Will GameStop lose more than it wins keeping stores open during the coronavirus outbreak?
GameStop is back in the headlines for pushing to keep its stores open as many others temporarily close their doors to try and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus across the U.S.
The struggling video game retailer sent a memo from its headquarters to stores instructing them to remain open in resistance to governmental directives that require non-essential retail businesses to close for a period of two weeks or more.
The internal GameStop memo obtained by a variety of media outlets 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.”
The memo directs store personnel to provide headquarters contact information to law enforcement authorities who are not persuaded by GameStop’s argument.
In a clarification statement issued by GameStop after the initial memo became public, the retailer said, “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. 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.”
Of course, many of GameStop’s own store-level employees do not agree with the chain’s assessment of the business’s worth to society or its concerns about their safety.
One employee, who said he/she has been with GameStop “almost a decade” told Kotaku that the retailer’s current actions are “indefensible.”
Vice reports that local stores have not been provided with cleaning supplies by GameStop and have been instructed to shop at local stores to get what they need.
- GameStop: We Can Stay Open During Lockdowns Because We’re ‘Essential Retail’ – Kotaku
- GameStop Instructs Employees to Ignore Law Enforcement And Not Shut Down – Vice
- GameStop says it’s ‘essential retail’ to fight forced closures [Updated] – Ars Technica
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you agree with GameStop’s self-assessment as to the “essential” nature of its business at this time? What do you expect the reaction to be for GameStop from employees and customers?