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GameStop Sends Memo To Staff To Stay Open During Lockdowns Because They’re ‘Essential Retail’

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Mar 19 '20 | By entertainoiam2admin | Views: 28 | Comments: 0
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GameStop has for a very long time been the most nationally recognizable video game store in the United States. It rose to prominence in the mid-2000s amid the gaming boom, partially through a market strategy that involved selling used games and consoles for close to full price but only buying them from players for far cheaper. It’s a business model that worked but has largely made them disliked by the video game community as a whole.

The last decade or so however GameStop has seen their business struggle. As the video game market continues to shift to a digital marketplace, they’ve had to find new ways to generate business. This includes selling toys, t-shirts, used phones, and other merchandise beyond video games and consoles in an attempt to adjust to the new market. It hasn’t worked with the company facing massive layoffs every year and questions about how much longer they can exist.

For companies like this, a long term closure isn’t a viable option. Any time period spent with stores closed could send them into a financial spiral that leads them to bankruptcy. Unfortunately for them, they don’t have much of a choice these days. With COVID-19, aka coronavirus, impacting the entire world it’s forced many businesses to have to close for (hopefully just) a brief period of time while society goes into social distancing and self quarantine. GameStop’s response to this climate so far has had employees very worried about how the company will respond as more areas of the United States react to the pandemic.

It turns out they were correct to have fears because according to Jason Schreier of Kotaku a memo was sent out to GameStop employees telling them to leave stores open despite lockdowns across the country. What should these employees tell emergency personnel if they’re told to close? They should tell them that they’re “essential retail.”

“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.

While it’s understandable that a struggling company would not want to close stores, even during a time of crisis, there is no reality in which a video game store should be considered “essential retail.” Especially in today’s age where games can be downloaded via console. Encouraging customers to come to their stores, amidst a pandemic, is putting their employees and those customers in danger and is incredibly irresponsible. It doesn’t help GameStop’s case that their practices as a company have given them little support from the gaming community, but their employees that rely on income from working there surely deserve empathy (as do all workers in retail, food service, and elsewhere currently facing a massive amount of uncertainty and tons of layoffs and furloughs).

The pandemic is impacting all areas of life and leading to serious issues across various sectors of the economy, from retail stores to local restaurants in your area that is being forced to close due to the pandemic. Many businesses will not survive without serious government assistance, which remains a great unknown right now.

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