GameStop is insistent that it isn’t closing its doors anytime soon — neither forever because it’s failing as a business, nor temporarily because of a global pandemic. The lights stay on, even if the fat lady has begun her vocal warmups.
In a memo acquired by Vice, GameStop’s corporate office has instructed stores to not comply with law enforcement who try to force closure because of the COVID-19 quarantines. Stores were given a flier for employees to hand over, directing officials to call GameStop’s corporate phone number.
That’s the part that’s pathetic and tone-deaf: That GameStop asks its poor employees to defy law enforcement and ignore a worldwide crisis. Here’s the part that’s hilarious: GameStop’s logic for doing so is because the video game store fancies itself as “essential retail.” The memo reads “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.”
Vice corroborates the memo by saying it was received by many different tipsters who work in GameStops all around the country. It’s also unknown as to whether any stores have actually refused to close down yet. But, corporate seems hellbent on staying open.
In the time since these reports broke, GameStop has sent out a tweet outlining how the retailer is working to create the “safest environment possible.” This includes only letting 10 people into the store at a time, suspending its trade-in program for 10 days, and canceling all events and launch activities.
GameStop’s handling of the entire coronavirus situation has raised eyebrows. It has been unable to provide stores with adequate cleaning supplies, told sick employees they have to use accrued sick leave to self-isolate, and that absences without a doctor’s note count as unexcused. GameStop is so determined to prevent sales from slipping any further, that it’s burning through the last remaining drops of goodwill it had. Ironically, that might put it out of business even quicker.