On September 17th, 2013, shortly after 12:01 AM, a battle of wits, sarcastic comments, and customer service (or lack thereof) took place at a GameStop midnight release for Grand Theft Auto V. These strip-mall gladiators squared off over an ID policy for mature-rated games; someone caught the action on their handy phone-camera, and the Internet was set ablaze for a day with the ranting comments of GameStop’s disgruntled past customers.
Check out the video above to watch the events that set this debate into motion.
Being a former GameStop store manager, I toiled tirelessly in GameStop’s retail trenches for a total of 5 years. During my tenure, I dealt with customer-service issues ranging from routine to others that make the guy in this video look like Ghandi. Certainly, I think we can all agree that both parties handled the situation poorly, and the video of what transpired finding its way to YouTube has only brought to light an issue that takes place the world over on a daily basis.
So why does this happen? Well, that’s simple–people have emotions and personalities: something that this particular store manager did not understand. Maybe this guy had a terrible day. Maybe the midnight launch that the store manager was required to oversee wasn’t going as planned. Whatever happened, bad attitudes flared up, and there’s no denying that both parties were at fault here.
Although, at first, the store manager did do her job. She asked for picture ID for the purchase of an M-rated game–an ESRB requirement and industry standard. In this situation, it was doubly important to provide proof of identity because the customer’s game was paid off in full. Without asking for this, what would there be to stop someone that knew this gentleman had pre-purchased this game from coming in, claiming to be him, and walking out with a free copy? Nothing. Also, presenting a business card as a form of identification is a ridiculous prospect, one that no retailer would, or should, accept.
However, instead of sticking to her guns and requiring the customer to provide the necessary identification, the store manager caves and lets him purchase the game anyway. This was the first in a long line of mistakes. If she would have left the issue where it was, as a policy violation, everything would have been fine. Sure, the customer would have been mad, but the issue could have been resolved. Instead, as the customer was leaving, the manager delivered a snide comment that was completely unnecessary and utterly unprofessional, telling other customers in line to contact the irate customer to “thank” him for holding up the line. Apparently, the man in question had been passing out his business cards to others in line as they waited, which makes the claim that the manager was going to give out his personal information wholly nonsensical.
From this point, the manager’s truly condescending personality was exposed, and instead of acting like a professional, she turned into a child before our very eyes. However, this doesn’t mean the irate customer was right. He tried to play the customer complaint card pretty hard and made a scene that surely made everyone in the store uncomfortable, all because he forgot his identification–something that was solely his fault.
Actually, what was witnessed in the video is this--two people without the skills to successfully integrate with society on an acceptable level struggling for a sliver of power in their miniscule existence, power that wasn’t really there to be had. It truly was a “pissing contest,” and both parties were dehydrated.
But, in the end, the customer got his game and got to complain, which is clearly what he wanted. And if the reports are true, the store manager has been fired for her conduct portrayed in this video, which was an easily warranted outcome. What is important to remember here isn’t that this happened. What is important to remember is that this happens everywhere, all the time. In all facets of retail, there are terrible employees and idiot customers. There’s nothing we can do about that. What we can do is not be part of the problem, something that might be easier said than done.
Either way, I think I will continue to keep myself as separated as possible from the masses of morons that plague public places on a daily basis. Trust me, it’s better that way for everyone concerned.
Video Content Director