There is a bit of confusion and even apprehension these days, especially with non-uniform and sometimes inconsistent ordinances regarding what should or should not stay open. You would think that common sense would prevail but we as a race haven’t exactly been known for that. Many states have declared that only essential retail stores should remain open. Apparently, GameStop considers itself such a critical part of life that it has reportedly instructed employees to defy law enforcers in order to stay open.
Granted, the definition of essential goods and services may vary from person to person though most will agree that food, supplies, and medicine rank at the top during these times. Given how circumstances have forced people to work from home, telecommunications and Internet service has become just as critical as well. Few, however, will probably think games are a matter of life or death to those staying at home.
GameStop apparently thinks it is. Sources have given VICE a look at flyers the game distributor handed out to employees, admonishing them to keep stores open and inform law enforcers that the store classifies itself as essential retail and should remain open even during lockdowns. Their products, the flyer says, enable and enhance customer experience in working from home. Despite the fact that they technically aren’t working if they are playing.
This leak, which GameStop has naturally not commented on yet, is just the latest PR mess that the company is facing. It has been heavily criticized for poor handling of the COVID-19 situation, especially when it comes to ensuring the safety and health of its own workers. This note probably explains why, since it puts store workers on the same level as health workers but with even less protection.
Unfortunately, GameStop customers seem to also condone the store’s business practice by continuing to line up to pick up new releases such as DOOM Eternal and Animal Crossing. Granted, shelter-in-place and quarantine orders are not uniform across the nation, making it even less effective to implement such retail store rules everywhere.