When working in any sort of media retail store, you must always remember that customers believe that "in the back" is some sort of magical wonderland of titles that don't exist, haven't come out yet, or are so old that you may find them at your local historical society and nowhere else.
But don't ever let that fool you. The customer is always right, no matter what.
I worked in a mall where there was, in order, a Gamestop, an EBX (Trendy Electronics Boutique), and an EB Games. I worked in the EBX. It was cleaner, bigger, and tended to not collect the massive hordes of idiots that swarm on the other two. All three stores had the same shipping provider — UPS. All our shipments arrived at the same rerouting warehouse, and ended up on the same truck. They also were shipped from the same plane (most of the time).
It was the day of the Madden 2005 release. Usually what happens on launch day is when the stores open (8 AM), there's an incredibly long line of people who pre-order, as if that would actually help them. Pre-orders, when made a few weeks back, get you a special shipment of the product — JUST FOR YOU. It does NOT, repeat NOT, make the game magically appear on a plane that was already in-flight.
A few hours pass from store-opening, and usually we get word from UPS that the truck is incoming, or that he'll be a tad late, or something. Well, the call never came. At around 3PM, we started getting worried, so we called UPS. The UPS transit station knows me, so I'm usually the one to call.
UPS Bozrah, how can we help you?
Hey, this is Steppo at the EBX in shitsville. Did our trucker get lost today?
Oh hey Steppo. We meant to call you. The plane crashed carrying your shipment.
Holy shit! Seriously? Is everyone ok?
Oh yeah, no injuries. It'll take a day or two to get your stuff back, though.
Righto. I'll fend off the masses here.
Sorry, Steppo. Talk to you later!
Now, when I say "fend off the masses", what I mean to say is "I'll deal with it." Little did I know that I jinxed myself on a level I can't possibly describe.
Hey, you work here?
*Looking at nametag* Yup.
Where's Madden? Is it in yet?
Sorry, man. UPS had a plane crash. We can't get the copies in until tomorrow or so.
WHAT? I PAID FOR A PRE-ORDER.
Yes sir, and that pre-order guarantees you a copy when we get the shipment. But we can't-
This is BULLSHIT! Give me my pre-order money back.
Okay, sir. *Refund*
I'm going to GAMESTOP. They know how to treat people!
Sir, they use the same carrier. It's likely that—
FUCK YOU, MAN. What do YOU know? *leaves*
About twelve minutes later, he comes back in.
Hey, I want to put my pre-order back in.
Everybody has the same carrier-
Whatever, what do I know?
WHAT DID YOU SAY?
Well, the inference was made that because I work at EBX, I don't know anything about logistics or product distribution on a continental scale. Therefore, I couldn't possibly know that any of the three stores would have their copies in on time today. As such, I am dismissing the initial story that I predicted correctly, and am currently working in re-establishing your pre-order.
... RIGHT! Cool. Thanks!
again. I won't go into the fact that he just carted $5 from EBX, to Gamestop, to EB Games, and BACK again.
It's near closing time, and the hits just keep on comin'. We're now standing room only. My boss comes out from hiding in the back room and approaches me.
Why don't you tell these guys that they're not getting their copies until tomorrow?
There are about 50 guys here. Most of which are probably packing heat—
Yes. Thank you, Mr. CSI. Anyway, I don't want shit to go down here, so when closing time hits, we'll give them the news then. That way, there's already State Troopers combing the building for stragglers.
I want you to tell them now.
So I hop up on the counter and shout at the top of my lungs that Madden 2005 will not arrive today due to a shipping issue. For many, this is the same answer that has been given them from the other two stores. One of which approaches me.
Hey mang, where's my Madden?
Sorry sir, I just said that there was a shipping—
Oh come on, mang. It's in the back room. You're just holding them to jack up prices.
Look, here's $75. How about you go in back there and get me a copy. You can keep the extra, okay?
Sir. Short of the fact that if I just put a copy of Madden 04 in an 05 preorder box, you probably wouldn't notice the difference, we have no copies of Madden 2005. There's nothing in the back, and there won't be anything in the back until we get the shipment!
Mang. You're in trouble now.
Unless you get that copy for me out of the back room, you won't be getting home tonight.
How so? *reaching for phone* Your car? You like your car, right? *I drove a piece of shit Escort GT with 250,000 miles on it.*
Why yes sir, I do.
Well, unless you want your car blown up, you'll get me that copy.
You're going to blow up my car... a felony... for a $50 re-release of a game that you can get for $30.
I don't know about any of that, mang. I just know you need to get me that copy before somebody gets hurt.
Absolutely sir. I'll be right back.
So I jump in back and pick up the phone and do a quick 911.
Hey, it's Steppo at the EBX. We've got a problem here.
50 or so unruly guys are making a scene, one of which has threatened to blow up my 1991 Ford Escort with 250,000 miles on it and no heater.
*Snicker* Be there in 5.
The cops show up. In droves. I counted about 12, a few with shotguns, one with a bullhorn.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. YOU ARE HEREBY ORDERED TO DISPERSE FROM THE VIDEO GAME STORE. THERE IS NO GAME, ANYWHERE, WORTH RIOTING OVER. GO HOME.
Twelve minutes later, I was able to close the security gate and call it a day.
I never thought to ask the "Blow up car" guy how he knew which car was mine.
Yes, it's the perfect form for surviving a car crash. But it's also the perfect form for so much more, like surviving the trauma of reading any news headline in 2016.
It's just a little confusing, is all.
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