's generally viewed as a way to spread the wealth the company makes through an abundance of sales to the employees making these sales.
This is not the case with EB Games and GameStop however, as there is no commission program for their employees.
For a company that pushes its employees for greater and greater sales numbers, it's somewhat strange that the only thing in it for the employee is keeping their job rather than a sweet bonus. Instead of making a sale be a positive boost to your paycheck it comes only as a little bit of reinforcement to your job security. Especially with the profits that the store would be making off of certain things it's a bit ludicrous that the company could not kick some of it down to their hardest working employees.
Basically, as their employee, you have to do a ton of work for basically nothing in return.
7 Forcing Warranties
Breaking the cartridge or disk of your favorite game is truly a tragedy, but with modern Blu-Ray disks that have a bit more sturdiness built in it's become less common. Pretty much anyone who is even the least bit responsible is capable of preventing disk scratches and other hardware loss these days. This does not stop EB Games and GameStop from trying to get you to purchase warranties that you'll likely never have to use, however.
Any time a disk product is bought at an EB Games or GameStop location, an employee must ask the customer is they would like to buy a warranty for their new purchase. These types of counter questions are a drag for both employee and customer, but employees are forced to do it anyways. Now, there is nothing overtly malicious about offering someone a warranty, but if you're probably not going to ever break the disk it's still a waste of money. Trying to get customers to buy warranties is not even an optional part of the job either, as each employee forced to push these nigh-useless things. Hardly anyone actually gets any value out of these things, unfortunately.
6 Selling Promotional Content
If a big release is on its way chances are the company putting out the game will be putting a large sum of money into promoting it and thus hopefully generating interest in the game. One such avenue a company can take to promote it is by getting the very store selling it to promote it. Sometimes these promotions can mean posters or even getting employees to answer the phone with a tagline about the game. Of course, the people paying to have their game promoted are going to expect that the store puts out a positive image of their game.
But what if an employee thinks the game is bad? There are cases of employees being told to mask their opinion of a new game when the game is being promoted. Obviously, everyone can have their own opinion of a game and these opinions may vary, but there are cases of games being so bad that you can hardly believe anyone would willingly pay for it. Promoting a game this bad could feel like you're steering the customer wrong but, due to the rules these employees are made to follow, there is not much that the employee behind the counter can do to deter a customer from buying a bad game if it's being promoted.
5 Calling Everyone Who Pre-Ordered
For better or worse, pre-orders are a major part of the gaming industry today. For companies, it gives them a bit of insight as to roughly how many people will be buying their game and for the customer, it can come with extra perks and serves as a way of ensuring that they will get a copy on launch day. For employees of EB Games and GameStop, however, it means a fair bit more work.
Aside from pushing for customers to pre-order upcoming games, these workers also have to record everyone who pre-ordered and, when the launch of the game finally comes, try and get each every one of the customers on the pre-order list to come in and pick up their copy of the game.
What this means is calling everyone on the list to remind them that their new game is in the store and that they'll have to come and pick it up.
While this may not be a big deal for less hyped releases, it can come with a lot of calling if the game has garnered a lot of pre-orders. With so many big games being released, this must be a hassle.
4 Not Allowed To Buy Anything
While behind the counter in the store none of the employees are allowed to make any purchases. This is a weird rule in of itself since it forces employees to come in early or stay after a shift or even come in when they are not scheduled to work in order to make a purchase. In this context, the rule is just a little inconvenient or somewhat strange, but there are circumstances in which this could become a real hindrance.
Imagine selling the last copy of a game you wanted instead of having previously bought it yourself because of this rule or, not being able to get in on a limited run item because there was no way for you to purchase it. Obviously, this rule exists so that employees can not block customers from the things they want by buying them all but this rule seems to be a bit weird in some cases and downright heartbreaking in others. This rule goes to show that the many rules this company puts in place over employees seem to strip away any perks they might get by working there.
It's almost like they don't actually want their employees playing video games.
3 Follow An Intense Sales Guide
This rule comes with most retail jobs and can be a major drag for anyone who finds themselves working in a shop like EB Games or GameStop. Obviously, in order for EB Games and GameStop to make money, they have to make sales, but this can get a little too extreme at times.
Any time a customer comes into the store they are greeted by an employee who will then try to facilitate the quickest route to a sale. Tactics like mentioning upcoming games to get pre-orders in or attempting to add in more purchases to an initial sale can get annoying for not only the customer, but the employee too.
This is because many of these sales tactics are not coming from the workers, but the company that they work for. EB Games and GameStop have become notorious for their pushy sales guide that they make their employees follow. There are some aspects of this guide that get their own mentions in this list, but just generally having a culture of pushy sales around you would make for a potentially annoying work environment. This is something that happens in a lot of retail establishments, unfortunately, but EB Games is notorious for it.
2 Unintentionally Lie
New releases can bring with them a lot of hype—especially in the gaming community. Midnight release parties and pre-order numbers are indicators of this notion and are a foundation of the community. So when something new or limited is coming out there's an obvious desire to secure a copy for yourself lest you have to wait for a restock, or miss out completely.
As a major distributor of these highly coveted goods, EB Games and GameStop are many gamers' go-to retailer. With many people depending on them, these stores are also looking at the manufacturer to know what to tell the customers—whether or not there will be a pre-order, how many units will be available and the best way to obtain one of there own.
This can create a somewhat shaky system.
Employees are generally required to relay information from the manufacturer about availability to the company, but if something goes awry the workers are on the hook. This happened with the limited run of the SNES Classic put out by Nintendo when it was first stated that there would be no pre-orders, only for pre-orders to go out without prior notice to retailers and thus causing workers to have been lying to customers.
1 Strange Interview Process
Besides all of the wacky rules you'd have to follow once you get the job, there are even weird process and rules before you're even hired at EB Games or GameStop. Apparently, the company has an unorthodox method of interviewing applicants and tends to do them in large batches rather than one-on-one.
One account states that their interview consisted of 10 people being interviewed by two people. According to this, the interview took place outside of the store around a table and very few questions were asked before the group of interviewees was split into two groups for an exercise on working together.
This is where things get weird. The two teams were each asked to build a tower out of straws followed by a debate before being sent home. After this process, a select few of the 10 interviewees were selected for another round of one-on-one interviews before anyone was actually hired. This goes to show that working at EB Games and/or GameStop starts getting weird right from the get-go.