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Why GameStop Workers Can't Refuse Service If Customers Won't Wear Masks

Although GameStop has a monopoly in the world of brick and mortar video game shopping, the company has proven on more than one occasion that it has a shady side. Never has that seemed to be the case more than this year, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to a new report from Vice, it is getting more difficult for GameStop to ensure the safety of its employees and customers. 

With restrictions being lifted in many areas across the United States, it seems like GameStop has seen an uptick in business. Unfortunately, that has made social distancing a much trickier proposition than it has been previously. Also of major concern for GameStop employees is a memo that was leaked to Vice that outlines the company's approach to customers who won't wear masks while shopping in stores. 

In no uncertain terms, the memo tells employees, "Do NOT refuse service to a customer that refuses to wear a mask/face covering. Do not ask a customer to leave the store if they are not wearing a mask/face covering."

It appears there's no real safety protocol in place for when a customer comes in without a mask. Instead, the memo says that employees should "calmly ask the customer what you can assist them with and complete their transaction as quickly as possible."

Vice contacted one former GameStop employee that had left the company back in March over these very practices. The employee asked to remain anonymous so that they wouldn't risk hurting their chances at future employment. However, this person was more than willing to weigh in on how the situation came across to them.

The former GameStop employee told Vice, "No one takes anything seriously. Basically, they'll require masks unless a customer doesn't want to wear one, in which case they won't care. They're doing it for a false sense of caring, as expected."

This isn't the first time that GameStop has come under fire for its business practices in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. Earlier this year, the company attempted to keep its stores open in the face of shutdowns forced upon "non-essential" business. In a memo sent to employees, GameStop announced, "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."

Following heavy backlash against this decision, GameStop announced that it would be closing all storefronts and moving operations strictly to online sales. This announcement came after several anonymous employees spoke out against GameStop's safety regulations, as well as one instance where police officers in Athens, Georgia, had to force a store to close for not complying with public health and safety ordinances.

Not too long after this, it was reported that GameStop was going to great lengths to keep stores open where the company could. These stores ordered their employees to go through a rather unorthodox sales method: meeting customers at the door, taking their credit card with plastic bags taped to the employees' hands, and then dropping the customer's purchases into the bag and squeezing it back through the door. It was a pretty unpopular way of doing curbside business, to the point where it seems that more anonymous employees may have been behind the media finding out about this new sales tactic.

It seems as though GameStop is doing whatever it can to stay afloat during this uncertain time. After all, it was reported back in March that the company may have to close as many as 300 stores this year, so it makes sense that GameStop would be grasping at any opportunities to make sales. GameStop still maintains that the safety of its employees and customers is a main priority, but it sure seems like it's getting harder and harder for the company to stick to that. Unfortunately, it does look like money has a lot to do with a lot of these unpopular decision. 

However, on a more positive note, there is a chance that the company will be making some big changes in the near future. It does seem like GameStop may be more open to putting its foot down on the issue of masks than previously believed. 

In an update to Vice's article, it was noted that GameStop CEO George Sherman co-signed a CNN op-ed piece that called for state governors to begin making it mandatory for masks to be worn inside businesses. Sherman joins a number of other business executives who seem to have turned a corner in making sure that their employees are taken care of during this pandemic.