I don’t like to usually put down some of my negative thoughts permanently like this but the last few days I have really been disappointed in the disregard and respect for our store. I want to share a few of my obvious disappointments recently that just drive me crazy. I think part of the problem is that customers do not associate their carelessness and recklessness with a cost to them directly. However every single one of us in ANY business have to pay to repair or replace damaged items and the customers end up paying for it.
Is it appropriate to associate rate hikes immediately following these periods of customer neglect? In our store the average age is around 14 and I feel that as kids grow up they need to see consequences for their actions. In some cases we do not see the culprits behind the problem but in most cases we can watch our security footage and see who caused the problem. Instead of charging all customers for a few player’s problems we could directly add a fee to the problem kids on their next trip to the store.
Let’s get to a few of my examples:
#1 – Messy Players. This one drives me crazy. I have a feeling that the parents (and maybe even spouses) of these customers allow them to live like slobs at home and either clean up after them or just roll around in garbage all day. In our store we have 9 private rooms and many stations in the lobby area and customers will leave $10 worth of snack and drink carnage spread all over their station. Bits of Butterfinger ground into the carpet. Sticky controllers, counters and keyboards from what appears to have been a “stick as many skittles in my mouth as I can, drool sugary slime all over myself and then use my hand to spread it all over anything possible” party. Gum stuck about anywhere you can imagine it possible to stick gum EXCEPT the trash can. (Clark where are you going to put a tree that big? Bend over and I will show you!)
This is one I am considering adding a $5 clean-up fee to the customer’s account when they leave and the next time they will have to pay before they play. We are not a maid service and their messiness ruins the station for the next customer and all of the customers around them.
#2 Equipment Abuse “Accidental”. It seems like the list of broken items is never ending. With so many Xbox 360 stations at eBash one of our big ones is always “I need a different controller”. I bet this happens once per day during the week and half a dozen times on the weekend. We try to add new controllers into rotation every 3-6 months but it doesn’t seem to keep up with complaints.
PC headphones and Xbox headphones (the cheap ones we rent out for $1) are also always turning up broken. Wire snapped off, plastic headband broken, etc. Luckily this doesn’t hurt quite as bad because the replacement units are only $10 or less. We just try to keep extra in stock.
A couple days ago the real kicker hit me. We had an older player, I believe he was maybe college age or older, that rented one of our new $150 3D glasses SIT on the glasses when he came back from getting a drink. The lenses are cracked and the glasses cannot be used any longer. He brought them up right away and apologized and I believe it honestly was just a simple mistake. But man it hurts.
#3 – Stupid, dumb, intentional, moronic, immature and childish problems. Much of this stuff can be categorized as vandalism from my point of view. The bathroom is where the pain starts. We have situations with poop wiped all over the walls of the bathroom, people trying to urinate in the floor drain instead of in the toilet and kids trying to make the sink overflow with paper towels stuffed into the drain.
Next would be anger issues. Guys getting mad and slamming the mouse or keyboard, throwing down the controllers and one of the biggest problems I have seen is people punching the screen. We have literally lost 3 or 4 monitors over the years that have been hit with a hand, controller, keyboard, mouse or something.
This past weekend someone decided to bend one of our “Drop off Zone” parking signs from each of the four edges. This was another one that kind of set me off. It doesn’t make any sense but once again the customers don’t realize there is a cost to their actions. I was able to bend the sign back but there are creases in the sign now and I am sure they will bend it up again. The signs cost me around $150 to have made and we will have to buy new ones. If the problems continue I will have to add an outdoor camera to our security system. Vandalism like this could end up costing the store $1k or more in equipment and time.
I do feel a little better sharing these things and it has been a few days since some of them happened so I have cooled down somewhat. However I still feel that I should find a way to make the customers who are causing the problems pay directly for their actions instead of passing the cost onto the other customers with increased fees and rates.