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GameStop calls itself “essential” amid COVID-19 crisis

GameStop Closing 62 More Stores

In a baffling internal memo that was leaked today, GameStop revealed just how desperate they are to remain relevant in 2020. The ailing retail company has hit a wall and is pulling out all of the stops they can to boost sales. From driving new in-store models, all the way to defying common sense and remaining open during a pandemic, the company wants your money.

The financial suffering of video game retailer GameStop seems to have caused some severe brain rot, or at least that’s the only thing that would explain their new self-classification as an “essential” retail outlet. In a memo to staff today obtained by Kotaku, GameStop said: “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.”

The weirdest thing is that the strategy appears to be working from a financial standpoint. Multiple sources have alleged that in-store sales have shot up over the last quarter, leading to a stronger financial position. Of course, this doesn’t deal with the fact that remaining open amid a deadly pandemic is like drunk driving. The risk posed to the public with GameStop’s lack of proper sanitation and preparedness is dangerously high. Although now they can’t blame the PS5 and Xbox Series X for the inevitable slump.

The public response to this whole mess has been a mix of incredulous and dumbfounded. Many are questioning what exactly is it about games and “geek” accessories that makes them so vital during this precarious time. The company has been trying to occupy a space within games retail that has slowly been replaced by online shopping and digital distribution. And sure, people want to play video games when stuck indoors, but I doubt they want to go buy those games at GameStop if they can avoid it. Surely digital distribution can alleviate most of these problems? Because the message that brick-and-mortar retail is saved by having thousands die in an outbreak is really dire and unnecessary. Would you feel comfortable shopping with a company that felt satisfied relying on mass death to make a profit?

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