Isn’t it a bummer when you walk into GameStop to purchase a newly released game you really want to play but end up with nothing because the salesperson tells you it’s not in stock? Apparently, there is now a real explanation why some new games are not in stock at the controversial retailer. And we heard it straight from the horse’s mouth this week.

Some GameStop employees have finally mustered their courage to expose the shady business that’s going on inside every store the company has. According to these salespeople, who disclosed GameStop’s disreputable ways to Kotaku on condition of anonymity, the retailer has this “Circle of Life” program that forces workers to engage in unscrupulous behavior.

Basically, the program imposes different quotas for four things: pre-orders, reward card subscriptions, used game sales and game trade-ins. While the first two are measured based on the number of transactions salespeople process, the remaining two rely on the total dollar value earned out of the transactions. When a customer is entering a store to simply buy a brand new copy of a game, the quotas for all four areas are affected.

“We are telling people we don’t have new systems in stock so we won’t take a $300 or $400 dollar hit on our pre-owned numbers,” an employee said. “This is company wide and in discussions with my peers it is a common practice. We also tell customers we don’t have copies of new games in stock when they are on sale—for example, Watch Dogs 2 is currently $29.99 new and $54.99 pre-owned. We just tell them we don’t have the new one in stock and shuffle them out the door.”

To ensure that these quotas are reached, GameStop is allegedly giving incentives to workers who can make customers do transactions on any or all four of these areas. However, it seems the incentives are not enough to push the staff to their limits. GameStop is also threatening its salespeople to reach the quotas or they’ll end up losing their jobs.

Kotaku reached out to GameStop’s corporate office for comment, and this is what they have to say: “All of GameStop’s internal programs are designed to provide our customers the best value in all their video game purchases, including new and pre-owned merchandise. With any program, opportunities arise for improvement and we will continue to refine it to equip our knowledgeable store associates to provide a great store experience.”

Employees who read about Kotaku’s story on the “Circle of Life” program also confirmed that this shady business is real. One commented: “As someone who JUST left GameStop, I can say this is all fact. Here’s something our district manager instructed us to do: In order to get more Pro member renewals, he told us to essentially lie to the customer … We were also instructed to never let the customer know about outstanding pre-orders they may have on their account. Canceling pre-orders reduces our COL percentages.”

Another employee wrote: “It really is a terrible program that punishes employees for selling customers what they actually want. Thankfully, the GameStop I work at is filled with mostly good folks who are always looking out for our customers. The side effect is that we constantly have to fudge our numbers so we don’t get chewed out for low COL score.”

This isn’t the first time that GameStop made headlines for doing something sneaky. Just last December, IBTimes reported about a client who was not only overcharged by the retailer, but also billed for items that were supposed to be part of his order free of charge. At the time, many customers slammed GameStop and also shared their disappointing experience with the retailer.

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