At this point, people should ask, “what isn’t canceled?” From movie releases to conventions and now GameStop midnight release events; it’s hard to find anything going on as scheduled.
While business closures are expected in the time of the coronavirus outbreak, a pure shit show is slowly breaking loose at one of the biggest gaming retails in the country.
But first it started with a cancellation…
Gamers expecting to attend GameStop’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Doom Eternal midnight release events or GameStop in general will now have to make other plans.
Hello, digital download!
GameStop will be canceling midnight release events for the foreseeable future and shutting down demo stations in their stores.
Until further notice, late night launch events are suspended, to maintain the health and safety of our guests and associates, it is best that we avoid situations where large numbers of guests are gathered indoors or standing in line.
GameStop stores will also shutdown demo stations, start implementing a twice-hourly hand-washing mandate and instruct associates on ways to clean the Verifone payment terminals.
It makes you wonder what were they doing before these guidelines were implemented.
While cleaning a store to help prevent the spread of this killer virus is a good thing, once you dive deeper into what GameStop is asking its employees do, you’ll soon realize nothing makes sense and management has left its underpaid staff to fend for themselves.
Welcome to the Coronavirus Games! The loser gets sneezed on.
According to employees, (first reported by Kotaku) necessary sanitation supplies are still not being provided. Instead, employees have been asked to source cleaning products locally like hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, and toilet paper…during a pandemic where all essential items are sold out. Hell, New York City has to make its own hand sanitizer.
In a memo sent this morning:
Recently, stores were informed that a cleaning supplies package would be provided to include hand sanitizer, among other items. Unfortunately, the source from which [GameStop] was prepared to purchase these supplies was ultimately unable to fulfill the order, and stores should not expect to receive a shipment of hand sanitizer solution for several weeks. Instead, all stores will be receiving an additional supply of hand soap.
Employees were recommended to purchase “any necessary cleaning supplies from local businesses,” with an assurance that GameStop would cover the costs. It did not include recommendations on what employees should do if they could not procure these supplies.
The company told its workers if they themselves or someone they knew became sick, they should stay home. However, it came with no clarification on how it would impact their sick days, but two employees told VICE Games they’re currently being forced to use existing personal time off, vacation, or sick time, and there is no emergency pay being offered.
The company recommends they “not report to work for 14 days.”
But wait, there’s more clusterfuckness!
If you’ve been watching the news, you know about the importance of “social distancing” aka “flatten the curve;” where everyone must stay away from each other (which is why many businesses and all of Italy are closed).
According to the CDC, it is recommended people are at least six feet away from one another (also please sneeze into your arm). This is not possible in GameStop stores which are constantly overcrowded and filled with employees trying to sell you games you don’t need or trying to not give you the money you do need when you exchange a game.
GameStop is also where you take your time and browse the shelves (yes touching every damn game cover). The beauty about GameStop is that a “quick trip to pick up a game” soon turns into the local hangout spot where people talk about everything from Animal Crossing to Call of Duty to Disney Infinity (rest in peace to the fallen franchise).
In the memo sent this morning, the company said it was “best to avoid situations where large numbers of guests are gathered indoors or standing in a line,” but again doesn’t say how employees should go about doing this. Even more confusing, employees should only allow 10 people in the store, “including store personnel.”
As you can see this is all a hot mess and probably, for now, gamers should stick to digital downloads until everything can be properly sorted out. It’s time people start caring for one another and staying safe and healthy; by the look of things, GameStop isn’t doing this.
Where is Reggie Fils-Aimé when you need him? Oh, under quarantine…