A great many things in life are essential, but video games certainly aren’t one of them. Not even close.
With the Coronavirus pandemic showing no signs of coming to an end anytime soon, governments around the world are following suit in locking down all non-essential businesses, with only the likes of supermarkets and pharmacies remaining open for, well, obvious reasons. US chain GameStop, however, believes it has every right to remain open during the outbreak, with the retailer considering itself an “essential” service.
In a memo distributed to stores, the company is requiring that managers present documents to police informing them of GameStop’s decision to remain open as a means of providing necessary entertainment for folks who are currently working from home. In an effort to reassure visitors that it’s taking the proper steps to ensure the safety of staff and customers alike, the following notice has been released.
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In disbelief at the perceived gross negligence on show, the internet has reacted with fury over GameStop’s stance, condemning it for prioritizing profits over the safety of employees and the public.
— Justin “Hoops” McElroy (@JustinMcElroy) March 19, 2020
Fuck @GameStop forever. I will never set foot in one of their stores or do any kind of business with them again. Hurry up and die.
— Gary Whitta (@garywhitta) March 19, 2020
@GameStop can ye just get a fucking grip and close the stores. I swear I'm gonna just buy digital if ye stay the fuck open
— JodywanKenobi (@JodyWannKenobi) March 20, 2020
Game stop, you should be ashamed. Never buying there again!https://t.co/EC6aAJMHT6
— wintermyst (@wintermyst) March 20, 2020
Some have been quick to point out that games are readily available online as digital downloads, making traditional stores far from “essential.”
GameStop refusing to close stores in the event of a lockdown is putting the health & safety of staff and customers at risk
Brick & mortar is not essential. Especially when online retail + digital exists
GS just wants to cash in on new launches + maintain its recent sales boost https://t.co/20vZ3RyICf
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) March 19, 2020
Hey @GameStop, please start caring about human lives over short-term profits. You're endangering your employees and all of your customers. Or, if it's still safe, go ahead and put CEO George Sherman and the rest of the executives behind the counter for a week. https://t.co/qLMkeOSTdX
— Ben Hanson (@yozetty) March 19, 2020
I can almost guarantee that when/if GameStop is finally forced to shut its doors, they will spin it as a decision they made for the safety of their employees and customers. They won't mention everything they did up to that point.
— Sterling! (@JimSterling) March 19, 2020
of course Gamestop would short change you the value of trading in on human lives https://t.co/b4EmBtiIbJ
— David Dennis Jr. (@DavidDTSS) March 19, 2020
Someone tell GameStop that video games can be purchased online in digital form and that they're not essential retail at all, especially relative to the safety of the employees at risk here. https://t.co/vn4Vm0ccvr
— Ryan McCaffrey (@DMC_Ryan) March 19, 2020
Will the overwhelmingly negative response on social media be enough to make GameStop realize the error of its ways? That remains to be seen, though with the brick and mortar business already struggling to stay afloat in a climate where physical game sales are becoming less relevant, any potential closures will likely be the final nail in the coffin. Judging by the above reactions though, it’s a loss that certainly wouldn’t be mourned.
Want to have your own say? Be sure to let us know what you think of the contentious issue in the usual place below!