I typically try to lead with kindness. I also used to work retail. At one point, I had two retails jobs at the same mall; I would often open one store, eat lunch, then close the other store. At Christmas that year, I thought I’d lose my mind.
I have, historically, worked various customer service jobs. I think the one that was the hardest on me (weirdly enough) was when I worked the front desk of a fairly large hotel. The hotel had two restaurants, an entire floor of meeting rooms, and all kinds of other amenities. One thing I learned there, was that people would come to the front desk and accuse the staff (and me, personally) for any number of things that went wrong. I was often yelled at about a banquet that wasn’t going as planned. I was yelled at for the hotel being too close to the freeway. I was yelled at for food being wrong in the restaurant.
I was yelled at a lot.
The first couple months of that job really got to me. It took a while to develop a thicker skin and a willingness to take a step back, calmly tell the person I’d look into the problem, then look into it. I spent a lot of time on the radio with different departments trying to get situations resolved. Eventually, I got used to it.
Because I can relate, I’m often super patient with customer service agents and retail employees. And, if something is wrong and I’m remotely upset, I preface what I’m saying with something like, “I know this isn’t your fault, but I need to get this resolved.”
Fast forward to last night.
Ugh. Not a proud moment for me.
I recently acquired a PS4 Pro. After I’d transferred all my data to the new system, I cleared the old one so I could trade it in and try to recoup some of the cost of the Pro.
Allow me to backtrack for a moment.
I love my local GameStop. I really do. We go there regularly, and are on a first name basis with most of the staff. When we recently found out the manager was leaving (as in leaving town, permanently), I was genuinely sorry to see him go.
The last three (four, now) times I’ve gone to trade things in, I’ve encountered strange problems. I’ve checked trade estimates via their website yet, once I’ve gotten to the store, there have been issues. Trades were offered for so much less, sometimes less than half of what was quoted online. Items I saw accepted for trade suddenly weren’t accepted for trade once I was in the store. I can’t get GameStop’s website to work properly on Firefox so, if I want to check the site, I have to do it from my phone or run an entirely different browser.
There have been many issues. The staff has always come through, but, sometimes, it has taken a while. When I went in for my last trade, I was there for nearly an hour while things tried to get sorted.
So, this time, I did my homework. I found out my Taken King PS4 had a trade in value of $200. I screenshotted that. I screenshotted it with the date. I added the trade estimate to my saved estimates. I was also told that, in the past, people had somehow doctored some of that information, so I showed them that I had taken the screenshots within the last 24 hours and that they were automatically added to my screenshots folder on my phone. I was then told, “No, no, I believe you,” however being told that was a little disheartening; if they believed me, why would they even bring it up?
I thought I had done my homework.
I was also going to trade a game and a controller, so I brought those, too.
When I got to the store, I was told the actual trade for the system was $145. I was told I needed to bring the HDMI cable as well as the controller cable; I didn’t have them with me. They said they could deduct the cost of them from the trade, however that would have come out to over $30. I said, reasonably, “You want to offer me $55 less for the console even though I have proof of the estimate, and then take another $30 more off for cables?”
They said they would work on the trade amount. I said I would go home and get the cables. So my partner and I got back in the car, went back home, got the cables, and went back to GameStop. When I got to the counter, I was met with good news: they would honor the online estimate. Which is good, as if their website states a trade value, it should be honored.
Side note: I was also asked if I was perhaps looking at an estimate from somewhere else in the country. I told them I was signed in to the site at the time (I was), and that that particular store is already listed as my home store, so no dice there.
Anyway, I was told the $200 would be honored. Then I was told the controller was considered part of the console trade. That’s truly not the way it shook out when I traded my last console three years prior, but, at that point, I didn’t even care. I just wanted to get the situation resolved. It had already been an hour and two trips to the store.
As the employee took the console to test it, I heard him sigh and look over at me like, OH BOY.
He came back over and said, “I’m really sorry, but we can’t accept it. It’s been modified and, therefore, considered defective.”
He was referring to the fact that I had installed a 2TB drive in the system when I’d bought it back in 2015. I had never even thought about how that would affect a trade. And I long since had gotten rid of the original hard drive.
Instead of accepting that, I got frustrated.
I’m not proud of that.
I told him I’d installed the larger drive three years ago and hadn’t thought about it when I wanted to trade it. I told him I knew this wasn’t his fault, but that my last several trades had been riddled with issues and much time had been spent trying to get the store to honor what the website was saying. I finally did something I am loathe to do: I asked him if there was a manager he could call to see what could be done. We talked about how I’d been a regular customer there for many years, and that this string of unfortunate experiences left me wondering if I should maybe shop elsewhere.
Yuck. I hate myself a little for even saying that. I told him I knew he must hear that all the time, but I told him I wasn’t sure I could keep shopping there if various aspects of the experience were regularly so frustrating. I even said I knew that was the stupidest thing I could say, especially with retail experience, but, somehow, I said it anyway.
I mean, I didn’t yell, or even say it loudly, but I said it all the same.
I’m not proud of myself.
So he called their new store manager, explained the situation and that I was a long time regular customer and asked what could be done. I guess if they do choose to accept a “defective” console (such as mine), they take a financial hit as they have to send the system in, have the larger drive removed, have a stock drive installed, then get the system shipped back to them. In this case, the manager said they would take that hit.
And they made sure I received the $200 trade I was promised online.
I immediately told this employee that I felt like a heel. I told him I was sorry for being so frustrated, and he said he understood and was really kind about it. But I feel like a complete assh*le. We talked a bit after that, found out both our backgrounds were in musical theatre, and, hopefully, patched up the situation as much as could be.
But I still feel like a total jerk.
I kind of want to take that guy a cake tomorrow that says, “I’M SORRY.”
You know what? I just might.
It’s the middle of the night right now. That whole thing happened seven hours ago and I still feel like a douche. I feel like the employee and I ended the transaction on a positive note, but I’m still feeling terrible for potentially making any part of his night crappy.
Don’t be like me. I mean, for so many reasons, but this one, especially.
This weekend I hope to play more Destiny 2: Forsaken (the new raid is looking mighty enticing), and hopefully start either Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Spider-Man, or both. I also wouldn’t mind getting back to Guacamelee 2 sooner than later.
With that I ask: what will YOU be playing this weekend?
Please be safe out there, friends. Cheers.