Funco Files: Up-Sale Manifesto

A few months ago on Facebook, I announced that I had found a long forgotten piece of Funcoland history and that I would be working on transcribing it for publication on my site. Today I finally can give you this document in its entirety.

For some perspective, let me give you some backstory…

On April 6, 2000 I was reprimanded by my district manager, Gus, for not making enough “up-sales”. An up-sale was a comissionable item that put money in my pocket but more importantly put MORE money in the company’s bank account then anything else sold in the store. The problem was during this time of the year, video game sales as a whole go down because of the close proximity to the holidays. Anyway, I was told by my boss at the time, Wooza, that Gus wanted me to write an essay on why my sales were down and what I was going to do to improve them. Little did Gus know that I would be submitting a five page handwritten document that I now call my “Up-Sale Manifesto”. I hope you enjoy.

A few notes for you before you begin: This was written in a fit of rage as my job was on the line at the time. You will notice a lack of commas, other punctuation, and some grammatical errors. I left these all in my transcription, along with cross outs, to provide you with the most accurate portrayal of what it was like to read this document written by an 18 year-old Sean. 

As an employee of Funco Inc. part of my responsibility is to push certain products on the unsuspecting public. These products consist of 3rd party controllers which have a high defect rate, cleaner kits for various systems, and subscriptions to the Funco Inc. owned Game Informer magazine. as an employee in the retail aspect of the Funcoland business I must sell these products a certain amount of these products in order to reach the “goals” set forth to me by my superiors. As the business world enters the second business quarter it begins a slow sales period in the video game market. This in part takes its toll on me the Funcoland retailer. I the Funcoland retailer am also effected by two other factors the clientele of our store and the customer’s lack of interest at this time of the year. These three things combines ultimately are the causes for a decline in my numbers causing me to not reach my “goals”.

First of all the second quarter is a slow month period for the video game industry. This is a well known fact and was publicly displayed by Nintendo this year when it pushed its already completed game Pokemon Stadium from an early Fall release to a late Winter/Early Spring launch. Why was this done you ask? Because Nintendo knows the second quarter is a slow time of the year for the video game industry. So by delaying a game that would automatically spur sales the second it hit the shelves they could drive sales for themselves only to record record high in a period of usual record lows. This is an ecellent example of how the 2nd quarter is a dull quarter for our business. So by people not coming into the stores at in normal numbers our sales on a company whole are lower. If customers do even come in they come in for ONE specific item and that’s it.

Secondly, the clientele of our store is a very economically diverse one. Toms River being the very economically diverse area that it is, bring in all walks from the economic spectrum. We have people from the very rich to the extremely broke. A majority of our customers are of the extremely broke category, or are children. You can tell that these customers are of low economic status by their vocabulary, dress, mode of transportation, and their reaction to certain prices. When someone of low economic status come to make a purchase they usually go right to the Hot Deals sheet to find the cheapest game. No matter how good of a game it is; if its cheap they’ll take it. Most often when a sales clerk such as myself suggest our “comissionable” products to these people more often than not we get a “I did not bring enough money for it, next time I will.” So how can I sell these “must have ” products to people who cannot buy it due to their lack of funds? Or better yet how can I sell these products to people who would rather save their money so they can feed their families that night? If there is an answer to these questions I would like to know it because my numbers would sky rocket if I could convince these economically challenged customers to buy a cleaning kit rather than feed their families.

Thirdly, a majority of our customers have a lack of interest in listening to our sales pitch. Most customers that I have dealt with usually cut me off, midway through my pitch and just say, “No!” Then when I try to get them to reconsider it, I usually get a second, “No!” and even in some cases I have even been told, “Stop pestering me with this nonsense!” This has usually been very shocking to me to hear because it is the same sales pitch that I’ve used to propel myself to #1 in district sales. So obviously I am not doing anything wrong if it has made me #1 on several occasions. So if customers do not even want to hear what I have to say how am I supposed to reach my “goals”? I bet if I told these people our products cured cancer or if I was selling a curse for cancer these customers would definitely still be disinterested in what I was saying.

Fourthly, I have been asked to think of ways to improve my sales. A few have come to mind that I would like to share with you. One, I will continue to ask tell customers  about our products and how great they are and how bad they need them. Even if a customer tells me I am “pestering” them I will continue my Funco duty and go for the sell. (I just realized if a customer considers my proven successful sales pitch as “pestering” wouldn’t that be a bad image for the company? Just a thought that’s all.) Two, I will try to convince those economically challenged people that they NEED that probably defective Super Pad for their Nintendo 64. Three, I will give my entire heart and soul to the Funco cause and become the best Funcoland employee I can be! Just one more comment; one thing that would help me is a report showing the district rankings each week would help me a lot. Our former district manager, Kathy Thomas, was constantly sending them to us and I always used it as a tool to help put me in the game. In conclusion, I have been an employee of this company for close to a year and a half, I have been ranked number 1 in district sales numerous times, and I enjoy this job immensely. Funcoland has been a good experience for me and I would like to keep it one. I believe my lack in numbers to be attributed to the customers and not attributed to any lack of skill on my part. I will continue to give it my all and sell, sell, sell. Please do not take this as a line of B.S. because after all, “Friendliness and Honesty are what we strive to perfect.”

To see a copy of the hand written original, please check it out below:

7 thoughts on “Funco Files: Up-Sale Manifesto

  1. Hilarious, I totally remember this story. I appreciate the passive aggressiveness even more now.

  2. This is one of many amazing stories that Sean has about Funcoland. This brings back such great memories. The poem brought tears to my eyes. Write the book already. Me you and shane should get together trade stories.

  3. Hey Sean,

    I remember you, do you remember me? Will from the West Long branch store. This brings back memories!

    1. Yes Will of course!!!!! It is so great that you found this. How on Earth did you find this?? You are a big part of today and tomorrow’s posts so I hope you will check them out.

  4. I think I spent more money at your FuncoLand than all other Toms River establishments combined, and I was rarely upsold. (Why I chose to spend my money at your FuncoLand and not elsewhere.) Just sayin’.

    Nothing but love for Wooza-era FuncoLand. A greater brick&mortar will never exist.

  5. I see the dates from the previous posts so I don’t know if anyone will see this;

    I worked at Funcoland back in the mid 90’s in Columbia, MD. The store was located in the Dobbin Center strip mall off of Route 175. I have some pretty fond memories even though I was forced to resign due to a confrontation with a jerk co-worker.

    I ended up being a “key holder” opening and closing the store,
    counting the games every night on those sheets of paper, having to angle the display boxes on the shelves just right, watching little kids getting dropped off by the parents who thought we were a free arcade. God sometimes it sucked, we ended up locking away the controllers so the kids stopped hanging around all day. I remember my boss monitoring my “IPTs” items per transaction and the stress of getting those up sales for the commission. Towards the end we started buying tons of VHS tapes to ship back to the corporate office, not sure why, must have owned a movie rental chain. Guys would bring in Atari systems which I would personally buy. Overall fond memories.

    1. Hey Joe,
      Always appreciate when an old Funcolander stops by to leave their memories! We never bought VHS tapes in Toms River, NJ but interesting to hear you guys did!!

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