GameStop believes they are an essential retailer, will stay open during COVID-19 pandemic [UPDATED]

Apparently GameStop needs business bad enough to risk its employee’s health to bring you crappy trade-in prices.

Updated (March 20 – 11:25AM PT): According to Kotaku, Gamestop has been forced to close by mandate from the Governor of California. Less than a day after insisting that it would stay open as an “essential business,” a note has apparently gone out to stores reversing the decision due to the enforcement of the local government authorities.

“We are closing our stores in California,” the note allegedly said. “The closure will remain in effect until further notice as we obtain more information from the California Governor’s Office.”

That is to say, it looks like the powers that be, as well as the rest of the gaming community, are in agreement that Gamestop is not as “essential” during a pandemic as they’d like everyone to believe. More on this story as further news and information is made available.

Original Story: The coronavirus pandemic has been quite a wake up call for a lot of people. Amidst the craziness, we’ve seen all kinds of weird and dumb things happening. Perhaps one of the stupidest things to crop up lately, though, is a report that GameStop has advised its employees to disregard any state or city lockdowns put into effect because of the virus outbreak happening right now, stating that the company is “an essential retailer”.

The report comes via Kotaku, who shares a memo that was sent to staff earlier this afternoon. The memo, which states “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,” was sent out with instructions to provide a document should any police officers or other officials try to shut down GameStop during the pandemic.

This isn’t the only misstep that the trade-in chain has taken since the start of the pandemic, either. Kotaku also recently reported on the company’s protection policy which was instated when the coronavirus outbreak kicked off. According to employees who spoke with Kotaku, the necessary cleaning supplies and sanitizers are currently on backorder, despite emails sent out to customers assuring proper supply.

Not only is it stupid for GameStop to want to stay open during this kind of pandemic, but it’s also a safety hazard. In places where lockdowns have been put into effect, it’s essential now more than ever to remain in your own environments, where you have more control over how things spread.

This is a direct safety issue for anyone who goes into the stores, as well as employees stuck working there. Even if the company had the proper protective supplies, there is nothing about selling physical copies of video games that warrants putting people’s lives in danger to make a few extra bucks.

GameStop has been on a serious decline over the years – especially with digital sales taking off like they have – and this just feels like another of their bold moves to make extra cash however they can. It’s sad, too, because the company has actually made a few good moves in the past few weeks – adding Reggie Fils-Aime to their board, and even pushing the release of Doom Eternal forward a day to abide by social distancing concerns. All of those steps forward have been negated by this careless behavior on the part of GameStop’s management.

It’s one thing to offer crappy trade-in prices, it’s another to play with the lives of your employees and your customers. Come on, GameStop.

Joshua holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and has been exploring the world of video games for as long as he can remember. He enjoys everything from large-scale RPGs to small, bite-size indie gems and everything in between.