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[Ghostbusters, sort-of] Soulless franchise policies

g026r

I'm a boat
Validated User
So the Ghostbusters 25 Years Later thread got me thinking about a game I'd like to run.

Basically, it's (as mentioned) 25 years since the original Ghostbusters location opened and, quite simply, the fad has worn off. The GB franchises are seen like just another form of pest management, and mainly deal with the mundane and uninteresting aspects of un-life. ("Don't worry; once we're done you'll be able to sleep again without Grandma's ghost constantly moaning at night.")

They've also become corporatized, with the franchise owner often not being the one doing any work and with the types of emotionless, soul-crushing (for lack of a better phrase), sell-sell-sell! policies you'd expect from such a place.

(This is the starting situation; it's of course expected to change as Bad Things™ start happening. ;) )

So, here's the question: given that it's been years since I've worked any sort of customer-facing sales position, what type of policies would you expect to see?

Here's what I've got:
* Employees must pay for their own uniforms.
* Equipment is provided, but damaged or destroyed equipment will be deducted from an employee's future paycheques.
* All phone calls must be answered with "Thank you for calling Ghostbusters, [Franchise Location]. We're ready to believe you."
* Employees are paid on a commission basis, and therefore encouraged to up-sell services.
* As part of the 25th anniversary celebrations, free consultations regarding potential paranormal manifestations are being offered.

Any one else got any suggestions?
 
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Aetherdyne

Noneuclidean Love Cube
Validated User
I'd suggest checking with your potential players before you go much further to determine if it's something they'd like to play.
 

g026r

I'm a boat
Validated User
I'd suggest checking with your potential players before you go much further to determine if it's something they'd like to play.
Well, that goes without saying. :p

As I stated though: this is just the starting situation. It's expected to change to a Big Damn Hero situation pretty quickly.
 

BcAugust54

Registered User
Validated User
For one, the first two are pretty darn illegal(No, seriously. If you're required to wear a specific uniform, the job has to pay for it in one way or another.) And the equipment issue will only work if equipment is maliciously broken, not through normal use. And given how much the equipment costs, doing it that way would lead to a sort of bound servitude...which expect someone to take to court sometimes in those 25 years. Now, having a manager who bitches you out every time you come back with any wear on the equipment, that's very possible. Or makes you write reports and requisitions.

For the others, oh, yes, three would likely be mandatory. It's no worse then any other phone policies.

And Commission? For something that's a pest control situation? Go with a low wage, with "bonuses" for the amount of upselling you do. Or worse(and more soul destroying), have a minimum number of upsells required for keeping your job(hate, hate, hate those sort of policies)

Five? Go for it. It's a neat sort of hook.

*shrugs* Admittedly, I wouldn't play in the game, but that's because I have enough of dealing with customer service in real life. Your group may go for it.
 

g026r

I'm a boat
Validated User
For one, the first two are pretty darn illegal
Don't know if the first one is illegal here. I know back when I worked retail (OK, food service actually) I was required to pay for my own uniform.

And I feel the need to point out that I don't plan on playing out most of these, but rather something to hand out to set a tone for the game's start: it explains why people aren't listening to them when they discover the giant plot/threat, why they don't have access to all the great equipment they might want, etc. I wouldn't make anybody actually roleplay out nothing but customer service; I'm not that sadistic.
 
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David J Prokopetz

Social Justice Henchman
RPGnet Member
Validated User
For one, the first two are pretty darn illegal(No, seriously. If you're required to wear a specific uniform, the job has to pay for it in one way or another.)
The law lever stopped a penny-pinching franchise manager. When my brother worked at a local gas station, he had drive-aways deducted from his paycheque on a regular basis. Thoroughly illegal, but pretty much all of the gas stations do it anyway, counting on the fact that most employees won't be aware of the relevant laws. Every so often, one of them gets fined, but this doesn't seem to constitute any sort of disincentive for the rest.
 

OneSmallGod

Registered User
Validated User
Don't forget the fact that the franchise manager has to answer to the franchise owner, who in turn is stuck in a complex and ultimately ruinous franchise agreement with the Parent Corporation. (At this late date, expect that the Original Three have been bought out/forced out of the PC by suits and money people, so they don't actually run anything anymore).

The equipment the entry-level oiks use isn't owned by your boss - he has to lease it from the Parent Corporation, since all that Ecto-tech is proprietary technology. If it gets busted, it has to go back to the Parent Corporation's shops for repair (which costs your boss money) and, in addition, it has to go back to the PC's shops for routine maintenance on a regular basis, which all costs money too. Which is why some franchise operators don't always accurately record the size or magnitude of the spooks they 'bust, since that runs the clock on the traps faster and shortens the amount of time between mandatory (under the Franchise Agreement) and expensive maintenance trips.

So your boss would like you to rarely if ever actually fire the proton packs, and never overload a trap, and re-use the trap even if the little "Mode" light that records the unit's maintenance-state is now blinking the Morse code for "Help Me!"

And don't complain when the containment grid in the basement is making funny noises - that isn't your job and besides, do you know what a non-scheduled bulk-transfer and storage visit from the Parent Corporation costs?
 

Gaming Geek

Thinking with Portals
Validated User
The law lever stopped a penny-pinching franchise manager. When my brother worked at a local gas station, he had drive-aways deducted from his paycheque on a regular basis. Thoroughly illegal, but pretty much all of the gas stations do it anyway, counting on the fact that most employees won't be aware of the relevant laws. Every so often, one of them gets fined, but this doesn't seem to constitute any sort of disincentive for the rest.
Yea, this came up at Gamestop when I worked there of all places. "You have to wear a football jersey for Madden season" ...Ok, get one for me. I eventually broke down and got a cheep ass 5 dollar one just to shut them up.
 

Praetorian

Go Rangers!
Validated User
The US military makes you buy your own uniforms- granted, they aren't a franchise- but there is that.
 

Shadowjack

Cartoon Poet
RPGnet Member
Validated User
A lot of soulless corporate policies make sense in isolation—but since we're dealing with a complex system, they suck. Usually at first glance.

Example: Place I worked, we had a remodelling, and now our customer service counter had an actual counter. Finally! Room to place stuff as we worked.

The manager instructed not ever to put stuff on the counter. Why? It looks messy.

True, it does. But we can't put the stuff on the floor, and we can't put it in the drawers (because once you put everything that's supposed to go in the drawers in the drawers, there's no room), and we can't put it on the other shelf because it's a shoplifting risk, and we can't put it on the other other shelf because that's the one we're taking customers at and we need room to run the registers. It took three months of arguing with him and ignoring him to get him to admit that it was necessary to use the counterspace as counterspace.

So. You just got new vehicles, with improved cargo capacity. Finally! Room to keep all the ecto-gear inside the car, instead of on the outside racks. Then the manager says, "Cleaning the cargo shelves costs too much. Don't put anything with ectoplasm on it on those shelves." And, of course, everything has ectoplasm on it…
 
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