GameStop Makes People Sick Over Coronavirus “Essential Retail” Memo

GameStop Makes People Sick Over Coronavirus “Essential Retail” Memo

When you think of the “essentials” needed as you self-quarantine because of the Coronavirus, you may consider bread, water, toilet paper, non-perishables, and disinfectant wipes.

But what about video games?!

Sure, they help pass the time while you are hunkered inside for days on end, but are you really jonesin’ to risk getting sick over the new ‘Doom’ or ‘Animal Crossing’ on PS4 or XBOX? There is a good use for video games during this ordeal, but … essential?! Um, no.

Yet, if you ask the major domos at GameStop, that is the primary reason they are keeping stores open throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.

We’re Important Too

gamestop open door
Credit: Nicolas McComber/Getty Images

If you’re wondering when GameStop lost respect–even in the gaming community, it would be right here:

This was the moment that GameStop put their profits over their people. For sake of clarity, just about everyone is locking up shop for fear of Coronavirus. This is not only fear of catching the disease that has killed more than 10,000 globally at the time of this post.

According to the CDC and U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, “essential government services” include mass transit, first responders, healthcare, pharmacies, grocery stores, banks, and gas stations.

That’s it. 

But now, GameStop employees are caught in the biohazardous crosshairs because its C-Suite has deemed the company “essential.”

Essentially Stupid

gamestop closed

According to a corporate memo obtained by Kotaku, employees were informed how important they were, despite the fact the buy and sell electronics for people who rarely get out of their bedroom or parent’s garage.

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 fact, even in heavily funky areas like New York City where COVID-19 is spreading like a bad case of herpes on a basketball player dating a Kardashian, GameStop managers have been equipped to hand the authorities a memo thwarting attempts to shut the store down:

Thank you for what you are doing to keep us all safe. If you have questions about our store’s hours, operations or policies could I ask you to please call our corporate office. 

GameStop Corporate Office, 844-933-3145

Thank you for understanding

It’s no secret that GameStop’s profits have been fledgling lately because everything is going digital for convenience. Foot traffic in their stores are not as routine as it was in previous years, and their profits are taking a bath.

We See You GameStop

gamestop store closing
Credit: Isaac Hamlet/Iowa City Press-Citizen

In September 2019, the gaming giant closed “hundreds of stores” nationwide. In January 2020, they closed more than 50 others as a result of poor holiday profits. This is sad for a store (formerly) beloved by many in the gaming and geek community, but let’s make no mistake about one thing:

This move to stay open during the Coronavirus pandemic is not out of some altruistic methodology because they are helping create some sort of normalcy for quarantined people. This is 100% out of fear of losing more money…and it is the hourly employees who are subjected to this. 

Many don’t have insurance. Others barely make ends meet. But now, those young people are given the same badge of honor as nurses and grocery clerks.

Yeah, I’m going with no! 

People will play games while homebound. People will engage online to combat cabin fever. People will use GameStop’s services, but you are not curing the disease–you are trying to profit from it!

Of course, now that the video game excrement has smashed directly into a big ass fan, GameStop is backpedaling a bit, but trying to cloak their stores (and subterfuge) in America.

“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,” it continues.

“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.”

A spokesperson told EW that news headlines about the “essential retail” memo “unfortunately has taken out of context the positioning we were trying to provide concerning the products GameStop [sells] that does help folks be able to work from home during this unprecedented time.”

Again, GameStop. I’m going with a hard pass and we see right through you.

You know, there’s a joke begging to be told about how many nerds have said, “Bruh, I am dying to get that new game.” Well, thanks to GameStop, you just might at this rate.


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I write for a living, among other things in the digital journalism and analytics universe. So I'm a little like a nerd unicorn. But no bronies. Move along.
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