In the wake of the quickly spreading threat that is COVID-19, we are currently in a world where businesses are being negatively impacted by the severity of this crisis. The practice of social distancing The ever scheming opportunists they are, video game retailer GameStop has decided to take this chance to profit off many people sitting at home as events by declaring themselves an "essential business" and keeping their stores open. In a letter to the public, they offered a rather tone deaf acknowledgement of the pandemic that has seen cases for COVID-19 in the United States rise from double digits to over 9000 in just over two weeks. A portion reads as follows:
"GameStop is working diligently during this unprecedented time to provide our customers and associates with the safest environment possible. We are implementing changes to our retail operations so that we may continue to provide essential products to our customers that allows them to stay connected, and provide products that allows business and consumers to work remotely."
"Essential products"? Video games? Are they referring to video games? Depending on how long this crisis lasts, many people may be in need of proper cleaning supplies, disinfectants, sanitizer, and medical masks. With these dire matters, heaven forbid consumers aren't able to get their hands on a copy of Ben 10 Ultimate Alien on the Wii for $1.69.
And it gets even better. By better, I mean more heinous and slimy. We at Game Fix received an email from an anonymous GameStop employee who was told how to operate under these measures.
The email 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. We have received reports of local authorities visiting stores in an attempt to enforce closure despite our classification. Store managers are approved to provide the document linked below to law enforcement as needed"
According to the anonymous source, in ordinance with keeping their stores "clean and safe", the cleaning supplies are NOT provided by GameStop, but the employees have to buy the cleaning supplies themselves. And should anyone at any given store tests positive for the Coronavirus, another employee is dispatched from another GameStop to take their place.
The customer is at the core of everything we do, and in light of the World Health Organization declaring the coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic, our top priority is keeping our customers, associates and communities safe as we continue to closely monitor the situation.
We have assembled an internal COVID-19 taskforce dedicated solely to this issue and have instructed our associates to follow the procedures and guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help stem the spread of COVID-19.
In response, GameStop is taking the following steps:
This is a terrible look for a business who already has a faltering reputation and has been draining money for ears. In a time where the populace has to band together to get through this, GameStop seizes the chance to make themselves look even more like villains. To override authority and declare themselves an integral part of retail reeks of extreme arrogance and selfishness. Risking people, both employees and customers who have families to care for by keeping these chains open shows how heartless and inconsiderate a business can be. It wasn't any more than a week ago we were talking about how Reggie Fils-Aime of Nintendo notoriety was going to climb aboard the slowly sinking GameStop ship and try to save them, but the corporate heads decided to light the lido deck on fire after crashing into an iceberg.
I hope you're proud of yourself, GameStop. You've somehow managed to find more credibility to shred at a time you could ill afford to.