Last week we told the story about a former anonymous corporate GameStop employee telling Pat The NES Punk the things they witness firsthand with how the company handled retro games that were traded in and brought to his warehouse. Now another former Gamestop employee has come forth and admitted to some practices they witness while with the company. The employee (whose name was withheld by Pat) revealed that DS games would have their cases thrown out to save space and defective accessories would be smashed with a hammer by their District Manager.
We have provided a complete transcript of the e-mail and have posted the TL;DR video down below..
“Hi Pat, I found this segment from the insider of the retro game initiative incredibly interesting on your last episode. I’ve been listening to your coverage on this issue very closely and there’s one concern that has not been brought up yet. I am from ____ and am a former manager at Gamestop. OK, I was technically called the Senior Game Adviser not the manager, but a manager. Your insider have a good look at the corporate approach to this initiative, but not much from the storefront. I was not employed during the rollout of the retro initiative, but I can from what I’ve seen and experienced from an employee standpoint this could be more destructive to the retro collecting market then what has been discussed before it.
GameStop does not take a very respectable approach to the products as we have seen. For example, we were ordered to remove all DS games from their cases and throw the cases out for sake of space. When DS games were traded in with the case, we were to throw the case out once the transaction was complete. If new games came in, for example Chrono Trigger (this one bothered me pretty bad), we were to open it, throw out the case, and sell only the cartridge. I assume we got those game to sell as used because GameStop bought out some mom and pop store somewhere. I assure to you they came to us sealed, but labeled used by the company. This devalues and lowers collect ability of these titles. I hated doing that. Who is to say they won’t do that with complete-in-box retro titles they receive.
This is not the worst of my concerns though, when people returned accessories that were supposedly defective, instead of testing them these items were put into a box in the back and the District Manager would come once a month and smash them with a hammer. I KID YOU NOT HE WOULD SMASH THEM WITH A LITERAL HAMMER! Some of the items were brand new and some the company just decided to not carry anymore. We were not allowed to take anything out of the destroy box even if we knew it worked fine. This behavior by a company who is now selling and trading retro items of which there are limited quantities concerns me deeply. What happens if for example a person buys an SNES controller and goes to return it in-store claiming it’s defective. Whether it is or not it can probably be repaired, but given my experience and GameStop’s history it would likely be smashed with a hammer later that month and thrown in the garbage. What happens when GameStop decides to cancel the retro initiative? We saw this with our used phone and tablet initiative. They rolled it out nationwide some focus testing, tried it out for a couple of year, then scrapped it because it was to much work. Will they just destroy the items they’ve collected? Let’s put a large dent in the available items for collectors that they are destroyed? Smash with hammers?
When I first heard that GameStop was trying the retro initiative it instantly made me fearful for the retro community. They are not a video game retailer first they are a corporate Fortune 500 company. They care not about video game quality or preservation. We see it time and time again. Thousands of PS2 titles kick the case then trashed when they decided they were done selling them and not all were sports titles. I remember throwing away a copy of Chulip, a game that is now listed on Amazon for $50-$80. Their destructive and wasteful practices bothered me deeply when I worked there and bothers me still now that they have dug into the retro market. Whether you decide to or not about this on the podcast, it was bothering me and I had to tell you. Thank you for all your hard work and the podcast”
Note from Ryan: I can also say that I was a regular at my old local GameStop and worked for them from January 2012- May 2013. During that time our store would do this to some DS games, but not all of them. We would keep some in the box in a drawer behind the counter, but we would have games DS and 3DS games traded in without cases on a regular bases. As far as the accessories, I honestly do not know as we would often tell our customers which ones tended to be defective a lot so they would not have to worry and have a more satisfying experience.