Worked at a game store while I was still in college. Place was a semi mom and pop shop, meaning it was not big enough to compete with mainstream game stores, but had enough stores in different cities to give them some competition. The owners of the place liked to have an edge on the larger chain game stores so they kept their prices lower than the competition. Won’t go into detail but an example would be a PS2 new title game would be around 50 at a chain store and at our store it would cost 45. Same thing with DVD’s, always cheaper.
Anyhow, place was awesome to work at. Got paid shit money, but I was there for around 10 hours a day and able to play games or study for school as I needed. Also helped that the customers were cool and always had interesting stuff to say. Things took a turn for the worse when one day we had major break ins at two of our locations.
One was the store I was supervising at. I came in that day to find the owner of the store already there and the store taped off by cops. Story was that the thieves broke into a neighboring room adjacent to our store, sledge hammered through the wall to our store, quickly shut off the all the alarms and then had their pick of our merchandise. They cleaned us out. Systems, games, dvds. Not sure what the final count was as far as loss, but it was hefty. They did the same thing at one of our other locations.
A month went by and things started to get weird. The owner took up shop at our store a lot of days. Always sitting in the back and waiting for deliveries. Supposed wholesalers would come in with boxes, sometimes trash bags, of games and DVD’s. The guys bringing in the merchandise looked nothing like wholesalers, looked more like thugs and gang members. They would walk in the back and always walk out with cash. I had always handled the books when closing up the store. But now the owner took over my prior job. Also, he no longer had me go on runs to the wholesaler location to pick up games on new release days. He would always wait for his new wholesalers to bring him in what he needed.
I noticed around this time that our prices also dropped. Games went from being 5 dollars cheaper to almost 10 dollars cheaper in some cases. The other employees and myself adopted a don’t ask don’t tell policy. I needed the job but at the same time, was scared of what was going on. The people coming in the store always looked so shady.
Next issue was one night when I was closing up the store with the owner. He was in the back and I was in the front closing up the register. The owner was a cheapskate and like to milk every penny and dime that he could. So he insisted that I keep the store open, even when closing the register on the off chance that a customer wanted to spend some money.
As I was counting out the funds I saw a car pull up and two men walk in. I kept my head down and pretended not to notice them close the door behind them as they came in. I already knew what was going down. Below the register was an alarm trigger that I pulled. It was a silent alarm and the two guys were none the wiser. They proceeded to each pull out a gun and point them at me demanding all the money from the register.
I berated the two men, scoffing their guns and saying they were not real. Proceeded by telling them they looked like henchman from a movie. They advised me that their guns were indeed real and they would be happy to show me. At that point, my common sense kicked in and I gave them the money. But they were not done.
They wanted me to take them to the back. I obliged, I headed to the back room but could not get the door open (the owner kept re-locking the door every time I unlocked it with the code). Finally he let me in (after hearing the two men say they were going to shoot through the door). Once we were inside the room, one of the gunman went to a book shelf and proceeded to pull it away from the wall revealing a safe (I had no idea this was there). He demand the owner to open it up and luckily the owner did so without any complaints or hesitation. While this was going on, the second guy had me at gunpoint in the bathroom waiting for everything to be over. Strange enough, the guy was actually really polite and apologized for having to take my cell phone. Anyhow, they took the money and that was that.
That was not the worst of it though. Everything came to a head one day when I was off for a week and was awakened by two detectives at my front door. Apparently while I was off, the police had done a sting operation at my work and solicited stolen goods to one of my co-workers. My co-worker called it in to the owner and the owner approved for it to be bought.
The man soliciting the stolen merchandise was a cop and stated numerous times that it was stolen. The employee still handed him cash for the merchandise and this was immediately followed by the store being raided by police. They took everything, computers, merchandise…everything. Apparently the buying back of stolen items had been going on for as long as the store had been opened.
The owner had been dealing with gangs to do his work for him. The reason why our store got robbed and broken into so many times was because these gang members knew that the owner kept large denominations of money at his stores to pay them with. Needless to say, I quit that same week.
The police tried to call me into court for questioning or to be a witness, but nothing was ever pursued against me since I was not directly involved. I went into a different line of work soon after. Was done with retail.