When we walk into a GameStop, we don't always think of the employees whose job it is to help us. This is understandable, what with the distraction of new games and finding the latest in gaming console accessories. It's very rare that any of us think of the people behind the counter because to the customer, they're just doing their job in helping the general public—that's what they're paid for, right?
In reality, GameStop employees need to follow certain sets of rules that pertain to actually being a sales associate, key hourly, assistant, and store manager. Each of these job titles comes with a long list of duties that include what they can and can't do as employees of EB Games. You might think that GameStop employees get to sit around all day, chit-chatting about video games and being the first to preorder a new game, but that's far from the truth. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that employees of these stores don't get as many perks as you'd originally thought and, in addition, aren't praised on their amount of game knowledge, either. Rather, these sales associates are trained to be a salesman first and a knowledgeable gamer second. And once you get to management? You don't need much gaming knowledge at all to earn the position.
This, along with plenty more loopholes and rules, are just part of working for a retail game company. Here are 25 things more that might surprise you about being a GameStop employee.
25 If You're Not Opening The Store On Release Day, Wait In Line
Contrary to popular belief, GameStop employees do not get all the special privileges and perks that you might think come along with the job.
Each store varies when it comes to their preorder rules and whether or not employees get first dibs on a game once it comes out.
More often than not, unless you're on the crew who's opening the store that day, your chances of getting one of the first copies are slim to none. You either wait in line or wait until your next shift.
24 Don't Expect A Big Discount
Some stores will allow a 15% discount on certain store items, but this is a rarity. It's more likely that you'll be able to get a 10% discount and that can only be applied to you—no one else. You're not allowed to give others discounts and need to accept that certain games and accessories are just off-limits. While 10% might be worth it for some people, for others, getting a few bucks off a brand new game isn't really very much of a perk at all. Combine this with minimum wage, and you begin to wonder if it's just a joke.
23 Not Being A Salesman Is Not An Option
Occasionally, you'll run into a sales associate who genuinely loves the world of gaming and will do you a solid in being honest and not trying to upsell you something. However, this really goes against GameStop policy—sales associates are required to hit certain quotas for the store, which means not letting you leave the counter until you've heard all of their add-on features. Additionally, if you ask them for help, it's their job to talk up certain games and editions, regardless of whether that's something you're looking for or not.
22 They're Not Allowed To Give You Full Credit For A Returned Game
This sounds like a ruse, but it's not. If you purchase a new game, even if it's returned within several hours, it's still considered "used." Some employees will make an exception, but they're not really supposed to take back a game for its full price.
While there are some exceptions for certain games, all in all, the company is looking to make money, not give it back.
If a game is returned opened, there's no way around reselling it as a "used" copy, regardless of the fact that it was only in your system for 15 minutes.
21 The Quotas Are Ridiculously Strict For Managers
It's no secret that GameStop sees a high turnover rate when it comes to management. In fact, many employees will attest to the fact that some managers don't last longer than six months. This is likely due to the high quota that each store is required to fill each month. The quotes often have unrealistic goals that push both management and their staff to push more games on customers, resulting in an unpleasant and sometimes pushy atmosphere. If a store consistently misses their numbers, that means trouble for the staff.
20 "Gutting" Is Something They Must Get Familiar With
Gutting is a process of repackaging a game so that the display box can be stored on the shelf. Since GameStop doesn't normally keep their games on the shelf in order to prevent theft, these copies are "emptied" of the original, new boxes, and while the box is placed on the shelf, the game gets stored elsewhere, awaiting a sale. This is a tactic used to sell the game whose original box is sitting on the shelf after all of the new copies have been sold out. Employees have no choice but to eventually sell the open, emptied copy.
19 They Can't Take Certain Games For Resell
While some customers think it's perfectly fine to get angry at an employee for not taking their used game, it's really not their fault. If there's a stack two feet high of NieR Automata, chances are, you'll likely be turned away or given an insanely low price. This is because those copies have been sitting in the back, unsold, and will likely continue sitting there for some time. There's no profit to be made off of a game that's no longer selling out as frequently.
18 It Doesn't Matter If You're A Gamer, The Point Is To Sell Not To Chit Chat
Some managers might even look down on employees who spend their time being too honest with customers. While being honest is the best way to make a true sale, it can also hurt sales if you miss out on a chance to upsell something else. Many people work for GameStop with the anticipation of talking about something they love, and then become disappointed when they realize their job is to sell, not talk about their favorite video game. When it comes down to it, this is a job just like any other.
17 Your Family And Friends Don't Get Discounts, Either
Some stores will extend store discounts to immediate family, but not GameStop. Their employee discount is usually only 10% and that 10% doesn't extend past the employee who works there. If your family or friends come into the store expecting to save money, they're going to be out of luck—this is against store policy. In fact, GameStop doesn't really offer many perks to their sales associates outside of this discount and game rentals.
16 Missing Your Store's Quota Is Something Associates Need To Worry About
Every store manager is held to quota standards as determined by the higher-ups of the company.
If the store is missing this quota consistently, the concern will eventually trickle down to the sales associate level.
When the store's GM is feeling the heat to hit sales, they'll then put pressure on their employees to make sure that those numbers are nearly perfect. This causes plenty of stress during the slow season between holidays and often results in high turnover.
15 If Your List Is Done For The Day, You Have No Reason To Stay
Did we seize every opportunity we could to make that rhyme? Absolutely. That aside, it's true—if your work is done, keep in mind that GameStop, like any other major company, is looking to save money where they can't make it. If you're working super fast and diligently, you're likely to be sent home early if it's slow and the store doesn't need you. That's if you're lucky enough to get enough, and consistent, hours in the first place—many times, this is all dependent on the volume of your particular store.
14 They Need To Put Up Displays Even If They Don't Have The Display Items
This is a common cause for employee stress when it comes to the holiday season. Even if their specific store is sold out of the Nintendo Switch, they still need to put up and maintain displays that imply it's being sold. This attracts customers and is intended to encourage them to go on a waitlist but many times, it just backfires. The sales associates take the brunt of it and just learn to deal with they get an unhappy parent seeking a sold-out console.
13 Everything Must Be Alphabetized, Don't Bother Doing It Any Other Way
Even if any employee things that an overwhelmingly popular game should be in the center of the shelf while the duds should go in the back, it doesn't matter.
GameStop prides themselves on having everything within easy, accessible reach via alphabetical ordering.
This becomes a tedious task for employees who are required to check the shelves throughout the day to ensure that everything is in its correct place. You can imagine how crazy this gets during new game releases and sale days.
12 You Must Take A Valid ID For Trade-Ins
Whether or not every employee always follows this rule is up for debate but, overall, the rule is that a valid ID is necessary to trade games in. It's technically viewed as a legal selling transaction, therefore you need to have proper representation in order to sell off an item and get paid for it. Employees aren't even allowed to hold onto an item while you run out to the car to get your ID, so it's best to just come prepared.
11 Don't Think About Taking Off For Black Friday
As with many other retail stores, GameStop does not allow its employees to request off on Black Friday. There are dire circumstances, of course, but if it's a normally-scheduled day for you, not only are you not allowed to request off, but you're likely to be working it, too. Employees have reported working as many as 10 hours with a minimal break on Black Friday just to deal with the crowds. On the bright side, it's a great chance for some overtime.
10 Expect To Work Days Before And Following Holidays
Additionally, most employees aren't allowed to request off before or after a major holiday, excluding extenuating circumstances or a prior heads-up. These days are often the busiest for stores such as GameStop and as such, they recruit everyone associate they can to handle the store.
Managers work roughly 60+ hours as it is, so you're not likely to find any sympathy there, either.
Working retail isn't glamorous, and it's even less fun when you're still full from the night before and working while exhausted from the holidays.
9 Even If You're Uninterested, You Must Be On Top Of New Game Knowledge
While being a semi-professional gamer isn't entirely necessary to be hired at GameStop, it is necessary that you're knowledgeable about most game releases. This is pretty common sense, but if a kid or a parent walks in asking what a new game is about, what the rating is, the consoles it's intended for, etc.—you'd better be ready to provide an answer. Knowing about game release dates and the cost for each edition is just as important and all come as part of being a GameStop employee.
8 You Can't Lack Attention To Detail When Taking In Devices
Something like this could land you in major trouble. While GameStop does take in consoles for resale, it is their job to thoroughly inspect each one and make notations of each and every little thing wrong with it. They also have the right to refuse a system, but if they don't check everything and overlook a major detail, it could lead to resell trouble. If this happens, not only is the store left with a dud console, but you're left with some serious demerits.
7 Poor DLC Codes Don't Result In Customer Refunds
Another source of pure anger from customers in the event of a DLC code that has expired or simply just doesn't work. Customers won't get their money back from these and this often causes stress and tension for sales associates, who are only allowed to apologize and offer them an alternate solution to their dud of a code. They're not allowed to issue any form of a refund because then the store loses money, and you can imagine how much they'd lose if this happened with every bad code.
6 You Can't Avoid A Customer Simply Because You Don't Know Something
As a sales associate, it's your job to talk to every customer. That means even if you don't know something about a particular game, you're not allowed to skip customers or wait in the back until they go to someone else. What you can do is refer them to another sales associate who could be able to help, but it's best just to try and be knowledgeable about the most basic of information. If a manager catches onto the fact that you avoid certain customers, that will lead you to even more trouble.
5 You Can Rent Games, But There's A 48-Hour Limit
The second perk besides getting a (minor) discount is the ability to rent and take home games. GameStop allows its employees to do this, however, there is a catch. The rental will only last 48-hours before employees are required to come back and renew their rental or turn them back in. While two days doesn't seem like any time at all to play a game, but employees are probably lucky they have access to this at all. Hey, it's something, right?
4 You're Not Allowed To Receive Commision As An Associate
Associates are required to act as salespeople, but they don't make any type of commision off of big sales.
It doesn't matter how many Wiis or Nintendo Switches you've sold in a day, your paycheck is still the same by the end of it.
This can be frustrating for employees who work super hard at their jobs and at upselling because the most they can do is hope for a raise based on their stellar performance and their sales history.
3 Becoming A Key Hourly Means Unavoidable Routines
It might sound glamorous to be a keyholder for GameStop because it means you're the first one in and/or last one out of the store, but with responsibility comes monotonous routines. If you're opening, you have a lengthy list of duties to get done, most of which will overlap with hours that the store is open—meaning you'll be pulling double duty. This includes scanning every item in the store in order to update logs, then going back and fixing whatever was purchased before you were done.
2 You Can't Avoid Testing A Game Before Taking It As A Trade-In
Many stores will have portable TVs set up so that associates can run a console or a game before accepting it as a valid trade-in. This can be an interesting experience since the game will either run or it won't. If it doesn't, associates are legally allowed to turn it away but they can't get around inspecting and/or testing the equipment or game itself. Thus, turning the trade-in process into a lengthy and somewhat tedious one.
1 There's No Way Around Reading Game Ratings To Parents
If a parent is purchasing a game for their child, buckle up—if the rating is M for "mature", you'll have to make the parent aware of it. In addition, you'll need to read the entire rating, completely with why it has been given that rating. This is an easy thing to forget meaning it's an easy thing to be blamed for, should a parent take home a mature game for their underage child. Since you can't avoid customers, there's just no getting around this.