How to Not Come Across as a Prick While Buying a Game
Having worked in a store that sells games for quite a while, you people (you know who you are, and if you don’t you’ll realise who you are soon) are all assholes. Well, most of you at least. I’m not claiming that we on the other side of the counter are any different or any less asshole-ish, but I thought I’d put this out there for people to maybe realise just what they’re doing wrong.
So here we go; things you should avoid doing!
Number One: Being surly when asked if you want any help.
When I ask you if you want or need any help today, I’m doing my job. I get paid to ask you and I don’t get paid if I don’t. A simple “no, thank you” suffices. It lets me know that you don’t want my help and that’s cool. It’s my personal policy to, after you tell me “no” to let you know that if you change your mind I’m still here to help when you can’t find, or straight up don’t know what you’re looking for. Nice and inviting, and I can go back to whatever else I’m doing; tidying, pricing, standing looking bored in an empty shop…
The problem is when there’s no patience there. I know you get hassled when you’re shopping but you came to us, a physical place that employs people to service your needs. If you don’t want me to talk to you, go buy at Amazon rather than put yourself in that situation. You certainly don’t need to be surly with me.
Just be polite. It’s not going to harm you and don’t worry, a confident but gentle “no” tells us you know what you’re doing. If you ask for our help we’ll know you need it!
Number Two: Asking me for help after being surly with me.
If you’ve rebuffed my offer with a dirty look and a tone that implies you want physical harm to come to me in a manner convenient for you, don’t expect me to be happy to actually help you after that. I now dislike you, and you’re in an uphill battle to get anything out of me.
As a side note, know that I’m going to make the rest of your shopping experience with us a hassle. Games will go missing, we will be out of stock of things and I will go into painstaking detail about every possible extra I can, because you deserve it. Manners cost nothing.
If you failed Number One, you can’t avoid this. You can still mitigate the damage by being friendly though. But you certainly lost point.
Number Three: You are not right.
There is some kind of problem and we can’t fix it. I feel for you, I really do, but I know these systems inside out and there truly is nothing I can do to help you. Here’s a few examples;
A few months ago, a guy came back to my store with a “broken” copy of FIFA 12 on PC. The matter was quickly turned to me because I know a thing or two about games at a level no-one else does. It turns out that the Origin code in his copy wasn’t working and he wanted a replacement. Now, it’s not policy to give you another PC code; we can’t exchange or return opened PC stock under any circumstance, because of codes; that’s why you have a warranty booklet in your case. I explained this to the guy and apologised profusely, but he wouldn’t leave claiming that he only wants an exchange on a faulty product. I explained the policy to him again and let him know the matter was completely out of our hands. I also let him know that EA has pretty good customer support in my experience, and since the code is the problem they can ban the account already using the code and issue him with a new one, or reactivate the old code. Alternatively, if he contacted customer support and I was told specifically to do the exchange, that’s a different matter and I would happily help him get back to his gaming.
At this point I have given the customer, who I’m thinking is trying to just get a code for a friend, two workarounds so that I can help him. There’s no reason to start threatening me, getting aggressive or to make me call Site Security on him. That’s all on him. I’ve been nice, helpful beyond what I had to be and told him how he can get his stuff done.
The second case is about a refund, shortly before Christmas. The guy was returning Need For Speed, a game with a code. Again, a game I can’t refund. But he’s come up to the counter with it, his receipt and a new game to swap for it. Within a couple seconds he starts telling me that it’s for his disabled son who can’t work the sticks. That’s cool and all, but doesn’t change the situation. He then threatens violence and says he’s going to “get” me when I finish work before storming off and knocking down a display on his way out. Yay me. Also, the game he wanted to swap it for was Goldeneye.
It’s easy to help yourself here, just calm down a bit. We generally aren’t trying to screw you, sometimes it’s just that we can’t do a thing. We won’t leave you in the lurch, we aren’t monsters, just breathe and think through what you want and ask the questions that will help.
Number Four: Telling me you pirate games.
I know piracy is an issue. Do you know why? It’s not publishers bemoaning the evils or the DRMs that mess with your games, it’s customers straight up telling me “look, if I want a DS game, I’ll just download it” or “why would I buy a PC game here when it’s free on the Internet?”
I don’t care what your reasons are, You’re coming into my place of work and telling me you steal the products I sell to make a living. That’s a dick move. I let you know it’s illegal, let you know it harms publishers and “if you like it, buy it” but I know you don’t care. Also you aren’t a customer, I’m not going to serve you now.
In fact, why the fuck are you even in here?
Number Five: Assuming I don’t know anything/Assuming you know everything.
Sometimes, I don’t know something about a game, specific or vague, maybe there’s a detail I’ve overlooked. If you tell me Halo 5 has been announced and you know what the Xbox 720 looks like you’re a tool and I dislike you. You’re not savvy just because you got one over on me, despite how you’re wrong about the launch date of Assassin’s Creed and the images online of the 720 are all shoops.
Here’s a specific example:
It’s common policy to dress up on big launch days, army themes for Call of Duty, Halloween costumes at Halloween, etc. It’s Skyward Sword day and I’m dressed as Link. Because I can. Sword and shield on the go, slightly uncomfortable in the heat of 3 layers of cloth.
“Oh shit, guys, this dude’s dressed as Zelda!”
I do a 180, half pleased someone doesn’t think I’m doing children in need as an elf, half annoyed he’s a dope.
“I think you’ll find I’m Link, the main character.”
“No, no, you’re Zelda, I mean it’s all the same, right?”
“Not really, there’s a huge difference” I pick up the strategy guide, flip it open a few pages to a double spread of Link and Zelda and point to the names.
The guy’s friends laugh at him “being told” and his face visibly sags.
Weird that I’m dressed like a fictional elf from a videogame released thirteen years ago (green tunic and white tights, even) and he’s the one feeling silly.
It’s easy to avoid doing this to yourself, don’t be over-eager to open your mouth if you can’t be sure you know what you’re talking about.
Now let’s look at two good customers! It’s not all doom and gloom behind the counter, sometimes we love you.
Number one: I know what I’m doing
I’ve greeted you with my “how can I help you?” and you politely decline my help, and vaguely acknowledge my open ended invitation to return should you need help. It take minutes to see the game you came for, an old game, but something you had your eye on.
You bring it to the counter to pay. “Hey, I remember this!” I proclaim. “This ones really good. Have you played it before?” You haven’t but it’s been strongly recommended to you. “Whoever told you has good taste! Watch out for level three though, you’ll need X macguffins in stock to ease your way through it. It’s hard!!”
You take your game and leave, and more importantly we have both taken pleasure in small talk about a topic we enjoy. I like pleasant people.
Number two: “Do you remember…”
So you come in with a specific game in mind. Unfortunately, you haven’t got a clue what it is. You vaguely remember the colour blue, it began with “D”, and was hard. You look blankly at the racks of cases and come up with nothing. If I approached, you’ve politely declined or maybe it’s busy and I haven’t seen you yet, either way, you ask me “Hey, I’m looking for a game but I don’t remember much about it…” and give me the clues.
At this point we engage in a game I usually think is pretty fun, like a puzzle. I recommend this and that, ask you questions and generally get down to the roots of my job; to facilitate your needs.
At last we come to an agreement, we finally found the game you want. And we both win.
As my dad always said, courtesy costs nothing. It’s not much to be kind in the way you speak and it’s easier to get by this way too. The best customers aren’t necessarily the ones that bring you in sweets or flowers etc., it can be as simple as having a chat about the game you’re buying, or a little banter about platform choices.
So, in conclusion; for gods’ sakes people, better yourself and stop coming across like a prick!
Image: Flikr, trevorturk