Welcome to the inaugural release of my new and (hopefully) weekly column. Since returning to America, I have found myself short on cash and pretty much willing to do anything for a buck or two. Yes, I have even tried to sell my body but for some reason or another, most prospective customers frown upon my “by the pound, by the hour” pricing scheme. This lack of cash and abundance of free time meant that I spent a lot of time hanging out with my friend who works at a small video game shop close to my house. Well lets be real honest, it isn’t my house, it’s my parents’ house and I live in the basement.
One night my friend and I were talking while there was a lull in customers tooling around the shop and it came up that if I was going to hang out with her at the video game shop, I may as well be getting paid for it. I do need money and I do like video games so it seemed like the perfect job. To top it off, my friend writes the schedule so I basically work whenever I finish with my other two jobs and feel like chillin’ at a video game store.
This leaves me in a position I had learned to fear whilst growing up: Almost thirty, almost broke, single, living in my parents’ basement, and working at a video game store. That isn’t to say I have a bad life, I mean, I do work at a video game store. It is all just a tad odd. Lucky for you, my job situation means more entertainment for the readers of videolamer. Like all retail jobs, life behind the counter means dealing with the almighty customer. Video game shoppers come in all shapes and sizes but most of them are kids. The funny part of all of this is the fact that to the youth that frequent the store, I am somewhat of a hero. After all, I am a guy that works in a video game shop. However, to those kids’ parents, I am kind of a loser. After all, I am the guy that works in a video game shop. Case in point:
The other day I was perched atop my stool and dinking around on the internet when this kid and his mom walk up to the counter. The kid is a regular and by regular I mean he was in the shop five days out of the week of Spring Break. He is nice enough and I find him kind of funny so I have named him Warren after the Empire Records character. I have a feeling Warren wants my job more than he wants to graduate. As of this very moment, I am conditioning Warren to bring me tacos every time he comes to the store. Anywho, this one day Warren and his mom approach my counter because Warren wants to trade in games. We were all making small talk during the transaction and somehow it came up that this was my third job of the day. The look on Warren’s mom’s face was priceless because she was thinking, “Wow, this chubby guy must be in debt up to his ass and doesn’t have the proper education to dig himself out of the hole.”
That is when I rattled off what it was that I do during the daylight hours; working with autistic kids and children with behavioral disorders. I told them that I was basically doing this job for fun because I liked video games and found the store to be relaxing. Her tone and manner totally changed in the instant that she realized I wasn’t a total idiot, just a half of one. I expected this but didn’t think it would be that blatant of a change. The one thing about my day job is that it gets people’s attention and at some point I am hoping it gets me the ladies; that hasn’t happened so far. It will, it must…after all that is a small part of why I am doing it. Yes, I am a bad person.
There are moments when I can’t help feeling like I am a character from Clerks. Here I am, this over-educated and under-appreciated guy that gets minimal pay for putting up with the idiosyncrasies of his small clientÃ¨le. I am more Randal than Dante if you were wondering. At some point that will probably get me in trouble because I am kind of a dick to the customers, especially the ones who do nothing but stand around and play Guitar Hero or Assassin’s Creed for an hour and then don’t buy anything. I did retail for almost eight years and consider this job as my coming out of retirement. People should be grateful and if they aren’t they can kiss my ass and leave the store. If they don’t like my opinions, too bad, they are just a small statistic of a customer and I am the elitist video game snob that is ruling his glorious domain from behind the counter.