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Pretend Best Friend

Regular customers are a hazard of my profession, working in a Video Games store exposes you to some really special people.

Over the last ten years I’ve had many regulars, and they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

There is “Whatshisname” the one you feel you know, he’s that guy you happen to bump into down the pub every once in a while, you’ll have a pleNasant conversation but you’re never going to invite them to your birthday party, when a real friend comes along you introduce them in the hope that they will introduce themselves so you can catch their name.

There is the Enthusiast, who you have simply a business relationship with, you talk, but both of you know the sole purpose of the interaction is to get to the end product of them parting with their cash (usually a lot of it) and you handing over this Fridays new release, but it’s all done in a friendlier manner than your average customer.

There is the Fan Boy, the champion of X console, publisher or genre. They treat their hobby like a religion, and as far as there concerned disagreeing with them is akin to inciting racial hatred.

There is the Geek, they clearly know more than you about any given title because they read it on some dark corner of the internet. They come in with no intention of purchasing, but simply to test your knowledge of obscure Japanese RPG’s.

And then there are the special cases, they don’t have “Whatshisnames” social skills, Enthusiasts spending power, Fan Boys passion and not even Geeks encyclopaedic knowledge, but are often horrible amalgamations of the worst parts of all the above.

In most instances they probably have a nick name, based on some characteristic they are most likely unaware of, in their eyes they are not going shopping, they are off to visit there old Pal James. There is generally something a bit “off” about them, a special quality to their voice, a tendency to wear the same clothes like some kind of bizarre uniform, and if you really lucky a catch phrase.  

It might be that all stores get this type of customer, it’s been ten years since I worked in any other type of retail so maybe I have just forgotten, but I just can’t see these people hanging out in Clarks or Primark.

As I said I’ve had my fair share of these people

Amish Man (you should see his beard)

Armish Man “Should I buy and Extra controller?”

Sales Assistant “Well do you have any 2 Player Games”

Armish Man “yes, well I suppose I can buy and Extra controller but I can’t buy someone to play them with”

Marlboro Mark (The Marlboro Bike Jacket he always wore)

This Guy invited both me and a colleague to his birthday party on many occasions, not to mention making special visits to my store to show me ultrasounds of his kid

Bob (That’s simply his name)

To this guy Bioware is just another name for Porn

Elvis (Litrally used to dress like elvis whilst walking around town.)

Once ran into the shop brandishing a toy light sabre, ran round the store hitting every gondola and then ran out again without saying a word

And their king

No Socks (He wears no socks! Well at least on one occasion the nick name stuck)

“I’ve a level 60 WIZARD don’t you know!”

This guy once signed up for a Debenhams card and maxed it out that day on Magic: The gathering cards.

As a retailer it’s tough to know what to do with these people, they do after all every now and then surprise you and make a purchase, and that’s what we are here for.  Not to mention you can’t help but feel a little sorry for them, you do after all get the feeling that their trip to your store is their only chance to interact with a real human being.  

Now don’t get me wrong I fall somewhere between the Fan Boy and the Geek myself, I play World of Warcraft, ive even defended Mist of Pandara, and I think Sony are far superior to their consoling counterparts; but I can safely say even in the days before I worked in the Industry I’ve never considered the guy or gal selling me a product as my Best Friend.

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  1. March 3, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Funny! Thanks- I enjoyed it.

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