GameStop Says It's "Essential Retail," But Closes Stores In California

GameStop considers itself "essential retail" and would like managers to state as much if authorities come to shut them down.

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Update: Despite a note to managers to remain open even in defiance of local authorities, the retail chain has reportedly shut down its retail stores in California, via Kotaku. This follows after California Gov. Gavin Newsom issuing a statewide order to stay at home. The note from GameStop announcing the California closures says it will remain "as we obtain more information from the California Governor’s Office." The original story follows.

GameStop has issued a memo to its stores instructing them to remain open during the coronavirus outbreak, even if that policy defies state orders. According to the note, if authorities attempt to shut down the games retailer by deeming them "non-essential," managers are to respond that the company views it as "essential retail." The instructions included a flyer to hand to law enforcement in case the need arises.

Vice reports that the memo was verified by five employees. The retail chain's reasoning is that it sells products that are helpful during this time when customers are being ordered to maintain social distancing. (Note that GameStop sells more than just video games.) However, continuing to remain open at all runs contrary to social distancing, and employees will need to interface with several customers, posing a potential public health risk.

"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 memo states. "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."

Though many states have issued guidance for citizens to practice social distancing and avoid large crowds, a few like Nevada, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey have issued orders to shut down non-essential businesses. Some retailers have announced temporary shutdowns voluntarily, but GameStop has planned to remain open. This comes during a big week for the industry with the dual launches of Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Doom Eternal. To mitigate crowds, the retailer canceled midnight launch events and staggered its sale dates for each game, going so far as to begin selling Doom a day early.

Shortly after the internal memo made the rounds online, GameStop published a list of action it's taken to reduce risks.

  • Instituting multiple social distancing practices in our stores, such as only allowing 10 customers in our stores at any given time
  • Following CDC recommended guidelines to adopt in-store line management practices that creates a 6-foot parameter between customers in checkout lines
  • Reducing our store hours of operation to 12-8 PM, which will be in place until Sunday, March 29th
  • Rolling out delivery @ door service to allow customers to pick up their purchases at the front door of our US store locations
  • Suspending temporarily our video game and consumer electronics trade-in practices until Sunday, March 29th
  • Postponing all gaming events and midnight launch activities until further notice
  • Disabling temporarily all interactive gaming stations in our stores
  • Encouraging customers to leverage our online ecommerce capabilities and direct deliveries to their homes from our warehouses or stores
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Pupchu

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In what absurd reality are video games considered "essential"?!

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locke90

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@Pupchu: yeah im the same I love gaming but hey there are more important things to worry about atm

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Notafan

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while I like the Ideal of capitalism. I do however understand the ideal of taking advantage of a public emergency. Now with that said I do not condone this type of business model for no reason whatsoever. This does feel slimy and greedy all the same time but if you are a serious gamer that doesn't buy digital games I guess you have don't have many options.

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uninspiredcup

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If you want to see what evil looks like, this is it.

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GalvatronType_R

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Any shred of sympathy I had for GameStop is gone. GS needs to go out of bidness STAT.

Even before this current mess, there were reports that stores weren’t getting the disinfectant supplies that GS promised (GS lied) and that managers had to clean using supplies from their own homes. All because the old, fat, greedy white men who own and run GS want a few more dollars to add to the millions they already have.

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Proxima1025

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@GalvatronType_R: Why did you have to use the colour of people? All people have the capacity for greed, its not exclusive to white people!

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nedrith

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Edited By nedrith

So let's see what alternatives there are to this "essential" business:

- Digital games/streaming games

- Delivery services for games.

- re-playing old games

- TV shows/Movies/Streaming whatever

- Calling a friend or family and talking.

There are plenty of other things to do at home that won't put you in contact with others. I can guarantee that their is no way gamestop is going to be able to enforce a 6 foot social distancing at all of their stores.

Reducing store hours only encourages more people to be at the store at once when they have less options for when to arrive.

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Chubby170

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Good for them. The government is going to cause millions of people to have serious money issues with this lockdown garbage.

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nedrith

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@chubby170: Thank god those now dead people won't have money problems.

There are several bills going through congress to give people money and other forms of relief. Take advantage of them!

Use all the extra time you will have to call your representatives and push them to do more. Don't put more people at risk.

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Chubby170

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@nedrith: They are a joke. Joint couples making 75k or less get $1,200. Wow, thats goin to help.

And lets not be dramatic. The mortality rate is dropping as more cases arise. OMG, if i get it I only have a 98.6% chance of living!!! OMG!!

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MigGui

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@chubby170: you’re putting your own health in consideration when a country needs to put everyone’s. Normal rate of contagion is 2.5 people per infected person (during the first 5 days of getting infected), meaning in 30 days this first case generated 406 new cases. Reducing that in half (1.25 person per infected person) decreases 30-day exposure to 15 people. Your rate of survival stays in 98.5%, but in the first case you indirectly caused 6 deaths, in the second you caused 0.2 deaths.

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Chubby170

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@MigGui: It doesnt matter if only maybe 1 in 10 even show symptoms and a very high percentage wont be severely affected. Its like locking down for a cold or flu. It ludicrous.

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MigGui

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Edited By MigGui

@chubby170: it's a hundred times more violent than a flu, countries in europe basically have no space in hospitals anymore, people will die of other causes because of how many people are occupying beds in hospitals on the verge of dying from this "flu".

Also, please remember that influenzas already wiped out large chunks of humanity in the past. A hundred years ago, the spanish flu killed tens of millions of people and infected a quarter of the world's population. Every year, the regular flu kills 500k people with a fatality rate of 0.03%, by infecting 11% of the world's population. Imagine how insane it is to ignore a "severe flu" 100x more potent than this up to the point that it reaches the same range of people infected.

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Chubby170

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@MigGui: lol 100x worse than the flu is nonsense. Lets not be so dramatic.

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Avatar image for MigGui
MigGui

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@chubby170: A flu has a kill rate of 0.01 to 0.03%, covid has a kill rate of 1.5%, that's a hundred times worse. With a similar rate of infection. That's not drama, it's statistics.

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Chubby170

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@MigGui: ahh touche!

Sorry, Im just not that worried. Seems to mainly be seriously affecting older people.

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MigGui

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@chubby170: then think of this as “locking down to save the elderly and sick”, instead of “locking down for a flu”. Even if you’re not in the group of the most at risk, society is not made to conform to your needs...

I’m not worried either. I’m 31, never been severely ill, probably won’t die of this. But I understand that this has the potential to kill millions of people and we can do very little to avoid that, so I’m willing to do it.

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Chubby170

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@MigGui:

Well, with the small percentage who will actually have serious issues with this, I dont think its worth the amount of people who will lose jobs and businesses doing so.

Great, you survived, now you cant afford to live.

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BeauTKUnfiltered

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Walmart sells games and groceries. Sorry game stop. Not this time.

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JustTheTip

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This is like the business equivalent of identifying as a different gender.

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dmblum1799

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Edited By dmblum1799

Everything, if it were logical and efficient, would be digital anyway. Having discs is like having a horse and buggy and wearing an Amish beard. They are like the Blockbuster Video of gaming. How did that work out?

By the way, I live in Zhengzhou, China, which has been in hard lock down for 2 months. They couldn't pull this nonsense here. And for 2 days straight, NO NEW CASES in China.

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Chubby170

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@dmblum1799: Digital is a complete waste. With physical, you can let friends borrow, sell when you are done with it, have it for future generations..

If everything went to digital, I would stop gaming.

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MigGui

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Edited By MigGui

@chubby170: with physical I also have to change discs every time I want to change games, and risk losing the game through scratching or misplacing the disc. Storefronts also allow you to lend your library to a friend if you’re not playing, or invite them to a session even if they don’t own the game. Having physical copies today is basically DRM, in physical format.

I also bet that gaming companies are gonna enforce more and more the “locked content” you get once when you buy the game, so that used games are less rewarding than new copies...

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Chubby170

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@MigGui: LOL! If you are scratching your games taking them in and out, you shouldnt even own the system. Bluray discs are extremely hard to scratch to the point of not working. You have to basically do it intentionally.

Ive never seen anything that lets you share digital.

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MigGui

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@chubby170: steam lets me share my whole library with friends, and play with them even if they don't own the title. I'm by no means a heavy user of console games, but I saw some news of microsoft at least willing to do the same.

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Chubby170

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@MigGui: Oh gotcha. I dont have any experience with steam. I was mainly speaking of console gaming (Playstation).

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Shmiity

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Horrible company with horrible policies. Don't worry, the entire country will be shutdown soon, anyway.

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Spartan_418

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lmao they're afraid because they know the company is close enough to death, virus or not, that if the stores close they might never be able to properly reopen

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phoenix1289

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While I somewhat agree with the sentiment the reality is that digital and delivery both exist. Brick and mortar game stores aren't essential.

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Tekcor

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What they meant to say is "we are an essentially bankrupt business."

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Wahsobe

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I agree with their sentiment but they do have an online presence. Also I hope that they allow staff to determine if they want to continue to work as they are the ones at risk.

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Chubby170

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@wahsobe: Good Point.

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kaiserdisco

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I actually really like the Gamestop near me and so do a lot of other people in my neighborhood. The people who work there are super cool and it's a great place and while I see everyone's point about how they won't close I'm glad the one by me will still do good business with the 2 releases coming out.

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DJPLACE

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this is bull **** i can't trade stuff in..... so stupid... till the 29th of this month however.

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Atzenkiller

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Man, what clowns. Yeah, nobody could possibly live without Gamestop being around to rip them off in times of quarantines. Sounds like they're just in a very bad spot and that even shutting their doors for a few weeks would lead them to bankruptcy.

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Barighm

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Struggling business refuses to close doors during what is essentially a bull market for entertainment products.

Shocking.

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LesserAngel

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Yeah, if I worked at a GameStop, guess who I'd listen to. The company that wants me to die for them by keeping the place open during a pandemic, or the State Trooper that is currently asking me politely to close the place, but will shortly stop asking nicely...

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irishplusfour

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@LesserAngel: lol what school you get your drama degree from?

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dvdjedi

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Edited By dvdjedi

@irishplusfour: LOL 😄

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LesserAngel

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@irishplusfour: Either way, this is a losing battle for GameStop. Here in Pennsylvania, electronics retail is specifically stated not to be allowed to remain open.

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Donut0389

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@LesserAngel: Fellow PA resident. Can confirm this. As of 8pm Thursday everything that isn't related to groceries, fuel, or medicine is shut down. LOVE to see Gamestop try to weasel out of that.

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Balugha

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They should just move all pre orders to deliveries.... They offer free shipping at the cost if a game anyway.

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Barighm

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@balugha: They could even process pre-orders and over the phone orders and then deliver the game to people waiting at the door. They don't have to interact with visitors aside from handling payment methods which can be wiped clean. What really causes problems with people touching all of the used games and stuff.

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