GameStop Employees Share Their Most Horrific and Shocking Stories
Have you ever wondered what goes on beyond the games at GamesStop? Although this place is known as a gamer’s form of paradise, perhaps the largest retail gaming and trade-in destination for all things gaming, such as Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo, etc. there is so much more you haven’t heard.
For these GameStop employees, the outrageousness does not stop at the game. Here are some little-known stories directly from employees, that you may not have expected.
Little Kid Heist
So, this woman comes in with a gaggle of kids, maybe four? They were all terrors, running around to different parts of the store, yelling, grabbing things, and rearranging them, seemingly causing distractions while this woman tried on three separate occasions to get behind the counter. They end up buying something, but then I notice under this big box the oldest kid has picked up he’d stuffed his hands full of the little DS games that were on the go-back section on the counter.
There was more here but I’ve lost some of the details, but it really gave me the impression this was all coordinated by their mother. It’s one thing to see adults take things, to see kids who are encouraged to do so is just terribly sad.
So a strange-looking guy comes in the early morning when I’m the only one there and says, “how much can I get for this”? He’s holding out a longish black box with an exposed wire coming out of the box. I look at him then look at the thing in his hand and go, “what is that”?
He then says, “how much”?
I say, “I don’t know what that is”.
He just repeats himself, “so how much can I get for it”?
I say, “I don’t know what it is, if I can’t distinguish what it is just by looking at it, we probably can’t take it”.
He then says, “what if I beat you up”?
I say, “interesting offer but we still can’t buy it”.
Then he walks out. I still don’t know what was in the box.
Warnings Not Included
When Fortnite first got big we had this older lady who always came in with her grandkid minutes before closing. I’m talking 8:58 pm and we close at 9 pm. Well, the kid needed V-bucks so the grandma would buy him whatever. Well, she’d buy him $10 for XBL but then find out there’s a tax on the Xbox marketplace. She was floored by this. She comes back complaining saying we need to warn people there is a tax on the marketplace and we need a sign or something. I ask her if she thinks we need this for all stores that tax their goods and she tells us no, just that we should inform all guests that online purchases are taxed as if this is a new concept. We literally had to explain taxes to this woman all while her grandkid is screaming for more stuff.
Later we found out this kid gave up his XBL login to some other kid online with the promise of hard-to-get skins on Fortnite. The password got changed and everything, so she had to call XBL support to get it back. She insisted we should warn parents and guardians of that too.
Lady, we are just selling this stuff, you need to educate yourself on it. It’s called parenting/grandparenting. I haven’t seen that lady in a long while so maybe she got tired of us questioning her lack of knowledge.
He Couldn’t Hold It
A mom brought her kid in and they were looking around. My store was in a plaza with a Walmart. The kid kept telling mom he had to go to the bathroom and mom’s exact words were “you should have gone in Walmart when I asked but you didn’t go so now you have to wait”.
The kid is being vocal that this is about to be an emergency…anyway, they are checking out, and I hear a water sound, and the mom yells “oh my god” as the kid pees all over the magazines/strategy guides in front of the counter. The mom just grabs the kid and bolts, leaving us to clean up a bunch of books.
Best Grandma Ever
This happened to me in 2007 or so. GameStop had a used game return policy: seven days, no questions asked, full refund. People would abuse this constantly like a rental service. We knew it, and we were able to flag people who did it too often and decline their returns (manager policy, not company policy).
Then there was this one old lady with a group of grandkids. She seemed so sweet and was very nice to us while in the store, asking for help, recommendations, et cetera. She bought her kids a PS2 and a gigantic stack of games, which had to be 20 or 25 at least. Her total came out to over $400. I rang her out, handed her the multiple bags of stuff, and said to the kid’s something along the lines of “you guys are lucky to have such a great grandma. this many games will last you months”.
The grandma chuckled and said, “oh they’re only in town for the week. You guys have that seven-day return policy, I’ll see you in 6 days”.
I had a family that would bring their son in every Saturday. They explained to me that he had severe autism, and he was non-verbal.
No problem, except they would stand in a corner and text or whatever while he’d knock over stands, rip things from walls, and even run behind the counter and try to bite me. I had to get permission to ban them from the store, but I was tired of trying to not get bit.
A Deal For Grandpa
This grandpa comes in with his 11-year-old grandson in tow. He’s holding one of the dirtiest Xbox 360s I’ve ever seen with one hand, and the tray is loosely popping out whenever he angles the console to point toward the ground.
He goes up to the counter and he’s like “I want to sell this, how much will you take for it”? My assistant manager goes to start hooking it up to check and see if it works. The guy goes “you can’t take my word for it? The thing is brand new”. We almost laughed out loud. My assistant manager told him that it was store policy to check it, and still, the guy persisted.
Now, this thing was the original Xbox 360. Even if the pounds of dirt and the loose disc tray hadn’t given it away, the console itself would have. Nobody is going to pay $200 for a 360 in 2018. So, my assistant manager rings it up and is basically like. “Since it’s defective I can give you $16 for it”.
This set him off. He was like “are you kidding me, I bought this for $200”. After yelling at my assistant manager (who was finding this exchange hilarious and was trying not to laugh), he turns to the other customers in the store. “Anyone want to buy this off me for $50”? I don’t think I’ve ever seen customers look that intently at the things on our wall than I did at that moment.
They were trying so hard to look invested in what they were looking at so that the crazy man didn’t approach them. Afterward, he threw another little fit, then took his grandson and left. The poor kid looked so scared and embarrassed.
A gentleman comes in to buy one of our old Xbox 360 bundles. He brings it back a few days later and complains that it doesn’t work. We start our normal troubleshooting methods in-store. We couldn’t figure anything out. So I do a swap and take his old system in as defective, and then sell him a replacement bundle.
I go through and try to wipe the system so we can ship it back to the warehouse. Cockroaches start crawling out of the system instead. I start freaking the heck out. Throw the system in one of our giant shopping bags, throw that in a box, tape it shut, and throw that in another bag.
My manager tells me to just shrink it out (meaning we take the loss) and destroy it in the back. I take it out to the parking lot and have to throw it around to destroy it. These cockroaches freaking scatter like marbles on a floor. I’m dancing around the parking lot on my tiptoes to avoid the flood. It was awful.
Sesame Street Strikes Again
I had a couple come in to “return” a Sesame Street video game and a controller. They had a receipt from over a year ago, the game was badly scratched, and the controller was full of dried soda.
They said it didn’t work anymore (shocker) and were furious when I wouldn’t give them their money back. They stood there screaming at me (I was the manager so I had no one else there to back me up). It was crazy. Their kid was bawling, the lady was swearing like a sailor and the husband couldn’t finish a sentence. So that was fun.
Those Meddling Kids
We had just gotten a shipment of Pop Vinyl figures, and my friend was looking for some particular ones that were a bit harder to get his hands on. In walks a few kids, but I continue helping my friend.
The kids looked around, picked out a few items, and seemed to talk amongst themselves. One of them seems to be looking for something, so I go over to help him. I ask what he was looking for. While helping the kid, the other one sneaks around me and smacks my bottom before running off. Needless to say, parents were called, and they were forced out.
I worked at GameStop while I was in college. It was a small town, so the customers were either students or out of the backwoods. We had this one regular that as my manager put it “wasn’t quite right”. Well, he had to have worked on a farm because every time he came in he smelled like manure, and cleared out the store.
He would always trade-in and trade-out WWE games (he would say one of the divas on the cover was his girlfriend), and hang out in the store until his dad would get out of his truck, come to the door, and yell “let’s go Bobby”. It was never fun dealing with him in the store but, I believe, it taught me how to be patient and I’m grateful for that.
He Brought Backup
I was a senior sales associate at GameStop in LA from 1999 to 2001, it makes me almost a manager but not quite. GameStop has/had a generous 7-day return policy. A customer purchased a unique controller for the first PlayStation and came back with it 14 days later trying to get his money back.
I explained that it was outside the refund range but if he came back in 2 hours when the manager arrived for the day, he might be able to explain his situation and get a full refund.
What followed was almost 45 minutes of belligerent badgering. During that time, it was made clear to me that I was:
Not a real man.
And all sorts of standard profanity in standard combinations.
Then he tries to get me to refund some random purchases in the system to get his money back. Just open the register and give him cash.
He then storms out, goes five shops down to a toy store, and gets his buddy who is the assistant store manager, and together the two of them try to get me to break protocol, open the register and just give him the refund.
When I didn’t, the two of them spend another 20 minutes yelling at me. My manager comes in at the appointed time and hears about it. He goes down to the toy store and reads the assistant manager and manager the riot act. Never heard from those guys again, from what I understand the toy store employee was let go soon after.
Control Your Kid
A mom, dad, and kid come into the store. The parents are in their early 20s, and the kid is probably three or five. The kid is running around going crazy, throwing stuff off shelves, et cetera. Mom just stands there and keeps yelling at the kid, then at dad to do something about the kid. The dad clearly hates his life.
After a few minutes of running around crazily, the kid stops, proceeds to puke all over the floor, and then keeps trying to run around. Mom and dad grab the kid and leave…leaving us to clean up the mess.
Karen Knows Best
One time at GameStop, a woman screamed at me because her kid was tearing open a toy before paying for it and I kindly told him to wait a little bit. She seemed on the fence about wanting to buy the toy or not for her kid, so you know, I wasn’t glad that her kid was already ripping it open. But what she said was so over the line.
She proceeded to scream at me for being “really awful with kids”, “a horrible person”, “bad at my job”, et cetera. Also, she wanted to complain to the manager if I ever talked to her kid like that again. She then angrily paid and walked out of the store.
Lots of kids think GameStop is a hangout spot where I live, so they’ll just loiter until it’s time for them to leave. We attracted a lot of neckbeards too. When Skyrim was coming out tons of kids were stoked about it and neckbeards would make it their mission to prove that they knew the entire history of Skyrim and that the kids weren’t original fans like them.
A 20-year-old guy starts yelling at a kid about how he shouldn’t buy it until he’s learned about all the lore. The kid just calmly says “dude it’s just a game chill out”.
Not Today Satan
I worked at a high-volume GameStop (what would now be called a “prestige” store) near a university back in 2007. For some background, I have loved games all my life and took the position as a second job to get some extra cash for my upcoming wedding. My husband was finishing his master’s and didn’t have time to work. I graduated in 2005 and worked with all 19 to 20-year-old dudes.
So, this mother comes into the store and is absolutely livid, with what looked to be a 12-year-old boy in tow. She demanded to exchange a used game that he purchased just a few hours before because apparently it was “demonic” and had “wizards and witchcraft” in it (I so wish I could remember what the game was). She tells the kid to go pick a different used game. When I saw what he grabbed, I almost laughed. He comes back with Grand Theft Auto.
“I want this one”, he says to Mom, who looks at it and decides that this is an ok purchase for a 12-year-old kid but that a mage in a game is not. I tried to explain to her what the ESRB ratings meant and that I wouldn’t be able to even sell the game to him without an adult, but she said that as long as it didn’t promote Satan that she was ok with him getting this game instead.
The Customer Is Always Right
We had these people come in a buy a brand-new PS4. All seemed fine at first. About an hour or two later they were back, asking for a refund, saying that the PS4 was faulty. We get it out, and inside the box is an obviously used, broken PS4.
It was obvious they had taken out the new PS4 and replaced it with an old broken one and were trying to trick us into giving them the refund so they’d have the money and a new PS4. They were arguing until they were blue in the face that “this was what was in the box we sold them” and that “the customer is always right” and then they were threatening to report us for not giving them a refund.
But there’s one thing they didn’t know: We logged the serial numbers of sold new consoles. When we showed them the serial number on their receipt did not match the serial number on the console, they suddenly just grabbed it all back and ran.
I was in GameStop when a really angry woman in her 30s walked in and cut in front of everyone in line and loudly demanded money back for a used game she had bought. The poor guy at the register said he couldn’t give her the money back. She got increasingly more aggressive, and even louder, loud enough for the manager to hear and come out. He just repeated what the cashier had said, and she lost her mind completely. She threw the game case at the manager, hit him right in the face with it, then spat at the cashier before starting to tear the place apart. She tried to do as much damage as possible.
The cashier immediately called security and me and another guy that had been standing in line asked the manager if he needed help throwing her out of the store. What he actually wanted though was for us to keep her in the store so that she couldn’t run off and get away before security showed up, but we weren’t comfortable doing that.
Luckily for the manager, security showed up before she even tried to leave. She was 100% calm when they took her. It was like flipping a switch, I’ve never seen anything like it. From a raging lunatic to calm and compliant in literally one second. I thought they for sure were going to have to take her down hard, but nope.
Anyway, security took our details and said they’d be in touch, but I never heard back from them. I guess between the manager and the cashier and all the other witnesses they didn’t need to take a statement from all of us. And I’m sure the store had video cameras too.
I’m not going to say which GameStop it was, but the whole thing made the news.
The Blame Game
I was an assistant manager at GameStop during the last generation’s console release. Like at the heart of the Wii release. So, as I am working my shift, I constantly get people asking if we have Wii’s and would have to either crush their dreams or make their day.
Well, one day at least a week before Christmas, a mother came in asking if we had the Wii, I told her no but did offer our phone number to give us a call anytime we are open to see if we have them in. She declines and exits the store. A few hours later, the same lady comes in, but with her son, and says to him, “that man over there ruined your Christmas because he won’t sell me a Wii”.
I lost it. I told her to get out of my store and not blame her procrastination on me. I was trying so hard not to curse due to other customers in the store but if I was able to go unfiltered, I probably would have been fired.
There was this wealthy couple who had three kids and each kid had a Wii, a PS3, and an Xbox 360. They would pre-order every major game that came out for each system, always the deluxe edition. They spent a ton of money in our store, but there was just one problem: They were crazy. So abusive to every employee, they swore at us and called us names, they would ask for things they knew they couldn’t have and then throw a fit, they would scour their receipts for anything that could be a mistake and make you explain it to them over and over.
They came into my store there and got in line for my favorite cashier. I immediately called a manager over when it was their turn to check out, and explained how I knew there was a 99% chance they would make the cashier cry. He went over and just as he got there, they were beginning to raise their voices about some supposed mistake. Luckily that manager is super good at “handling” people and got them out without letting them get a word in edgewise.
Patience Would Have Paid Off
I worked at GameStop years ago and I had a pretty sweet manager who gave me quite a bit of freedom in the sense of what you could tell a customer.
Anyway, I get a customer and his wife come into the store one night and he asks about buying a PS3. We’ve got plenty in stock both new and used. One problem, he mentions he wants to be able to play his old PS2 games on the new PS3. Most PS3s were not backward compatible. The ones that are, are rare and expensive (at least at the time).
I try to tell this guy that the PS3s we have in stock were not backward compatible and no store in our region would ship us one if they had one themselves because they would just as easily sell it to one of their more regular customers who walked in.
I try my best to be nice about it and tell the customer that I had no problem selling him a PS3 but the ones I have aren’t what he wants. If he wanted a regular PS3, I’d be happy to sell him one but if he truly wanted one that was backward compatible, he’d have to look at Craigslist or eBay. My manager had a pretty open policy about delivering the best results to potential customers, even if the sales do not happen at our store. Customers you treated well like to come back to the store, et cetera.
This particular customer, however, becomes very offended by this statement and in a sort of aggressive and smug way cuts me off mid-sentence and says I don’t want to sell him anything and some other things I don’t quite remember but were about me personally. I tell him if he was unhappy with how he was treated, my assistant manager was just three steps away from me and he could speak with him if he pleased. He gets one of those sheepish grins and just walks away. I thought that was the end of it…I was wrong.
Later that shift, maybe an hour or so after the incident, the same customer comes into the store and this time directly speaks to my assistant manager clearly within my line of sight. In both instances, we were sitting at adjacent cash registers and started whispering and pointing toward me. My assumption was he was trying to get me fired. The assistant manager tells him the exact same spiel I gave him about what he wanted and what we had in stock and the customer ultimately leaves unhappy.
The kicker to this entire story is that I knew that Craigslist had a listing for a backward-compatible PS3 made the day he walked in and if this dude didn’t take it so personally, I could have gotten to the point in my sentence where I tell him exactly that.
When Nature Calls
I worked part-time at GameStop while I was in college. The best story I love to tell is the mom and son story. What looks to be a 40-year-old mom and a 7-year-old boy come into the store (in a large strip mall with lots of stores). I could tell they were bad news with one look. They don’t even look at merchandise, come up to the counter and ask to let the kid use the bathroom.
She clarified that she was not here to buy anything but “has spent thousands of dollars in our store previously”. We politely tell her we can’t let customers use our bathroom because it’s in the back of the store with lots of high-priced merchandise. That’s the policy. We have cameras and corporate reviews the footage.
Additionally, what we don’t tell her is that all the used game consoles that people sell back to us were stored in the bathroom. It was one month before Christmas and I had to do some impressive yoga to get to the toilet myself. I’m sure those consoles were a hazmat issue. But not to be unsympathetic to this kid’s plight, we tell the mom that the pizza place next door lets people use their bathroom if they buy something, and the cheapest thing is a one-dollar bottle of water. Her reaction was…not good.
She starts flipping out on us and spewing expletives, telling us she’s paid our salaries 10 times over…then….no joke…tells her son to “just go”. The kid actually unzips and pees all over the carpet in front of my register. Then they left. I’ve never been so grossed out and dumbfounded. I had to close up for the day and the next day while GameStop paid to have our carpets sanitized. This resulted in a loss of pay for the weekend. I wonder what happened to that kid. He’s got to be in his 20s by now.
I was an assistant manager for about a year and had done retail before. Our store was right in between a fairly upscale touristy part of town as well as some of the poorer neighborhoods so we got all sorts of people.
The holiday season was in full swing, and we were always crowded. This particular day we had a few seasonal hires in to help with the workload and I was behind the counter pulling games as people came up, to make the transactions faster. Then suddenly a smell hit the entire building like a hundred cats had peed in the air conditioner and someone had tried to get it dry by stoking a fire with burning hair. It was absolutely unbearable.
My seasonals looked at me with a mix of confusion and terror as a family of four approached the counter and it slowly became apparent that they were the cause of the smell. I’ve been nose blind before from staying with an aunt who used to be an animal hoarder, but this was far worse.
I sent my seasonals on break, grabbed the hand sanitizer, pumped a small mountain of it into my hands, and as casually as possible smeared it on my upper lip, hoping my facial hair would hold onto it and block the smell. It mostly worked. I was already in holiday rush mode, but this was the fastest I ever got a used Xbox 360 and GTA V packaged and ready to go.
When they left, we noticed that the store had actually cleared out of all other customers, who also couldn’t deal with the odor. My sales manager came out of the back, gave me props for not embarrassing them, and promptly proceeded to fill our store with Febreze.
Living Up To The Stereotype
So gamers have the stereotype of having really bad hygiene. The worst I ever experienced was the 23-year-old who smelt like he never showered in his entire life. He was a hefty guy and smelled absolutely rancid. We had to literally hold our breaths or breathe out of our mouths in order not to cringe at the smell.
When he left the odor didn’t and we had to go next door to ask for an air freshener. The worst part was he was moving to Amsterdam in a day or two and if he didn’t shower and boarded the plane I believe he would have hurt someone.
Not So Smooth
I’m a seasonal GameStop worker. This guy walks in, looks around, and asks where the PS4 Pros are. I tell him that we don’t have any more. Then the guy “casually” takes out a huge wad of bills. He starts to mess around with them while talking to me. He says, “you don’t have any in the back?” I tell him no and notice that most of the bills are $1 and $5. I wanted to laugh in his face.
I tell him that we are getting more tomorrow, and we can pre-order them now. The guy just looks at me for 30 seconds, then turns around and leaves. Weird.
All The Right Moves
I worked in a store where theft was a very common occurrence. But this one dude…nabbed one of the cheap controllers off the wall from the back of the store and puts it in his backpack. Then, he comes over to the counter. He reaches across the counter, opens a drawer and takes a brand new game out of the drawer, takes it away from the register, opens it, waits in line, and trades the game back in for 25 bucks. But he wasn’t done.
Then he asks me to look for something in one of the bottom drawers and he takes back the game he just traded in a second time! After that, he immediately left the store before I could notice he was gone. I got to give him credit, he had some slick moves. So many other sketchy things have happened too, but this one I just had to laugh at.
It Passed The Shake Test
Today, a customer brings in probably the grossest PlayStation 4 I’ve ever seen. I think “oh no please don’t have roaches”. I hold it on the end and tap it against the floor and nothing falls out, nor is there any rustling of things moving. No telltale signs. I take it in.
My co-worker decides he needs to find out why it is so dirty before cleaning it and opening it up. Inside is the world’s first deluxe roach hotel. I managed to keep the horde contained in the box the console was going in. That console is gone now. Why are people gross?
Why We Hate Landlines
A pre-order went wrong for one of the rock band packs that came out, whichever one came with the keyboard, I forget. The publisher had originally announced a bundle with the game and a piano, a bundle with all the instruments, and then some of the instruments separately. We started taking pre-orders.
Later, the publisher decided that they didn’t want to produce the bundle that contained all the instruments after all, so we were forced to call all the people who pre-ordered that bundle to let them know. The problem with this is that people often provide their home landline number to us, so when we call, someone else (not the person who pre-ordered) will pick up, take a message, and never deliver it to the right person.
It seemed that this is what happened to the lady who arrived on release day to pick up her pre-order for a bundle that didn’t exist. I get it, that sucks for her. Still not a reason to throw the debit machine at me, though.
Someone More Technically Inclined
A customer called the store to ask us some questions as if GameStop is RadioShack or tech support. I gave him the customary greeting. Then he said, “Hello, is it possible for me to connect both my Xbox One and PlayStation 4 to my TV using some sort of special device”?
I replied, “do you mean using an HDMI cable”? He said, “erm yes, but I want to hook both up and there is only one port”. I said, “you can use an HDMI splitter”.
He sighed and said, “I don’t think you understand what I am saying”. To which I told him, “I believe I do, sir, you just need a splitter to be able to hook up two consoles to one TV”. His response made me want to scream. He got quiet before saying, “yeah I think I would like to speak with a man, I mean someone who is more…technically inclined”.
I was boiling inside but I kept my polite tone and replied “okay” before handing the phone to my male co-worker. My co-worker asked him what he needed before replying, “yeah, you will need an HDMI splitter”.
Fortunately, my co-worker also thought the situation was ridiculous.
We had a buy-two-get-one-free sale on used games. A customer wanted to buy the two cheaper games and get the expensive one free. When informed that’s not how it works, he flipped out.
We had to call security in the mall we were in to get him to leave. He called corporate and corporate told us he was documented so any negative reviews in the next few weeks would be flagged. My manager stood up for me that day. I miss that guy.
Mom Of The Year
When my shift was almost over, a woman walked in with her kid that was around six or eight and looked pretty hefty. As his mom was browsing games, the kid started climbing the shelves.
The conversation goes, as follows.
I told them, “miss we can’t have kids climbing the shelves, they only hold so much weight”. The mom replies, “don’t tell me what to do, my kid can do as he pleases”. I sighed but left it alone.
The kid then proceeds to rip one of the shelves off and starts bawling like a newborn.
I said, “I told you so”. She loses her mind and starts screaming at me. The woman then walked out with her kid and as she was leaving I say, “thanks for letting your kid climb on the shelves and break them”. She continues screaming at me, telling me I’m another idiot “who thinks they can control everything”. Then security walks over and takes her in to make it so that she’s banned from the mall.
On the night the fourth Grand Theft Auto came out, I was working the line and this kid rode up in the parking lot and started bragging about how he got the first copy and held his copy out the window. After about 10-15 seconds of bragging and holding it outside the window, another kid ran up from behind the car, yanked the copy from his hand, and ran into the woods behind the GameStop.
They never found the kid who took it, and the kid in the car started crying immediately.
Sticking To The Cause
I once had a guy buy $200 of semi-used games (like a month after release). I tried to sign him up on the membership card which is $11 once a year because he’d not only pay $50 less, but the card would pay for itself in the transaction.
He looks at me and said, “I hate you, your company, and everyone who is associated with GameStop, no I don’t want your card”. Like okay bro, guess you like spending extra money like an idiot.
This dude tried to trade in his Xbox. The console was in awful shape. So, my boss said, “this looks pretty bad. The best case I can do is a defective trade-in”.
My boss lifts the console and turns it over. About half a can worth of orange liquid pours out of the console and onto my boss’s shirt and shoes. Gross!
Pretty Girl GameStop
I was hired to help open a new store. A store where the manager was male, and everyone he hired? Well, they were female. He was trying to cultivate a “pretty girl GameStop” kind of situation. Word got around, and we had people coming in to visit ours when they had other stores much closer to where they lived.
They didn’t really buy anything, they kind of just lurked around for hours at a time, chatting the staff up. There were days when they’d wait for us to close, that was kind of scary.
I was eventually let go for “not being friendly enough”, which was apparently about three months before the manager had a total screaming meltdown during store hours, declared himself High Archangel, threw some stuff at a customer, and was later picked up by an ambulance.
So I guess my horror story is “the whole job”.
Not Your Babysitter
At the plaza location where I worked in high school, we would often have parents come and drop their kids off at the store while they went shopping at Walmart. I didn’t normally mind because the kids were usually old enough to be on their own for a little while, and hey, I remembered how boring it was to get hauled around doing boring shopping with mom when I was a kid.
One mom ruined it for everyone, though. She brought her young sons into the store one evening. If I had to guess, the older of the two might have been eight at most. The younger was probably five or six. And she left them there for three whole hours.
They were fine for the first hour, playing on the demo machines, but they were just demos: the content doesn’t last for that long. So, they played them all, got bored, and started wrecking stuff. One of them climbed a four-way display and nearly pulled it over on his brother’s head. I wasn’t looking at the time, so I turned around when I heard the crash of it falling to the floor, and I was like “okay, that’s it. You can’t stay here anymore. I’m not a babysitter. Go to Walmart. There will be someone at the door, tell them that your mom needs to come to get you. They’ll find her”.
They said they’d get into trouble if they left the store, and I told them they would get into trouble if they stayed, so off they went. Mom came back about a half hour later, kids in tow, in a fury, yelling at me for being so irresponsible as to send her children out into the dark parking lot alone. I threatened to call CPS on her for abandoning her children in my store, so she left. We no longer allowed children to stay in the store alone anymore.
An Unfair Trade
A guy traded in a Nintendo DS in pristine condition in its original packaging. He was a nice guy, talking about how he always takes care of his consoles.
Anyways, the next customer was a mother and her brat of a child. Returning a DS that was completely smashed and covered in food and dirt. She wanted to claim the 12-month warranty. My manager dutifully obliges and just hands her the freshly traded pristine DS. It was a tragedy.
My favorite moment working at GameStop was when this guy was hitting on me while his young son was looking at Xbox 360 games.
I rejected his advances and he turned to his son and says, “hurry up and pick one, your mom’s waiting in the car”. The audacity of some people.
The Little Prince
Right before Christmas back in 2003, this kid of about 10 years came into the store with his mom, grandmother, and aunt. Each of these ladies had an envelope with a bunch of cash, and each had a list of the things he wanted. He walked around the store like a spoiled prince and was showing them all the things he wanted. After a few minutes, the grandmother came over and handed me the list asking for help finding these items. I took one look and couldn’t believe it.
It had 3 different colors of highlighter on it, green for the stuff he had to have, orange for the next in line if the item was not in, and yellow for the last ditch item. I knew this because he had written a key to the list, and he also wrote the total amount of money that he had to work with…$500. Now me being silly and thinking all of these ladies were working with the same list started helping the grandmother. We managed to have everything he wanted, while ringing her up the aunt came over and asked if I could help her when I was done with the grandmother. I said I already found all of the items for the first lady, she said that was one list and hers was different.
My jaw literally dropped. I then got the list from the aunt and these were all different games and accessories! Also, with a total of $500! So this list we only had about half of the things, some games hadn’t even been released yet, and the aunt looked very…scared? She came back with the boy and his mother and told him he would have to pre-order some of the games since they aren’t out yet and had me back her up on it.
The kid proceeded to tell the aunt that she needed to pre-order all the games, paid in full, and buy him more stuff since he wouldn’t have anything to open on Christmas, she told him that wasn’t possible because she already paid a lot of money. He then calmly told her not to speak to him until after Christmas and that he doesn’t love her anymore. Also, the mother had a list as well, she fared a bit better than the aunt though.
Repair Gone Wrong
A guy brought in a PS3 and wanted to trade it. So I tried playing it but it would error code, so I shrugged and said “sorry bro but I can’t” because if the console doesn’t work, we don’t take it. The dude insisted “ok so can you fix it” and my co-worker was like “yeah I guess let me see what’s up with it”. My co-worker was pretty good at diagnosing stuff, but since we don’t fix things, he’d tell them to go to a place just down the road that was a retro game shop that repaired stuff. And so he took a screwdriver and opened it. All of a sudden I hear this awful scream of terror. I run onto the sales floor and find my co-worker shaking behind the sales counter and screeching as countless cockroaches are swarming out of the PS3.
Oddly enough, the customer was super chill, like, he was surprised, but then he laughed a little and was like “so I guess I can’t fix or trade it”. The dude just sighed and took the disgusting PS3 and left. Apparently, word about this got to the district manager and he came in and had the place sprayed by an exterminator.
A generally normal-looking lady walked into the store, and everything seemed fine as I greeted her and asked if she needed any help. She replied with the typical “I’m just browsing”, as she proceeded to check out games on the wall. Five minutes go by, I’m browsing things on my phone, I looked up and saw something bizarre. The woman was pulling pieces of fried chicken from her purse and eating them as she browsed.
That’s when I noticed the Golden Corral (an American buffet) paper cup in her hand. I can only assume that she went over to the Corral across the street and stole a boatload of chicken using her purse as a container. There was no plastic bag in her purse as far as I could see. She was using the same hand to grab games and eat chicken, a trail of grease and breading laid in her path.
I worked at an EB Games in 2005, the Canadian name for GameStop. The important thing to note is that EB didn’t use the term “used” for games, but instead used “pre-played”. I had a woman come in to buy a game for her husband, but I didn’t have any more sealed copies of it, just the gutted display boxes. She doesn’t mind this and purchased it at the new game price.
A few hours later, I get an angry phone call from a man who says I sold his wife a used game and charged her for a new copy. He explains who he was, and I tell him what happened. He freaks out and says that the game was opened, which makes it used. I let him know that we don’t sell used games, we sell pre-played games and assure him that the disc was removed from the case, sleeved, and filed, which means it has never been played and is therefore a new copy.
He gets loud, asks me how old I was (18), and goes off about how he is older than me and is a lawyer. He demands that he be refunded the difference between the prices, so I tell him that my store manager would be in the next morning, and he could take it up with her. To my knowledge, he never called her, so I think he just gave up.
Check The Age Rating
I was at a GameStop in a not-so-great area a while back and there was a Karen there losing her mind. Apparently, she wanted to return a Call of Duty game because it was too violent for her little kid.
But since you can’t return brand new opened video games I couldn’t give her the money back. She was yelling and screaming at me to take it back. The insane part is she said that she would return with backup, whatever that meant.
So He Got The Manager
This was during the PS2 release. Because of the demand and not enough supply, we had to stagger pre-orders. When a shipment would come in, the first group of people who reserved got theirs, then the next shipment, and so on.
This lady who was like number 500 (and keep in mind we were getting like 20 at a time) came in and demanded her PS2. We clearly explained to everyone who pre-ordered before they did how this was going to work because we were told ahead of time. Another co-worker is dealing with this woman as she’s flipping out in the store and being a total Karen. She demands to speak to the manager. He was out back nursing a hangover. The co-worker is like “miss, there’s nothing we can do, when it’s here we will let you know, the manager isn’t feeling well so he can’t help here”.
Finally, the co-worker gives in to her demands and starts to walk to the back room but didn’t know she followed him. He cracks open the door and explains the situation to the manager. The manager gets annoyed and starts cursing her out. She hears this and pulls the “well I never”, and storms out.
Take Your Time
I had a guy once who took a bunch of stuff from a store across town without paying, and that store was in my district. We were using a group app to talk, and the other store manager posted an image of the thief and his description. So when I saw the same guy come into trade, I directed my assistant manager to start taking the trade. While they were busy, I called a more veteran manager at the time and asked for advice. When I came back inside I asked the guy for his ID, and snapped a photo of it, afterwards, I took over the transaction.
I was joking and laughing with the guy about how much money he was getting back. The guy felt victorious, you could see it on his face. But I was going to ruin his whole day. Right before I handed him the money, I told him that we have him on camera taking this stuff from another store, that I also have a picture of his ID, and that after he leaves I’m going to call and report him. The look of defeat on his face as he left the store was priceless. The guy got close to $200 in cash for $800 in merchandise. I called the non-emergency line and reported it, and they caught the guy soon after.
He Doesn’t Take It Well
We were a pretty low-volume store, so a lot of the time, only one person was working. It just so happened that I was working alone one day when some dude came in asking to return a PC game. We couldn’t return PC games at all, the return policy at GameStop was already pretty strict, but PC games were the most strict because most of the ones we sold at the time still had activation codes in them. So once it was opened, the code was used and it was yours.
First, he said he didn’t like that, then he said the game didn’t work, then he claimed he’d never opened it (despite the obviously broken seal on the box). I told him that I couldn’t return the game and he flipped out. Started yelling, cursing, and all kinds of things. And I was alone in the store at the time, just me and him.
Then, he crossed the line: He attempted to lunge over the counter at me. It was kind of a slow-motion moment in real life, and I remember asking myself as he was coming toward me whether I’d get fired if I punched him. Thankfully, I didn’t have to, because he bounced off the corner of the counter instead of going over it. Another customer came in, some guy built like a football player, saw what was happening, grabbed the dude, and literally threw him out.
Strange Sightings At Local GameStop
Imagine a 2016 GameStop. This dude walks into my store with a crossbow complete with arrows. This man seriously brought in a crossbow double his size and asked me if I could keep it on the back counter while he shopped.
Naturally, I told him no. I watched him waddle back outside, climb into (what I assumed was) his own car from the passenger side window because neither of the doors worked apparently, and drive off.
He Really Wanted That Xbox
It was November 2013, and the first-day release of the Xbox One. I had been working for GameStop for over two years at this point (I officially left the company in 2018).
I was working with my manager, Dan, and assistant manager, Ann (she was outside most of the time dealing with the line), at a very popular North Florida GameStop. We were packed to the nines with people picking up their pre-orders of the system. At this time, we were instructed by Microsoft, as well as Sony, to not allow more than one console per household. There were no exceptions whatsoever as our store had the exact number, we needed to give to the customers who pre-ordered.
As I was working the far left register, the one further from the door, I was ringing out a very scruffy-looking man in his 30s. He was with a service dog and looked like he was a veteran of some kind from all the army stuff he had on him.
I started to put his Xbox in the bag as he leaned in close to me and said, “hey, I’ve got another $600 on me right now in cash. What’s say you run to the back and grab me another console”? I just looked at him and calmly said, “I’m really sorry but per Microsoft and GameStop’s contract, we are not permitted to give more than one console per household. This rule should lift after they’ve produced more. Check back with us in a couple of weeks”.
He slightly glares at me and says, “how about you grab it or I’ll hit you right here and now.” I swear to you, I stopped, stared, then laughed at him. I didn’t think it was funny by any means but my thought was “oh my god, I’m 19 and about to be hit over an Xbox One.”
Luckily, this dude wasn’t exactly super smooth about it and my manager Dan saw this. Now keep in mind, Dan is a big dude. He’s called the “bear” in my district for a reason.
Dan looks at the guy and says “how about I throw you out of my store and smash your system on the ground”? He essentially almost shouted this so clearly other people in the store heard this and became terrified. The guy then laughs and says, “geez dude I was just kidding”.
Dan then pushes me out of the way, closes out the transaction, shoves the system into the guy’s arms, and says “get out”. Needless to say, that guy almost sprinted out of the front door. I’ve never been so stunned in my life.
Holding Your Ground
We had a woman come in with a $200 return that was nine months outside of the return policy. But she explained that her sister had asked her to come and return these things because her sister had gotten in a car accident and had been unable to return the items within the timeframe.
So we decided to be nice and grant the return, even though it was so far out of the policy and most of the items had gone down in price considerably. The woman ended up buying several new games for her nephew and several items for her own son with the money.
A couple of weeks later she comes back and wants to return the new games, even though they’ve been opened and played and are now also outside of the return policy. She said her sister was upset that she returned $200 worth of stuff and her son only got a couple of games out of it. (The customer likely left out that she had spent some of the money to buy games for her own child).
We explained to the woman that it was outside of the policy and that the new games had been opened and gotten a lot of use. But she threw it in our face that we had gone against the return policy last time, so we were being cruel by refusing to make another exception. The woman was being rude to us, so we held firm. A line was forming at that point. Then the woman yells something like, “I can’t believe you would be so cold-hearted! My sister got into an accident, and you won’t let us return these things that she bought only a couple of weeks ago! My sister doesn’t have her legs anymore! It’s not her fault she couldn’t return to the store in time”.
All of the customers look at me like I’m the devil. Some actually leave the store because they tell us they can’t believe how callous we’re being. We still didn’t return the lady’s stuff.
The Angry Goober
Not a GameStop employee but was a customer in line for the midnight release of some game probably three to four years ago now. I can’t recall the game, but I think it was whatever ridiculous iteration of Call of Duty that was coming out that year.
For that specific release, the store decided to have two lines. Line one, which had priority, was for people that has come in earlier that day to verify that payment for the game had been finalized (I imagine so they could just quickly hand the game to people and get them out). Line two was for people that hadn’t fully paid for the game or finalized payment and they would be given the chance to get their game after everyone in line one.
Well, there was this goober at the very front of the line before they divided the lines. He hadn’t finalized his payment even though he’d been in line for hours (and the store employees made this policy very clear) so when he was told he had to move to a new line and wait he flipped. I kinda get it—but he took it way too far.
The employee at the door checking receipts was a strong-looking man, but the angry goober tried to force his way into the store shouting about how he had paid everything and he deserved to get the game first. Well after the GameStop bouncer got tired of this man yelling in his face and trying to force his way past him, the bouncer pushed goober back a couple of feet and said “sir you can either wait in the other line or you can leave”.
Goober, having just been pushed back from the store started shouting “you just touched me! I know my rights”, and then he tried to lunge at the bouncer. The collective line of people, rather than panic, started yelling at the guy. The angry goober got flustered and shouted some more expletives and then got in his car and drove off.
Well, this obviously further delayed the wait for everyone to get their copy of the game because security was called, and the store had to completely lock up while the witnesses gave statements and went through standard procedure. Oddly enough it was this weird bonding experience for everyone in line. I still have a few of the guys from that line on my Xbox friends list. Gamers are a weird group man.