With countries around the world taking increasingly drastic measures to curb the spread of Coronavirus, one inevitable casualty so far has been the high street. All but essential businesses (supermarkets, grocers, pharmacies, etc.) are now either in voluntary or enforced lockdown in Europe and the US, though fear not, for “essential” retailer GameStop remains open and ready for business.
Unsurprisingly, the internet has reacted with total incredulity to the video game chain’s decision, with many decrying the company’s total disregard for the health and safety of customers and employees alike. While not a soul would argue against gaming being a terrific means of passing the time while self-isolating at home, GameStop’s claim as “essential” is not only being criticized for being irresponsible, but completely disingenuous.
It is, after all, nothing short of common knowledge that video games are readily available online as digital downloads, a fact that GameStop has so far conveniently overlooked. In fact, the chain has recently attempted to defend its stance by publishing a number of “specific actions” it has taken in light of the coronavirus outbreak, which you can see below:
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As expected, responses to the amendments listed have been nothing but negative.
Close your stores and pay your employees. You are NOT “essential retail”
— Erica Aimee 🍊🌴 (@isillie) March 19, 2020
Youre not "essential retail".
Youre a LUXURY store. You just want to capitalize on spring break & the "no school/work" situation cuz MONEY.
As a former employee who quit because of the inhumane treatment, I didnt expect y'all to stoop this low but Im also not surprised by it. pic.twitter.com/jK8NTJKUhg
— тαℓєѕ σf cσσkíє 🎮 #Onimusha 🐉 (@ArcanaLegacy) March 19, 2020
This is garbage. We’re in a pandemic. By staying open, you’re endangering your staff, your customers and the rest of the general public.
— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) March 20, 2020
Close your stores you absolute monsters.
— Rob DenBleyker (@RobDenBleyker) March 19, 2020
Again, it remains to be seen if the continued pushback on social media will be enough to trigger a stance change, though the future looks bleak for GameStop whatever the outcome. Despite numerous attempts to remain relevant in a climate where digital sales are becoming increasingly popular, the inevitable economic impact of the Coronavirus will likely spell doom for the company regardless.
Closing sooner rather than later is the wiser decision here, but it remains to be seen if common sense prevails. Watch this space for more.