GameStop won't close stores because they are 'essential' during coronavirus pandemic

Gamestop Store
Gamestop Store (Image credit: Shutterstock)

What you need to know

  • The COVID-19 (coronavirus) global pandemic has shut down stores across the country.
  • GameStop is remaining open because it considers itself an 'essential' business.
  • Employees are told to turn away law enforcement attempting to close down the stores.

And the award for "Worst Company During a Global Pandemic" goes to.... GameStop. The video game retailer is keeping its stores open during lockdowns and quarantines despite the health risks because it considers itself an "essential" business. Kotaku reports that employees have been instructed to turn away any law enforcement attempting to shut down the stores and direct them to GameStop's corporate office number.

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.

The document mentioned above is a list of GameStop's policies and contact information for its corporate office.

The "essential" products that it's carrying? Well, GameStop considers items like webcams, microphones, mice, keyboard, monitors, chargers, and audio equipment to be essential for people working from home during this pandemic. It's a flimsy excuse at best, and downright shameful at worst. We all know no one goes to GameStop for those items. They're going to buy video games.

Many people see this as a last ditch effort to save a sinking ship, but it's incredibly dangerous. Even after local governments urged GameStop to close and the company received criticism online over its decision, it actually doubled down on calling itself an essential business.

While GameStop is best known as a provider of gaming and home entertainment systems, we also offer a wide array of products and devices that are important to facilitate remote work, distance learning, and virtual connectivity. As millions of Americans face unprecedented challenges adapting to virtual learning, working and interaction, there is significant need for technology solutions and we are one of many providers of these products that are remaining open at this time. Schools, businesses and families are now suddenly dependent on being able to connect through technology. While there are many businesses and organizations far more critical than ours, we believe we can have a positive impact during this very challenging time. The health and safety of our employees and customers is of utmost importance and we have and will continue to take extensive precautions consistent with CDC guidelines. We are complying with all state, county, city and local ordinances and we will continue to adjust to any future developments.

Maintaining its position that it's an essential business like that of grocery stores, pharmacies, and medical centers is deplorable. Unfortunately, it looks like GameStop is willing to risk its customers' and employees' safety for money.

Just so we're all clear, you probably shouldn't shop at GameStop again. Ever. I know I won't.

Jennifer Locke

Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life, and is very happy Xbox is growing a stronger first-party portfolio. You can find her obsessing over Star Wars and other geeky things on Twitter @JenLocke95.