The Rambleast Rant: The End Of The Game – Remembering Unit 7, Crewe

First of all, I know, OK, that “The End Of The Game” is no less tacky than the billions of “Game Over” balls bouncing across the Internet this past while, but goddamit I’m upset and I’ve sobby blabfest blogs to be writing, a-right?

If you’re lucky, you’ll never have to clean out a shop. I especially hope not a one of you ever sets up your own business only for your fortunes to take a nosedive, as even cleaning out one of the multinational retail giant Game’s 277 freshly-shut outlets is numbingly heartbreaking. I feel no more passionately now about Game than I ever have so don’t take me for a hypocrite if you’ve ever heard me denounce the company in the past but man is it sad to see a shop go down. Shipping off stock and stripping shelves comprised the bulk of these past three days, and so emerged a curious melancholia that is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced on a last day of work and was certainly not expected given I’d made arrangements to leave before the news hit that we were due an April 21st closure about a month ago. Poor, poor Game Crewe. So yeah, yeah my resentment for the company remains unabated, but for the shop which for a good deal of people was something of great importance for over a decade, I feel awful sorry. I feel sorry for those out of a job (including manager John “you’ve got to laugh” Bilham, who was told of the late-April closure two days after tranferring to the store and was on holiday when the shop was physically shut with an hour’s notice), and for those in the local area with voided guarantees and worthless gift cards. I’m forced to spare a thought for the staff at the Coleraine store where I worked a few years back and I’m sadder still. If I allow myself to think about the remaining 275 I may just crumple, a curly brown mess of a thing in a pool of Nice N Spicy Bikers.*

Spirits seemed fairly high when we were packing everything away on Tuesday. You may even remember this in years to come but the to call the weather nice in the last week of March 2012 would be like saying Lauren Laverne is a bit of a pest. The vibe was informal and there was a general sense of enjoyment as we resolved stock with boxes, walked a good mile in trips to and from the nearby Gamestation (who were less than grateful for the stock inlfux) and kicked back with pizza for a well-earned break to watch a Celebrity Juice DVD (now I’m not a fan of any component of that show – in fact, to call Lauren Laverne a bit of a pest is to call Fearne Cotton a creature with a single valid reason for existence – but even my innate churlishness couldn’t surface to make known my general resentment). I’d go as far to say that I got to know some of my coworkers this week better than I had in almost half a year working there. The weather, the pizza, the DVDs, the comedy albums (oh, and Steve’s 3-disc Disney soundtrack was a highlight), there’s no denying we earned and entertained a measure of closure this week. Yesterday, the final day, was spent moping. We lost half our staff early (and forever) as Lee, John and I struggled to take the computers apart which thanks to a shared resentment of its own base evil rendered a thankless task a manic, joyous occasion. Good luck getting those bad boys back together to whoever should open those ten boxes. Your pity is earned.

Have you ever seen an empty shop? I mean really seen it, observed it, lived it, and not just walked past with a half-sigh before popping into Smith’s for a Cornetto? Robbed of its character, Unit 7 in Crewe’s Market Center attempts to givesoff a musk of shame. Fuck that. We, the human race, failed YOU, Unit 7. You did the best you could with your mega set of stairs, quad-bolted rear door and failing AC. You deserved better. I hope with all my heart that Clinton Cards and that weird carpet place can count you amongst their number once more as soon as someone sets up within your walls again. They’ll never be good enough for you, but it’s the least you deserve.

As for the people, I can only apologise that I was off for a fortnight during the period when this was all common knowledge. I guarantee you would have turned away more often than you were. Take you money elsewhere, Crewe, your preorders aren’t safe here. Again, I have no respect for Game’s business practices. I know it wasn’t his fault but I couldn’t look our regional manager in the eye as he shook my hand on Tuesday afternoon. I imagine he thinks another few deposits and we’d have been right as rain. Forget it. If anyone who bought from Crewe this last month reads this, I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you to take your money elsewhere, but in my defense, it’s only because someone else served you.

Feel free to post to no. 7, CW1 2NG, call on 01270588443 or ‘like’ on Facebook. There’s no-one there anymore. That phone’ll ring forever. And the FB page’s not been updated since Christmas, deflating the point somewhat. It’s still sad OK?

And so then, with that out of the way, a final thought for those actual human people with thoughts and haircuts and keys and kids and lives who’ve been refused redundancy pay and have as such, I’d say, been affected by this decision:

Manager John Bilham – absolutely the bar-setter for the phrase “it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy”
DM Steve Todd – a confrontation-fond nature that belies his chosen customer service career is one reason why Steve is one of the most amusing people I’ve ever known
Kelly Williams – Comically indifferent this past month and with a wicked sense of humour. She’ll be missed by all, I reckon. Here’s to you, Kell
Dan Lester and Leeroy Button – The gruesome twosome. They still have each other to drive insane but their constant energy’ll have to serve another workplace. Wherever it is, it’ll be lucky

And of course, Blast Process founders Dave, Mike and Tom, some fifteen years logged in Unit 7 between them. The place brought those guys together, and facilitated this wonderful little site coming into existence in the first place. Ahhhhhh…

And myself, invariably Irish Paul as I’m sure I’ll forever be known round these parts. I’ll not miss the job, but I’ll miss the people. I can’t bring myself to close on a line about how shitty Game is, so I’ll leave it for the second-last paragraph and write something about dogs instead.

Man, aren’t dogs awesome? Dogs’d never do something like this to 2,000 people. If they did, though, I bet at least one of them, the dogs, remember, would bark “Screw Game”. I bet they would. That’s exactly what a dog would do in this situation.

Sigh. You want more, there’s plenty at Rambleast . I’ll try and keep it light, honest. Oh, and if you’re wondering, I nabbed three extension leads and a ream of paper. GO REDUNDANCY!

*I imported the Bikers because the Queen decreed their sale illegal, probably.

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