Photo by JJbers via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Gamestop: A company well-known for its fantastic business practices, such as forcing its employees to lie to their customers (according to a report in TechTimes), pressuring their employees to do unpaid overtime, closing their stores and now staying open during the coronavirus outbreak.
Out of all the stores that I expected to stay open, the very last one would probably be Gamestop. It’s obvious why they are staying open. There are hardly any other stores like theirs currently open at this time due to the rising concerns of the coronavirus that is shared amongst pretty much everyone in the world except Gamestop. It’s troubling to me that they are even allowed to stay open when the thing they are known for the most is video games. While important to me as a treasured past-time, there would never be a moment where I’d say that it is necessary for the general public to buy and play video games. Gamestop, on the other hand, has stated otherwise.
In a company-wide memo to all employees of Gamestop, the higher-ups said, “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”.
In my opinion, this is a total farce.
To blindly say that simply because they enhance the experience of their customers is the reason why they should stay open is such a vague and blanket statement that it could honestly cover any other kind of business. How could you deny the closure of pretty much any hobby store or hair salon? Both places are closed during this outbreak and they both enhance the customers’ experience in working from home. What gives Gamestop any right to stay open? Well, they have a response for that too.
“While GameStop is best known as a provider of gaming and home entertainment systems, we also offer a wide array of products and devices that are important to facilitate remote work, distance learning and virtual connectivity. As millions of Americans face unprecedented challenges adapting to virtual learning, working and interaction, there is a significant need for technology solutions and we are one of many providers of these products that are remaining open at this time.”
The memo went on to say, “Schools, businesses and families are now suddenly dependent on being able to connect through technology. While there are many businesses and organizations far more critical than ours, we believe we can have a positive impact during this very challenging time. The health and safety of our employees and customers is of utmost importance and we have and will continue to take extensive precautions consistent with CDC guidelines. We are complying with all state, county, city and local ordinances and we will continue to adjust to any future developments.”
What this statement is most likely referring to is the limited array of overpriced headsets and gaming mice often bought by poorly informed gamers and overly ambitious children with dreams to swear their heads off at a crowd of bemused adults.
At the end of the day, Gamestop sells games and consoles. That is what they are known for.
Gamestop’s existence is a relic that is slowly eroded and smashed by the tidal wave of progress and convenience known as the internet. This further shows everyone just how desperate Gamestop is for an edge in this battle that it already lost long ago to online storefronts. While there is always a desire for physical gaming media, the public is always looking for more convenient solutions to their wants and needs. No one needs Gamestop to stay open the same way they need a convenience store or a general good store.
Even amongst companies that should be in favor of Gamestop’s general existence despise it for their conflicts of interest and unambiguous avarice. Even now, while being told by practically everyone that they should close, they are stubbornly staying open doing curbside pick-up for products like they’re a restaurant. Gamestop is even trying to convince local law enforcement that they are relevant. When law enforcement is pressuring a store to close, the employees are instructed to give them a sheet of paper with the contact information of Gamestop’s headquarters because they just need to stay open for all the people who need their games.
Gamestop has also been given more negative attention on social media when employees of Gamestop have said they are not receiving sanitary products that are essential to preventing the spread of disease during a global pandemic, according to a report by Business Insider where employees were allegedly told to wrap their hands in plastic bags.
If this still continues, I will continue to report this story in the Quad, but remember this: even when the rest of the world understands what is and isn’t essential and stores are closing for the safety of both their employees and their customers, Gamestop is staying open. When more businesses stay open, the more people there are at risk of catching the infectious disease, COVID-19.
Edward Park is a third-year student majoring in English education. EP909756@wcupa.edu