Let me preface this by saying that when I say GameStop is a shitty company, I’m not talking about the kind people you meet at the cash register. Although, if your name is Todd and you worked at the GameStop in the East Towne Madison Mall back in 2013, I am including you in this group. You can’t shame customers based on the games they enjoy playing. That’s customer service 101.
Anyways, when I say GameStop is a shitty company, I mean the people at the very top. The people who have not only been driving away their customers away for years with their horrible trade-in policies (see the meme below) and reward programs which are borderline harassment, but the company’s sick (pun intended) response to the COViD-19 outbreak.
COViD-19 has now spread across the globe and once it hit the United States it began to spread like wildfire forcing states (not all states though, I’m looking at you Florida and Mississippi) to call on all non-essential businesses to shut down. Any business that wasn’t a supermarket and grocery store, pharmacy, gas station, hardware store, bank, auto-repair shop, etc. was expected to close temporarily to prevent the virus from spreading.
Except not all non-essential businesses chose to close down temporarily. One of them being, you guessed it, GameStop. Even as pressure from the state and federal government mounted to close their stores GameStop still refused. In addition to this, if a state or federal authority arrived at a GameStop location asking them to close the store manager was ordered to hand over a letter which says:
“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.”
As more and more information regarding how the virus spreads were released to the public, GameStop stores remained open. Trade-ins, the act of showing up to a GameStop store and turning in a $60 game for a pathetic refund of something around $5, was expected to continue despite mounting evidence confirming that the coronavirus could live outside the body on metal and plastic surfaces for over 48 hours thereby infecting unsuspecting individuals.
You know, like GameStop employees and their customers.
GameStop did eventually announce social distancing and sanitary practices would take place in their stores but only did so after several state governors threatened legal action. Nevertheless, GameStop continued to let customers into their stores until March 22 when they announced a pickup system had been put into place so customers could order online and pick up their product from the store. Even then, it’s been reported that GameStop’s system is flawed and the company has even gone so far as to ask its employees to wrap their hands with a plastic GameStop bag if they don’t have the necessary personal protective equipment like gloves.
In this current age of digital downloads, GameStop has been struggling to survive. The company’s shady business practices, combined with its poor treatment of employees and calls for boycotts over the years have tarnished the once-beloved store’s image. In 2019 alone, GameStop closed over 300 stores and the company plans to close an additional 300 more this year as well.
GameStop’s sales have plummeted and they will no doubt continue to fall as unemployment rises and the economy contracts but what may end up being the final nail in the coffin for the company is likely to be GameStop’s appalling and shameful response to the COViD-19 outbreak.