Gaming, Video Games

GameStop Employee Overreacts to Customer… Or Does She?

Take a look at that video. It’s been getting quite a few views over the last 24 hours, and I’m going to weigh in on it. Now, most people watch that and are taking the side of the customer; most viewers say that she treated him inappropriately, and she should be reprimanded or fired. I feel differently, however; I think she was completely in the right in this situation; she didn’t do anything wrong.

I’m not sure what was edited out at about 0:07, so I can’t say if she did anything wrong in that timespan, but from what I saw, she was doing her job. She needed photo ID to verify it was actually the correct person picking up the game. After he got out the correct ID, she checked it out, thanked him for his business, and they should have been done. Nothing wrong there. Then, he took it the wrong way and told her that he doubted her sincerity when he should have just left. Who says something like that, first of all? Secondly, don’t say something like that and expect her not to retort!

She kept her composure until 0:25; nothing wrong there. Then, another customer jokingly suggested that she should exploit him using his business card, (surely he meant it as a jest; all in good fun) and she simply played the part. She went along with it by saying that everyone should e-mail him about how unhappy they were that he held up the line. Again, you can see it was in a joking manner; there should have been no offense taken. From there, the disgruntled customer came back, threw a hissy-fit, and caused a scene, which is something you DON’T so when there is a whole line of people standing in a store at midnight waiting for a long-anticipated game.

Did the employee do anything wrong by playing along with the prompt to exploit the customer’s identity? No, I don’t think so. Like I said, it was clearly in jest; there was no harm, no foul. From this point on, he goes on to start a fight, and the employee has three options if she wants to handle this on her own. 1: She can let the man walk all over her and take the submissive route, 2: she can blow up on him and get angry, or 3: she can take the route of sarcasm to keep the mood light.

Option 1 isn’t plausible; she is an independent person who has every right to fend for herself. Option 2 would immediately get her fired. Option 3 is the only remaining option short of getting her manager out, which would probably have resulted in a worse fiasco, and/or a bigger hold-up in the line. With that being said, hopefully you can see why she had to take the road she did.

I can relate to this employee, because I work at Dairy Queen, and I come across people quite often who I could react to in different ways, just like in this situation. I’m not the kind of person to let others walk on top of me, but I’m not an angry person who takes it out on others. In that situation, I probably would have asserted myself, been a bit firmer in my speech than I should have, and it probably would have escalated to raised voices from both of us. I wouldn’t have handled it well, but I wouldn’t have started a full-out brawl, either. I applaud her for keeping her composure; it isn’t easy, especially when the rules we are enforcing aren’t made by us.

For example, there was once a guy who came in, got a medium drink, but then asked for a large cup after his meal so he could fill it and take it in his car rather than his medium sized cup. We told him, no, he couldn’t do that without paying for a large, (which I think he should have done to being with, assuming he knew beforehand he wanted a drink to go) and he wasn’t very happy about that, to say the least. Sorry, it’s not our rule; we’re just enforcing what we’ve been taught. Don’t get mad at us for doing our job. Same situation here; she didn’t make the photo ID rule, don’t act like a jerk to her and doubt her sincerity just because you’re disgruntled that you have to dig through your wallet for your driver’s license. With that being said, if you don’t have that, you should be in trouble anyway for driving without it, and secondly, without the photo ID rule, anyone could walk out with your game; deal with the rule. It’s here to protect you.

Alright. I’m done ranting. In the end, I applaud this woman for standing up for herself and doing what I feel is the right thing. You don’t have the right to treat us like dirt because you might have a higher paying job, or because you’re the customer, and “the customer is always right.” We’re people too. We are intelligent beings; we are not animals that can be told what to do without dissent. Man up and deal with the fact that you can be wrong, and we’re just doing our job.

What do you think? Is she in the right, or should she be fired? Let me know in the comments below, and if you disagree with me, please tell me why; maybe you’ll help me understand!

Slightly Angered
Matt Shiflet

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33 thoughts on “GameStop Employee Overreacts to Customer… Or Does She?”

    1. You’ve had bad experiences there? I don’t know if I’m just a lucky one, but I always have a great time there. It’s a shame other locations aren’t like mine as well, I guess..

  1. To be very honest, i think she was in the wrong as well. She did seem to have a bit of an attitude. While I’m not sure why the customer was angry in the first place, she fucked up by making fun of him in front of everyone there. If it weren’t for that, that guy would’ve walked out and not come back in. When a client is already upset, the best thing you can do is try and please the client, in this video i didn’t see her trying, she just rallied support from her friend in the line. I actually applaud the customer for going back in and making a point. maybe he isn’t the pleasing type but we don’t know. I’d like to see the whole video because i highly doubt this is the full one

    1. Oh, I’m sure there was more before, and after the video and during the cut at 0:08 that we didn’t see. I’m sure it could change the way we see the rest of the video. Without seeing the rest, though, I look at it like “how would I have reacted?” and I see that she did better than I probably would have. That’s just my opinion 🙂

  2. I think both sides ere very much in the wrong. The customer certainly overreacted, and yes he did START the whole thing, but the woman at the counter should have been more professional. She should have apologized to the rest of the customers for the inconvenience then left the subject alone. I’ll grant her saying something to the video camera guy, although I’m sure that didn’t help, but you don’t make jokes like that, especially when the disgruntled customer can hear you. I honestly think she should be fired. That being said, the customer was a jerk as well.

    1. It’s tough to please everyone when you’re working as a cashier, and I’m sure she was just a bit stressed, seeing the huge sales GTA saw. Not that it entirely condones what she did, but I can see where she’s coming from, you know?
      I still side with her, but I definitely see why you and Vitosal feel the way you guys do. I’m just a little biased lol

      1. Well, my biggest problem is in the content of the joke. The court does not distinguish between something said in a joking or serious manner, only that it was said. Therefore, if the man tried to sue for harassment charges, he would win almost definitely. As the employer, Game stop would be held legally responsible for this, so the money would come out of their pockets.
        (At least, that’s my understanding. However, I have never been to law school in any form, so please let me know if I am incorrect in any of my points.)

  3. There is a lot that I can say about this video. I find myself on the side of the Game Stop employee and I’ll use bullet points to explain why that is the case.

    1) There is an inappropriate unwritten standard which says that it is perfectly acceptable to wilfully deceive, harass and verbally abuse customer service representatives (CSRs), largely tied to the nonsensical notion that ‘the customer is always right’. CSRs are supposed to be ‘professional’, necessitating a completely neutral response that often does nothing more than serve to further incense the potential/actual customer. Should a CSR say something as simple as ‘stop yelling at me’, ‘if you continue to yell at me I will not help you’ or anything else that points out the negative behaviour and says that it needs to be corrected the potential/actual customer will see that as (a) a personal attack and/or (b) something they can use to get something out of the company, ultimately empowering them.

    Take-away point: CSRs are saddled with an inappropriate and unwritten standard that says they cannot point out negative behaviour from a customer and say that it should stop because that isn’t ‘professional’.

    2) For some reason or reasons, some people will become offended when asked to demonstrate proper ID and will act like asking for such is a personal attack. These people seem to think that asking to present proper ID means that they are perceived as dishonest and will often fall into the behaviour listed in (1). What these people fail to recognise due to an impoverished ego is there really are bad people out there who will try to steal your shit and presenting proper ID for various things is there to help safeguard them, the customer.

    By way of example, in my first year of working as a night auditor at a motel I encountered an interesting situation. A woman came in, laughing, talking on her cell phone and asked for a key to Room X. Room X had a listed occupancy of two and both names. I asked for the woman’s name and was provided with the same name on the folio. A few minutes later the other occupant (male) and the other person actually listed on the folio showed up, explaining to me that the woman gave a false name and was actually the male’s ex looking to pick a fight with the new girlfriend who was listed on the folio. She showed me her ID to prove it and, truth be told, the two girls looked strikingly similar and neither of the occupants blamed me for what I did. From then on I asked for ID and had no problem inconveniencing other people to avoid that situation or worse happening in the future.

    Take-away point: some people view asking for ID as a personal attack and a belief that they are untrustworthy, even though they should legitimately understand that taking proper ID is a security feature for them.

    3) A disturbing amount of potential/actual customers will actively engage in inappropriate behaviour in an attempt to ‘get a deal’. Examples of this will vary from industry to industry, so I’ll just link a personal example (http://themirrorofmankind.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/five-years-of-reinforcement-all-across-the-board/). People will do this for any of a number of reasons ranging from belief of entitlement to belief that the company (or individual CSR!) is scamming them, so engaging in inappropriate behaviour to get what they want will even the playing field.

    Take-away point: a disturbing number of potential/actual customers in various industries will actively act inappropriately in order to ‘get a deal’.

    There is so much more that I could say but I’ll leave it at this and with one more thing. The belief that people choose to be less than decent is a collective belief held by those who work in customer service positions because it is proved time and again on a daily basis. Some industries experience this more than others but it is a truth demonstrated through experience.

    1. My biggest problem is with the joke she made. Because she could have chosen to be professional, and not make the joke at all, or even just choose to be tactful enough to wait until the man left. Either way, I feel neither party was in the right.

      1. I won’t overtly disagree with your contention, but I would like to offer a few general questions that people should really be prepared to answer.

        What does ‘professional’ mean? Why does professionalism seem to strictly imply an almost robotic stoicism? What about a professional setting applies such stoicism? Why is the customer seemingly exempted from such stoicism? What sorts of emotional responses should be seen as inappropriate and why?

        I’m not putting these questions up and asking you to answer them, rather I’m putting them up because addressing them is going to be necessary to any discussion about the issue generally and specifically. It’s food for thought.

    2. (For some reason I can’t reply to your comment so I’m replying up here.)
      Believe me, I’m not saying the customer was in the right, neither party was. I just feel the need to put my thoughts on the cashier being wrong a little more heavily since there is an entire article about her being right above us. 😛

      Also, you do pose a very good point with your questions. I know you said they weren’t posed for me to answer, but I’d like to give my thought on them anyway.
      I don’t believe being professional should be quite that extreme, just that you should avoid throwing fuel on a raging fire. She could have given him the customer support number then firmly asked him to leave the store.
      I don’t think anyone is exempt from being professional, like I said the customer was also in the wrong, but if anyone has more reason to be professional, it is the person representing a brand, being paid to be there, not the person who nobody knows the name of.
      For example, people who believe the customer is in the wrong will focus on that because his actions represent himself only. However, you’ll notice that many of the people in support of the customer are blaming Game stop itself, not the woman.
      (Hopefully I’m not annoying you at this point, I just enjoy a nice debate, and I like people who can hold one without the trash talk you constantly see on the internet 🙂

      1. No, you’re not annoying me at all and I think this is the kind of thing that Matt would like to see in response to his posts. WordPress…is odd when it comes to comments, kind of borked actually.

        From what I saw in the video and my years in customer service, it’s very likely that this customer presented as a ‘problem customer’ (see my response to Vitosal’s comment below). From my experience it appears that the CSR analysed the situation, realised just how incredible the customer’s behaviour was, and reacted in kind. It’s entirely likely that no matter what she did the customer was likely to escalate their behaviour -after all, their initial comment was doubting the CSR’s sincerity. Could she have handled the situation better? Certainly, but I’d be hard-pressed to call her behaviour wrong and only on the weakest side of inappropriate. Inappropriate has degrees and we shouldn’t come crashing down on people because their behaviour isn’t perfectly in line.

    3. Point 1 is SO true. How are we supposed to tell you that you’re right… when you’re completely wrong? It makes no sense; we can’t keep the double standard.
      Point 3 is a good one as well; I’ve seen it happen, and it’s a shame that people will stoop so low to get free items. Honesty is just gone nowadays…

  4. it’s interesting, but the more i watch it the more angry i get at it. Ok, so the guy used his business card which isn’t allowed. I get that he was wrong there, but something must have been said to him just before she gave his business card back. She had an attitude there and he was already upset. She threw fuel to the fire, when she made fun of him by asking who wants to email him for holding up the line. In that aspect he had every right to be even more upset regardless of the fact that he didn’t have a drivers ID. I think i would feel the same way, i would be seriously fucked off if someone did that to me.

    1. We are only a party to a part of this encounter and the video has been edited. It is much better for us to err on the side of caution and think.

      Why would the CSR seem to have an attitude and why would the customer be upset? Clearly something happened off-camera. Should we, in this day and age, think that it is reasonable for someone to use a business card as personal ID? And, agreeing that we shouldn’t, that people appearing to be about the age of the customer know better, would we not think that an individual offering this as ID would be likely to present as a ‘problem customer’? Finally, seeing what we can see in the video and how eager people are to push sensation, if the CSR caused the problem in the first place wouldn’t we have heard such a reaction from the other people in line?

      It seems to me far more likely that the customer presented as a ‘problem customer’ and things escalated from that point. No behaviour demonstrated that the CSR was likely to give out said information. The CSR didn’t belittle or demean the customer, she simply made a joke that could only be considered controversial if we were to be unduly sensitive and that is truly what this is about: over-sensitivity and inappropriate customer behaviour.

    2. I honestly don’t think I would’ve handled the situation any better. Especially if she would have said something to me. I wouldn’t yell or anything like that but I would make her look really stupid.

      1. She obviously baited him back in the store with that comment she made. So yeah, i would have bitched her out too because i’m there to buy a game not be made fun of.

      2. I would’ve probably asserted myself and retorted, but not been to the point of “I need your last name!” I mean, really… you have her employee number on the receipt; that will give Customer Service all the info they need; much more than a last name would have provided. He went a bit too far.

  5. “Should we, in this day and age, think that it is reasonable for someone to use a business card as personal ID? ”
    No.

    “And, agreeing that we shouldn’t, that people appearing to be about the age of the customer know better, would we not think that an individual offering this as ID would be likely to present as a ‘problem customer’?”

    No. Not all people that do this are potential “problem customers” I give people the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes you make a mistake and forget your ID, or a license. There could be plenty of reasons as to why this guy didn’t have the correct ID, without the rest of the video, there is nothing but opinions…not that I’m saying he’s innocent but he may just have thought “I’ll try my luck” told her “i don’t have my ID but i have my business card” CSR then replies with an attitude while accepting the incorrect card. Customer picks up on attitude, feels bad for presenting a business card but really wants the game and feels the need to defend himself. This is just one of my opinions.

    “if the CSR caused the problem in the first place wouldn’t we have heard such a reaction from the other people in line?”

    Most people are to scared to say anything out loud, because that would deem them an outcast. It’s much easier to go with the crowd and become part of a mob mentality or just keep quite, get your game and get out. You will notice that the only people speaking is the guy recording, the CSR and the client. Nearly everyone else is keeping to themselves.

    My opinion is still of the nature that this manager had an attitude and dealt with this client in completely the wrong way, allowing him to over hear the comments she made which is going to antagonize the client even more.

    Being in retail myself, I wouldn’t want an employee doing that to one of my clients.

    If you can’t handle customer problems, then you shouldn’t be a manager, all this comes with the territory of retail and to me she failed fantastically as manager

    Again though, just my opinion and how i feel about it, i would like to see a full video though

    1. “No. Not all people that do this are potential “problem customers” I give people the benefit of the doubt.”

      There are two problems here. First, I used very specific language and said ‘likely’ which you took to mean ‘all’, or at least that is the language that you are using here. The behaviour I mentioned is genuinely likely to indicate a ‘problem customer’ but, of course, that doesn’t mean they are going to be a ‘problem customer’. Second, if you are willing to give people the benefit of the doubt that must also extend to the CSR behind the counter and you do not appear to be doing that.

      This is the only thing that I would like to address because the apparent complications of conflating likely with all and not extending the benefit of the doubt to the CSR as well as the customer cause me to question everything else that follows.

      I cannot speak for other people but, for my part, as I indicated in my earlier comments, years of personal experience lead me to make the comments I made above. We need to be careful about how hard we come down on either side but we also need to understand that we are only a party to part of what happened and, given what we’ve seen, it’s more likely than not that the customer presented as a ‘problem customer’ and things went from there. The situation could have been handled better but it wasn’t handled poorly and the ridiculous double-standard the general public has needs to stop.

      1. Well then years of experience has giving us both very different experiences.

        The situation was handled poorly, it was her responsibility to be civil and address the situation as a professional. According to the obviously not full video she was addressing the client in to much of a sarcastic way which is going to make the situation worse regardless if the client is innocent or not.

        Her tone and attitude are what lead me to not giving her the benefit of the doubt.

        What double standard? Specifically. Out of curiosity

      2. Sometimes it is impossible to demonstrate a point because people don’t want to or are predisposed to not understanding, no amount of evidence can bring them to that understanding, and those who already understand or are predisposed to it don’t need much evidence. A solid example of this is how Blizzard did great damage to the mmorpg genre by minimising the rpg elements in the game.

        I don’t think that you’re predisposed to getting that a double-standard is at work here. The fact that you did not address that you seem to not be giving the benefit of the doubt to the CSR as well as the customer is also a solid and more relevant example of that fact. Seeing this, I’d like to politely end this particular discussion because it isn’t likely to go further.

    2. The thing that gets me is, most people keep their license or some sort of ID in their wallet. If I’m understanding right, then his game was already paid off, but nevertheless, who leaves the house without their wallet, especially going to a store? It just seems a bit fishy that he wouldn’t have a legitimate form of ID, especially a drivers license, but he just so happens to have a business card, of all things. I mean, whaaat?
      Still, they both messed up in the situation. I don’t think she should be fired, however, because I think she handled it decently. Not perfectly, but decently. Should she be reprimanded? Yes. Maybe docked pay or take a forced week or two of leave? Maybe. Take some sort of “this-is-how-to-treat-a-customer” course? Probably. But not fired. If I’m not mistaken, if we do something like that at DQ, we get “a few days off” as punishment. I think; it’s never happened to me.

  6. I’ll preface this by saying that I think both sides could have used a little more maturity in their approaches and interaction. Ultimately, though, I have to side with the CSR in this instance.

    I know someone above already mentioned this, but there’s this ridiculous double standard of professionalism expected of CSRs. A customer can act however foolish or abrasive as they want, and the CSR is essentially supposed to sit there and take it. Sure, they can say something like, “Please stop yelling,” or “I’ll help you when you calm down,” but that isn’t going to work on someone who thinks that they can do no wrong thanks to the “customer is always right” axiom. Thanks to that golden rule, there is zero incentive for the customer to calm down or follow any advice given by the CSR, no matter how professionally it’s delivered.

    I know anecdotal evidence is the weakest kind, but I know a woman who works for a grocery store. One night she was supervising the self-checkout line and a middle aged woman couldn’t get the card reader in the machine to work. She summoned my friend, who politely asked her a few questions. When my friend attempted to push several buttons on the screen, the woman slapped her. In the face. Because she thought that my friend was trying to steal her account information (which is impossible in this situation). Mind you, this entire exchange is caught on tape. The following day my friend was reprimanded for “upsetting the customer.” Granted, stuff this extreme doesn’t happen very often, but I think it speaks to the overall mindset companies have when it comes to CSRs.

    At the end of the day I have to side with the CSR because she can’t walk away. She’s stuck behind the counter. The customer, on the other hand, was free to shrug off her tone (however it was interpreted) and exit the store. He came back, of his own free will, and continued to instigate something with someone who had no choice but to participate. I guess she could have been more professional in her word choice or attitude, but I believe that would have had zero effect. Customers these days are of the mindset that they’re correct no matter what, and if someone wants to challenge them on it all they have to do is pick up a phone and they can have the person fired. It’s a wholly ridiculous situation.

    1. Yep. Agreed all the way around. It’s not fun being in that situation. On one hand, you have the duty to your boss to not give out free products because “the customer is always right” but on the other hand, you want to keep the customer happy so they come back (sales for the boss) and at the same time, you want to stand up for yourself. It’s one of those “pick two, but you can’t have all three” situations. I think she was sort of in that situation, and it was quite ridiculous.

  7. Wow, this debate is amazing; I honestly wasnt expecting such an outpouring of opinions on this article! I’m actually at work now (on break at the moment) and I want to thank you all for the great input, as every single comment has been polite AND insightful. I’ll comment later with a bit more elaboration on what I think of we of these comments, as it’ll be easier to do it from my desktop rather than my phone, and frankly it’s time to clock back in! 🙂
    Talk to you all later!

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