GameStop Says Its Stores Should Stay Open Because They're "Essential Retail"

GameStop Says Its Stores Should Stay Open Because They're "Essential Retail"

Despite the pandemic and pressure from authorities, GameStop wants to stay open.

Earlier today, GameStop let customers know that they could pick up Doom Eternal a day early, a decision made to lower the amount of foot traffic at its stores for the sake of worker and shopper safety during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. According to two new reports, GameStop corporate is now telling its employees to challenge law enforcement and other authorities seeking to shut stores down, as GameStop contends it qualifies as "essential retail."

This afternoon, both Kotaku and Vice Games obtained a memo sent to GameStop store workers in which GameStop contends that its locations should not be considered non-essential (local orders for the closure of non-essential retail are being questioned by the National Retail Federation for the non-specificity of the terminology). The memo refers to products GameStop says "enable and enhance" working from home:

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 a statement given to IGN, GameStop provides a list of products ranging from webcams to keyboards, chargers, and audio gear that it feels qualify as essential. No games or explicitly game-related products were listed. USgamer has also reached out to GameStop for comment, and we will update this article if we receive a response.

The flyer distributed alongside the memo directs law enforcement or other authorities to call GameStop's corporate office.

Earlier this week, Kotaku published a report on GameStop locations that lacked promised cleaning supplies for the sake of sanitizing stores and keeping employees safe. In the days since, GameStop has told employees to shut down demo kiosks, canceled all nighttime launch events for the foreseeable future, and moved up the release of Doom Eternal. Still, the company has not taken action to close any of its stores, including those in states like Washington and New York which have seen the highest number of coronavirus cases in the United States.

One frustrated, anonymous GameStop worker told Vice that they would show up to work on Friday, take their copy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons home, and leave their keys to the store behind. Employee satisfaction appears to have plummeted at many locations over the past year as GameStop has closed stores and allegedly piled on pressure for sales quotas.

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Mathew Olson


Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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