GameStop: We Can Stay Open During Lockdowns Because We're 'Essential Retail'

Photo: Ethan Miller, Getty Images

The struggling video game retail chain GameStop told all of its stores this afternoon to stay open even in the event of state or city lockdowns to protect against the covid-19 pandemic, emphasising that it is “essential retail” alongside groceries and pharmacies and should therefore be exempt from enforced closures.

“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,” the retailer said in a memo to staff this afternoon, obtained by Kotaku.

“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.”

The document in question encourages police officers to call GameStop’s corporate headquarters if they have a problem with this policy.

The retailer said later this afternoon that it would be reducing hours, postponing all events, and suspending used game trade-ins until March 29.

Meanwhile, GameStop employees all across the United States have feared for their safety in the wake of the company’s misguided responses to the covid-19 crisis. “Been with company almost a decade,” one told Kotaku this afternoon. “This is indefensible.”


Comments

    This just confirms that not only do Gamestop not care about their staffs mental health, they don't care about their physical health either, nor do they care about that of their customers either. Fuck this company, I hope they get run into the ground, I hope all their employees are safe, but I hope their entire board catches this disease and gets a dose of reality.

    Even back when they were relevant, they still weren't essential.

    As much as I adore video games, any attempt to classify retailers of video games as “essential services” should be met with the laughter it deserves. No one ever died from not being able to purchase a video game.

    This is peak GameStop. Absolutely incredible.

    Sorry, but they aren't an essential retailer. They maintain an online store that you can order from, and the goods are delivered through normal postage methods. Its not like a supermarket delivery service where you are limited by the number of trucks you have in a given area, so need to maintain a physical store as well. And I've seen the range they carry. Them claiming to be able to provide goods that allow you to work from home is a joke.

    “Due to the products we carry that enable and enhance our customers’ experience in working from home...I know I crank up my PS4 when I need to get some coding done and if I need to write something up I'll just run a few games and then check my email using my Switch.

    The reason is obvious physical game stores are a dying industry, if they shut down, the customers will learn to go elsewhere online (Steam, Epic, Console Digital Stores, Amazon) they would die, all their staff lose their jobs. The only thing keeping Game Stop afloat is their share of Epic Games.

    But it's a dumb decision, they should be using this opportunity to make their digital store front competitive.

    Or start selling video game branded toilet paper. Oh! Could Pop figures make them an exclusive figurine that spews out hand sanitizer.

    The exception that proves the rule. If you have to explain why your business is an essential service, it is not an essential service.

    I could *maybe* see this as being valid 20+ years ago. Video games will potentially keep idiots from going out when they shouldn't, give them something to do inside their homes. I *MIGHT* have grudgingly accepted that back then. But now, you can buy *ANY* game online. Fuck Gamestop. They're a completely useless business under *normal* circumstances now. If all they care about is profit during a f***ing plague, their business *should* fail.

    Other side of the coin.
    A lot of these people would be worried about their jobs and income. Most of them are casual workers. If they were to shut down and who knows for how long they might not have a job to go back to. Australia isn’t as bad as most countries at the moment with the pandemic and if we keep adhering to the measures to keep up hygienic and safe then we can get through with getting retail workers through this too.
    Don’t get it twisted thinking I don’t think or care about anyone’s health but locally people are more concerned about their jobs than the virus. In a town with no cases this is completely understandable. Large cities probably not

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