Previously on "Confessions of a GameStop Employee," Ben chastised customers for not taking care of their games, demystified shrink wrapping, and lost a showdown with Soccer Mom. And now, the conclusion of his saga.
A few days later, I was working the register when I spotted three kids acting suspicious in the "Used Games" section.
I did a quick loop around the store, making sure that the kids saw that I was watching them. I was distracted by another customer for a moment and lost track of them. All of a sudden, one of the suspicious kids was now waiting in line with an armful of used Nintendo 64 and PlayStation games with the GameStop price tags - tags that I myself had applied - now visibly ripped off.
We don't do this anymore, but back then we still sometimes left the older used games boxes, manuals and discs sit out on the floor intact. The kid had obviously taken these N64 and PlayStation games off the shelf, taken off the GameStop price tags, and was now attempting to trade them in for store credit. Not the worst caper in the world, I have to admit.
When the kid got to the front of the line, he said, "I'd like to trade these games in for store credit, sir."
I said sure, yes, of course, no problem. "I just need you to fill out this trade-in form," I said, handing him a pen.
The form (you know the one) requires you to supply your name, address, phone number and other basic biographical information. To my surprise, the kid went ahead and filled it out.
When he handed the pen back to me, I decided it was time to bring this caper to an end. "I'm sorry, but we can't accept these games for trade-in," I said.
He asked what the problem was.
"The problem is," I said, "that we don't usually give store credit for games that are already ours."
The kid suddenly looked like I'd just tasered him. He tried to deny that the games already belonged to the store. "These are the store's games and you know that," I said. Then I took the stack of games, put them behind the counter, and said, "You and your friends should leave if you know what's good for you. Now."
Once they were gone, feeling self-righteous, I decided to do a quick inventory of the rest of the store. I spotted empty packaging for an N64 headset, a semi-obscure peripheral which was used for the N64 game, Hey You, Pikachu! I searched everywhere, but the headset was nowhere to be found. It was obvious: the kids had stolen it.
What I did was this: I located the kid's trade-in form, wondering if he was dumb enough to fill it out with his actual information. I dialed the phone number he had written down. A man answered.
I patiently explained the situation to the man: what the kid had done, how the headset was now missing, etc. "He might still have the stolen headset with him," I said to the man.
It turned out that the man who I was talking to was actually the kid's dad. I couldn't believe the kid had given me his real home phone number. So much for his life of crime. The dad turned out to be great. "I'm sorry for the trouble," he said. "When [Kid] gets home, I'll get to the bottom of this. If he actually did take the headset, I'll return it, I promise."