I've already sworn off GameStop as a place to buy new games off the shelf (primarily because they won't actually sell them to me, as they only order enough new games to cover preorders), but now I have a reason to not buy used game cartridges there, too. One of my favorite gaming complaint sites, Curmudgeon Gamer, happened to spot a counterfeit Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow game pak at GameStop recently. He pointed the issue out to a GameStop employee, and...
CG: [I peer closely at the label, then in the case right above metal contacts] Yeah, that's counterfeit. Thanks.
GS Dude: Oh? That's cool. How can you tell?
CG: First key was the label. That one doesn't look like the one I own. Then when I looked at the contacts, I didn't see the word "Nintendo" on the circuit board. Look here at Game A. [I hand him Game A, pointing at circuit board]
GS Dude: Whoa. [he takes Aria of Sorrow from me] You're right, it doesn't say "Nintendo". That's cool.
CG: Yeah. If you peel the price sticker off, you can probably tell the back of the cartridge is slightly different. And if you take the case apart you'll see a nasty cheap battery and a blop of black epoxy or something over the main chip.
GS Dude: Whoa. Learned something tonight! [he hands back Game A, puts Aria of Sorrow back in case] As long as it's just between you and me, no problem, right? [he closes case]
I'm not lashing out at GameStop for buying a counterfeit cartridge from someone off the street. These things happen and not everyone knows how to spot a counterfeit (although anyone in the position of buying games from random people should know how to spot the fakes). The problem here is that even though the GameStop employee now knew the game was a fake, he still put it back out for sale. Talk about utter contempt for customers.
Now I know the actions of one GameStop employee don't represent the other employees at all of the other stores, but this behavior is indicative of a larger problem. However, if this is happening at one store then it's safe to say it has got to be happening at others, and in my experience most of the GameStop employees I've encountered in the stores are more interested in moving products than being honest. I choose to skip the hassle of trying to sift through the games and separate the fakes from the legitimates at GameStop. Perhaps the time has come for GameStop management (and the management of other such gaming stores that buy games off of people) to not only include guidelines for checking the legitimacy of products in training for employees, but also a little ethics training. Actually, make that a lot of ethics training.