GameStop Refuses to Close During Coronavirus Pandemic: It Believes It’s “Essential Retail”

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Image: GameStop

Businesses around the globe are shutting down due to COVID-19, but GameStop has decided to keep all of its stores open because it thinks video games are just as important as food and medicine.

Kotaku obtained the following memo, which was sent to staff this afternoon:

“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.”

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

According to one district manager (whose identity hasn’t been verified), GameStop is intentionally putting its associates at risk. He or she claims that higher-ups were trying to “take advantage” of the situation.

GameStop CEO George Sherman says that the stores have taken the following preventative measures to keep people safe:

  • Instituting multiple social distancing practices in our stores, up to 10 people in the store, including store associates.
  • Following CDC recommended guidelines to adopt in-store line management practices that creates a 6-foot parameter between customers in checkout lines.
    Reducing our store hours of operation to 12 – 8 p.m., which will be in place until Sunday, March 29th.
  • Rolling out delivery @ door service to allow customers to pick up their purchases at the front door of our U.S. store locations.
  • Suspending temporarily our video game and consumer electronics trade-in practices until further notice.
  • Postponing all gaming events and midnight launch activities until further notice.
    Disabling temporarily all interactive gaming stations in our stores.
  • Encouraging customers to leverage our online ecommerce capabilities and direct deliveries to their homes from our warehouses or stores.

In an earlier message, Sherman said that GameStop staff were getting a “necessary supply of disinfectant materials and hand sanitizer” to keep stores clean, but some associates say they never received anything and had to hunt the supplies down on their own.

“Thus far I’ve seen little to no measures taken from corporate, and I’ve certainly haven’t seen any supplies to prevent further outbreak,” said a GameStop supervisor who wished to remain anonymous. “My colleagues and I are sharing a small bottle of hand sanitizer that was purchased through our own pockets as well as making as much usage out of a depleting bottle of All Purpose Cleaner. We were only just given permission to turn off console demos yesterday and my cleaning supplies have been back ordered for two months. As far as more immediate measures go, the stores in my area have received nothing.”

“We’re enabled to go out to purchase these items ourselves and have them expensed,” said another GameStop store employee from California’s Bay Area. “At least in my store’s regard, it’s virtually impossible to find the items we need to adequately clean and sanitize the stores and keep ourselves as safe as we can.”

“One store is completely out of toilet paper and had to close their restroom because supplies responded to their email saying they were not shipping to stores,” said a third employee.

Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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