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The Camelot GameStop Chronicles Part 2: Whistleblowers, Fraud, and Mistreating Staff

Camelot GameStop

A YouTuber by the name of Camelot331 has been covering accusations of immoral and illegal activities conducted by GameStop employees and corporate staff for over a year. This is his story.

Last time we discussed Camelot’s first video, detailing his time working at GameStop for 11 years, where he allegedly saw many suspicious activities. He later quit, after false accusations made against him were inconclusive, despite Human Resources finding no one to corroborate the claims.

Camelot continued to produce videos, fueled by current and former GameStop staff providing him information on their own experiences [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40].

In these videos, Camelot elaborated upon yet more of his own experiences, and shared the stories of others. These included more allegations of shady and immoral practices, poor business decisions, signs GameStop would soon fold, and drawing attention to news stories related to GameStop.

Due to the sheer number of accusations, we will be categorizing the allegations based on their nature. Some of these allegations do fit into multiple categories, some that will be featured in later articles.

This article will focus on accusations of Mistreating and Defrauding Customers, Mistreating Staff, and Firing Staff Under False or Dubious Pretenses. These accusations included:

 

Mistreating and Defrauding Customers

  • Using the staff bathroom to store products.
  • GameStop allegedly having a policy of selling the demo display consoles as pre-owned “for full price.” This was despite the fact they were likely to have always been on for several years, and would likely break shortly thereafter. “When I worked in the store,” Camelot states, “We didn’t turn these machines off for like a year. […] If there was a tornado, the tornado was the only guy that turned these off.” The other parts of the demo unit had to be destroyed (including smashing the screen, and cutting the cable on controllers).
  • Over 100 individuals allegedly confirmed to Camelot that GameStop began to make it a company policy to push reservations even harder, and unnamed higher management (but not corporate staff) have encouraged misleading customers, and to “act like a used car salesman.” This would include lying about a game’s content.
    • One District Manager encouraged staff to talk about the positives of pre-owned games, but not their cost. This was in addition to omitting that a brand new copy may be cheaper, or even exist.
  • A District Manager allegedly sent an email to at least one store encouraging them to defraud and lie to customers. The email (below) stated the following in a highlighted segment:

GameStop Camelot

“Do not tell a guest that they have DEPOSIT money from new titles launched- (not picked up) to cancel a reserve and roll over to get money off their sale!”

    • The alleged email continues. “You should only use that approach if the guest is running low on money for the sale; they asked you to look up their reservations OR you have had an authentic discussion about their interest in a title AND they will roll it over to another title!!! The guest is in your store as a matter of fact, and you should not encourage them to cancel a reserve!!!”
    • Camelot proposed this was pushed from higher-up in GameStop, as he had seen this scenario happened “in every store- ever.” He also recalls one case where a store closed, but still had $5000 worth of reserve money in their store. The reserves were then cancelled, and the money would end up going to the District Manager who would “take the envelope and disappear.” Camelot yet further claims this happened with every store closure.
    • In another video, Camelot claims that (while he was working at GameStop) whenever a store closed, all reservations would be cancelled, are then “put on Gift Cards”, and then given to the District Manager to be shipped back to corporate. Camelot does emphasize that this is legal, and that Gamestop probably made $12,000 over an unspecified period of time due to this.
  • At least one GameStop store in New York encouraged staff to ignore sale prices. The example given was that if a game was on sale for $40 when it was typically $60, staff would override the price at checkout to be $60, and “pocket the other $20 for GameStop.” That source also claimed similar was done with deposits. For example, if a game was preordered at $60, but later drops to $20, the sale is finalized at $60 with GameStop keeping the extra $40.
  • A former Store Manager was encouraged by senior staff to work off the clock (which is a fire-able offense at GameStop), enforcing preorder policies (presumably in a way that did not favor the customer, or in a selective manner), and refusing refunds for preorders without a receipt- even if the customer had ID. The employee quit shortly there-after.

 

Mistreating and Defrauding Customers – The Corporate Document & Power-Up Pro Membership

On January 7th, 2020, Camelot released a video containing an alleged corporate document from a “Corporate Associate” (Associates being part-time staff).

The document encouraged staff to lie, claim the normal Power-Up Pro Membership card no longer existed, and that it cannot grant 10% off on pre-owned games. They were also encouraged to lie about the price ($19.99 rather than $14.99), and that employees who sell more membership cards at $14.99 than $19.99 are written up.

Finally, employees were encouraged to sign up customers for a card, even if they refused. If the customer still refuses, then employees are expected to refuse service.

It should be noted the GameStop website makes no mention of the $14.99 card, and reports dating back to May 2019 showed the card’s price would increase from $14.99 to $19.99, and the 10% off pre-owned games offer was no longer part of the membership.

Speaking with Camelot, he confirmed the $14.99 card also included a digital subscription to Game Informer, while the $19.99 card included a physical subscription.

The alleged document (below) did have some differences to the claims made by the Corporate Associate. For examples, customers hesitant to buy the card are then offered the card for $14.99 card.

However, it clearly states “Guests will be automatically signed up for a player card after they have FULLY turned down the Pro membership.” Camelot claims this is so GameStop can sell private information (phone numbers and emails) to foreign companies.

GameStop

 

Mistreating Staff – Poor Treatment of Store Managers

During the annual meeting of Store Managers (also called Store Leaders), senior management would be boo’ed off stage due to terrible proposals and bad news. Senior management also stated any poor performance “fell directly on the Store Leader’s shoulders.” Over 100 managers allegedly told Camelot (most likely over several conferences) that they had handed in their two-weeks notice.

A proposal for Store Managers to have more freedom in how they ran their stores (how the store looked, or when staff worked), lasted only two weeks before senior management began to micromanage- such as where products were displayed in the store, and concern over missing ticket holders for shelves.

 

Mistreating Staff – Lack of Employee Protection & Safety

  • After the store Camelot worked at was robbed at gun-point (and was situated “literally 30 feet away from a crime-riddled area”), the District Manager allegedly rejected a request for more security at night, as it was not in the budget. The District Manager recommended if it happened again, for staff to run to the backroom- an area with only one point of entry or exit. The Regional Manager however did offer an apology to Camelot and his parents, and offered Camelot a month off work with pay. Camelot felt this was an attempt to quash a lawsuit.
    • The 87 year old security guard was allegedly at a nearby store during the time of the robbery, flirting with women.
  • A District Manager demanded Camelot apologize and offer a $100 gift card to a woman who claimed he was rude and shouted at him. The woman had repeatedly and psychotically accused him of kidnapping her son, who later turned up after he had been in another store for over an hour.
  • Camelot’s District Manager discouraged staff from calling Human Resources or anyone from corporate, telling Camelot and other staff he’d “have their ass.”
  • The District Manager would not allow Camelot to ban anyone, even those who had stolen from his store.

An alleged conversation between a District Manager and a Store Manager had the former draw a picture (below) of the “state of mind” they wanted all Associates under.

The image essentially conveyed they wanted Associates in a state of panic and stress (anxiety). This resulted in a Store Manager quitting (but not the same Store Manager in that conversation). The District Manager allegedly could “get away with anything” due to friends “deep” in the company.

GameStop Camelot

 

Mistreating Staff – Low Pay & Bonuses

CEO, CFO, and COO Rob Lloyd resigned in May 2019, after his proposed pay structure for Store Managers (which would have increased their salaries) was rejected by the later CEO George Sherman, and the board of directors. Camelot proposed that either Sherman had pushed Lloyd out (as one of the last remaining “old staff”), or Lloyd left after his proposal was rejected.

Other new senior staff (including the new Chief Merchandising Officer) had previously worked at non-gaming related outlets such as The Tile Shop, and P.F. Changs.

  • When Camelot received his ten years of service certificate (a year after he left), it included the offer of a $100 gift card for either Old Navy, or Buffalo Wild Wings. Camelot compared this to how the CEO would have made an estimated $280 million over that ten year period.
  • Instead of offering commissions or increased pay for increased sales, the Regional and Market Vice President gave a congratulatory call, and the store would get three extra hours of payroll.
  • Taking away staff bonuses nearly “every single year,” from staff.

 

Mistreating Staff – The Call of Duty Reserve Contest

One particular video focused on one Holiday Season, where a contest was held by GameStop for its employees. The Associate in each region who got the most reserves on the newest Call of Duty title the week before it launched, would have a $250 bonus (an estimated $10,000 in total between all prospective winners).

This would have meant a lot to Camelot’s Third Key (essentially a Part-Time Manager), who was working three jobs to take care of her sick mother, and little sister. She had not celebrated a holiday in years due to a lack of funds, and the contest was framed in a way it would pay for a the winner’s Thanksgiving.

In the rankings, the Third Key was in the lead nation-wide by over a dozen reserves “all legitimately,” with Camelot estimating her reserves making GameSpot around $3000 in net-profit. A week after the launch, an email revealed the pay would come after Thanksgiving.

Two days before Black Friday, another “lengthy” email from GameStop mentioned at the very end “Due to a miscalculation of Call of Duty reservation numbers, we have decided to cancel the pay out to all the associates who had won the contest.” The staff and Camelot paid the Third Key the $250 out of their own pockets.

In addition, Activision had gifted money to GameStop (on a Monday) to allocate 8 more hours of staff work to every store. Despite a record week for GameStop, on the Thursday GameStop announced they were cutting back 8 hours from every single store by the end of the week.

 

Mistreating Staff – Sexism and Racism

Both Camelot and a former female employee who had been fired, confirmed that their District Manager would pay female Store Managers less than male Store Managers who had just started.

They claim new male Store Managers were earning around $2.50 (presumably an hour) more than a female Store Manager who had held her position for three years at that point. He also allegedly refused to interview prospective female employees.

This same District Manager also allegedly refused to hire or promote any person of color, stating the store would have “nothing but theft.” They demanded to know who Camelot’s store would plan to hire, and when.

In one instance, Camelot hired an African-American on a part-time basis without the District Manager’s knowledge. They constantly asked Camelot “Have you fired that boy yet?” as the first thing in any phone call from then on.

Eventually the District Manager fired that employee themselves, in person for “refusing trades.” Camelot did not contact Human Resources about the District Manager, as he felt they would have done nothing, and likely got the person complaining fired.

Camelot makes the claim this occurs in “most corporations” when complaints are made against a corporate employee. Another African American with 20 years manager experience was also denied by the District Manager. Camelot also ascertains that those who attended the Manager’s conference were “almost 100% white. […] Probably 98%.”

 

Mistreating Staff – Hector

This District Manager and GameStop also (in Camelot’s words) “ruined someone’s life” over his race. This man was also hired by Camelot without the District Manager’s knowledge, and was Mexican (dubbed “Hector” by Camelot to protect his identity).

Despite being on top of the performance “leaderboard” every week for the region, Camelot’s requests to get him promoted were denied time after time. A year later, around $2,000 of merchandise was unaccounted for during an inventory check ($500 more than what would be acceptable).

The District Manager accused Hector of stealing, and stated to Camelot “I’m gonna to nail that Mexican to the wall!” After the District Manager’s investigation (wherein Camelot had to help and use the computer for him) it was discovered that Hector would use a Power-Up Card to help employees pay for purchases, when they were “a buck or two” shy.

Giving discounts to customers unjustly was against policy (though rarely enforced), and Hector was fired. The District Manager then claimed Hector had cost GameStop $1,100 in three months.

Camelot theorizes this figure was created via Hector’s work over three months, despite “98%” of his work being “legit.” Camelot proposes the figure was closer to $30.

Due to the city where the store was based in, internal theft of $1000 or more is considered a felony- something Camelot also proposes the District Manager knew.

The District Manager reported Hector to the police, and the next day he was arrested in front of customers during the Holiday season. Hector later contacted Camelot, claiming that after this GameStop pursued legal action. He was convicted of a felony.

 

Mistreating Staff – Threat of Being Fired

If senior or corporate staff were criticized for decisions that negatively affected staff (usually at the Store Manager’s meeting), they would allegedly claim staff were “lucky” to work at GameStop, and to quit if they did not like it.

One GameStop employee claimed their Store Manager had placed a Now Hiring sign outside of the store “as a scare tactic and to remind us that we’re replaceable.”

 

Mistreating Staff – Nepotism & Keeping Incompetent Staff

One source claimed an Associate who “just lies and writes bogus information in the binder” eventually managed to get into a Store Manager position, and bragged about “lying his way to the top.” Their District Manager did not care. Conversely, that store’s original Store Manager and another Associate were fired by the District Manager fired, because they refused to “lie or harass people.”

Another source, a GameStop Associate, stated their Store Manager hired a friend as an Assistant Store Manager- despite not knowing what a Senior Games Advisor was, or the difference between Pokemon or Dragon Ball Z.

They remained at the store, despite:

  • Numerous errors in front of customers and to store records.
  • Harassing and threatening behavior (such as an incident during a “store outing” where they threatened to shoot a restaurant manager because the food was “a bit late”).
  • Mocking an Associate’s mental illness and suicidal depression.
  • Lying and shifting blame over problems.
  • Manipulating others to do her responsibilities.

This was in spite of Human Resources being contacted multiple times. That same Associate also explained how the District Manager had threatened to terminate them, even knowing they were “between homes.” They were also belittling to customers and employees alike, with one incident where the new Store Manager was threatened so harshly “that he collapsed on the sales floor and almost cried.”

 

Mistreating Staff – Firing Staff Under False or Dubious Pretenses

Management were allegedly desperate to get rid of higher-paid tenured Store Managers. One Store Manager who had worked for 11 to 14 years took a “gumball prize” style figurine “that cost 25 cents” that he used to decorate the store home with them one day, and returned it the next. He was later fired for theft.

In numerous videos, Camelot ascertains GameStop implements strict rules around the time-cards to make it easier to fire individuals they want to be rid of. This was to purge higher-paid Store Managers, not pay for unemployment compared to when an employee quits, and not pay for overtime.

  • Staff were demanded to exceed in all aspects, or the threat of being fired was brought down upon staff, irrelevant of past performance.
    • One Store Manager (who had worked for the company for over 12 years, and a Store Manager for 8 and had an excellent record) passed off their own reservations as other staffs, to ensure they would not be fired. Despite the store’s “score” being above the company average, the Store Manager was fired for “not being an effective leader, and not leading by example.”
  • One store had a male Manager who would only hire female staff, attempting to create a “hot GameStop.” Many individuals would “chat-up” staff without buying anything, and even lurk around the store at closing time. The whistleblower was eventually let go for “not being friendly enough.”
  • A Store Manager was allegedly fired over time-card fraud, for starting the register before she clocked in.
  • Around early January, 2020 one source claimed GameStop wanted Regional and District Managers to “threaten and terminate anyone that isn’t BOUGHT [in]. Meaning they blindly follow Gamestop.” Even not giving the proper greeting over the phone can result in a first and final warning. The corporate office atmosphere is not much better, where everyone was “at each other’s throats” thinking they were going to be terminated. The source also claimed that 2019 had the most terminations at GameStop, with 80% listed as under-performing. One executive allegedly stated they “will get rid of everyone and replace them” if they had to.
  • Camelot would later claim that one of his former assistant managers was fired for using a $20 gift card. Six months later, he received a letter from GameStop, demanding he pay $2,500, or they would seek legal action.
  • An undisclosed senior staff member called an employee they had fired, accusing them of theft. The former employee felt they were looking for a scapegoat, and told them they did not have a case. No charges were brought against them, and the senior staff member was fired shortly after (though the reason was not stated).

 

Mistreating Staff – The New Social Media Policy

A new staff policy introduced around December 15th, 2019, though the details of the policy were not revealed. Based on others complaints, it seems as though the policy meant employees could not speak negatively about GameStop, or do anything that would put GameStop in a negative light.

Camelot proposed this was the new tactic to fire people after GameStop’s dubious time-card fraud claims had become more well known among staff. Stories of staff being fired due to their actions on social media included:

  • One Senior Games Advisor talked on Facebook about being written up due to being late for a last minute shift on Black Friday. “Wow. Added on to Black Friday last minute without notice and was wrote up for being late for a shift I didn’t even know about. Gamestop just keeps getting worse…” Their Store Manager commented on the status “I tried calling you. Enjoy your write up”. Later, that employee was fired by the District Manager for violating the new policy, but the Store Manager (and other employees who also talked about GameStop on social media, complaining about customers) received no punishment.
  • A Store Manager of nine years was terminated for a picture on Instagram. The photo allegedly showed the employee celebrating graduating from college with friends, and drinking a beer while their GameStop employee shirt was still on. It also included the GameStop promotional hashtag “PowerToThePlayers”. When that employee’s store was closed two weeks later, she was terminated over the post and did not get her severance pay or unemployment pay. When they stated they thought they were supposed to post and be involved with the community, the District Manager responded “not like this.”
    • Rather than promote someone into the Store Manager position, the store was later closed, so no employees working there would get a pay out.
  • On November 26th, 2019, Twitter user “Remnoct” tweeted the following: “GameStop employee here. AVOID the Black Friday Mario Kart Nintendo Switch bundle. Nintendo is making stores move OLD stock. These are OLD models with a much lower battery life than the NEW models. We at GameStop normally don’t even sell the old models new. Please be informed.” A later tweet also showed the differences in packaging between the old and new models. The tweet achieved 15,000 retweets. They later revealed they were not asked to come in on Black Friday, and were subsequently “let go” on December 2nd, 2019. Renoct spoke to Camelot, but no new information was revealed.

The alleged full social media policy was sent to Camelot (below), and revealed on his video on December 23rd, 2019. The alleged policy “guidelines” also encourage employees to obey the Code of Standards, Ethics and Conduct, the Non-Discrimination, and Non-Harassment policies.

The social media policy also encourages employees to “be honest & accurate” when posting information or news, and to “correct it quickly” should they make a mistake. Employees should never post anything “that [they] know” is false about GameStop, its employees, suppliers, or customers.

While the rest of the policy appears pretty standard, Camelot proposes the policy was created “within the last month” in light of employees whistle-blowing to him, especially the segment regarding maintaining confidentiality of GameStop “trade secrets and private or confidential information.”

 

 

Camelot claimed in his January 17th, 2020 that he had received “hundreds” of messages regarding poor staff morale. However, this is far from the end of the accusations.

Join us next time for The Camelot GameStop Chronicles Part 3: Poor Business Decisions, the Three Stage Plan, and Imminent Bankruptcy.

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Ryan Pearson

About

Taking his first steps onto Route 1 and never stopping, Ryan has had a love of RPGs since a young age. Now he's learning to appreciate a wider pallet of genres and challenges.