If you’re planning on picking up a big release or a new console from GameStop in the near future, you might want to hold off. Kotaku is reporting that a recently-implemented program called the ‘Circle of Life’ is pushing employees to mislead shoppers about what’s in stock at that location.

In short, the program works like this: GameStop thrives off of things like pre-orders, its rewards program, and used game sales. Each of these categories has its own quota for each store. A certain percentage of sales need to involve those big money-makers. Because this is percentage based, though, selling off new products pushes those percentages downward.

Employees are forced to lie to shoppers to stay employed

Kotaku spoke to GameStop employees who said that they’ve lied to customers by saying they don’t have new systems and games in stock, as those sales would be seen as a hit on their other quotas. Each employee in the store has a score that requires them to hit certain quotas, and selling a brand new PlayStation 4 Pro and a stack of shrink-wrapped games would have a direct effect on that employee’s score. After a big game launch, employees report having to push used game sales hard to make up for the crater left by all those new games. Not hitting your scores can lead to punishment or, according to Kotaku‘s sources, termination of employment.


So, right now, GameStop’s program is negatively affecting not only those employees stuck in the middle of all that, but game companies trying to sell new games and consumers trying to put money down.

GameStop, of course, said that all their internal programs are “designed to provide our customers the best value for all their video game purchases, including new and pre-owned merchandise,” but added, “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.”