I should preface this installment by saying that I am a pack rat. I always have been and probably always will be. When I die, my relatives will come to clean out my house and find stacks and stacks of old newspapers, every wrapper of the slices of Velveeta cheese I had eaten over the past twenty years, and journals of every major weather event from 2025 on with my hand drawn renditions of how things went down. I keep everything. Having said that, it baffles me that most people have no problem trading in all of their old video games and accessories, and for extremely pathetic prices at that.
The other day, two guys walked into the store and told me they had a couple of items that they only wanted cash for. People who want cash instead of store credit are idiots because the cash value of stuff is almost always about 30% of what it is actually worth. They handed over a PS3 game and a Rock Band mic and I gladly gave them $1.99 for the microphone and $5 for the game. The moronic part of the whole transaction is that they were cool with those prices. I turned around and sold the Rock Band mic for $15 and the game for $40; profiteer, yes I am.
The laziness of people is also extremely evident when trading-in items. Many people don’t bother cleaning their games…ever. I have seen trade-in games that are covered in grease, butter, monkey come, and finger prints. How do people get their games so damned dirty?! I am not even going to touch the scratched up stuff that I see everyday; it is as though most people take their games out of their jewel cases and store them in the same cabinet that they keep all of their metal clippings and iron filings. Speaking of not taking games out of their jewel cases, I get a lot of games traded in without jewel cases simply because the customers are too lazy to go home and retrieve them. Many times I have opened up one game case to find two or three games cloistered in there instead of just one. The customers notice this and just tell me to take those ones too. When I mention that without the case, I can only give them a maximum of 50% of its credit value they just shrug and green light the transaction. Nevermind the fact that most people are too lazy to go get the case, but what in the hell were the games doing out of their cases to begin with? My game collection is stacked like a Smithsonian exhibit, all games are pristine and in their correct cases and when they aren’t, I have severe issues.
Even more disturbing than the values that I assign to trade-in merchandise are the crappy games that some people want to trade in. Usually, when a trade in occurs, some kid comes in and tries to hand over Crash Bandicoot and two or three old sports titles. My store has a policy that we do not take any sports game more than a year old because we will never be able to sell them since no one wants Madden 2002; they all want the newest thing out. Therefore, old sports games just sit there; they are the bane of our existence. The Crash Bandicoot game would net the kid all of $3 and he would happily walk out a richer man. Then there are the rare events in which we get really good stuff traded in.
When good trades come through the door, nine times out of ten it is some guy that is my age and needs to sell the games for cash to buy meth or whatever substandard drug is popular in Idaho that day. Idaho’s past favorites include: Special K, Ritalin, Vicodin, and a couple of others, but meth has dominated the top spot for several years now and when an immaculate copy of Super Mario RPG comes in, I can thank meth. In essence, the games that we sell for the most profit are the games that we paid some addict the least amount of cash for. The day that coke or heroin becomes popular in Idaho is the day that I hope to see some copies of Earthbound come through the door. Druggies really are our perfect customers because they always have the best games and will part with them for stupid prices. Many drug addled people are also clean freaks, thus keeping their super rare copies of the original Final Fantasy VII in pristine shape.
When I started to pound out this installment, I did so with the intent to try to show you just what people are willing to trade in when they really need a new game. Now that I have run my course I am realizing that there is an altogether different topic that can be gleaned from this: many people really don’t value and appreciate their games. Unfortunately, to most people a game is just a game. That makes my game store more like a halfway house for unwanted kids than a barely profitable retail outlet. While their previous owners meander through the shelves of my outpost, I will coddle and reassure their abandoned treasures in my little nook behind the counter.