Inside EB Games: When The Dream Job Becomes A Nightmare

In the beginning, everyone loves working at EB Games.

The dream job: being involved with the games industry, with like-minded people who have the same hobbies, enjoy the same things, speak the same language. A place where everyone loves video games. Of course they do; why else would they be working at EB Games?

We spoke to a number of people for whom working at EB was a dream job.

That dream job would turn into a nightmare.


Haylee calls it the “initiation” period.

“My first few weeks at EB,” she says, “I was just kind of filled with awe at how cool the job was.”

Working long hours, going out for drinks afterwards. Being part of the ‘culture’. Working with video games, with people who would become friends. In time, some would become lifelong friends.

A dream job.

So, in the beginning, Haylee thought nothing of doing a few extra hours for free. In a strange way she was just happy to be among friends.

Haylee would often work 10-hour days. Only four of those hours would be paid. Haylee would turn up to help at midnight launches and she wouldn’t get paid. Sometimes Haylee did it because she wanted to. Many times she did it because it was expected of her.

Speaking to a number of current and ex-EB employees, this is a consistent theme.

“Everyone I've ever talked to talks about how much they loved working at EB and wanted to work for free when they first started,” explains Haylee. “It was just like this awesome club, and you were a part of it.”

Haylee was a hard worker. She was a good worker. Eventually she started to question why so many of her worked hours were unpaid but she didn’t question too hard. At one point a superior informed her in no uncertain terms that he could “replace her in five minutes flat”. She quickly got the picture. This world will never suffer a shortage of young people who want to work in a video games store.

So Haylee kept working. Eventually her colleagues started talking about promotions, about an Assistant Manager’s position; Haylee’s dream job. It was then that Haylee was introduced to what she calls the ‘carrot dangle’. The more hours you work for free, the more you represent the EB ‘ethos’. The more you represent the EB ethos the more likely you are to get that promotion to Assistant Manager, full time, at EB. Living the dream.

Haylee kept working. She was always working.

During Haylee’s second year at the company there was an event. All EB managers had to attend. Haylee was still a casual, but she caught the train to attend, to take part. To remain part of that “awesome club”, to hang out.

Later that night Haylee wanted to catch up with her friend — an old manager of hers — but he was in the midst of an argument with his girlfriend and wasn’t in the mood. Another EB employee, however, was still in town. They caught up. They had a few drinks. Later, she says, when they were alone, he made a move. Haylee wasn’t interested. She said no. According to Haylee, he was persistent. Again, she said no. “I said no about 30,000 times”. But Haylee claims he wouldn’t listen. He wouldn’t stop.

“It was rape,” alleges Haylee.

Haylee caught the 4am train home, in tears for the whole trip.


Working at EB made a lot of sense for Randall. The PS4 and Xbox One were close to launch, his local store was busy and needed three or four more casuals to fill up the roster.

Randall had a friend who worked there. He’d spent a fair amount of time at the store and knew the guys. Why not? He was a post-graduate student and, quite frankly, needed the extra cash. Randall applied, had a quick interview, and was hired on the spot.

The first thing Randall noticed was EB’s laser-like focus on “Key-Performance-Indicators” (KPIs). It was a very sales driven environment and numbers were everything. Randall was constantly being told to push for pre-order sales, for trades, for game guarantees. In addition, staff were being ranked at both the store on a state and national level, meaning that no matter how well the store was doing one member of staff was always ranked last.

And if you were ranked last in the store you could expect a call from Mark DiStefano.

Mark DiStefano was Randall’s District Manager, one step above his store manager. According to Randall, he had a reputation for calling up whoever came last to deliver a constant barrage of abuse. Randall was never in last position, but that didn’t stop him from receiving similar calls.

“Mark would verbally abuse us,” says Randall. “Using phrases like, 'You're a fucking idiot', 'Fucking bastard', 'One more fuck-up and you're fucking gone'.”

It was intimidating but Randall had heard enough. After a few of these phone calls he asked Mark for a face-to-face meeting to discuss the issues. Surely this could be solved over a coffee.

Randall claims Mark refused the meeting.

That’s when things began to escalate, he says.

Months later: Randall was covering a shift at another store. A store he’d never worked at before. Whilst he was working, Mark DiStefano arrived.

“I was confused and in shock at this point,” says Randall.

One hour later, Randall was talking to a customer. Randall claims Mark stormed out of the office and into the store, walked directly towards a Minecraft display and started swearing loudly, picking objects off the display, violently tossing them around — while the customer was still in the store.

“I was confused and in shock at this point,” says Randall.

The customer left.

Then, according to Randall, Mark beckoned him over.

“Don’t you fucking know anything, you fucking useless bastard?”

Randall tried to explain: this was his first time at the store, he didn’t have anything to do with it. It didn’t matter.

In a rage, Mark DiStefano allegedly ripped down the entire display, throwing stock everywhere.

“I didn't really know what to do. I mean, how do you even respond to that? I just kept my mouth shut and did what he asked.”

Later a regular staff member arrived at the store. He chatted to Mark as Randall cleaned up the stock Mark had been throwing around.

Mark motioned towards Randall, who is of Indian descent, and allegedly said the following:

“He’s gonna end up as a sleazy car salesman or a taxi driver.”


Haylee didn’t tell anyone about the alleged rape. EB Games doesn't have an internal HR department — she had no idea who she should tell.

For two months she kept it to herself. She continued working at the store.

Eventually, Haylee broke down.

She told her boyfriend, another EB employee. Haylee protested, but her boyfriend was adamant she tell a manager. They went together. Haylee was terrified.

Terrified of making an official complaint, of having people misconstrue the situation, of being shunned. Terrified people wouldn’t believe her, that she would be judged.

The language Haylee’s manager used exacerbated those concerns.

“He kept telling how it was going to be really hard for people to believe me, that I had to be really sure because it would be taken to the police and get serious, that they’d question me and stuff.

“Basically he kept going on about how nobody would believe me.”

“Maybe it came down to the fact that it really was some 19-year-old store casual’s word against an employee and it was easier to just brush it all under the rug.”

Haylee was spooked. She didn’t want to go to the police. She was told the issue would be taken higher up the chain, but never heard anything further.

Two people we spoke to confirmed this conversation took place. EB Games said it has no record of any such complaint in that area.


“My EB name tag said 'Randy',” explained Randall. “Mark actually never called me that. Ever. He wouldn't address me by name. It was usually 'Apu' or 'the Indian guy'.”

Randall says the abuse continued to escalate.

According to Randall, there was another incident: Mark DiStefano demanded a meeting. Turn up at 8am on the dot or you were fired.

Mark claimed someone working at the store was a thief. An item of stock was missing. Mark’s solution: every single member of staff had to provide their Xbox LIVE account names, PSN, personal emails – everything. If they didn’t, they would be fired on the spot.

Under tremendous pressure, everyone obliged except Brad.

Brad was a friend of Randall’s.

Brad was on antidepressants and suffered from asthma. Immediately Mark allegedly began abusing him, making fun of his depression.

“He made comments like: 'I don't know how your parents can love you, you're a fat useless piece of shit. You're done here, you bastard. Get the fuck out. I dare you to put EB as a reference.'”

According to Randall and his colleague Kurt, Mark DiStefano had been verbally abusing certain staff members with homophobic slurs for months, calling Randall and a couple of other employees “faggots”. Randall claims Mark would spread rumours that Randall and Kurt were dating.

During a sales training meeting Mark introduced staff members to a new system of customer service called the ‘WOW factor’. Fairly standard stuff — make the customer feel welcome, go above and beyond, etc.

Mark’s alleged description of the ‘WOW factor’: ‘give the customers the best blowjob of their life’. And if they still weren’t happy? ‘Bend over the counter and let them fuck you in the ass’.


“EB Games goes above and beyond to provide our employees with a safe working environment and we have zero tolerance on bullying and harassment. This includes contracting an external HR consultancy firm and an independent third-party who operate an Integrity Hotline.”

That’s part of the official statement EB Games sent us when we contacted them for the purposes of this story.

The Integrity Hotline: A number of people we spoke to made reference to it. According to them, it was something of a running joke.

“If someone says something inappropriate in the store, or lobs something at your head, everyone chants ‘oh, I’m dobbing you into the integrity hotline’,” says Haylee.

The Integrity Hotline is a number EB employees can dial to report any issues they are having at work. It promises anonymity but, according to one head office staff member, that anonymity was rarely upheld. Usually complaints filtered down through management back to staff members involved in any incident, if they filtered down at all.

After being allegedly verbally abused by Mark DiStefano, Randall’s friend Brad made an official complaint to the integrity hotline, but there was absolutely no follow-up, according to both Randall and Brad. An EB Games spokesperson claimed they had no record of the complaint. According to both Brad and Randall, that simply isn’t true.

Everyone we spoke to highlighted how lost and powerless EB employees — particularly casual employees — felt in situations where they felt abused or exploited. If you had an issue there were two options: call the integrity hotline or contact your line manager. One was a running joke, the other involved a massive amount of risk.

“The unspoken understanding,” explains Amy Mason, “is complainers don't get hours.”

Amy Mason was an Assistant Manager at EB Games. According to her, and many others, EB Games as a company would be unsustainable without the incredible amount of unpaid hours worked by both store managers and casuals.

“The unspoken understanding,” explains Amy Mason, “is complainers don't get hours.”

“As an Assistant Manager, I was working 60-hour weeks and getting paid $39,000 a year, and I’m not even kidding,” she says.

The main issue according to Amy: Managers were given payroll to manage the store, essentially a budget for casual hours. Without exception, says Amy, that budget wasn’t close to the amount required to run the store successfully.

“I had to work every public holiday pretty much, and would be given ‘days in lieu’ that I was never able to take because there was no payroll to get a casual to cover me,” says Amy.

Managers and Assistant Managers claim they run themselves into the ground. Casuals said they were expected to work extra hours for free, to embody the “EB ethos”. Expected to turn up early to open the store without pay. Expected to close the store without pay. According to Randall, it would often take an extra two hours to do the work he was required to do in a three hour shift, but his store only had budget for one casual. When he complained about this to management he was told to “organise his time better”.

Midnight launches. Everyone we spoke to claimed they had worked midnight launches without pay. The unspoken assumption: if you didn’t your hours would be cut.

Allegedly, sick days were also an issue.

“I didn’t have sick days,” claims Amy. “I worked through many a chest infection and even pneumonia."

At one point, Amy had to get her wisdom teeth removed, a procedure that required she take a day off.

“I was told I could have it as a day in lieu for a public holiday I worked, but not sick leave.”


We approached EB Games for comment regarding unpaid hours.

“EB Games complies with all Fair Work Australia’s rules and regulations,” read a statement sent in reply.

“With regards to unpaid overtime, all casuals are paid for the hours they work including midnight launches. If casuals are working for “free” this is not something that is being asked of them by the company.”

Amy admits she was never asked by upper management to force staff members to work for free, but believes that a “very well thought out system” forces managers to take advantage of casual workers.

“It works,” says Amy, “because we got resumes handed in daily. The threat is always there: you are so replaceable. Why else would people work for free? What other reason is there?”

EB’s lack of an internal HR department, believes Amy, is a major issue, making it extremely difficult to register any kind of complaint regarding inappropriate work hours. EB Games has almost 400 stores, employing an estimated 2000 employees, but has no dedicated internal HR department. According to experts in the field, that isn’t necessarily strange, but it's far from best practice. In a statement EB Games informed Kotaku that all HR roles were “covered” in the business, but no-one we spoke to was provided with a point of contact for HR related problems.

Amy believes she racked up “hundreds of hours” of unpaid work. Randall remembers working entire seven hour shifts without pay, setting up for stock takes or sales. Others we spoke to for the purposes of this story said the precise same thing. All had worked for free at some point.


Randall and four other colleagues have placed an official complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission. All five made statutory declarations regarding their treatment at the hands of Mark DiStefano.

“I have worked for Mark for a long time,” read one statement, “and can attest to his appalling and disgusting way he conducts himself.” [sic]

Another statement: “Mark on numerous occasions called me an asshole and a cunt.”

A third statement: “I suffer from extreme depression and anxiety because of events that occurred at EB.”

On Friday, after a number of delays, EB Games finally responded to the allegations. EB claims to have undertaken a three week internal investigation. They deny all charges corroborated by five different EB employees in separate statements. In the words of EB Games' mediator: "[t]here has not been unlawful discrimination, harassment or victimisation."

Mark DiStefano denies having ever verbally abused Randall or the four other employees. EB Games denies any and all liability.

Recently Randall was informed that he was officially banned from all EB Games stores. He thought it might be a joke. He called up the EB customer service hotline to check.

Later he got a callback. Yes, the operator confirmed, Randall had been banned from all EB stores. Nationwide. Randall asked why? The operator claimed she didn’t need to provide a reason. Determined, Randall asked to speak to a manager. The manager was far more polite and happy to confirm that Randall had been banned.

On the advice of Mark DiStefano.

If you suffer from depression and want to talk to someone, you can call beyondblue on 1300 224 636, Lifeline on 13 11 14, or chat to someone online.


Comments

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      I've worked at EB Games for nearly four years and this is ridiculous? I've always been paid for every moment I've been working in the store...I also get paid for helping out at a midnight release and all of the employees of EB that have been higher up than me have been amazing, encouraging people. Don't be so pathetically gullible please.
      It's the best job I've ever had.

        My brother works forcthe company and it is all true!!!!!!

        Glad you're enjoying it, it was by far the worst job I've ever had, competing against colleagues, absurd KPIs, pushy selling expectations and the gutting games system was horrendous. It seemed like a dream from the outside though.

        I worked at Dick Smith Electronics for around 5 years myself. While I had the best boss ever, and a FANTASTIC area manager (shoutout to Lloyd, wherever you are now mate...), I can tell you this sort of thing went on in DSE towards the end of my tenure in certain areas too albeit not to this high level. People staying back unpaid, people yelled at by area managers too etc. Just because it hasn't happened to you, does not mean it hasn't happened to others. Stuff like this never happened to me, but I do know for a fact it happened to friends of mine in DSE.

          I've been with DSE for a while now and it's true, my current manager tries so hard to do right by the four people (including myself) that work with him but after new regional management stepped in, it's become so much worse.
          (840)

        The one I can confirm is Mark DiStefano, who is the District Manager from Wollongong, NSW

        It's great that you've had a positive experience in your time at EB Games but this doesn't invalidate the experiences of others. I worked under the area manager in question and while I was neither witness or victim to his outbursts I also believe what others say they experienced. They've signed legal declarations and put their reputations on the line in the search for some justice or redress.

        I can say that every single employee I know from my time there had their labour exploited for free for the possibility of more work. It's a place where you wanted to belong and the price of entry was to get forgo your rights as an employee so you could work with people you consider friends.

        im an ex employee. Left of my own free will. The amount of abuse this company gets away with is ridiculous. I work harder in my new job yet I feel better as the bullshit isn't here

        You got a decent manager then. I am an ex manager who resigned for being instructed to do many of the things stated. I refused and paid staff for hours worked and started getting backlash. So I left for a better organisation.

        ohh look they dont have HR but they have PR to post here anonymously lol...

        I worked at EB for five years in Victoria and I can attest to this. Worked at around five stores and never got paid for cleaning and resorting shelves after the store closed, attending regional meetings and never had access to HR. Throughout my years there, a colleague would resist working unpaid after hours and their hours would dwindle down to 3 hours a week - forcing that person to quit. As the article said, there was an upspoken rule that you needed to work free if you wanted to stick around, and even more if you wanted to bump up your promotion prospects.

        Worked there for four years and this kind of crap is really common. EB is a terribly run company, it's like they have no one at head office who even understands employment law.

        then why r u on here as a guest

        EBEmployee? Seriously, GTFO. Nobody needs or wants your BS here.

      I've worked for EB for around 7 years as a casual and can confirm the following complaints about underpaid work. Especially in regard to sales set ups and closing the store. In one event during Christmas I worked over 80 hours in one week, most of the time without a break. Should this amount of overtime occur according to law you need to be awarded penalty rates. Upon discovering my pay was much less than expected I called payroll. My call was met with much hostility because how dare a casual jump the levels of management to contact head office directly. The issue was I had been paid yet minus the overtime. When I asked why the frosty response was that I had had half hour breaks every 5 hours. This wasn't the case. Due to the understaffed and overcrowded customer store conditions breaks weren't possible. So the result was payroll had forcibly included breaks into my shifts despite the fact I hadn't had these. EB Games has an incredibly cancerous back office and management style. They'll squeeze every cent and break every aspiring young worker to increase their profit margin.

    Disgusting.

      But also common knowledge if you shop at certain EB stores. Some are worse than others, and there's one I attend frequently where the staff change so often it's depressing.

      Absolutely, sadly this is how it always plays out in the workplace.

      Companies try to guilt the victim into not taking this further. Worse yet when the victim is male and the perpetrator is female.

      I was on the receiving end of sexual harassment when I worked at Staples and it was truly soul crushing to hear management tell you "You can't choose the people that you work with".

      HR and even the independent companies they get to handle these things try to coerce you into not taking it further.

      Last edited 20/07/15 8:40 pm

      This is why I honestly believe that everyone should work construction at one point in their life. It teaches you not to take this crap. That guy whom wanted to be a violent, verbally abusive, racist prick? He would have said that shit one fucking time to my face and I would have literally broken his nose, orbital or jaw, depending on where my punch landed. I lodge a complaint about something as serious as rape and it doesn't get handled? I break the fucking piece of garbage's leg the next time I see him in the workplace. You don't want to settle it, I fucking will.

      This is the type of stuff here, it is this that makes construction the best industry, I've found. We all, across the board, live by a 'take no shit' policy. Even the laborers, so the 'bitches' of the operation. That's what I am, and it still won't cost me my job if something like what was described here happened, and I broke a mother fucker? I wouldn't even lose my job. There wouldn't even be a police report or anything. That shit don't fly, not even a little bit. I have literally gotten in a full blown fistfight with my foreman, because he said something he really shouldn't have (racial) and he kept going, and then threw a piece of shingle at me. So I decked him and we got in a fight, on the fucking roof no less! No police involved, no labor report, nobody lost their job, nothing. And this isn't just for roofing, I've found this across the board for almost all construction. Its why we 'can only' get construction jobs. We won't bend over and take it in the ass from no one regardless of their 'superiority' in comparison to us. You claim to be my superior, you better well prove it, in skill, maturity, attitude and demeanor. Or else-wise, fuck you. Its pretty simple.

        I'm not sure that physically attacking someone is demonstrating maturity, a good attitude or a good demeanour. In fact, I'm pretty sure it demonstrates the exact opposite. But dif strokes, to each their own etc.

        That sounds barbaric. You're a psychopath.

          stop your wining, dangerface. rapists deserve to die

        ... and after i kicked the shit out of my manager i went home and ate a bowl of broken glass for breakfast. No milk.

        Yeah, beating your chest and flexing your muscles must make you so proud. If you hit someone because they're talking then you're just as much a piece of garbage. Control yourself , grow up and stop patting yourself on the back for thinking you stand for anything. Whatever you believe, you are simply not qualified to handle situation. Break their nose? Sit back and watch someone better than you deal with it instead.

        Last edited 21/07/15 12:05 pm

        1) That reaction would land you in gaol. Also reiterating the above sentiment that violence isn't a great answer to problems.

        2) Supply and demand. You can afford to say you don't want to work over time. Trades & construction are relatively (in Australia, at least) in high demand. People are less able to lose a worker (unless, you know, they're a violent psychopath). Whereas as they repeatedly pointed out above there are people lining up who will work for free at EB Games if you won't. In that industry you are so replaceable that even questioning will get you fired.

        Ahhhh the CFMEU way..... Thuggery with a sprinkle of morality.

        And of course this method is highly effective if your boss is larger/stronger/more willing to hurt people than you are.

        Is a 17YO female junior supposed to take out her frustrations on a male senior manager? Not only will she lose her job and possibly a few teeth, many stores are covered by cameras and she could easily find herself up on charges.

        The only superiority your suggested method demonstrates is a superior ability for physical violence. In construction, the people at the bottom of the chain will tend to be physically fit and capable. It's not so in all other industries - or even most other industries.

        There's a huge difference in attitude though. Punching the manager would have resulted in a lawsuit and a nation-wide ban, as well as a bad rep for Randall. And physical violence hardly seems like a solution.

    Dream job? I think not. Plus who wants to work for/with non-gamers or "gamers" with poor knowledge of pc/video games!!?

      I work for this company, have been for almost 6 years and i'm a PC gamer, have been my entire life. In fact most customers are directed to me if they need any PC-game related help, as i'm the only worker at my store who is a full on PC gamer. Not everyone has "poor" knowledge of pc/video games. Don't ever make poor assumptions ;)

    Man, this is probably why I've always had trouble getting a job. I don't work hours I don't owe or won't be paid for.

    "Neo-Kaiser, I need you to stay behind an extra couple of hours"
    "Will I be paid?"
    "Well no, but you-"
    *out the door*

      Well said. I’ve been criticized in the workplace before for refusing to be exploited. Unpaid overtime is theft, pure and simple.

        Probably why my managers always were annoyed when I stayed late to make up for lazy hours.

        Man I didn't realise this was such a problem. I worked casual retail at the Reject Shop but the pay was great and even though we had some shitty hours at Christmas time, we always got paid a ton extra for it.

        Guys there are hotlines for this stuff, I'm pretty sure your employers would be pissed but legally your employer needs to pay you for all the time you're working.

        Unfortunately I work for the company where the CEO sees people starting early / staying back constantly as a sign of a good worker.. I see it as a sign of someone that cant get their work done in the time allotted to them during the day. I’ll stay back to finish work on my own accord if I know it’s urgent or will make my next day / week easier but I don’t consider having to stay back (unpaid) as a sign of a good worker.

          Very true. Same on my end. We have some people who, demonstratively, have no time management skills ... they like to mess round during the day then play the martyr and be seen to be leaving late.

          It's frustrating: I usually choose to ignore it and simply be glad I'm in a continuing appointment in a public institution..

          Last edited 22/07/15 12:37 pm

      When I moved back to NZ I found it a bit tough to get a job. I applied for a job I really wanted and to set myself apart I offered to work for 2 weeks for free and if they were pleased they'd give me the job. It worked and they gave me the job they also back payed me for the 2 weeks I did. That was back in my late teens im now 32 and started my current job 12months ago and this has been the only place I've worked where you get paid for EVERY hr you work and any hours over my 40hrs is paid time and a half. My previous jobs have been salary and you were expected at certain times to work a bit extra to maybe get a job out on time etc, if you declined when redundancies came around you didn't last long.

      Last edited 20/07/15 2:11 pm

        The reason they back-paid you is that it would be completely illegal to have you work for them unpaid on a 'trial' basis for two weeks. Trial work is only legal if it's kept to a reasonable amount of time, long enough to evaluate your skills. That's usually somewhere between one hour to one shift. Beyond that is unreasonable according to Australian labor laws and you are entitled to minimum pay.

        http://www.fairwork.gov.au/pay/unpaid-work/unpaid-trials

          If you actually read his comment instead of showing how much of an internet lawyer you are, you'd have noticed he said New Zealand, not Australia - believe it or not they have their own laws.

            In New Zealand they have to pay you for all the work you do, just like in Australia. Believe it or not.

            You're right, misread 'to NZ' as 'from NZ'

            New Zealand as of a few years ago actually has a tighter case law around it than Australia does: the employee can't have any monetary gain from the unpaid trial worker. So eg if they're a trial barista and they make a coffee, that can't be sold to a customer. They have a '90 day trial' provision as well but both parties have to agree to that, and as far as I know it has to be paid.

              It was in 2001 I didn't know what the laws were then and id just moved here. It was for an Apprentice Cabinet maker position but for the 2 week period they had me working in the warehouse lugging around matresses and packing furniture I was 19. It probably wasn't exactly legal what they did but I know why they did it apprenticeships were hard to come by so yea I think if I had sucked they probably would have just paid me cash in hand under the table so it didn't affect my dole money I was receiving at the time.

          I have read the article and a lot of your comments. This behaviour in business is not only seen at EBGames. I blame education for one thing. I am a self employed bookkeeper and I know of employees (uni student no less) that don't even know what an award is. What their rights are as employees. This is standard stuff guys. obviously parents are no longer teaching their kids about this stuff so then we need to look to the Education system to pick up the slack. There should be a unit in year 10 that not only shows you how to apply for your TFN but what workplace laws are and where you can go to find out this info. What is a union....?? Apart from the place where those fat loud people from the construction industry work, it is a place where people fight for your rights and fight for better treatment of workers. Kids need to be taught that they have a choice.... but they also need to know what those choices are.

          okay all done I can put my Soap Box away now

        Where abouts (or what field you in bro?)

      i totally get this. I hate being expected to work overtime and not be paid. But "somehow" when they don't expect it, i love to work hard for the company and do unpaid extra hours. Who would have thought that being a good boss would actually work.

        it's pretty standard human nature: most people don't mind or even like doing nice things when it's not expected; the second people act all entitled to your kindness - no one wants to do it anymore.

      Thats good, it means you are strong enough to stand up for yourself and not be bullied just because you think its a 'dream job'

      Never work for free, because that devalues your brand and what you're worth (unless its for a NFP or charity)

        I made some videos and put them on Youtube, I wasn't paid >:

          That is called self employed. And when your self employed you have to offer something of value. Are offering value?

          The reason you aren't getting paid is that you aren't marketing correctly. The subtle trick to getting subscribers is to shout SUBSCRIBE!!! at the end of every video.

        I disagree. I have worked long hours without pay because I enjoy my job and am actually invested in the company and team. I've been promoted 3 times in 2 years - I think as long as the company recognizes your dedication and doesn't expect it, some unpaid overtime is fine.

          Sure, when you're paid a full time salary some reasonable overtime is fine.

          When you're a casual - a 10 hour shift and only being paid for 4 is downright disgusting.

          EB seem to have developed a system in their favor that relies on the fact that most casuals are young and are scared to step on toes, lest they can't find another job.

          strange you remind of the type who would tell Haylee that no one would believe her. Thank f**k not all of us are brainwashed fools.

            Right, because I don't mind staying late to get the job done, I must think rape is fine.

            Nice use of logic there, champ. Care to try again?

          If you're regularly working many hours without pay then you're a fool. You should recognise that they can afford to pay you, they just don't want to.
          If a business requires its employees to work for free to stay afloat then that business is unviable and should go under.

            The business doesn't require me to stay late - I choose to, because I don't want to rush through and submit sub-standard work. I believe in what we do, and obviously the dedication has been recognized due to said promotions.

            The way I see it, when you begin your career, the extra hours are a down-payment on future advancement. If you aren't willing to do this, that's perfectly fine - it's your life, live it as you will. But calling someone a fool because they are trying to get ahead? That's a bit rich.

            Look at it this way - you have an opening in management, and your two choices are the guy that shows up at 9 and leaves at 5.30 every day, or the one that shows up a bit early and stays late to get the job done... who would you choose?

              There is a difference between showing up a little earlier and staying back a little later to do a good job and be prepared and what EB expects. To meet budgets I was told to set up for the sales special alone which was 5 hours unpaid work alone. And the casuals were told they werent paid after the store closed to clean and tidy. While I managed I ensured that they were paid for 30mins after close and I expected them to have it all done. But 546 hours unpaid at a minimum each year for 1 site is ridiculous.

              I would choose the one who I believed was the best fit for management.
              If the allotted time in your shift is consistently not enough to complete your work to a good standard then that means your employer needs to hire more people, or pay you to work overtime.
              If you want to spend the extra hours at work then by all means go ahead, but it should not be an expected part of employment.

              I agree with you, and have a similar job where I stay back every once in a while to get work done, but it's not regular or very frequent at all.

              But just because you and I are in a position where it is ok (it's not expected of us often, and we are rewarded in the long run), doesn't mean it applies to everyone and every job.

              Specifically for the case with EBGames, we are talking about 10hr shifts and only getting paid 4; would you take your standard salary for a 40hr week but work 60 hours overtime on top of that for free?
              Furthermore, these are casuals; they don't have a full time contract that protects them from unfair dismissal (they don't need much of a reason to fire a casual), and they don't get sick or annual leave or any other benefits.
              Finally, I highly doubt any of those casuals are likely at all to get promoted in anyway, regardless of how much unpaid overtime they get. At least for you and I we have annual salary reviews and lots of potential for promotion.

              So my point is really, it isn't black and white. You need to recognise when you are with an employer where it will be worth the unpaid extra hours; and another point on top of that is that you need the experience to recognise this situation; most if not all people in this position are too young and inexperienced to recognise this, and so shouldn't risk it at all.

                I totally agree!

                My point was that sweeping generalizations like If you're regularly working many hours without pay then you're a fool aren't true at all, there are many people that will work extra (technically) unpaid hours quite happily.

              Your working full time with a salary? But your not paid hourly, your on a salary. Basically you've agreed to a set amount of hours for the period of the contract.

              That's completely different to a casual and even part time role. And not being paid for hours worked is actually illegal. Plus who wants to work free hours in retail.

      It's great that you're able to adopt this position, but remember that a lot of people simply aren't in a position to say no to these requests. Which is why having a powerful statutory authority with good investigative powers is so important.

        Agree totally with this. My own feeling is there is no way on earth i would allow myself to be exploited like this. However, not everyone is in the privileged position to be able to just say no (or has the confidence to). It is a very uneven playing field and there is a massive power differential between some employers and their employees that simply doesn't exist in other sectors.

      I work unpaid over time when needed (I'm the only one who can fix some problems and if it's longer than a couple hours I bill it) but I guess my job is a career and it all evens out with me leaving early when needed/working from home if sick and not having to use a sick day. All depends on the job and the culture there, but yeah EB is exploiting people not being flexible.

      EB closes at 5pm and that's when you stop getting paid. But you're expected to wait while the till is counted down, finish tagging the trade ins, fix up the shelves, straighten up the store, vacuum and then when the manager is ready to pat you down and inspect your bag to make sure you're not stealing anything, you're free to go - perhaps around 6:30pm or so.

      But if you want to get more shifts, you'll happily stick around until 7 or 8 chatting and going that extra bit further. If there's a big sale starting you need to prepare for, what's the big deal staying back til 10 or 11? Sometimes you might have training that runs late. You'll be paid for it, we swear. Then when you aren't paid, you must have misunderstood, you heard wrong. We'll give you time in lieu. Time in lieu? you must have heard wrong, we never said that.

      Then you're not getting shifts because you have a life outside of work, and your sales numbers aren't as good as the other guy who start at the same day as you, a guy who comes in on his off days while you're at uni, who starts early and finishes late, off the clock, every day. You point this out and are met with "well we're not going to have more shifts for you until you fix your numbers". What does that mean? How do I get more sales when I don't have more shifts?

      Well, we don't have shifts for your right now.

      "Am I fired?" you ask.

      We don't have shifts for you.

      Then you find out a few weeks later your staff discount no longer works.

        That's how we were planning on getting rid of a troubling employee. Except he cost us 10,000 bucks and wasn't improving.

          It's really best for everyone if you tell someone they're fired and why. It's not fun for anyone but still far more respectful and I believe everyone is better off. I've had to fire some real shitheads, and it still sucks.

            I asked my manager and he told me (at least in Australia) that it's not as simple as it seems like on TV or in movies. You can easily run the risk of getting sued.

              AHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh HAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAH.

              Do you believe everything your manage says? Or do you research yourself?

                No he's right. It can be very painful to get rid of dead wood. There's a lot of legislation that puts the employer on the back foot which can be a good and bad thing. It applies to all industry.

                Yeah, like @mypetmonkey said, it can actually be very difficult to fire people depending on the contract they've signed or the award they're on. There often needs to be documented evidence of incompetence or misbehaviour (and 'personality conflicts' usually doesn't cut it - it typically needs to be bad behaviour warranting disciplinary action, not just that they're disliked).

                And not just that, but there often needs to be evidence of management attempting to reach a resolution by training and improving.

                This is frequently why the 'there aren't any hours' excuse is used - to pressure an employee into quitting because it's no longer giving them a wage. It's inexcusable, but frequently seen as the only alternative to going through an arduous firing process which can be appealed against as an 'unfair dismissal'. My guess is that unfair dismissal is an easier case to win than proving discrimination on hours provided.

                  If you follow the process - its simple. What you are talking about is the consumption of time in order to do such a thing.

                Yeah, and I'm guessing that's one of the deterrents. Additional concerns about 'making a scene', or being lumped with a recalcitrant poor performer, or... and this one's probably the biggest, being forced to stick with someone they really just want to fire for personal reasons. It's a terrible reason to go down shoddy paths to pressuring someone out of a job, but we're talking about (in some cases DEEPLY) flawed human beings here, doing the wrong thing in the first place.

              Maybe so, but as long as it's for legit reasons and you've given them ample opportunity to address any issues. I'm in the APS, so it's a pretty epic process to get rid of anyone (nearly a years worth and so much documentation) - nothing like in the movies! To be fair though, I didn't really have the option of just not giving them any shifts. Or moving them into the basement.

              You need to give them three warnings to change their behaviour or be fired, I believe. So first meeting: you need to shape up. Second meeting: I can prove you're not shaping up. Third meeting: shape up now or you're fired.

              I believe they don't even have to be about the same things, necessarily.

                The problem there is they can be stealing and you still need three freaking warnings.

                  Not true.

                  Gross misconduct is immediately a fire able offence, you do need a modicum of evidence for it though.

                  Otherwise the information in this thread has been broadly correct. Of course all this documentation and warning is meant to specifically stop employers doing what they do to these casuals...

                  Wrong.
                  Commit any criminal act (and get caught doing so) and you can be fired on the spot.
                  Employment laws do not trump criminal laws.

        Hopefully enough EB employees read this article and go to the Fair Work Ombudsman. It sounds like there is a systematic exploitation of the employee's desire to keep their job. It also sounds like EB is forcing managers to employ staff on a casual basis when a reasonably predictable shift would otherwise class the employee as permanent part-time. I think there needs to be a thorough investigation into these practices.

          Yeah, if these people are being exploited and the current internal system doesn't work, they need to take it to fair work. if enough of them do it, it ceases to be hearsay and they'll launch an investigation. Won't change things immediately but it will happen.

        5? If only! We closed at 5.30 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday. 9pm Thursdays & 3pm Sundays. :P (i'm just messing with ya)

        But yeah. This was expected of me at Dan Murphy's but they paid overtime, which was interesting, that only happened once, but in our defense we were short staffed that one time. But at EB my manager kicked me out no more than 10 minutes after close. She didn't want me staying around not getting paid. Even though I insisted I stay and help her tidy up the store since it seemed pretty unfair on her to do it all especially since she lived at least a 20 min drive away and I lived a 5 minute walk away.

      It's why I lost my last job.

      This kind of thing is, unfortunately, pretty out of hand in Australia in general IMO and not limited to EB games. All my past jobs have expected it at some point.

      Can't even use them as past experience or references because I'm a lazy sh1t after resigning because I refuse to work public holidays (at night!) with no compensation.

        My sis works at target. Whilst she always gets paid for her hours, if she is sick or needs time off, her hours will go down the next week.

          My experience with this is they usually just copy shifts from the previous roster, nothing nefarious going on - if you're not on the old roster; you don't make it onto the new one.

      Get a blue collar job if you want paid o.t 80k a year plus penalties. 45-60 hr weeks but worth it

      I'm a post-grad student and am looking for weekend work at the moment. Last week I got offered a hospitality job at an hourly rate $8 lower than the legal minimum wage. The place is popular and makes an absolute killing.
      I can't believe that businesses think they can get away with paying an illegal wage. It makes me bloody angry.
      I'm supposed to start there this Friday so I'm anticipating that they will tell me to piss off when I ask for a legal wage.

        This is pretty standard stuff, especially around Melbourne. A lot of the time they'll offer you $20/hour with no penalties, but it will be in cash and you'll keep any note tips you get. It's dodgy, but works especially well for students and backpackers.

          The pay they were offering was the same pay I got for the same work.... in 2004.

        Which company is this? I don't see reason to withhold secrecy on a thread where we're publicly lambasting another company by name. It will be proper warning for other people thinking of working in there.

      Yes, thats the reason...

      Speaking as a construction worker, it is unspoken law that if I don't get paid, someone's getting decked. I love construction because it encourages you to speak up. I've gotten in full blown fist fights at work, no consequences, because I was right. Its a 'take no shit' environment, where the word 'superior' is....a suggestion at best. Just because you are my foreman don't mean fucking SHIT if you are a total cunt.

        I cant see a female, teenager trying to deck a make 20-something AsstMng/Mngr. over lost shifts or overtime - especially in a public space like a shopping center.

        You shouldnt need to get into a blue for your entitlements - this is why regulators with powers to enter a site and demand answers and evidence to claims is necessary.

        Keon's got it right. Those of you who don't see that haven't spent enough time on That Other Side of the Hoarding and seen how that attitude makes for a more open, honest, cooperative workplace. Is it slightly more violent? Yes, but only slightly. Think about it. These blokes do physical work. It only makes sense that they solve things that way more often than those whose primary work involves words.

        There are no veiled threats as in the IT pro and customer service worlds -- they're right out there, plain as day. Similarly, villains are taken care of effectively, because ya can't trust a villain to have your back in a situation where your and other lives are at stake. This is as real as it gets. Most tradies who work on large projects have stories about how someone got into a dicey situation and perhaps people weren't as quick to help them, or as quick to advise them "Don't do that," as they might have been for others.

        And as far as fair play goes, the tradies on crews that I know very much live by it at work. If you shirk more than the rest of the team, good luck getting their help when you need something heavy moved. But if you step up for a tough job, you get rewarded. It's a small world - you'll probably see these blokes again at some job at some point, so you want to do right by them.

        If you think a coworker or your foreman or the site manager is one of the Witt brothers (f, half or dim), you can tell them so (and they'll probably say the same thing right back). And it won't show up on your review, LOL.

        Yes, I've swung a guy off balance by grabbing his harness and yanking, and tossed him to the ground after about 10-12 comments I felt he intended to be threatening to me over the same number of days, with a simple, "F'ing DON'T. Now f off." Foreman, upon hearing what I'd done, knowing that I'd taken it for a few weeks, said, "Atta girl." And yes, I'd asked his permission before I did, as I was only a subcontractor and didn't want to find myself off the site if the bloke complained. I'd specifically asked for permission to deal with it myself so that I didn't become known as someone who needed a manager to fight her battles for her, among the crew. It worked. The message wasn't, "I have the capability of damaging you. Don't screw with me," but more one of, "We all have to coexist here, and we all depend on each other for safety. Remember that."

        As far as a female teenager trying to deck someone in a shopping mall, no, wouldn't happen. Out of context. A site, however, is a different place.

      A common tactic is to roster a certain number of hours for you to work, then assign more work than can actually be done in those hours. If you fail to meet the target, you're a slacker.

    Even though EB is fairly large, it seems to have all of the problems of most small businesses. Namely, people in any position of power think they are the most important people in the world and everyone under them serves to lick their boots. Nasty, disgraceful, incredibly petulant people. Small business dictators are far too common.

      The absence of a central HR department is a big part of what creates this culture.

        That totally shocked me - I didn't think you could run a company that large without a HR department!

          The article says that their HR functions are outsourced.

            Except that as an ex-employee, I can tell you that if there is an 'outsourced' HR department, the employees know nothing of it.

              That's often the case with outsourced HR. The consultancy fee they charge is often a sliding scale based on the amount of work they have to do. Giving employees easy access to it is tantamount to shedding money (which flies in the face of the principle that caused them to outsource in the first place).

          There was no HR dept when i was there.. They strugged enough to even put together a privacy statement to display to the public and refused to do so until it became required.

        just remember though that the purpose of a HR department is to protect the company, not the employees. The implementation of a set of standards is a legal ass-covering exercise that has the side effect of producing some more consistent conditions for employees. But they're not there to serve the interests of the employees against management. That's what a union is for.

          Sure, but even then, there's a world of difference between a central HR department which might obfuscate the process of escalation (though within legal boundaries), and an outsourced one whose existence is a mystery to employees.

          Just knowing the chain is there is often a useful reassurance... even if it is lined with razorblades.

      this is due to the culture.

      I've worked for many a company where every person they hire fits a stereotype that they think is best for the company, what they don't realize is these 'hard working self motivated winners' as they normally call them result in them hiring narcissists and sociopaths.

      It's the culture of the place. Most managers and area managers come up through the ranks - by the time they get to that level, they're well and truly indoctrinated.
      The "club" mentality referenced in the article is 100% true. When it comes to promotions you're either in the club or you're not.

    I can pretty much confirm the culture. I used to work at EB Games back around 2000 and yeah the "free hours" thing is real. I never experienced any abuse at the hands of managers though. Back then Nick Hermans was the only Regional. Now there's a few of them, including Hermans who remains to this day. But the non paid hours thing is completely true.

    The "borrowing" system was pretty bad too. Staff would take stuff home, including hardware, use it for months at a time, then bring it back and sell it "brand new" to customers. Not sure if that still happens anymore, but man is was rife back then. My old manager took home a PC Graphics card and used it for 6 months and brought it back and sold it.

      This happened at my store too. We were encouraged to do it for "product knowledge".

      Happened when I worked at my local eb about 4 years ago. One of the staff was notorious for taking home games, playing them and then putting them back on the shelf as new stock.

        I quit back in '11 and have seen the insane extent of 'borrowing' that goes on... It probably was a high contributor to why we failed 3 consecutive loss&prevention benchmarks... Then my manager was transferred to another store then magically we start hitting targets again...

        Ohh the stories I could tell.

        You do realise that there's a VERY good chance that any game you buy from EB that isn't sealed is simply a game that has been used an returned by someone else utilising the 7 day return policy? This is common practice and every EB does it with full knowledge of head office. But...that's another story.

      Wait. Was this done with Steam Games too?

      I once bough Just Cause 2, got home and Steam rejected it saying the Key had already been used.

      Long story short, I took it back and the guy simply just swapped it say that several others including myself had the same problem in that week alone.

      I hope it's a case of the keys being compromised as I'd hate to think it's because someone actually used the copy I had first bought and then had replaced.

        Yeah that can generally be the case. I'm sure there are quite a few stores that have employees who do it. Years ago I was friends with a manager of an EB Games, I would go in sometimes and visit him for his lunch break. Whenever I would go in he would let me pick a PC game off the shelf, take it home, install it and use the CD Key then bring it back the next day. He would then just send it back to the distributor and ask for another replacement copy. I'm sure however there are stores that just put them back on the shelf and sell them.

        Whenever they would get stock in for new games, generally a few days early, he would take them home and play them before release. I remember we went over to his house and played Guitar Hero edition that had the drums a few days before it came out. Day before release he just took it back to the store and put it back on display.

        I think this happened to me just recently, I exhausted my local stores stock of The Last of Us GOTY because none of the DLC codes worked for all the copies they had. Returned for full refund, purchased elsewhere and code worked instantly :/

      This (borrowing stuff) is not unique to EB. Many years ago I bought a game at Microcomputer Spot (long since out of business now). When I opened the box at home, the label showed visible wear and dirtying, and when I put the floppy into my Amiga it immediately found a virus.

      When I took the game back they denied everything and said I must have infected it myself - even though I always set the write protect on my floppies before inserting them.

      We can be thankful that nowadays almost all game media are read-only.

      Do you mean Nick Hermes?

    (a) I find this just incredibly awful.
    (b) I am also incredibly unsurprised.

      It's a sad state of affairs when you're an optimist living in a horrible world :(

    I've always thought working at EB would be a shit job. The public suck..

      In all fairness, it CAN be really good. But like any retail job, you have your good days and bad days. If you can get the holy trinity of:

      1) Good manager
      2) Good crew
      3) Good location (customer wise)

      It can be awesome.

        I've met some great people who work at EB. They actually give a shit about providing a service for the customer that they can be proud of. So many people in retail are just apathetic and think that the customer is a necessary evil.