Anyone remember Special Reserve? Page 5

  • EMarkM 4 May 2016 20:10:26 4,480 posts
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    @SpaceMonkey77 According to the original post in this thread, they went out of business around 2005.
  • EMarkM 4 May 2016 20:28:36 4,480 posts
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    @SpaceMonkey77 Yep, more retailers would be good for us consumers, I believe.

    As I said earlier in the thread, I have fond memories of the Special Reserve catalogue arriving each month.
  • Stan546 4 May 2016 20:31:20 1,169 posts
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    I thought it was a larger.
  • EMarkM 5 May 2016 06:05:22 4,480 posts
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    IIRC, in their final days, in a bid to better fit in with the growing model of web-based trade, they changed their name to "Reserve.net".

    They didn't seem to last much longer after that.
  • waynegleeson1 21 Jul 2017 15:15:20 1 posts
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    Does anyone remember the Stapleford branch near Nottingham?
  • Duffking 21 Jul 2017 16:11:04 16,403 posts
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    Post deleted
  • kevinthomas1 3 Aug 2017 00:16:07 1 posts
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    I remember the Stapleford branch. I still have the signed T-shirt from Jo Guest opening it. My sister used to own Tommy Tuckers cafe a few doors down from it and my mum owned Hair Affair so I was in the Stapleford branch a lot.
  • AaronTurner 3 Aug 2017 04:16:26 11,516 posts
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    The only thing I remember about these guys is that Charlie Brooker did the adverts for them. I think.
  • erniewhatbert 3 Aug 2017 07:07:06 3,023 posts
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    I used Special Reserve in the late Snes to PS1 era. I think the last game I got by mail order was Metal Gear Solid - I remember being delighted that it arrived several days before the official release.
  • Baihu1983 3 Aug 2017 07:36:28 11,788 posts
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    Used them a lot when I was at school.

    Luckily I had switched to gameplay.co.uk and pre ordered my 360 with them rather than SR

    And now I miss gameplay :(
  • minky-kong 3 Aug 2017 08:59:21 14,438 posts
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    AaronTurner wrote:
    The only thing I remember about these guys is that Charlie Brooker did the adverts for them. I think.
    That was Computer Exchange wasn't it? He used to work in the Rathbone Place store (just be Tottenham Court road station).
  • joshgeake 23 Sep 2018 09:19:03 1 posts
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    Here's something for you all to reminisce reminisce about.
  • brassicGamer 2 Dec 2019 23:20:08 1 posts
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    joshgeake wrote:
    Here's something for you all to reminisce reminisce about.
    That's a cracking photo and this post is probably too long.

    TL;DR the managing director, Tony, was a twat so it's no wonder they went under.

    I felt compelled to add to this seemingly unique source of historical and anecdotal material. For a company who specialised in computers and pre-dated the public Internet (and had a well-known ISP in freeola and domain registrar in getdotted), I'm amazed there's apparently no other info out there.

    I started working at the Upminster branch in July of 1998 having previously done a weekend job selling trainers for Olympus in Lakeside during my A-Levels. It was your typical retail operation staffed by teenagers and we took the fun where we could find it amongst an otherwise painfully monotonous environment. They had a Minidisc player, for example, the exclusive use of which was meant to be for playing the in-store radio. Anyone who's worked in a store knows the struggle: one Minidisc. On loop. 74 minutes. Every day. For a month.

    I guess they figured Minidisc recorders were beyond the meagre salaries or ambitions of their staff. How wrong they were. The manager (Andy, for the sake of this story) was a DJ and I had just bought my first pair of turntables in Romford's Cash Converters. We both had Minidisc Walkmans, as did the assistant manager, so 'Special Reserve Radio' only got played when the regional manager visited. The rest of the time it was mix sets of UK garage, jungle, hip hop, oldskool rave and we even occasionally indulged the assistant manager's preference for indie albums like Super Furry Animals or Gorky's Zygotic Mynci. Customers asked us more about the music than they did the special offers.

    Obviously extensive testing of the latest PC games was conducted on the top-of-the-line display PCs. The shelves probably weren't cleaned as regularly as they could have been, and having a lie-down on the floor behind the counter after a heavy night out probably wasn't the wisest of coping strategies. None the less, it was a cracking job.

    Until stock audit day. Or, rather, the day after stock audit day. I turned up on time (9am) but Andy didn't (9:30am). He'd already received a warning for opening the store late on multiple occasions and was worried that he would lose his job this time. If it was any other day it wouldn't have been a problem as he could have just falsified his timesheet and got away with it. But Sawbridgeworth (head office) had been phoning all morning for the audit stats.

    The problem was indeed big.

    Andy's genius solution was to go into the back office and rip apart the phone system. I don't remember exactly what went down as I was busy - you know, serving customers - but he somehow got in touch with head office (probably via his mobile) and played ignorant. He spent the next hour or being walked through fixing the phones by a tech and emerged a hero. He'd got away with it.

    He hadn't got away with it.

    A week or so later Tony, the MD, and his personal assistant (also wife - yeah) shows up (I'm pretty sure one of our Minidiscs was playing as well!), points at me and Andy and says "You two, disciplinary meeting, upstairs, now." We both knew the game was up.

    We were interviewed separately. Andy had just enough time to get the weed he'd stashed in his locker and hide it somewhere. Lucky he did, as the first thing they did was conduct a search. I'm pretty sure they ignored every aspect of employment law during the entire process.

    Following our respective interrogations regarding 'the morning of whenever-it-was', we were called back in and were both summarily dismissed for gross misconduct (falsifying timesheets). At this point, I piped up with "er, actually I was on time..." This produced a hilarious look of confusion from the MD and he asked to be excused while he and his wife (sorry, personal assistant) discussed this development outside the staff room. Andy saw his opportunity and reclaimed the hidden weed (from BEHIND the lockers - the last place they would look!) They came back in after a brief exchange and Tony's like "okay so we're going to ask you to leave for lying to management". I was planning to quit anyway so I took my opportunity.

    After we were frogmarched out of the store, I turn to Tony and say "well, thanks for the opportunity and thanks for the birthday card this morning." Yep, I'd been sacked on my birthday - it was company policy to send employees a card! The look on his face was absolutely priceless.

    And it doesn't even end there. A week later, I'm at home in my parents' house, on the dole, and there's a knock at the door. On the doorstep are two uniformed police officers asking if they can come in and ask me a few questions. To say this was a surprise visit was a massive understatement. Having nothing to hide I invite them in. We're sitting there in the living room and they start telling me about how the aforementioned stock audit had revealed hundreds of Playstation games had gone missing from the store. They were asking me why there was CCTV footage of me going into the back office and pressing buttons on the CCTV system. I explained that it was my job - each day someone had to change the cassette in the video recorder. The officers looked at each other, clearly recognising that I had absolutely nothing to do with anything. I never heard anything more and I never did find out what happened to the missing games...
  • JoeBlade 3 Dec 2019 00:05:20 4,556 posts
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    /film thread crossover

    Tony? Which Tony? They're all named Tony.



    Seriously though, that's one cracking anecdote :)
  • pacrifice 3 Dec 2019 00:08:31 5,164 posts
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    MiniDisc was and still is a thing of beauty. I had the Sony MZN505, still do in working order. Maybe if Sony had dropped atrac and gone full MP3 drag and drop, it might've lasted a little longer.

    Engineering quality, smooth, precise mechanisms inside.



    Had one of these remotes, a thing of beauty.

  • up_the_ante 3 Dec 2019 00:11:34 1,178 posts
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    It's always nice to hear some behind the scenes stories. I never actually went to any of the stores. It was my childhood dream to do so though. I imagined pulling up to a warehouse full of video games and peripherals, a bit like that Toys R Us christmas advert. Now I suspect I would've been sorely disappointed.

    Does anyone know if that tatty looking store sign is still there? It should be preserved as a part of 90s British gaming culture if so.
  • PatrickEwing 3 Dec 2019 00:15:09 2,429 posts
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    I remember buying Cool Spot from special reserve, happy days. Used to love getting the catalogue through post, better than Select catalogue as it had no shit jewellery and tacky watches.

    Crap not Select catalogue, it was Index catalogue

    Edited by PatrickEwing at 00:21:36 03-12-2019
  • Lukus 3 Dec 2019 00:17:56 22,389 posts
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    I used to love getting the Special Reserve magazine through the post every month (or was it every three?) and looking through all the Atari ST games, trying to convince my dad to buy one.

    I remember they started selling softcore porn on DVD towards the end of their existence too, but I think the internet was a proper thing by that point, so too little too late I guess ;)
  • Mola_Ram 3 Dec 2019 02:13:10 21,876 posts
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    Wait, what did Tony do wrong? I guess the incident happened to be on your birthday, but it didn't sound like you were terribly enthusiastic about the job anyway.

    Not saying that he wasn't a cunt, but this doesn't sound like a particularly good example of that.

    Great story though!
  • greenmekon 3 Dec 2019 07:15:30 521 posts
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    Awesome story. I used to go to special reserve in Chelmsford and I remember ripping open the plastic cover of a magazine to read one of the first reviews of gta3. Read the review, bought the game and never looked back. It was a great place.
  • fontgeeksogood 3 Dec 2019 07:39:12 7,787 posts
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    Yeah, Tony did nothing wrong, you were a terrible worker
  • RawShark 3 Dec 2019 11:52:53 979 posts
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    Kids today won’t understand just how long it used to take just to buy a video game from a mail order place like Special Reserve. You’d actually give up on ever getting the game before it finally arrived in a crushed cardboard box.
  • Tomo 3 Dec 2019 12:25:08 17,070 posts
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    brassicGamer wrote:

    snip

    This is great :D
  • Lukus 3 Dec 2019 12:29:38 22,389 posts
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    fontgeeksogood wrote:
    Yeah, Tony did nothing wrong, you were a terrible worker
    Haha, exactly. The nerve of him, paying you to do a specific job the way he wanted.
  • Mola_Ram 3 Dec 2019 12:34:12 21,876 posts
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    I mean, clearly Andy was more in the wrong. But by your own telling you were aware of all kinds of stuff happening behind the scenes, that you did not divulge to the higher-ups, which makes you basically complicit in those things. He fucked up, and you covered for him.

    Sure, it sucks being fired. But in that case getting fired seems like a fair cop, regardless of what you think about your manager.
  • Graxlar_v3 3 Dec 2019 15:13:08 8,551 posts
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    Mola_Ram wrote:
    I mean, clearly Andy was more in the wrong. But by your own telling you were aware of all kinds of stuff happening behind the scenes, that you did not divulge to the higher-ups, which makes you basically complicit in those things. He fucked up, and you covered for him.

    Sure, it sucks being fired. But in that case getting fired seems like a fair cop, regardless of what you think about your manager.
    And the audit turning up hundreds of missing games, means you will get a call from the police.
  • wuntyate 3 Dec 2019 15:24:03 13,358 posts
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    Fuck Tony
  • up_the_ante 3 Dec 2019 16:04:09 1,178 posts
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    It's not Tony, it's Toni. Capiche?
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