Update: March 30, 2020: GameStop moved to curbside pick-up only at its retail locations after the company’s plan to remain open as normal sparked public backlash. Though this is better than GameStop’s initial intentions, it still puts the company’s employees at risk. Thankfully, GameStop has a foolproof way to protect them: tape plastic bags around their hands.
According to The Boston Globe, GameStop has instructed employees to crack the front door and stick out one hand with a plastic bag “lightly” taped around it to accept payments. Employees are then instructed to run the customer’s card using the hand that is still taped in plastic and flip the bag inside out with the card inside to return it to the customer afterward.
GameStop is crazy if it thinks this will keep its employees and customers safe during the COVID-19 epidemic. It shows the company is willing to continue putting people’s lives at risk to generate a profit when they should be engaging in social isolation.
The games retailer has yet to release an official statement on the matter.
Original story: March 19, 2020: US-based video game retailer GameStop allegedly sent out a company-wide memo March 19 addressing its response to the coronavirus pandemic currently gripping the world. In the memo, the company allegedly says it will not close its retail locations, despite various government mandates pushing it to do so.
According to Kotaku, which saw the alleged memo first hand, GameStop describes its shops as “essential retail,” akin to something like a pharmacy, grocery store, or other storefronts that must remain open during circumstances such as these.
The memo allegedly even goes so far as to instruct employees to tell inquiring law enforcement to contact GamesStop’s corporate headquarters if there are any issues with this policy.
To be clear, GameStop just sells video games, consoles, toys, and other merchandise related to gaming. These would hardly fall under the “essential retail” category of something like a grocery store.
Previously, GameStop employees speaking with Kotaku expressed concerns with the company’s lax response to the pandemic. However, that was before this memo, which is clearly putting the welfare of the company above the safety of its staff.
Here in the US, restaurants, bars, movie theaters, performance venues, and other food and entertainment facilities have all either completely shut down or moved to an adjusted business model in response to the crisis. Some of the changes are mandated by local and federal governments, while others have been self-directed.
For what its worth, GameStop’s financial situation is not great, so the company may fear that closing stores could cause it to go out of business permanently. However, there are other ways to deal with that besides putting retail workers at risk of contracting the virus and passing it on to others.
Eventually, GameStop went back on these plans to keep its US retail stores open during the outbreak after it was given tons of criticism. In a March 21 press release, the video game retailer stated all of its US stores will close for customers starting on Sunday, March 22. The company will still provide curbside pick-up at its store locations and will continue to take orders on its website.
All GameStop store employees who will see their hours eliminated will get an additional two weeks of pay at their regular rate. The retailer will also reimburse all eligible employees one month of their portion of benefit expenses.