Last week, GameStop sent an email to its customers ensuring that the chain of game stores was taking the necessary precautions in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Some employees, however, shared concerns with Kotaku on the company’s ability to protect them and their customers.
GameStop’s message to consumers was that the company had assembled an internal covid-19 task force that would implement three key strategies to protect customers and employees. These included providing its 5,700 retail stores with hand cleaning and disinfectant products, instructing employees to stay at home if they were symptomatic and encouraging customers to buy products online instead of in stores.
Despite GameStop external messaging, internal documents are provided to Kotaku from a current employee show that the company is less prepared for this pandemic. Hand sanitizer is in arrears along the normal supply chain, leaving purchases to the local management, which is not always able to find it due to the shortage. Another employee says that the GameStop locations in their area have not been provided with the tools necessary to properly disinfect their stores.
“So far I have seen little or no action taken by companies and certainly have not seen any material to prevent further outbreaks,” said a GameStop supervisor who wished to remain anonymous. “My colleagues and I share a bottle of hand sanitizer that was purchased through our pockets, as well as making the most of an impoverished bottle of All Purpose Cleaner. Yesterday we just received permission to disable the console demos and my cleaning products have been tidied up for two months. As for the more immediate measures, the shops in my area have not received anything. “
“We are allowed to go out and purchase these items ourselves and make them spend,” said another employee of the GameStop store from the Bay Area of California. “At least as far as my shop is concerned, it is practically impossible to find the items we need to properly clean and disinfect the stores and keep us as safe as possible.”
“A shop completely ran out of toilet paper and had to close the toilet because supplies had responded to their email saying they weren’t shipping to stores,” said a third employee.
GameStop has not yet responded to a request for comment.
The next versions of both Animal Crossing: New Horizons is Doom Eternal this Friday are also cause for concern from employees. The supervisor said the company has not yet mentioned anything to GameStop workers about the possibility of canceling the midnight release events of the games, which can typically bring together dozens of eager customers in small commercial spaces.
The supervisor pointed Kotaku towards a long thread reddit, presumably written by another Gamestop employee, who they say is a good summary of their experience. (Kotaku was unable to independently confirm the thread’s veracity.)
With many people in social isolation and in need of entertainment, sources said Kotaku that more pedestrian traffic would have ended up in their GameStop locations. This could result in an increase in profits for a company that has seen considerable layoffs is shop closings in the last months. But the speed with which covid-19 is transmitted, even by those who don’t feel the effects, makes groups of any size a danger. The the latest guidelines by the CDC recommend that meetings of more than 50 people be canceled or postponed. This can be easily overcome during midnight launches.
“Many associates fear losing their jobs because store managers or district managers tell us internally that if we stay home and don’t provide a doctor’s note verifying that we are” a doctor ordered NOT to work, “it will be an absence. justified, “said one employee.
If you’ve already managed to burn your backlog and won’t just stay (you really should really stay put), GameStop employees ask you to know what you are getting before joining and also suggest avoiding lounging. Many people touch those games during the day and without the necessary cleaning products you never know which germs you will come into contact with indirectly.
The GameStop Performance Center, a gaming room focused on eSports located in Frisco, Texas, it will be closed until March 23rd.