It’s been a confusing few weeks. COVID-19 has dominated news sites worldwide and has caused lockdowns, store closures, and mass panic, just to name a few. However, nobody seems more confused right now than GameStop. The gaming retailer has announced that they will not be closing amid the pandemic, saying they consider themselves an “essential” retailer.
In a memo sent out to workers obtained by Kotaku, GameStop said the following,
“Due to the products we carry that enable and enhance our customers’ experience in working from home, we believe GameStop is classified as essential retail and therefore is able to remain open during this time. We have received reports of local authorities visiting stores in an attempt to enforce closure despite our classification. Store Managers are approved to provide the document linked below to law enforcement as needed.”
GameStop has also put out a Twitter post addressing actions they’re taking regarding COVID-19. According to the post, GameStop is enacting a social distancing policy, only allowing up to 10 customers in-store at any given time. Actions also include increased sanitization products for employees, reduced operating hours and suspension of all midnight launch events.
We are working diligently during this unprecedented time to provide our customers & associates with the safest environment possible. Please see below for details on new changes we are enacting & click here for our full statement: https://t.co/qP9jDQUmjs pic.twitter.com/d99kxviz7Q
— GameStop (@GameStop) March 19, 2020
However, for many, the actions taken are simply not enough. The move has angered both consumers and retail workers. A Reddit post titled “Last Chance – A Call to Action” has offered a space for GameStop employees to air their grievances in a hope the retailer will take notice. One particular employee by the name of barista-chan has had enough, saying,
“Don’t know about you guys, but all day I’ve just wanted to cry. This is taking such a toll on my mental health. I’m trying so hard to stay positive for my team, but being so undervalued and not at all cared for is just unbelievably disheartening. I’m off tomorrow and honestly I’ll probably just turn my phone off. I want nothing more than to rest, breathe, and curl up with my cat in my bed. This is all just too much.”
GameStop’s Twitter post has also seen numerous angry users calling for the retailer to close its doors. One user who claimed to be a former GameStop employee said they left due to “inhumane treatment.” They also pointed out that GameStop is a “luxury store”, and said how they “just want to capitalize on Spring Break and the “no school/work situation.”
Employees and management have been anonymously contacting sites such as Polygon, claiming that upper management has shown “very little care for the employees.”
As it stands, essential retail extends to places such as pharmacies, banks, and grocery markets. From the memo and other news outlets, it appears that local authorities have already attempted to close down GameStop in various locations. However, the memo actively encourages in-store management to argue with authorities.
The news comes in the wake of GameStop struggling to keep afloat, with ex-Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aimé recently joining the board of directors in an attempt to help. What do you make of GameStop’s stance? Do you think they should close their doors for the foreseeable future? Let us know in the comments.