Diary of a Mad Game Store Employee
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After 8 years in this business I can not take it any longer. It is time for me to speak and be heard!

That being said please understand I am an obsessive compulsive, anal retentive, egomaniacal, control freak. When the sun rises or sets at a time other than what I deem appropriate, it pretty much pisses me off. So take what I have to say with a grain of salt but keep in mind there usually is a point to all rants even when you may not be able to see it!

This list is intended to be a light hearted attempt at making your buying and selling activities more efficient. Enjoy!

Edit: I originally blocked this geek list from having items added to it. However, after much deliberation I have decided to open it up to all of you fellow game store employee's to add your beefs to the list. And you customers, don't feel left out! Go ahead and tell me what pisses you off about game store employee's.

I want to hear from you!
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1. Board Game: ID: The Identity Game [Average Rating:4.42 Unranked]
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Identification

I would like you to know that you are not the only person on planet earth that has sold us something. I have 50+ pending trade emails on any given week. When you do absolutely nothing to identify your package, it makes it nigh impossible to determine who sent me the package. I can understand in this day and age of identity theft not wanting to put your name and address on the outside of a package but would it really be that hard for you to write "Your Name" (by your name, I mean your actual name!) on a piece of paper and put it on top of all your boxes?
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2. Board Game: Patience [Average Rating:4.76 Overall Rank:16133]
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Patience

Again, you are not the only person we do trades with. Just because you have been sitting on your computer waiting for confirmation from UPS, USPS, or FedEx that your package has arrived does not mean that yours is the only package that arrived at that time. We literally received anywhere from 5 to 50 other packages at that same time. We will process your package extremely efficiently but not always within 5 minutes of package arrival. Patience is a virtue.
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3. Board Game: Your Surprise Package [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
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Packing

This is a dual rant about the extremes of your packing tendencies. You can go too far in either direction. When you send us a copy of the 2nd Edition AD&D Player's Handbook, there is no need for you to put in a plastic bag, put 10 feet of tape around said plastic bag, wrap said plastic bag in 50 feet of paper, put 10 feet of tape around said paper, wrap said paper with 20 feet of bubble wrap, put 10 feet of tape around said bubble wrap, then drop the item in a 3" lead box, wrap said box with 200 feet of tape, and finally ship it to us.

You have just turned a 1 minute process for me into a 1/2 hour process for an item that I can pull out of my pocket to sell to some one else at any given point of time. If you are however selling me an unpunched copy of Marshal Enterprises' La Bataille de Deutsch-Wagram or La Bataille d'Austerlitz, please do follow the above instructions instead of throwing it in box 4 times to large with no packing material of any kind. If you choose to use the option of no packing material, do not be surprised when your awesome game drops in value by 40% when the game arrives at our location with loose counters, folded maps, charts and rules.

Oh, and shipping a boxed game surrounded by 100 lbs. of books is never a good idea either.
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4. Board Game: Buy Low Sell High [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:3492]
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By Low, Sell High

We are not a non profit organization. We are in business to make some money and pay our bills. I know you spent $50 on your game and getting $25 back for your game may seem reasonable to you, but why would we want your in print game that has been heavily used and is full of cheetos stains for the same price we can buy it from our distributor brand new! Never going to happen. Out of print material is of course another story.
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5. Board Game: Negotiator [Average Rating:3.12 Unranked]
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Negotiation

All business transactions are negotiations. However please keep in mind that in this hobby it is all a niche business and not a mass population business. Just because business X sells product Y for Z dollars less than us does not mean we should or will match prices of business X. I'll tell you a secret about business X, they are selling Y for $2 dollars above cost, they have not yet learned that in this niche industry their Wal-Mart practices will never drive out the rest of the competition. Also most of these business are run by a single person or couple out of their basements and it is more of a hobby for them than an actual business. They are willing to work 10x harder for 10X less profit. This is absolutely their right and I do not hold ill will against them for this. However, this is not our business model.

Please note - if you are thrift shopper than by all means shop with business X, I would certainly never say there is anything wrong with you for wanting to do so!
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6. Board Game: Reading and Writing: The Toronto Research Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Writing

Stop writing in your books and games! It lowers their value and then you are a shocked that your book we offered you $15 for is only worth $5 to us because you have written your name in the book, put stickers on it, and have highlighted every page of the book! At the very least, you should let us know ahead of time that your book that you describe as brand new actually has writing/highlighting/stickers all over them! I does not matter if the book does not have single ding, dent, fold or scratch on it, if contains writing/highlighting/stickers everywhere, think of it as just as damaged as book that has knife cut running through the entire length of the cover or box top.

If you do not care how much you get in return, then by all means, write away!
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7. Board Game: Smokers Wild [Average Rating:5.01 Overall Rank:15171]
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Smoking

I am a foolish, foolish smoker and will not lecture anyone on their smoking habits. However, when you have smoked a pack of cigarettes a day in the same building as your game collection, just like the above item, it greatly decreases the value of your games. In case you were not aware, a non smoker can smell current and old smoke from a mile away. Even a smoker as myself can smell your 20 year old smoke stained game from a mile away!
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8. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:153] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
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Magic the Gathering

All right all you MTG players, listen up. I know you spent $2000 to get those 10,000 magic cards you want to sell to us, but guess what? They're worth next to nothing because you know darn good and well you have already cherry picked your entire collection for every single card that you can sell as a single for more than $2. Your 10,000 common, uncommon, and crap rares are literally only worth $10 to us because we have already received 1,000,000 identical cards in trade. Please look up the term supply and demand!
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9. Board Game: Don't Drop the Soap [Average Rating:3.31 Unranked]
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Soap

This does not apply to all of you, so if doesn't blow it off, but it certainly does apply to more of you than I would think possible. When you go out in public, please learn to shower more than once a month. Also, If you shower daily but you have not washed your lucky shirt in 2 months. It really does not matter how many showers you had. Toothpaste and deodorant are awesome inventions as well. You also have to wash your ears once in awhile, when you have earwax running from your ear to the wrist on your arm, that is not a kick ass tribal tattoo that magically appeared. That is just gross.
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10. Board Game: Container [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:586]
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Storage

Okay you boardgamers, please stop throwing all of the contents of your Axis & Allies (or similar) game in the bottom of the box. When you do this, you look lazy and unorganized. When you do this we now have to count every single piece of your 400 piece game to insure it is complete. If it is not complete then we have count another game, and another and so on.

However, when you keep your game neatly organized and stored, it is much easier for us to assume your game is complete. If my "assume your game is complete" comment scares any of you, please read the below item.
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11. Board Game: The Complete Book of Wargames [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:8669]
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Completeness

This will go hand in had with the above item. When it comes to boardgames please understand that while we will always stand by our product and fix any problems that arise, getting insanely angry because your 1,000 counter wargame was missing one counter, and threatining to bring the right hand of God down upon us and our children's children is not going to get your replacement counter to you any quicker than simply saying "Hey my game was missing the I win counter, is there any way you can send me a replacement?"

I will also tell you secret about this subject, no sizeable business counts every single part of every single used game that comes in. Sit down and verify the completeness of one extremely heavy, large game you have. Now imagine the kind of manpower it would take to do this to 1,000 used games a week..., you are talking about a small army to do so.

The important thing to remember is that any good reseller will always make amends to you in some fashion over incompleteness. This could range to anything from a replacement items being mailed, to a discount on the product, to a full refund including the cost of shipping said product back to us.
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12. Board Game: Thanks a Million! [Average Rating:4.50 Unranked]
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Thank You

While you just read a whole lot of ranting on my part, I want to thank you for your continued buying and selling practices! You put food on my table and for that, I am grateful. However understanding some of the above concepts can make your buying and selling practices more pleasurable and in some cases earn you even more money and also make my life just a tad bit easier!
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13. Board Game: Babysitter Game [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
United States
Bellevue
NE
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Parents. The friendly local game store is NOT a day care center. Yeah, we get it. Your kid(s) play Magic, YuGiOh, Pokemon, or whatever and there's tournaments and open play going on at some stores. You think it's a great idea to drop your kids off and go do the various things that having kids prevents you from being able to do normally, whether it's shopping in peace, hitting a day spa, or just taking a well-deserved nap. I have all the sympathy in the world for parents, after all...I am one, but you might want to find out each individual store's policy regarding unattended children. Many stores don't mind a well behaved kid or two, but when several parents drop their kids off on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, and some behave like primitive little savages, pestering other customers, defiling and even stealing merchandise, you bet your ass there's going to be someone held responsible, and that's going to be the parent.

General rule of thumb, if you aren't willing to be held responsible for their actions, including the possibility of paying for damaged or stolen goods, don't leave them without supervision.
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14. Board Game: Super Clerk [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
United States
Bellevue
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Stores and Store Managers

Try to avoid the temptation to hire clerks just because it's someone you know and trust when that position might be better filled by someone that actually knows their stuff when it comes to games and gaming.

I can't count how many stores I've walked into that know jack about games. It's as if their sole source of information is Alliance. I've walked into so many stores and asked if they knew when they expected copies of some game set to be released in a week or two, and they know nothing. I've asked if they had copies of a game that released over a month ago only to be told it isn't out yet, to which I replied "Well, you might want to tell that to every other retailer because they're already getting copies, to which the manager uttered a curse and immediately called up Alliance to ask why their copies never shipped...etc.

There's all sorts of resources out there from distributors, publishers, BGN, BGG, etc. To fail to find out all you can about games of all sorts, including just announced or newly released games is just horrible customer service. Know the product you're selling or find something else to sell. I'm sick of knowing more about games than the people I'm trying to help out by looking to buy from them.

By all means, if you find someone that buys, collects, and plays games of all types. Someone that actually peruses the Internet for information rather than waiting for the middle man (distributors) to tell and try to sell them stuff, treasure them. Pay them what they're worth because they're the ones actually interacting with the customers on the front line, asking the customers questions to gauge what kind of game they might like, finding the games they're looking for, and special ordering the ones not in stock, all to keep those very customers returning to YOUR store vs. ordering online. The one thing brick and mortar stores can offer that online stores can't is face-to-face customer service and a smiling, helpful personality.

A favorite local store once had a great manager. She was hired by the owner after having experience as a gamer and as a clerk for the competing store in town. She was friendly, nice, helpful and extremely knowledgeable. If she didn't know, she'd find out and get you the information. She created an online forum for the store and it's various gaming tournaments, leagues and activities and for customers to BS on. She implemented monthly newsletters sent out to anyone that subscribed to them via the website. The newsletters detailed all the upcoming releases, upcoming tournaments and events and information about upcoming Midwest conventions.

Here's the sad part. She was engaged to a local Airman stationed at the Air Force Base in town. He got orders to Florida, they got married, and she moved with him. The store's never been the same. The owner is now running things and while he likes gaming and has decent business sense, he's a technological idiot. He no longer posts anything on the forums, no longer sends out the newsletter, and in general, isn't very personable. What he knows, he finds out from the various distributors or from attending a convention. He has NO online presence and as a result, he might find out about one game before many others do, but not know a thing about some other highly publicized release until Alliance knows it's getting copies and it's trying to sell him copies, if they mention it at all. He hired two new employees and neither one does anything more than play RPG's, which is great for them, but crappy for a store that dedicates less than 10% of their shelf space to RPG's and whose income mostly comes from CCG's, Miniatures games, and board games. If I go into the store at anytime past 5pm, no employee is likely to know anything. I always get told, I'll relay that to the manager, which of course, they never do.

So...sorry for the novel. I had to get that off my chest.

TL/DR
Hire employees that know about the merchandise they're selling. If they don't, inform them. Cherish, respect and do everything you can to keep good employees at your store. Unappreciated workers don't often work for you much longer.

I didn't name drop out of respect, but Becky, The Game Shoppe just isn't the same without you. cry
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