TV News Retail Sting, Pt 2: GameStop Perfect; Wal-Mart & Circuit City Drop the Ball

Yesterday GamePolitics reported on the first part of a video game retail sting conducted by reporter Joce Sterman of Baltimore’s ABC-2. Readers may recall that Best Buy registered a perfect score by turning down an underage secret shopper during all three attempts to purchase M-rated game. Target? Not so good…

In part 2, GameStop came up a winner, also registering a perfect score. That’s not too surprising given that the Federal Trade Commission reported earlier this year that GameStop clerks successfully carded the government agency’s secret shoppers 94% of the time.

Wal-Mart and Circuit City, however, did not fare as well. From the ABC-2 report:

[The secret shopper] was also carded at the Circuit City in Towson, but employees at two of their other stores in Catonsville and Rosedale didn’t even ask…  The games he pocketed from those places were Prey and Vice City Stories from the notorious Grand Theft Auto series… 


Our mystery shopper got plenty of action on his trips to Wal-Mart.  One store in Pikesville turned him down, but two others in Towson and Port Covington were a success on the sale… This time he walked away with Timeshift and Halo 3. 

Both Circuit City and Wal-Mart issued statements apologizing for their employees. Circuit City said:

We will talk with management at the stores to determine exactly what happened.  When we do, we will take appropriate action… Circuit City does not carry video games and computer software which receive the "Adult Only" rating… Our store associates receive training regarding the sale of mature content when they first start to work at Circuit City and ongoing training on the subject…  Store associates are instructed that failure to enforce the policy could result in consequences up to and including termination of employment.

From Wal-Mart: 

Though we do not have the details of your report and it sounds like an isolated situation, we are working with management at these two stores who already are taking steps to ensure associates understand the importance of ID check and this policy.


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  1. j0k3r says:

    Thanks good job;

    Btw, I think Atari and Midway will drop out too, but mostly travesti because  these guys have done nothing travesti or little and need to start saving costs. and dizi izle


    Now I don’t have to get off my ass for the important shit anymore!

    Whats next, ordering pizza from Xbox live?

    Wait… I think that sounds like a good idea.

    But I think voting should MAKE you get off your ass, and see outside or a second while you go vote. I mean, your picking the president of the United States of America for God’s Sake… least you can do is drive down there and punch out a card.

  2. oto kirlama says:

    I’m all for freedom of ttnet vitamin speech and allowing rent a car game makers to put whatever they want in games, but there’s one thing about this app that has me scratching my head.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but from araç kiralama the previous article araba kiralama on this I gathered that players can use Google maps in-game to find the other (real-life?) dealers in their area.  If this is the case, has travesti anyone considered what’s stopping someone from using this app to actually move drugs between hands for reals?

    But majority araba kiralama of their outrage araç kiralama stems from what it could DO TO children, not the content itself.  Talk to one of these people and you’ll find they don’t think any books kiralık araba should be banned from children.  Mention American Psycho and they talk about kiralık araç the redeeming value of using imagination to construct a story.  Reading, no matter what the content, is largely viewed as a consequenceless activity for people of any age.  The reason why I mention American Psycho is because of the content itself.  Gaming never has and likely never will have any scenes where someone has sex with a severed head.  Not gonna happen.  Yet despite this, they’ll fight tooth and nail to protect their children from two boys kissing in Bully but whatever they read is harmless… yeah.

    The entire arguement is kiralık oto based upon a social normality inflicted by luddites who can’t figure out the controls for Halo so it’s frightening and terrifying and obviously the cause of youth violence on the rise even though, in reality, it’s in decline (which is actually a HUGE suprise given minibüs kiralama the economies status).  In  a perfect world, we would have parents that actually parent.  The idea of sales restrictions on media on oto kiralama any form to accomidate parental unwillingness to get involved with their child’s life is the real problem to me.  Here I am, 32 years old, and being held up at a self-scan rent a car needing to show ID before I can buy a $10 M rated game all because Soccer Momthra can’t be bothered to look at the crap Billy Genericallystupidson does in his free time.  It’s too hard for her, so I have to suffer?

  3. ankaranakliyat133 says:

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  4. Deckerbot says:

    I have to say I feel sorry for some people who work at Gamestop. They get very apologetic when they ask for my ID, and it makes me wonder what some of the customers put them through when they’re just doing their jobs.

    I know some people don’t like having to be checked to buy mature rated games (I don’t), but sometimes people have to remember who the guilty parties are, and it’s NOT the kid behind the counter.

  5. Jason R. says:

    Ok, so at what point did the cashier let him buy them at Wal-Mart? Before or AFTER the huge restriction on the item came up on the register? The systems asks the cashier to check ID, but no, it doesn’t have a way of validating that they did other than them pressing Yes or No since not all states have ID cards that can be swiped, but I can assure you if he got them (love how they tried 3 Wal-Marts by the way, ’cause the first passed) then the cashier just said "Sure, sure" and didn’t pay attention.

  6. Anonymous says:

    That was back before he became a disgraced pariah, a fallen lawyer on the verge of losing his license to practice law for the rest of his life because of his ignorance.

  7. GRIZZAM PRIME says:

    Remember back in the day when a post by JT could garnish hundreds of replies?



    -Entertainment isn’t the reason the world sucks. It’s the reason we know the world sucks. For information on games and psychology, look up: Jonathan Freedman(2002)Block & Crain(2007)Grand Theft Childhood, by Harvard researchers Larry Kutner&Cheryl Olson

  8. Paul T. Farinelli says:

    I suppose Thompson must not have read the part about Gamestop having a near perfect "score" in this little sting…

  9. Freyar says:

    Circuit City by no means is a specialty store. Never has been. In fact, I’m glad that they’ve only got two stores way away from my area.  Stores that focus (!) on video games and consoles themselves rather than TVs, Games, and Computers do a hell of a lot better self-regulating than the others. Hey, Guess what! We knew that already! By pushing this report out there, the media has inadvertantly taught kids where to go.

    —- There is a limit for both politicians against video games, and video games against politicians.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hey! I’ve got a GREAT idea!


    Let’s be a bunch of self-entitled, self-righteous goons, and SHIT ON THE LOWEST WORKING CLASS!


    Come on everyone! Let’s get these minimum wage earning BASTARDS a lesson!


    I predict shitting all over the lowest working class will stop ALL crime by 2010.

  11. chadachada(123) says:

    That is an interesting idea…make a site that allows kids to contact them saying "I want this game, I’ll give you the money for it" and we go out and get the game for him. Interesting…very interesting…

  12. Anonymous says:

    If any kids want violent games that the stores won’t sell to them, I’ll do it myself.

    We ought to have a site that caters to exactly this until enough people go "HOLY SHIT PEDO CENTRAL" that the whole concept of carding kids for not-actually-pornographic games is abandoned.

  13. MasterAssassin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Ok this is just absolutely absurd in every way possible. Stores can put in place whatever policy they want but it is just ridicolous that some people think the stores have a moral duty not to sell these games to kids. First off all the new consoles now have parental controls like the V-chip in the most TV sets, so if the parents know how to use them, the kid won’t be able to play the game even if he gets it. And why haven’t they done this to movie theaters yet? I saw Wanted on Sunday and wasn’t asked for ID and even though I’m 18, they are supposed to card anyone who is 25 or younger or who looks like they might be underage.

  14. TrentHowell says:

    Having work for Circuit City in the past, I can honestly say thats about the just of it. Cept its not even a supervisor, its "online training".

    I did try my best to keep M-rated games out of kids hands, stopped a few myself and taught a few people about the ESRB. Its kinda funny but I found the real gamers that worked with me were the ones actively preventing the M-rated sales to minors while the non-gamers didn’t really give a two bits **** or had no real idea what the ESRB is.


  15. SS says:

    I agree completely with you.  Sales of M-rated games to young children are what they need to go after most.  That can be done only through education as their parents buy their kids M-rated games.

  16. Corey says:

    Man, this kid their using is racking up a nice collection of M-rated games. Halo 3, Bioshock, GTA VCS, and Prey. I wonder if he gets to keep those games, though I doubt it. Anyhow, I don’t think a 15 year old is the kind of audience parents are afraid of these games falling into. Why don’t they use younger shoppers as well as older to get a feel for how far these stores are willing to bend the rules? So they’ll sell to a 6 ft. 15 year old with facial hair, but will they sell M-rated games to 12 year olds? Or 10? Or 8? They claim this study proves that those retailers don’t enforce their policies of not selling games to children but let’s face it, their secret shopper was no child. He is old enough to shave, have children, and get a full time job. I find it kind of pathetic that they only used one secret shopper and they clearly chose him because he straddles that arbitrary line where it’s okay/not okay to sell games to. I cant wait for their next experiment in which they send a 16 year and 11 month old to buy the new GTA game then throw a fit that he’s still a child when he succeeds. It’s bad enough that they don’t give smaller children enough credit for their ability to distinguish fantasy from reality, but it is just retarded to believe that 15-16 year old teenagers will be driven insane after playing a violent game.    

  17. Anonymous says:

    It makes since with how best buy and Gamestop did. They’re probalay used to underaged kids trying to buy games, so they’ve learned to card people. But stopping the sale of violent games to minors really comes down to the individual employee working at the time. 

    After thought; Did he get to keep all those games that he bought. Lucky guy. 

  18. chadachada(123) says:

    But much of the public DOES think that it is illegal for underage kids to buy R-rated movies or see R-rated films in theaters by themselves. Even then, many people think that the movie industry is doing a great job (laughable at best) compared to the video game industry. This news group will probably use this to try and say Walmart (or other stores that "failed") as a whole are bad, when in reality, I’m sure many stores from many companies both do and don’t check ID’s. Just because this town’s Walmart doesn’t check it all of the time doesn’t mean other Walmarts don’t

  19. SpiralGray ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Circuit City doesn’t surprise me either. The ‘training’ that their employees get probably consists of a supervisor telling them, "Oh yeah, by the way, don’t sell M-rated titles to minors."

  20. Zevorick says:

    I’m not surprised about Wal-mart, but circuit city? Oh well. You can’t win them all.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Kudos to Wal-Mart and Circuit City for not bowing to societal pressure and for putting the responsibility where it SHOULD reside – with the parents.

  22. MaskedPixelante says:

    So once again, video game specialty stores are working fine with the ESRB rating systems, with all the offenders being big box stores that also sell video games.

    So, who wants to bet that people will start taking this up as proof positive that the ratings system is broken?

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  23. thefremen says:

    Wal-mart and target are the best places to buy booze if you’re underage so it’s no suprise that the same holds true about M rated games and Unrated DVDs.

    In the interest of journalism they shoulda done DVDs too.

  24. Dan J ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    There’s no law, but all stores claim they have policies in place to refuse the sale of M-rated games to anyone under 17. It’s a major part of the argument AGAINST regulation: that the industry polices itself, so the government shouldn’t have to.

    If the companies aren’t holding up their end of the deal, the case against legislation gets a whole lot weaker. Not constitutionally, but in the eyes of the public. If they don’t believe the industry will do what’s right, they’ll be more likely to push for/allow legislation on the matter.

    For the record, there are no laws against letting minors see R-rated movies, either. That’s another case of the (movie) industry policing itself so the law doesn’t have to.

  25. Commenter from the United Kingdom says:

     This makes no sense. How can you possibly have someone who is "underage" when there are no laws saying what the legal age for buying the product is?

Comments are closed.