The widespread panic and danger posed by the COVID-19/coronavirus is nothing to scoff at. With the postponement and cancellation of events such as GDC 2020 and E3 2020, the wider community is in agreement that the safety of everyone is of utmost importance. However, for the entity known as GameStop (which includes EB Games), those concerns just do not apply.
Game does not stop
In a memo put out by the corporate office, stores have been asked not to comply with law enforcement. That essentially means that GameStops will remain open despite COVID-19 quarantines. Store employees were also provided with a flier to give law enforcement, directing them to contact the head office through a corporate number.
Not only are the employees placed at risk, but the customers that walk through the doors as well. The kicker is the logic behind this move. GameStop views itself as “essential retail,” and should thus remain open for the masses.
“Due to the products we carry that enable and enhance our customers’ experience in working from home,” the memo read, “we believe GameStop is classified as essential retail and therefore is able to remain open during this time.”
EB Games in Toronto is serving as an extreme example of the store staying open. With both Doom Eternal and Animal Crossing: New Horizons launching just yesterday, lines were seen outside the stores. This is despite Toronto Public Health urging all nonessential businesses in the city to close to help prevent further spread of the virus.
— Brandon Gonez (@brandongonez) March 20, 2020
Both GameStop and EB Games Canada Twitter accounts have put out statements that they are creating safe environments.
We are working diligently during this unprecedented time to provide our customers & associates with the safest environment possible. Please see below for details on new changes we are enacting & click here for our full statement: https://t.co/qP9jDQUmjs pic.twitter.com/d99kxviz7Q
— GameStop (@GameStop) March 19, 2020
— EB Games Canada 👾 (@EBGamesCanada) March 19, 2020
Regardless, while we cannot deny that the demand for physical games is there, safety should always come first. Even at the cost of profits, that should be what everyone is working towards now. Although this will likely give GameStop a short-term profit boost, the goodwill lost might cost them so much more. Then again, the company is on a long-term decline that suggests it is not long for this world anyway.