Updated 23/03: We recently reported* how US game store GameStop Head Office declared they would stay open amid COVID-19 pandemic. The Senior Management, at the time, stated how GameStop was “essential retail”.
However, effective 22nd March, all US stores have now closed. This is following ongoing concerns and government orders. GameStop now says it will process all incoming orders on a digital-only basis.
This extends from digital delivery services to pick up services at the curbside (the pavement, if you’re know how many “U’s” go into words like “colour”).
Better Late Than Never
GameStop CEO George Sherman said in a press release:
“This is an unprecedented time and each day brings new information about the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our priority has been and continues to be on the well-being of our employees, customers and business partners. We have been steadfast in our adherence to CDC-guided safety and local government orders for retailers in each of our communities.
As millions of Americans look to GameStop to adjust to their new normal of increased time at home, for work, learning and play, we have implemented practices to help ensure the safety and health of our employees, customers and partners. We believe it is prudent to institute further safety protocols while meeting this increased demand through curbside pick-up.
As such, stores that remain in operation will provide only pick-up at the door or delivery to home activities to further protect our employees and customers”.
Furthermore, GameStop has also said that it will continue to pay any employees who have lost hours due to the store closures:
“All US GameStop employees have been ensured that they do not have to work if they are not comfortable and should stay home if they feel sick. The company said it will pay furloughed employees ‘an additional two weeks at their regular pay rate based on the average hours worked in the last 10 weeks’.
GameStop also said it will reimburse all benefit-eligible US employees ‘one month of the employee portion of benefit expenses'”.
The state that the world currently is in is not ideal. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, many nations are looking at (or are actively partaking in) lockdowns. Everything deemed “non-essential” is to close.
Apart from GameStop, apparently.
Kotaku’s Jason Schreier reported that GameStop Head Office informed all of their stores that they are to “stay open even in the event of state or city lockdowns”. Again, even if the State or City has issued a lockdown. GameStop carried on, noting how they (as a store) are “essential retail” much like supermarkets and pharmacy stores. Due to their “essential” standing, they would be exempt from these enforced closures.
The memo (obtained by Kotaku) reads as follows:
“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. Therefore [GameStop] is able to remain open during this time.
We have received reports of local authoriaties 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”.
So, not only does GameStop believe it is above the City or even State rulings, they believe they are above law enforcement as well.
It Gets Better
However, I can do you one better. I’ve been digging around this story. During my research, I stumbled across YouTuber Camelot331. He’s posted a few videos about GameStop’s (mis-) handling of COVID-19. And this video will blow you mind. It’s only 15 minutes or so, but if you want a reason to hate GameStop even more, you’ll enjoy it.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is Capitalism.
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