Monday, December 5, 2011

Bayshore Malls' Gamestop Creatures

Eureka, California's Bayshore Mall has had a Gamestop store for quite a few years.  Recently it moved into a bigger location within the mall, which was necessary.  Before, when it was located by the food court, any kind of shopping done at anything but the most off hours resulted in you being jostled by the unwashed masses who would rather converse amongs themselves about Call of Duty instead of watching were they were actually going.  The new location is bigger, cleaner, better lit and smells less of desperation and more like new carpet ... still.  It really is like the difference between Taster's Choice coffee and, well, any other brand of coffee.

I was in Gamestop over the weekend, looking for games for my daughter.  As always, there were the gaggle of teen boys trying to convince their parents to part with their hard-earned dough.  ("But you don't play the first one of this game."  "I know, Mom.  This is new.")  It's something these parents should get used to, as it will probably last until the kid is into his twenties.  And while I find these slacker morons annoying, it's really the sales staff that pushes my buttons.

First, is it just me, or is it that any guy over 30 who works there comes across as a bit creepy?  I'm actually tempted to take a part-time position to see if that is something they train you on.  ("Don't come across as a pedophile.  Come across as a guy who would get a teenage boy stoned to see if you could talk him into 'trying something new.'  Play up the fact that you have your own apartment.  Do not discuss that your mother helps you with rent.  Do make sure to point out you can buy alcohol and have a 'kick ass' sound system.")  I'm sure it's just me.  That stoner predatory feel isn't the most annoying thing about them, though.  It's the upsell.

I know every store employee these days is encouraged to do the upsell.  You know what it is, even if you didn't know the name.  It's when you are making a purchase and everything from batteries to warranties are thrown at you in an attempt to get you to part with even more money.  At Gamestop they even try to sell you a warranty that will fix scratched games.  "No thanks," I said.  "I keep everything in good shape.  I'm not like a lot of these idiots here."  That always results in looks of hatred from the people behind you.

The upsell is one of the more tiresome retail experiences.  It is one of those things that drives people to shop more on the Internet, and it is something that makes me dread taking a purchase to the counter.  If I need batteries, a warranty, a subscription to a game magazine or to pre-order the "next hot thing," I'll do what anyone else can do and ask.  A salesperson pushing it upon me won't suddenly trigger something in my mind like, "Shit, I do need a dozen double A batteries."  You aren't that good.  It won't work.

You know, Gamestop, that smell of despair that used to ooze from your old location?  I used to think that was the customers.  The folks who masturbated over World of Warcraft "relationships."  Now I know differently.  That's coming from the sales staff.  A more desperate group of predators (in every sense) I have yet to meet.  I imagine it won't be long before that new carpet smell is replaced, and you folks will be hunting yet again for a new location to taint.