I'm in line at Gamestop the other day, breaking down and finally buying the much-hated NCAA Football '09, when I hear the clerk ask the guy in front of me for his fingerprints. He's returning a game, and the clerk breaks out some kind of form. He swipes his thumb across an ink pad stuck to the counter and then puts his mark in the appropriate box.
What the deuce? "The sheriff's office has been making us do it," the clerk told me. "People hate it."
I called back and talked to Gamestop manager Carlos Rivera, who said every video game store in Broward County got a visit from a deputy back in October. The deputy told them to start collecting thumb prints from people who return games.
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So what did the good folks at Gamestop do? Break out a BFG9000?
"They have guns," Rivera said. "I don't argue with people with guns."
Broward County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Kayla Concepcion said the new requirement comes straight from the Florida Legislature, which enacted a law on October 1 of last year that treated video games like second-hand goods sold at pawn shops. Now any store buying used video games has to collect the thumb prints, along with a bunch of other personal info about the seller.
Rivera told me most video-game-returning customers don't really care, he said, but a few have turned around and walked out. "Haven't had any fights over it yet," Rivera said.