It was in the news today that all the employees in a Lincoln, Nebraska mall’s Gamestop walked out en masse, leaving a really great sign out front. On it, they gave customers better places to go for their games.
According to the employees, a lot of things that were just entirely out of their pay grade were put on them. And these expectations that were put on them were frankly impossible to achieve.
This is being talked about all over right now because, once again, this is a shining example of just how poorly GameStop treats its employees. So I’m not going to talk about this situation more than I just have, but I want to talk about something else. You. Specifically, if you’re a GameStop employee.
I was a GameStop employee. In fact, on and off I put in an embarrassing amount of time. When I started, one of my first employee shirts was one with a blocky Cloud Strife on the back and a due date for when the original Final Fantasy 7 was supposed to come out. In my final year, we had just started to sell the Final Fantasy 7 remake.
The specific store I worked at, in Garfield Heights, Ohio, was my final store. And when I left, pretty much everyone else there left as well.
I couldn’t deal with it anymore. With how much time I put in I was making about 3-4 bucks more than the minimum wage and I remember being told I shouldn’t expect any more raises at my position because I’d be making more than the people in the rank higher. And somehow that would be bad for morale.
My hours were all over the map, which was really difficult as I had just had a second child and my first was still really young. And despite the lack of pay and position, I was being given the constant expectation of someone in marketing, maintenance, janitorial, inventory analysis, shipping and more.
I would be given a five-hour opening shift by myself. At that time I had to manage to change the prices of everything in the store before it opened. This was frequent as GameStop would slowly raise the prices incrementally so that when they held a sale they could drop it back down to the normal price and act like they pulled a magic trick. I’d have to look at a marketing book and readjust everything in the store, getting on a ladder to change displays and sometimes even move whole shelving units. If the internet or phones went down, even while customers were in the store, I had to be on the phone with tech support for upwards of an hour, while sometimes being in the back on a ladder adjusting wires attached to an ancient discount router. All the while, not allowed to lock the store despite being responsible for anything stolen while I was back there. Bathroom breaks were almost completely out of the question. Broken things had to be repaired, messes had to be cleaned, and you were not allowed to do any of it while a customer was in the store. Yet you HAD to get it done.
Additionally, unrealistic sales goals are kept over you at all times. Goals are set at an unreasonable level because they want to keep the employees in a constant state of panic. You HAVE to keep a certain percentage. And hey, if you’re in a slow store and only had four customers during your opening shift and three of them didn’t preorder, you failed 75% of your customer interactions. I had a day in which I was called into work with someone because they needed me to do inventory while the other person dealt with customers. I was written up for having a 0% success rate despite not even being called in for that. It’s punishing.
And if you thought that the billions GameStop started to make during the whole stupid meme explosion helped anyone? Nope. No one in the stores saw an increase in anything.
But that’s what GameStop strives for. Basically keeping all their employees down. This is nothing new.
I keep all my paperwork of things in case I ever want to go back and refer to them, or in the case of something right now, it makes for an interesting aside in an article. I have a review from 2015 right here by my desk that I’ve kept for a long time as a reminder never to go back because I spent so much time there that it seems tempting and I forget.
I want to show you a piece of it. See, in this review, I was being evaluated for a raise, but I never did well enough and I’ll show you while I never did.
See, in this part of the review from 2015, my manager went on and on about how I was well versed in Playstation 4 and Nintendo titles. Because of this I was building reservations and engaging positively with customers. But I lost a point here. Why? Note the part at the end of the third line: “I think this might be more so for yourself.”
They managed to take my positive interactions with customers and my positive numbers and turned it into a thing where I was just doing it for self-gain. They always tell you to “share your passion” but when it’s successful you’re actually penalized for it.
And man, when we got into the Covid-19 era, that was the final straw. People had started to die off rapidly and until plans were made the obvious thing for any company to do was to just close for a minute. Not us. We became the joke of the business world during this time. They had stores do this thing where customers paid online ahead of time and we’d get their order in a bag. When they arrived, they’d knock on a locked door, we’d get their order together, and we’d dangle their order out on a long hook pole normally used for putting clothing on high spots.
When states created regulations that all businesses were supposed to supply hand sanitizer to employees, they sent us these items, which quickly became a meme.
These bad boys got shipped to every store and were filled with PURE RUBBING ALCOHOL. It wasn’t hand sanitizer. If you poured this in your hands it ran through your fingers like water. Everyone’s hands were dry and cracked from this stuff and, as everyone was hoarding for an apocalypse, it was near impossible to find hand sanitizer for ourselves.
Oh, and during this time when we had locked doors and rubbing alcohol, you know what else we still had? SALES QUOTAS. We were still expected to drive reservations and warranties and things like that despite having no legal way to do so. The whole reason GameStop did the hook thing was that in the state of Ohio, you could only remain in service if you were “curbside. But GameStop was forcing us to sneak transactions in.
This was especially funny considering that during this time electronic stores were ONLY allowed to stay open if they sold video conferencing equipment and keyboards. This prompted GameStop to ship every store a single keyboard for sale so we could have it in our systems for legal reasons. When that was sold we never saw another keyboard in stock again.
Long story short, GameStop is a bad company. Period. It’s a small office of executives making an absolute killing off of doing the absolute bare minimum for their employees. If you don’t believe me, any time you feel GameStop is doing you wrong, ask your District Manager to text you or email you with the details. That’s when you find out that they will absolutely not put their stuff into writing.
You will, without a doubt, get a statement in which they will make it clear they will not put things into writing. This was a statement from my District Manager. When I did the math and realized I wasn’t being paid for all the time I worked. And the District Manager, who is still there to this day, kept finding excuses to avoid talking about it with me. This was actually the final situation in which I decided to just go.
And here’s the thing, leaving GameStop is really easy and you might know that. GameStop is an easy place to get into because they’ll hire literally anyone. I’ve never seen so much sexual harassment, racism, and flat-out bigotry that I’ve found there. I worked in two different stores where I found a person of a higher authority having sex with someone below them. In the corporate ladder and, at the time, physically.
And they will never accommodate your hours or pay. Hell, in one of the stores I worked at, we found out one of the managers was doing a thing where they were scheduling themselves doing closing shifts, then opening shifts, and sleeping on the ground between shifts just to save money on gas.
Speaking of pay, you’ve probably heard a million variations of “I can’t believe they pay me (X) as a manager when they start you off at $5 more an hour elsewhere.” But despite hearing it or saying it a hundred times, have you actually thought about that? You can go to those places. Right now you can go to a Target store and I PROMISE you that you can get a job with reasonable responsibility and benefits at several more dollars an hour as an ENTRY LEVEL EMPLOYEE.
So seriously, current GameStop employees, leave. All of you. Just go. It’s so much better away from there and there are so many places that will hire you in a heartbeat. Especially with GameStop considered retail experience. Consider leaving. You’re currently at the bottom of the barrel and I promise there’s nowhere to go but up.