GameStop Suspends Manager Who Won't Sell Games To Kids With Bad Grades

from the can't-support-that-type-of-policy dept

Last week the news spread about a manager of a GameStop video game store in Dallas who, without corporate approval, had instituted a policy to encourage good grades. The policy was that he wouldn't sell video games to kids unless an adult confirms that the kid got good grades... and if the kid had straight As, the manager would buy him or her a free game. However, as the Raw Feed points out, it appears that GameStop wasn't too happy with this policy and has suspended the guy. This really isn't a huge surprise (going against corporate policy doesn't often end well), but the community reaction to the whole thing certainly suggests that there's a market for this kind of "good grades policy," and if GameStop won't allow it, then perhaps other video game stores might test it out to try to attract more business. It sounds like a lot of parents would support it. Of course, there's really nothing stopping parents from instituting the identical policy on their own... Also, you could just as easily argue the opposite position as well. If one retailer offers that policy and others don't, all the kids with bad grades are about to head over to the other store. Which do you think is the larger market?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Buzz, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 9:34am

    LOL

    All growing up, I had to fund my own video game habits. It wouldn't matter if I stopped world hunger, developed a cure for cancer, and donated a kidney; my parents would never purchase any game equipment for me. If this grade policy were in effect, of course I would just shop somewhere else. Now, if EVERY retailer had this policy in place, I would've been screwed. :(

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 9:40am

    Wait,what?

    And where are the parents in all of this? Where do the kids get the money? Don't the parents control what the kids do in terms of homework at the dinner table or what they watch on TV?

     

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    Celt, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 9:44am

    Of course parents like the policy...

    It gives them the ability to say no without being the bad guy. Just take them over to GameStop and when asked about their grades the honest answer is, "Well Billy is failing math." Whoa ho! Can't sell you this game then, Billy! Now the parents are off the hook as being responsible parents and little Billy won't light the drapes on fire for not getting Bioshock.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 9:46am

    I've been buying video games from the same store for the past 12 years. I have always had good grades. If someone told me to bring my parents in to check up on me I would have moved on. I don't need some store clerk telling he won't sell me his product.

     

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  5.  
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    Stute, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 9:54am

    I say let the kids buy all the games they want, get bad grades in school and fail horribly.

    Of course, that said, I played ALOT of games during my time in school (from 5th grade to now, and I'm a sophomore in college) And I never had a hard time getting good grades...

    Plus, the stores shouldn't need to put these policies in place, the parents should take all the responsibility on this. Same with violent video games, it's not the ESRB/developers/the stores fault a 9 year old kid is playing GTA, now is it?

     

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  6.  
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    Chris Maresca, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 9:54am

    Re:

    My thoughts exactly. What a great policy to drive business away from your store....

    Chris.

     

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  7.  
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    no, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 9:55am

    This is confusing.

    I saw this story on network news and it was reported as "Owner of a game store in Dallas, who is also a teacher, refuses to sell to minors with poor grades".

    Where in the hell did they get that from? First, it's a manager and not an owner. Second, are teachers in Dallas really moonlighting as managers of GameStop stores?

    As for the policy . . . Fuck that guy. Your job is to sell items to consumers. As long as laws are not being broken (buying smokes, booze, porn), then shut the fuck up and let the kid buy it. He's not your student or child. He's your CUSTOMER.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 10:03am

    i remember going to chuck-e-cheese after getting my reportcard. yey for fun childhood rewards...

    they would give away tokens for certain grades.. like 3 for an a 2-b, 1-c..or something like that... not 50 bucks or w/e.

    i could see this happening, but the only problem is the other store that doesn't do it. as it would turn out, all the "good" kids would get their free (should be discounted) games from said store, while everyone else buys from competitor.

    so it's actually bad (businesswise) because you'd be out the money of the "bad" kids, while losing more money to "good" kids because they'll take your discount.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 10:06am

    Nip in the bud...

    I say all stores should quit selling goods to kids, period. They usually make bad choices anyway and it is not like the parents care. Won't someone pleeease think of the children?! *sarcasm post*

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 10:07am

    it's the store's fault if they sell GTA to a 9yo (w/o a parent)

    i can remember being carded the other day (i'm 25) for some superglue, but the kid infront of me (who looked 12) didn't get carded for a M game...go figure.

    but there other stores where i've seen kids get "carded" and weren't allowed to buy

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 10:08am

    The shirking of responsibility in this day in age is staggering. I can't wait till the next generation gets into power. Unless of course lazyness out weighs their sense of duty, people will take responsibility for their actions.

    Probably wishful thinking, but I can hope. Stories like this just point out how pathetic and ignorant many parents are about their child's lives.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 10:13am

    Try and put your head in a sort of old fashioned mode. Imagine time is rewound 100 years but we still have video games. You walk to school and on the way back home you swing by the candy store and video game store on main street. The kindly gentleman running the video game store is respected and beloved by all the townsfolk. He takes an active interest in the well-being of the children and has the policy of not selling games to kids with bad grades as part of the "it takes a village" approach to raising kids. Not necessarily that it does take a village, but who am I to tell this village not to work together on it?

    Surely you'll agree with me that, in principle, this could be a quaint throwback to an idyllic era, and not at all a bad thing. His job is just to sell games? No way, his job is to be a citizen and contributor to his community, and sell games.

    I'm not going to condemn the dude without know more about him and his clientele and community. It couldve been a righteous thing. (I cant condemn the firing either, policy is policy and thats what you get with megacorps--economies of scale and an inflexibility to respond to local circumstances)

     

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    Witty Nickname, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 10:31am

    Media

    If you read the last article until the end it hints that maybe he was suspended for talking to the media. I'd buy that. Depending on the company some store managers are given latitude to implement policies to see if they work. If they work they get promoted, if they don't they get fired.

    Did you know a McDonald's store manager invented the egg McMuffin? Another invented the Big Mac. yet another hired a guy to play a clown they called "Ronald McDonald" to boost local sales. Sales at these stores took off and corporate took notice.

     

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  14.  
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    Bec W., Sep 17th, 2007 @ 10:39am

    I worked there!

    I used to work there as of a month ago because I was harrassed by the assisstant manager and I quit. The whole company is a scam and there are so many things going on UNDER THE TABLE such as allowing store associates to mess with the schedule, inter-store dating, taking defective units home to reapir/sell them, and "borrowing" games from the store. SO as for this "Free games for good grades" thing this guy is pushing, I'm not surprised, what with all the funky stuff going on behind closed doors.

     

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  15.  
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    Overcast, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 10:48am

    But grades aren't always a measure of how good or bad a kid is doing in school.

    My son has a disability - should I prevent him from getting games because he's not up to par for the rest of the 'cookie cutter' kids?

     

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  16.  
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    whatever, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 10:59am

    Grades are a very good indicator of how well a kid is doing in school. The problem is that school is only teaching an arbitrary set of facts designed to pass an even more arbitrary achievement test at the end of the year.

    School has nothing to do with education. And what we should want is educated kids, not well schooled kids.

     

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  17.  
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    j, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 11:00am

    Re:

    yes you should prevent him from playing games. hopefully prevent him from breathing too while you are at it.

    wtf it seems everyone has a disability today.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 11:06am

    I own the home

    I own the home, the bedroom, and everything he owns by law. If he has bad grades then ultimately he can move out, sleep on the porch, or I can just kill the breaker to his room. I am so confused by people who hesitate to influence their children to make proper decisions. Consequences are better learned early than later and if after paying taxes for my kid to go to school all year he feels like flushing that opportunity down the toilet then I have every right to say or do something about it. The sad commentary on this whole story is that in many cases the guy you dont know at the corner store is practicing better parenting skills and has a better sense of priorities than Mr and Mrs Doe back home who dont know where little Johnny even is.

     

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  19.  
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    Stephen, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 11:09am

    rewards for grades

    Back when i was in high school, a local arcade gave 2 tokens for an A, 1 token for a B, so I could usually pull down 10-12 tokens each quarter. Brilliant! That should have been the GameStop manager's intent: reward the good students, not punish the bad ones.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 11:10am

    Re:

    Or you could just look for excuses as to why he is not succeeding. Not everyone is born a natural bookwaorm...once he hits the streets he is not going to be able to pull out the excuse that he has a disability as a reason for why he took down the assembly line by pushing the wrong button because he couldnt read, meanwhile, they are moving the operation to China.

    If your kid is doing badly in school then he needs to concentrate on that more and games less. Meanwhile, I never understand why all these ADD kids cant learn math, but can get to the 15th level of the most difficult games because they learned complicated routines to defeat the Boss at the end of each level. Can someone explain that to me?

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 11:11am

    Re: Re:

    Least of all the loser that misspelled bookworm!

     

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  22.  
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    5241218, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 11:18am

    3154931

    I can't say I'm terribly surprised. Business plans that include refusing sales and giving away products are not the most sound from a fiscal standpoint.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 11:42am

    Re:

    The problem is this isn't 100 years ago it's 2007 and yes his job is just to sell games, or whatever else the store sells.

    We're not even talking about a small town store where the owner decided to adopt this policy, we're talking about some random manager with no authority or right to institute such a policy doing this.

    Besides this nonsense policy everyone seems to be missing the major point here:

    Where is the link between video game playing and bad grades? Or is this the same link between violence and video games. Seems likely to me.

    Shop staff should stick to what they do best, selling crap. Not interferring in their customers choices.

     

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  24.  
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    itachi, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 12:06pm

    lol i would start taking random minors in the mall and be like heres 5 bux follow me im gonna say u got straight A's and get some free games out of a manager who has no sense of bussiness.

     

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  25.  
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    Zaxk, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 12:18pm

    Re:

    The store doesn't pay for the game, the manager said HE would pay for the game, so the company is still getting the money.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 12:20pm

    It is bad business to not sell a product to someone who wants it, but there is nothing wrong with offering a discount for good grades. McDonalds and other places have been doing it for a long time.

     

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  27.  
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    TheDock22, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 12:26pm

    Discount is better

    I agree that the idea is good, but the policy was poorly thought out. A good incentive would be to offer a 30-50% discount for students with good grades (50% for straight A's, 30% for GPA above something).

    As far as the disability thing goes (ADD and ADHD) I do not believe for one second with the correct treatment those kids can not get good grades. I've seen it done countless times. With most other disabilities...well I doubt those kids are playing many video games anyway. If you must be fair though, simply have a teacher write a note saying these children might not get the best grades, but are excellent students.

    Whereas I believe children with bad grades should NOT be buying and playing video games; that decision should be the parents' and not the merchants'. If we encourage benefits for hard work and studying maybe the younger generation will be better for it.

     

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  28.  
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    Server Admin, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 12:33pm

    It figures, someone finally does the right thing..

    I say this is a perfect example of how things should be done, and at the same time, a perfect example of what is wrong with our society these days.

    This store manager's actions were better for the overall benefit of the community and specifically the school age children it affected than everything I have heard of in the past year (at least) that has been done by school administrators or government policy makers to improve the education system and encourage children to raise above the currently pathetic low standards that are accepted.

    Any child that is failing should not have the chance to even see a video game much less have money (presumably allowance) to buy new games of their own. And any kid that is complaining about this story because of the actions of the store manager should be completely ignored as their opinion is purely supporting their own selfish desire to continue to get everything they want even if they do nothing at all to earn it.


    PARENTS need to wake up and realize that if their child is failing in school then that most likely is an early warning sign that they will carry the same attitude/practices into their adult life and will be failures in life overall.

    Most of all, PARENTS will have to face the truth of the matter...That it is entirely their own fault if their children end up as failures in life!

    Any "parent" that isn't able to tell you something about the specific subjects that their child is learning about in school is not earning the title of "parent" and needs to try spending a bit of time around their kids instead of just giving them what they want to keep them pleasantly out of sight.

     

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  29.  
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    jennifer, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 1:00pm

    Game stop

    Shame on you Game Stop....what a great employee that you have let go. I have three kids and struggle everyday to keep there grades up.....to have someone out in the community helping me as well, especially when two of mine are boys and love games really makes me feel good....i really hope that another Video Game store can pick this man up and employee him. He seems like someone that will go a long way and do great things.

     

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  30.  
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    awwtbone, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 1:27pm

    What

    I am going to let some guy I wouldn't even let mow my lawn tell me I can buy a game?

    ebay, pawn shops, torrent... too many other video game sources to freak out over GamestopEBgames.

     

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  31.  
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    Sean, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 1:47pm

    Re:

    Im sure if the kid showed proof of there grades it would be the same as a parent or someone that looks like they could be a parent to say they had good grades

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Re:

    I will actually encourage my child to play games over watching TV. Video games make you think some as apposed to most TV that promotes the opposite.

     

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  33.  
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    Jstncase, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 2:21pm

    Well easily resolved. Have the store do a 5% discount to those students who do have good grades or straight A's. They should already be the same price as all the competitors, but the parents and the smarter/cheating kids will feel like they are getting something in return for doing well.

    Works at my game store. I think we have more customers because of it.

     

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  34.  
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    Xiera, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 2:59pm

    Bad PR

    While such a policy would be -horrible- to adopt as corporate policy, let it be for the one franchise. See what happens. That way a) you're not the bad guy for refusing such a policy, and b) even if it does fail, it's only one franchise. Besides, it's lets you see how your competitors will react. I personally don't think such a policy is good business, but suspending the manager is poor PR.

    Jstncase may be onto something, however. Many psychologists will point out that it is more effective to reward good behavior than to punish bad behavior. Reward the students who do well, but don't punish the ones who don't. The problem then becomes verifying the grade sheet as the buyer's, since many of the kids won't have IDs. I could see it working though, if an ID or parent were required in addition to the grade sheet.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 4:12pm

    Can someone explain that to me

    Meanwhile, I never understand why all these ADD kids cant learn math, but can get to the 15th level of the most difficult games because they learned complicated routines to defeat the Boss at the end of each level. Can someone explain that to me?

    Yes I can. It's because Johnny sat there playing his game for the past 5 years every moment of every day. His parents let him do it because if he wasn't playing his game he'd be fighting with his sister or tearing up the house.

    You might be quick to blame the parents for this and to an extent you'd be right. The parents ought to spend more time with the lad and help him overcome his whacked out emotions.

    And perhaps they'd do that if they had the energy. In today's American society it's all about the next dollar. We say 'you're responsible for your kid so long as it doesn't interfere with work'. What that translates into is 'America discourages healthy families'. For the record, many European countries are polar opposite to us in this regard...and have healthier people.

    To top it all off we've passed the 'No child left behind' law. The real name of this law is 'Every child left behind'. What the law does is forces schools to forget about trying hard to teach everyone and develop a swim well or get out mentality. Kids that are struggling with emotional issues...if it affects their grades the school wants them out. That kid failing means money being taken away from the school. It's much easier to kick out your bad students than improve them.

    Don't blame schools either. Even big corporations are firing their unproductive customers. The problem is in our society. How we value those around us and our perception of wealth. Money is not your friend and it doesn't give a damn about you. Where do you think your loyalty should lie?

     

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  36.  
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    Hoeppner, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 5:35pm

    Sounds like a good way to get games that are about to go on clearance out of the shop.

     

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  37.  
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    Overcast, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 5:52pm

    yes you should prevent him from playing games. hopefully prevent him from breathing too while you are at it.

    wtf it seems everyone has a disability today.


    Schizophrenia is not an 'everyone' disability, sorry.

    And I only hope what you wish on others comes back to you 100%

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 8:39pm

    Then they enter the world

    What do they have to show for all the time they prioritized video games over grades? Do they put on their resume how many games they made it through? I am sorry but when I hire someone I need some indication that they are capable of prioritizing, organizing, learning(even stuff that might not be considered 'fun), and can be depended on to responsibly look after the task they are set to. Where I work we make semiconductor chips where each wafer is worth 3500 bucks and each lot of 25 wafers is worth 87,500 dollars. Typical person working at my factory processes hundreds of these lots a day. They press the wrong button or dont learn how to operate their equipment then we are both out of a job. So I am not going to hire the D student who spent all day buying or playing video games instead of studying. To become an engineer I had to go without anything resembling entertainment for 6 years before I was hired. I heard there was a show called Friends on then- never saw it though my head was in a book. People who think they can play games all day and blow off studying or think they should spend more time playing than studying probably started down that path at home...and never improved. If your kid ends up working at McD's it is not because life is unfair- it is because they did not work or study hard enough to earn a better job. I totally disagree with all the excuse mongers on this board saying video games keep their kids from fighting or are good for kids who have a disability- they probably need to work harder than the rest of us to succeed- sad fact in life. However, if the kid with the disability prioritizes, and is responsible- I will give him a job!

     

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  39.  
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    Overcast, Sep 18th, 2007 @ 8:13am

    Well, the level at which someone works may or may not be reflected in grades.

    Considering the amount of improvement my son has made over the last couple years and along with the medicine he's taking now, I have no problem with him playing video games.

    Life's more than work, work, work - there needs to be a balance. 'Workaholics' can be just as bad as a drug user in many situations. Some studies say stress is worse on a person mentally and physically than most other things.

    The thing is... I don't need a Game Stop manager trying to determine if my kid 'deserves' to play video games or not. Grades aren't a measure of how hard a person works. I was close to a straight-A student and I spent more time in high school chasing girls and a buzz than work - that's for certain. Even after 7 years of slacking, getting stoned, and the like - I still passed the SAT with a high enough score to qualify for all college level classes and no 'remedial' stuff. I know others who practically devoted their life to study and had grades worse than I.

    We all live and learn and grow. I'm completely different now, but grades most certainly weren't a measure of how hard I worked.

    Problem is too many people want to 'stereotype' others into various molds that they 'think' the world should be - when in fact, we are all individuals and quite different from each other.

    If grades were the sole 'determining' factor in what I got and didn't get as a kid, I would have slid by even easier, lol. Actually my parents knew this and I was held to a different 'standard' than my brother. Who worked three times as hard and who's grades were usually worse.

     

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  40.  
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    JGM, Sep 18th, 2007 @ 10:30am

    "It takes a village"? Maybe.

    I think the real question is, do you want a $10/hour retail store "manager" at a second-rate strip-mall chain store doing social engineering for your family (or your village)? Game purveyors are barely one step above crack dealers in terms of ultimately causing a drain on society; if this guy really wants to do some good he should quit that job and find something to do that doesn't contribute to the decline of civilization.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2007 @ 5:52pm

    Re: Game stop

    It's called personal responsibility. Learn it, love it. Your little brats are your problem, not ours.

     

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  42.  
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    PSP GAMER, May 30th, 2008 @ 6:50pm

    EXPECTING GOOD GRADES????

    what the heck is that policy!!!??? u measure kids ability on playing games on how good grades they get??? lol the bad grade kids are more on GAMES!!! good grade kid like to study, play and so on...pathetic gamestop...their job is to sell games to COMTUMERS!!! who cares about good grade and bad grade stuffs...everyone one of us is a costumer in this retarded world!!!! (u want your business become bigger,then change that retarded policy,gamestop,just sell games) parents not all games are (VIOLENT) - there is hope...search the internet for educational games...kick that policy out of my sight!!!!

     

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  43.  
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    Terris, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 7:16pm

    ROTFLMFAO! GENIUS!

    This plan would've have been a nation-wide phenomenon, if only the man had the rights to "Gamestop". C'mon guys think about it. Should a kid in danger of becoming a virtual hobo when he transcends the title of a minor be allowed to engage in mindless activities that do no more than destroy the very few brain cells still in function? The answer is plain "NO!". Trust me, if every game store did this, America would rise up the academic ladder because any kid that doesn't hav a game system in our modern era is considered a virtual outcast, so they will go to any lenghts (even getting all A's) to getting games of thier own. The few unfortunate blokes that are left game-less can go dye thier hair blonde and invest hier lives in the porn business.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 23rd, 2009 @ 10:56am

    I think this is the best idea ever
    it shows kids that they need to have an education to get anywhere in life
    without a good education where can you get the job that pays you so you can pay for that new xbox?
    you can't
    parents should do stuff like this instead of buying their kids whatever they want whenever they want

     

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  45.  
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    vincent, Feb 9th, 2011 @ 12:41pm

    that is stupid the guy got suspended for doing his job? i feel bad for him he should fucking sue so if the company is suspending this guy for not selling a game to a kid with a bad grade that defeats the purpose of having the stupid grading system for games. i hate game stop join my group to fight them http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/home.php?sk=group_193182407377918&ap=1

     

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