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GameStop made the news once again for firing a store manager after $5,000 worth of PlayStation 5’s were stolen from the store. While the specific reason has not been announced, it is believed that it was for not training the employee on proper store procedure. However, the employee, who was robbed at gunpoint, was left in the store alone due to nationwide staff layoffs and shift cuts which leaves the store more vulnerable.

Following the firing of the manager, a number of employees at the branch walked out. The store ended up closed with a note left on the door for customers. It read, “GameStop overworks and underpays! They don’t care about their employees! I quit! Power to the players!” The anger of this former employee is echoed by many others who work there, complaining of similar issues.

If you go to the GameStop reddit it is full of similar tales. There are people who were promised promotions and then had their hours cut. A 19-year-old new recruit who was left alone to manage the store without proper training. And someone who was told there were no hours for them, being refused unemployment as the company claims they quit.

The subreddit functions as a sounding board for disgruntled employees. Some are asking for tips from others, others are complaining about difficult customers, however, the majority of complaints are about the executives in GameStop HQ. The complaints revolve around the numbers focus of the company. Putting importance on sales figures over the people working there. While employees try to build a rapport with customers hoping for repeat custom, GameStop is pushing them to bully buyers into unwanted sales.

One of these metrics is the ‘conversion rate’. This is the number of people who come into a store compared to the number who make a purchase. Employees obviously have no power over this, and it’s not uncommon for a group to come into a store for a single purchase. There are also those who browse and plan to come back later. But these people hurt employees, as GameStop only wants people to enter the stores if they intend to buy.

GameStop offers a below-average hourly wage, and is known to cut work hours without notice, but it still manages to hook in game-fanatic employees who want to work around games every day, and interact with people who want to buy them. However, this is no longer enough as people start celebrating their “promotion to guest”, meaning that they quit. This is met with a wave of congratulations by other GameStop former and current employees.

It’s not the stifling metrics, the low pay, and the minimal hours that are forcing all of the employees to quit. There are some that genuinely fear for their lives in an effort to protect the store, or suffer GameStop’s wrath. In comments, a former employee recounts how they were held at gunpoint while the store was robbed in 2013. When the higher-ups arrived, instead of asking about their welfare, they wanted them to sign a form that said that they could be held liable for the robbery. Talking about the incident they said, “I had more hatred for him than the guy who shoved a gun in my back.”

Another talks about being left alone in a store as someone pointed a gun and stole the majority of the money from the cash register. They didn’t make the morning deposit as there was only $4 left, and instead included it in the deposit at the end of the day. Later a loss prevention manager arrives and chews them out for not depositing company money. They were apparently worried more about the $4, than the safety of its employees.

The final example I want to highlight is of a female employee who was being harassed by a customer. The man would send disgusting messages to her on social media and come to the store just to watch her. She reached breaking point when her car was broken into at work and personal items were stolen. After this incident, she filed a police report and restraining order. Since then her hours have been cut and supervisors refuse to talk to her, except for an ominous meeting to discuss “big changes”.

GameStop’s profits have been plummeting, so much so that investors began taking out short stocks against them. People rode the wave of the meme raising stock prices to levels not seen in years, but that joke has long since had its last laugh. Working with games only offers so much enthusiasm, and this is quickly sucked away by corporate standing on the necks of the people who work there. High employee turnover is the death knell of a dying business. Treating employees like humans instead of money-making robots, would be the first step towards survival.