Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Strange Malaise

All the rumour mongering about XBox One's potential assassination of the rental market has me pretty bummed out. I like new toys and was very much looking forward to finding a place under my television to nestle both consoles coming out this year. All my plans hinge on being able to rent games and I do not have faith in either Microsoft or Sony to no screw me. To them I am not a customer, I don't buy very many games, so losing me and those like me is not a big deal.

I think they underestimate how many people there are like me, but only time will tell. Both systems will be reserved at the closest place that will take my money. Where it goes from there is up to them.

Speaking of places that will take your money in exchange for a 'guarantee' of something being available to you at launch. I have spoken on more than one occasion of my employment history. I ran an Electronics Boutique, then an EB, then a GameStop, in that order, before deciding it was time to make actual money and leave a job that I both enjoyed and was good at. I bring this up because, since my departure over five years ago, most of the stores I ran have been closed. One because the mall itself died, another because it was in a hideous part of town and I was robbed blind on a daily basis, a third because some idiot signed a long term lease assuming it would be a million dollar store and it didn't even come close.

My favorite store managed to avoid the curse of Chamberlain. Until today. I drove past it on the way to Best Buy and it was closed. All the merchandise was gone. The wire shelves were in piles on the floor. There was a '1-800-Got-Junk' truck outside with a load full of standees. Up until just last year the place had been run by someone who had at some point worked for me so I had misplaced sense of ownership.

It was a good store. It was my store, and now it's gone. They are all gone. The whole industry has changed and I do not think I like how it works now. Nothing will ever compare to watching an entire wall of Diablo II boxes sell out in the space of an hour or dealing with the Xbox and Gamecube launching one day apart with a back room the size of a bathroom or the midnight launch of a WoW expansion that filled my store with hundreds of nerds. I remember taking my PS2 home a few days early because it was paid off and my boss figured, what the hell. There was the tragedy of giving up my launch XB360 to take care of customers and the hilarity of setting a PS3 on my back counter, saying it was the last one, selling it, then getting the next one off of the stack and doing it again.

Retail management sucks, but those were some of the best years of my life.

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