Nude Photos, Drugs And Cockroaches: Wild Stories From Game Retailers

Retail is a tough racket. It's no easy gig. Sometimes, it's boring. Sometimes, it exhausting. And sometimes, it's completely bonkers. Here are some colourful, disgusting and just odd moments from the trenches of gaming retail, dealing with your fellow gamers.

Kotaku reached out to a couple retail vets for their war stories.

Eric Jou, former GameStop Employee and current Kotaku writer:

I had this one customer, who would come in a buy used copies of every Pokémon game, and then come back and tell me how said version was messed up and then return it for another version of the same game...

"Johnny", former GameStop Employee:

We had a lot of odd customers, but a particular pair that I remember was this older woman and her young son. They would come in multiple times a week being chauffeured in a white Cadillac Escalade by a driver. What was also odd about them was that the mother would pre-order every single system version of the same game and buy it. Usually, it was a title based off of a movie, like let's say Peter Jackson's King Kong. I don't remember if that particular game was on all of these systems but she would purchase the GBA version, DS, GameCube, PS2, Xbox, every single version for her son to choose from. While this was going on, her un-medicated child would run around the store knocking stuff off the shelves, turning our lives into a living hell. The strangest incident I had with them was when one time late at night, the store was empty, and they came in. The mother decided she was tired. So she found a corner, complained that her back hurt and laid sprawled out on the floor while her child ran his usual muck around the store.

Craig K, former Game Crazy Employee:

Different areas had different customers, one of the most interesting stores I had was in an interesting part of Columbus, Ohio. It was the last store I worked at before all Game Crazys died. The store was in a higher crime area of Columbus so I had seen all sorts of things, like kicking out people doing drug deals, forcing a bum to stop sleeping in our dumpster and having to cancel a midnight launch of God of War III due to police having a guy at gunpoint in front of my store.

I have had some of the greatest costumers and some of the weirdest. On more than one occasion I have had customers try to give me weed or "smoke me out" because they just liked coming in the store. Sometimes it got very weird.

One time a guy walked up to the register and said "What if I told you I had a gun and I Was about the rob the place and you need to give me a PS3" I looked at him and said, "Well to start this off I need to see the gun first." He then just walked out...

Kenney, former GameStop Employee:

One time, a boy and his mum brought in a PS2 to trade towards a PS3. The mum had to be there because the kid was under 18 and was too young to complete the transaction. He was looking at games while his mum brought the system up to me. After explaining the amounts they would get and protocol for taking the system (I had to hook it up and run a game disk in it) she agreed and I went to work. After checking the system (which worked fine) I went to check the expansion bay in the back of the system. Upon removing the door, a little baggie with a green substance fell on the counter. The mum and I both stared at it but she grabbed it before I said anything. She brought it over to the boy and asked him what he knew about it. The boy instantly (fearing death) blamed his friends that he had invited to his house a few days prior. The mum just said, "Bullshit" and grabbed him by the arm and dragged him out of the store. On her way out, she told us to keep the system. I only worked at that location for three more months (and there were two other locations in town) but I never saw those people again.

Another time, I was taking a PS2 for trade from a guy and his girlfriend was with him. I ran the test, it tested fine. I checked the expansion bay and there were pictures of his girlfriend (it was clearly her) naked. She, unfortunately, was elsewhere in the store when this happened. The guy grabbed the pictures and asked me if there was any problem with the system. I couldn't help but laugh and tell him "no". We were in the business of selling video game hardware and software, not exposing tools.

Of course we also had the occasional spider or roach infestation in all varieties of consoles: 360s, PS3s, PS2s, even Wiis. However the most disgusting infestation I dealt with was actually a copy of Assassin's Creed for 360. I was taking a stack of used games for trade and after a few months (or a year) you get pretty fast at processing games. Snap the case open, eject the disc, examine quickly, replace the disk, close the case, scan the barcode, rinse and repeat. Assassin's Creed was the last one in the stack so I was expecting nothing, having had no problems from the previous cases. When I opened the case, several small roaches fell out and started to scurry around. The assistant store manager next to me started whacking the roaches with something or another while I quickly shut the case and tossed it in the trash.

The whole time this is going on the guy that who owned these games just stared like nothing was going on. After throwing the case in the trash, I quickly tied-off the bag and brought it out back to the dumpster. When I got back in, I explained that we would not take his games and that he could retrieve his copy of Assassin's Creed from the dumpster behind the store.

When I trade things in (this happens much less the older I get...), I always check every piece prior to bringing them in the store. I could not, for the life of me, understand how people could bring games in to trade the way that they did.

There was another time where a kid brought in three or four game cases which were clearly soaking wet and contained water inside the case. He actually believed that he could trade the titles in like that. His excuse was, "Well, I've played games before after just drying them off and they worked fine."

If you've worked in a video game shop and have any wild stories of your own, hit up the comments and share with the others.


    Hahaha, Craig K's story is the best!

    I've had two instances working up at an EBGames up in Brimbank, and I've had two annoying experiences. (I think with the same woman both times.)
    A few months after the Xbox 360 released, a woman brought in a PS2 for trade. Everything was normal, nothing wrong with the system besides some minor scratches, all fine, etc. When I told what it was worth, she said she wanted to trade it for a 360. I told her that it cost much more than the value of a PS2 she got angry. "Why's that?!, What's the point of trading games in then?! I want a 360!" etc... We, of course, didn't yield. I think she took back the PS2 and left.
    The next, was when Donkey Kong Country Returns was released. (I know, a few years later, but I DO think it was her, even if I don't remember her all that well). I saw her go over to the Wii section, and she turned her back to me. I saw her moving stuff around quickly, and I heard a scratching sound. I asked her what she was doing, and she said she was looking through the games. (I was the only one there at the time, and I couldn't really do anything.)
    Eventually, she went up with two Wii games. DKCR and some... "Slumber Party" game. The problem was, she clearly stole the sticker from some $20 game, and put it on DKCR, which still costs, like, $ 80 - 90 new at EB. I told her that the price was wrong, and she complained, and said that since it said it was $20, she should get it for that much. I then told her that I can't sell her it, she started shouting, asking for the manager. When he finally came back from his lunch, I told him the problem, and I showed him that she put a sticker for New Play Control! Pikmin on to DKCR. We decided to take the game, removed the sticker, and put it back on the shelf. She stayed there for about another half an hour I think, before she was threatened with security.
    God... I hate some people.

    Last edited 16/02/13 11:50 am

      To be fair though, generally the amount offered by EB for trade-ins is spectacularly low.

        I won't deny that, but she wanted to trade in a 5-year old pre-owned system for a brand new one, and was angry when I told her the truth.

    I lol'd so hard at this stuff. As an Ex-GAME Store manager, I had all of this stuff. Weird douche bags, old people, kids pissing their pants. It was all there, and as the manager, it was my job to ensure I dealt with it all. My casuals sure as shit didn't give a fuck. But that being said, the great experiences I had interacting and serving proper gamers, people like me, made it he best job I have ever had. I would love greatly to get back into the AUS Gaming market somewhere, maybe a step back from that front-line retail though.

    Wow. How can u have a hobby like gaming if you don't take care of your stuff? I mean, if you really enjoy it as your hobby shouldn't it be kept in top notch? I rember needing to part with my PS2 to get a PS3... I'm still sad about that, but in the end, I love my ps3 and most of my favorite games are now in HD or on PSN, so that worked out well, but the point is, when I sold it it was near perfect apart from a few scratches on the bottom sitting on the TV cabinet.

    Once we got a trade and one of the cases just had several pages of hand-drawn dicks in it. Another one had a written letter from a girlfriend to her boyfriend (it must have been a gift) telling her she's breaking up with him.

    I use to be a casual at Game until they shut down. We lived in a high bogan density area so there's a million characters I could talk about. This one particular guy was missing a few screws and would come in and ask very specific questions about totally random games. For example, one day he walked in, picked up a copy of the little mermaid on DS and asked me if I had played it and who my favorite character was. If I had not played the game I would pretend I had, because if you didn't carry a conversation with him he would start yelling at the top of his voice about how terrible Game employees are. He was eventually banned from the shopping center after kicking over a pram with a baby in it.

      That last bit made me lol

      Hahahaha holy crap that last bit is amazing lol

    EB, JB HiFi and Game. I've done the big three game retailers in Aus and I could regale you with many a story, either from myself or a work mate.

    Traded in games were always good. Never know what you'll find behind the manual. Printed out porno pictures that kids were clearly hiding from parents. Drugs. Money. Love letters. Gift vouchers. A burned CD full of home made porn. A resume (stealth application??).

    The guy who tried to return his Xbox after spiling bong water on it.

    The foreign guy who argued for half an hour straight that because "You sell Sony, you replace!" before eventually admitting he brought it from Kmart.

    The MILF who buried my face in her breasts because she was sad our Game store was closing and didn't want us to leave.

    (One of my personal favourites) the little kids who shot you death stares as you explained to their horrified parents exactly what kind of content the game (usually GTA) contained that 12 year old Billy wanted to get his hands on.

    Man, I miss gaming retail.

      I do the exact same thing with brat kids in my store. No COD for them.

    I've never worked in a games shop, but I work in a huge Australian electronics chain that sells video games.
    My favourite pass time (like the guy above) is telling horrified parents what MW3 is actually about while the 14 year old swagfag gets pissy. It's great fun.
    Besides from that, I had a guy come in asking if we still sell Atari 2600 video cables where you actually need to tune the console into a tv station. He actually seemed surprised when I laughed and said we didn't.

      I had a mother one day with her 10 year old or so aged son wanting to buy a MA15 game (don't remember what it was, but it was a violent/one he shouldn't be playing at his young age..), they came up to the counter, and I asked the mum if it was okay for him to play this because it wasn't suitable for his age and she asked what it was about so I gave her a run down on the bad stuff, and she whooped him across the back of the head and yelled "you know you can't play this so why did you even try getting me to buy it for you?!".. It had a MA sticker, its pretty obvious that he shouldn't be and if someone hadn't of asked you would have had the awkward task of returning it..

    I get dumb parents in all of the time. I don't mind explaining how games work to someone who doesn't know and needs information, but then there are the people who just want to tell you how it really is and that you are wrong. I had a lady last Xmas purchase a copy of NSMB Wii. She returned it a few days later saying it didn't work, it was terribly scratched. I asked how she managed to damage it so badly, and she insisted that it was that way when she opened it. I remember selling her the game, and it was in pristine condition when I had sold it to her, so i flat out refused to refund/exchange it. She went on a tangent on how it was terrible customer service I was offering to her, and that since the game "never actually worked" it being scratched wouldn't have made a difference. I enquired about the quality of her Wii system, and if it had ever damaged any games before. She then tells me that she doesn't have a Wii, and that she was trying to play in on her XBOX 360. I explained that the game wouldn't work on her XBOX, which lead her to start saying that guy who served her said it would. I told her that I was the one who served her, and that I never said anything like that, but she continued on complaining and telling me it was a differnt guy who had sold her the game. I was really, really not in the mood for the BS she was handing out, being Xmas I was already flat out busy with more people I could handle on my own, so I got my manager in to sort her out. What really bought my piss to a boil was my manager just gave her all of the money back. He was pretty clueless about games, and he just wanted one less unhappy customer to deal with. Needless to say, I was not at all impressed.

    A guy also once traded in a DBZ game on XBOX 360. I could see right away that the cover of the game was water damaged, but it wasn't caused by regular water. I could smell what it was right away, a very distinct smell I know all too well, so I smiled and asked what it was. "Coke" is what he answered with, whilst giving me a terrified look. I told him I knew what it was and that it didn't bother me, but that I was taking $5 off his trade value because it was still water damaged. He wasn't happy about the lower trade credit, but I don't think he was really in a a position to argue over it, so he just let it go.

    Ex assistant Game manager here I've had a couple of doozies. First off I've had a stack of games traded in, all was well, but one in the middle had a porno dvd behind the game in the case, which I actually quickly hid under the counter so as not to cause embarrasment (the customer was there in the company of his mother).

    Another time I've had an apparently angry phone call raging me out about a fishing wii game in our catalogue. One of those ones with a little shit plastic rod to house your wiimote in. He kept asking what we did with the fish that we caught, did we throw them back? I had to keep explaining that it was a game, there were no 'real' fish so there was nothing to throw back. The customer was just NOT getting it and was either high as all balls or shouldn't be unsupervised while breathing. I entertained the possibility it was a prank but he was clearly getting very angry and there was no laughter or other outcome...

    I worked for a short time at JB Hi Fi and had a few interesting encounters. However one day, just before Christmas, this dude who was skitsing out hard came in and started doing laps walking around the whole store mumbling to himself. After watching him for a few laps and laughing with my colleagues, we noticed he was dropping something out of his pocket every few meters. I walked over to see what they were and turns out he was dropping used syringes on the floor, some of which had blood in them. Before we even had a chance to call them, the police then rocked up and arrested him.

    Last edited 16/02/13 11:24 pm

    Gotta love trade-ins, always fun! I've had the random porno dvd left inside the case just the once. The customer was on his own so i just handed it back to him laughing.

    should probably start a proper page for this stuff. really really interesting and hilarious experiences.

    This is brilliant. It's like a game only version of Speaking of which, this is my favourite game retailer story on it:

    Some of the stuff that used to happen at GAME was hilarious!!
    - one guy had a controller thrown at his head by an angry bogan, someone else made a comic strip out of the footage and it was the most hilarious thing I've ever seen!
    - some crazy guy getting belted by security guards in our shop and knocking games EVERYWHERE off shelves and off the preowned gondolas
    - customers who would go psycho when we said we couldn't price match JB or Big W, but refused to go buy it from them for cheaper so just paid the full price at our store.. :/
    - some of the grossest, most smelly games traded in ever by a guy with super severe dandruff and wore the same clothes every single day.. The games smelt like cat piss, and the sad thing was, he had bought some of them brand new the week before, and they got gross within the space of a week!
    - same deal as others, with a random porno or embarassing cd in their trade ins
    - this guy who was so smelly, his jacket seriously had like a layer of grease on it, and he usually had no shoes on, yet he owned a bunch on consoles etc. He came in one day and asked if we sold any PC games that had sex scenes, nudity etc.. Was so gross to be asked that by the grossest guy in history
    - people who went mental when we told them we didn't trade for cash, they agreed to do the trade then went 'so wheres my money for it ?' after we processed the sale..

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