This last week was a confusing time for many people. Some companies had to make decisions on whether to close their doors for public safety or keep them open because of greed. On a trip to the local mall, which had a Target in it, many of the stores were closed. However, there were a handful of stores (including Spencers, Zales, GameStop and some smaller stores) were still open. Through all that, GameStop seemed to think they were exempt from everything.
Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order that all retail (non-essential) stores to close. However, GameStop declared themselves “essential”. They even provided instructions with a flyer to hand over to law enforcement, which included the phone number to the corporate office. The company believed since they sold some computer hardware, this exempted them from closing their stores.
Earlier that week, Kotaku interviewed many employees that claimed the company wasn’t doing enough to protect them from the coronavirus. One supervisor stated, “My colleagues and I are sharing a small bottle of hand sanitizer that was purchased through our own pocket as well as making as much usage out of a depleting bottle of All Purpose Cleaner.” That last part is important, because sanitization materials for the stores, in general, have also been hard to come by through the same channels, leaving individual storefront employees to purchase these materials on their own.
Their actions didn’t sway government and law enforcement. Over the weekend, they were instructed to cease storefront operations. On Sunday, many stores are offering digital-only pick-ups via curbside. Much like what companies like Best Buy are implementing.
There were early reports citing that employees would not receive any compensation during their shutdown. They would have to either use their sick/vacation time or apply for unemployment. In a letter obtained by Kotaku CEO George Sherman said that GameStop will provide 80 hours of extra paid time off for eligible employees, while employees not eligible for the additional PTO will receive two extra weeks of pay. Which is better, but not by much. Although, many – if not all – will have to apply for unemployment if it lasts longer than two weeks.
GameStop has been in bad shape for the last few years. Since many consumers are moving to digital purchases and have been looking for a buyer. There is some news buzzing around that GameStop could take such a hit after the shutdown, the odds of them reopening are slim. Especially if it lasts longer than two weeks. With the way they’ve treated their customers for so many years, all I can say is “karma is a bitch.”