GameStop employees can't get paper checks. True, most of the civilised world is on direct deposit by now. But for GameStoppers who aren't, the only alternative is a cash card that nickel-and-dimes them.
Consumerist talked about this in the past week. GameStop, as well as many retailers in the same market, offer direct deposit and these "Maestro" cards, which are inconvenient to use and which deduct fees if you use it more than once in a month.
According to a GameStop employee who contacted Consumerist, the drawbacks are legion. Checking one's balance can only be done over the phone. Literature that comes with the card encourages using it for everyday purchases, but is vague on what kind of transaction fee that incurs (from 25 cents to a dollar). ATMs universally consider the card out of network and pile on their own fees. You can't get cash back on top of a purchase like you can with a debit card. And the only way to get money out of the card and into your account, without doing an ATM withdrawal (remember, ATMs don't dispense coins or usually anything less than a $20 bill) is to do so at the bank level, which often incurs its own set of fees.
GameStop's justification for this is that many of its employees are teenagers and do not have bank accounts. That's a cop-out. Legal age to work in most states is 15, and while I don't have stats in front of me, I can scarcely imagine that the majority of kids so responsible as to be working a part-time job wouldn't open bank accounts to deposit their funds.
There is some dispute as to whether managers at the store level encourage employees to take the cards over direct deposit; the company line seems to clearly encourage direct deposit.
But either way, it's total bullshit that a business of GameStop's size doesn't lay out the cash necessary to run a proper payroll operation to pay employees with a paper check if it's needed, not some ripoff card that charges fees for doing absolutely nothing. I'm sure some white paper or business study out there applauded the beancounter who thought up this anti-worker "best practice," which seems to have been adopted by many large-scale retailers because of what it shaves off the overhead.
This is just another way business in America reminds its workers that they don't create or provide anything of value. They just cost money. Fuck this team spirit, team member garbage you hear in your interview or new hire orientation. And forget larger causes like health care or retirement savings, when business will chisel and cut corners on even the basic dignities of employment - like how you are paid. Until that costs too much. Then you're fired. That's the country we've built.