Lesser of Two a Evils

I do not like GameStop. Working there for 2 years has a lot to do with it. Granted I enjoyed my time there but that was because of the people I worked with. The management team I worked under for most of my employment also did a good job a shielding me and fellow co-workers from the company's evil ways.

My issue with them is that they, as a company, do not care about their employees. They are paid minimum wage, given no benefits, and have to put up with the horrors of retail. The company is also aware of how many young adults would kill to work in the place and because of this I don't see the entry level jobs as being a secure one. On top of abusing their employees I believe they are hurting the game industry. Their used game system is good for gamers by allowing them to trade-in unwanted games and purchase new ones. This same system steals money directly from the industry they are suppose to be supporting by removing them from the process. If you buy a used game, your money goes straight to GameStop and goes no further. In my opinion you might as well have pirated the game since you've done nothing to support it.

So over the last few years I've done my best to boycott GameStop and have been fairly successful. With my former employer, CompUSA, out of business I now do most of my game purchases from WalMart. The problem that has come to mind though is that WalMart shares some of the business practices that make me dislike GameStop so much. They might not sell used games but their size as the largest retail store in America has given them great influence on the products they sell. Things like that horrible indestructible packaging on all the accessories are WalMart's doing. A game's cover art has also been known to have been changed to appease WalMart.

I don't think either of them are good companies. As someone looking for a job I would never want to work for either one of them. As a consumer I currently choose to shop at WalMart because I view them to be the lesser of two evils. A bigger influence on this would be they are 3 blocks away from which makes it easy for me to reach. I really much rather give my business to BestBuy or one of the local retailers like Toys n' Joys, but both are far enough away to make them inconvenient. Online is always an option I could consider but because I'm in Hawaii there's no way I can get games that way nearly as fast as a local retailer.

I brought this up because of the upcoming Metal Gear Solid 4 release, which I plan on picking up from WalMart at midnight. I felt a bit conflicted about giving WalMart more business after realizing they aren't too far off from GameStop. In my opinion, though, they are the lesser of two evils when it comes to hurting the game industry. Anyone care the share their opinions on the morality of game retailers?

1 comment:

hatsumi said...

As you know, my hatred for Gamestop runs deep. REALLY deep.

I totally agree with you about the used game thing and how they treat their employees like utter crap. I wish I could say that I thought Wal-Mart was a better option, but they make me sick, too. There are games that they won't even CARRY. What kind of bullshit is that? True they don't have the used game thing, but arbitrarily determining what games they'll sell based on what they THINK is in the game is ridiculous.

Toys & Joys is a viable option, but their reservation system is sketchy. Not to mention, their customer service sucks unless you know Alex and hunt him down to help you. (That's what I try to do.) Geographically, it's not the greatest option for you, though, since you don't drive. Still, I don't give them any of my domestic game business. Only imports and toys.

I tried doing the online thing, but I'm just not willing to wait those extra days. I honestly thought I could handle it, but I guess I'm too hardcore or otaku or something. MUST. HAVE. FIRST. DAY.

I still buy my games at Gamestop (instead of T&J) for ONE REASON. I still have one friend who works there. He makes my shopping experience pleasant by giving me first rate customer service. He and I have been friends for some 8 years now. He puts stuff aside for me and calls me when he knows it's something I want. If and when he ever leaves there, I'll probably switch to T&J.

As for the morality of video game retailers... The morality of the WHOLE INDUSTRY is plummeting. I wish I didn't LOVE games as much as I do because, quite frankly, I would love to go tell the whole lot of them to just go fuck themselves.