On Life at Work

Today.

Today was, in a word, hectic. Oblivion, the long-awaited role-playing game for the XBox 360 and computer, went on sale.

People needed Oblivion like junkies need a fix. It was that bad.

I knew it would be. The phone calls yesterday, from customers wanting the game right then, right there, ranged from sullen to angry all because we didn’t have the game early.

One customer this afternoon became belligerant, dropped the F-bomb, all because we’d sold out of the PC version.

With any sort of luck we’ll have more copies tomorrow.

The other major game that came out this week is The Godfather, EA’s adaptation of the film and book. Frankly, I’m more excited about this game than Oblivion. ;)

Of course, that puts me in mind of a customer that came by the store Sunday. A kid, maybe ten or eleven, walked the store’s perimeter with his father and, not seeing what he wanted, asked where we kept new computer games. I showed him the section, pointed out several recent titles, and he then asked specifically for Star Wars: Empires at War, a recent strategy game set in a Galaxy, Far Far Away. I pulled the game off the shelf, put it in his hand, and moved on to something else.

A few minutes later he caught my attention. “Mister,” he said, “can I talk with you over here?” He gestured toward the front of the store, away from his father.

I nodded and followed him up toward the front of the sales counter.

“Last time I was in,” he says, “I got me a card, saves me fifteen percent.”

I shook my head. “The discount card saves you ten percent, and only on used games.”

“Not fifteen?”

“Ten.”

He frowned. “What am I going to save on Empires at War?”

“You’re not. The card only works on used product, and Empires at War is a game we don’t carry used.”

He frowned again. “So I’m not going to save anything with my card?”

My look was answer enough.

“So,” he said at last, “I’ve got thirty-seven dollars in my pocket. What are we looking at for Empires at War?”

I did the math in my head–fifty dollar game, add sales tax, subtract what he had…. “Seventeen dollars, roughly.”

He bit his lip, nodded slowly, narrowed his eyes. Bargaining had gotten him nowhere.

I shook my head, both out of disbelief and out of amusement. The way the kid had been talking to me, it was as if he were trying to make me an offer I couldn’t refuse. :)

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