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There is not a word in the English language strong enough to fully encompass my utter loathing of Gamestop. I can’t stomach them. I can’t stand their upper management, their store management, their stupid employees, or anyone who has at any time willfully had anything to do with this chop-shop of video game retailers. This is one of the things that has been hard-wired into my DNA over the last few years. It is Pavlovian; mention Gamestop and my heart rate increases, the adrenaline flows, and I’m ready to bite someone’s head off. If I woke up tomorrow to find out that there were no more Gamestop stores anywhere on the face of the earth, not only would all life on the planet positively benefit, but then those storefronts could be used for something that had less of a negative impact on our culture; like a crack house.

I know this, logically. I understand this about myself. That’s why I have no idea what came over me the other day when we were at this unfamiliar mall and I spotted a Gamestop. In what could only be described as not only a lack of reasoning – but a full-on bout of temporary insanity – I turned to my wife and said, “Let’s go in here for a second.”

And God help me, we went in. Against every fiber of my being and my wife’s pleading. Perhaps it was the Gamecube I recently acquired. I wanted a cheap used game for it. I was getting to the end of Super Mario Sunshine, and my wife wanted something else that looked like a game she would watch me play. How could I turn that down?

So we went in, and we eventually settled on a copy of Luigi’s Mansion for $14.99. It was a rip-off, I know. This particular game had probably been sold by Gamestop already 3 or 4 times. But we were on vacation, dammit. Something weird happens when you are on vacation. You make bad decisions with money. Not that I’m justifying anything here.

Anyway, I take the game up to the counter, and pull out a twenty. The counter monkey rings up the game, and then pulls a different game package out from behind the counter. I notice this package has a price tag of $12.99 on it. The counter monkey quickly rips off the sticker and tells me “$15.89 with tax and everything”.

“Wait a minute,” I tell him, jokingly. “I saw the $12.99 sticker on it! You can’t fool me.”

“Yeah, well that one was behind the counter,” said the moron.

“Well…” I’m a bit confused now. For one thing, why would the price go up on a used game? “I think you should give me the game for $12.99, since you’re selling me the copy behind the counter.”

“Yeah well,” this asshole started getting that snarky, Gamestop Smirk on his face now. “We don’t change the prices of the games behind the counter.” I was getting angrier. My synapses started firing correctly and I was beginning to remember why I hated this place.

I blinked. “Why don’t you change the prices of the games behind the counter?” I asked.

Here’s the kicker: “‘Cause it’s like… a pain in the rear.”

I wanted to strangle this moron. Slowly.

“Why would you even increase the price on a used game?” I asked.

The moron shrugged his shoulders and just stood there. “That’s bullshit,” I said as I grabbed my money and walked out of the store.

Later, my wife told me, “If at any time in the future, for any reason whatsoever, you walk into a Gamestop ever again, I will physically drag you from the store.”

I love my wife.

Epilogue: I purchased the same used game on Amazon for $7.89 (plus $3.49 shipping) when I got home. And there was much singing and dancing. Screw Gamestop.

I have a sneaking suspicion that all is not what it seems here. This school shooting thing just doesn’t… I dunno… sit right with me. Kucinich lets it be known that he is going to start proceedings to impeach Cheney, and then this thing in Virgina happens. And once again, our Bill of Rights is on the table, and all of the illegal activities that this administration has been doing for years is at the back of our minds. “Please, oh please, can’t someone keep our kids safe on campus?!” we plead, and offer up our freedoms as sacrifice.

I am aghast at the amount of people whose opinions I’ve read on blogs and heard on AM radio today are willing to sacrifice their civil liberties for a false sense of security.

“There ought to be some sort of database,” said one distressed caller to my local radio station. “A place where we can keep information about people who need to be put away.”

That’s right. Chip away further. Now we need a list. A list of those people who are very likely to do one of the bad things. Do you have a proclivity to steal? You’re on a list. Did your uncle do time for cocaine possession? You’re on a list. Do we think you show a fondness for firearms? You’re on a list. Do you know what is contained in the Constitution? You’re on a list. Are you a foreigner? You’re definitely on a list.

So this guy wrote some one-act plays. I’ve read two of them. They are total crap, of course. But beyond that, they are not scary or especially violent. In the McBeef play, there is a mother who grabs a chainsaw, but then the stepfather runs away to safety. Later, he is confronted by his stepson who shoves a cereal bar down his throat. In the second – “Mr. Brownstone” – the three kids are playing casino games, and talking about how their teacher Mr. Brownstone is always mad because it hurts when he poops. Then they inexplicably win the jackpot, and Mr. Brownstone comes up behind them, steals their ticket and gets them kicked out. Fade to black.

Ahem. Well… someone call the freakin’ authorities. He’s obviously disturbed.

What’s more, have none of these people who commented ever seen a Tarantino movie? Or read a Warren Ellis comic? Or read pretty much anything by Chuck Palahniuk? Are these people going on a list? Am I? Are you for reading this?

Now I’m not saying that the kid wasn’t mentally screwed up. He probably was. It sounds like he was a pretty classic paranoid schizophrenic. And my thoughts and prayers are with the families of those innocent victims. I just hope this isn’t going to be used by the administration as an excuse to reign in more free speech.

The bastards already got the Fourth Amendment. Don’t let them have the First.

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If you aren't completely appalled, then you aren't paying attention.

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Public Discourse

The Humans in the Wa… on Detached
Jonathan Woolbright on Preparing For War
Jonathan Woolbright on Amateur Hour
Jonathan Woolbright on Suicide in the Morning
Craig on Unfaithful