GameStop whistleblower Camelot331 has reported claims that GameStop is attempting to keep their stores open during the coronavirus outbreak, and that they lied about sending hand sanitizes to stores.
These included mistreating and defrauding customers, mistreating staff, firing staff under false or dubious pretenses, poor business decisions, and attempting to maximize profit by any means.
It even included claims that corporate and senior staff did nothing when told of sexual assault by senior store staff against employees under their care.
Based on information Camelot received, along with his own experiences, he felt GameStop would soon enter bankruptcy. He also proposed there was a “three stage plan” by corporate leaders.
This would involve doing whatever it took to increase the stock value of the company in the short-term (including closing stores and firing staff) before liquidating the company or filing for bankruptcy.
Now, Camelot’s latest video contains claims from current GameStop staff that the corporate office has lied in their press release, regarding their preventative measures for the coronavirus outbreak.
The press release stated the following, with Camelot focusing on the first two steps GameStop claimed they would take:
“We have assembled an internal COVID-19 taskforce dedicated solely to this issue and have instructed our associates to follow the procedures and guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help stem the spread of COVID-19.
In response, GameStop is taking the following steps:
- We are providing all our stores with the necessary supply of disinfectant materials and hand sanitizer to frequently clean high-touch surfaces to kill germs and ensure our stores are a safe environment for both our customers and store associates.
- All associates have been instructed to stay home if they are sick and are experiencing any flu-like symptoms related to COVID-19, no matter how mild, and until they have been cleared by a medical professional to return to work.
- We want to remind all customers to consult the CDC for COVID-19 symptom information and request that you follow recommended self-quarantine guidelines if you are experiencing any flu-like symptoms, no matter how mild. You can visit GameStop.com or the GameStop mobile app to make your video game purchases from the comfort of your home.
As we all adjust to the new precautionary measures that everyone is taking to help prevent the spread of this virus, we want to reassure you that your safety and well-being continues to be our top priority.”
However, sources within GameStop have claimed to Camelot that these measures are a lie. In summation, various sources claim GameStop sent out no hand sanitizers, never intended to do so, and the company attempting to keep their stores open during the outbreak by abusing legal loopholes.
One alleged store manager claimed to Camelot they had received no hand sanitizer, and were told to buy their own.
“They promised they sent us hand sanitizer but in reality they told the store leaders to just ‘go buy some’ … well I went to every store near us and couldn’t find a single bottle of hand sanitizer. Plus I’m broke and anything we buy for the store needs to be expended out for the next paycheck so even if I found some I’d be going into the negative just to get my employees their basic sanitary needs.”
They also claimed they could not order hand sanitizer from their store supplies either. Camelot also claims he had received “about 40 messages” with the same claim.
They even claimed that due to the store not having enough staff to cover those who are sick, even sick employees must work (such as the store manager themselves). However, other sources claimed staff with symptoms of the coronavirus were sent home.
An assistant store manager claimed that their district manager told them to keep their store open- despite the order from the local government of Pennsylvania to go into “lockdown.” If police attempted to close the store, they were allegedly told to tell the police to refer to their legal department.
They claim that any staff sent home for being sick would still be written up, and even fired.
“He said that this is a good time to capitalize on other businesses being closed. We don’t have any cleaning supplies like they promised and if we send someone home for having symptoms they STILL receive write ups and can be fired for it.”
[…] “If police show up to shut us down we are told to refer to our legal department and refuse to lose. This is getting so insane. I did not sign up for this.”
They also claimed they received no hand sanitizer.
Another assistant store manager claimed to be in a similar situation. Their state governor had ordered all non-essential businesses to shutdown. However, the district manager allegedly told staff to keep the store open and “just wash our hands and wipe down the store when [business is] slow.”
However, most of the cleaning supplies are allegedly back ordered, with no sign of when they will arrive. This situation is the same for “numerous stores throughout the company.” When asked what to do, the district manager also allegedly told them to buy cleaning supplies themselves.
That source concluded with the claim that a company wide email told them that they were monitoring the situation, but also “told us that we are not to speak to any news outlet that tries to contact us with questions about how the company is dealing with this situation.”
An alleged district manager claimed to Camelot that during a regional call, the company discussed “taking advantage” of the outbreak, by taking more tech trades. While many district managers expressed concerns, superiors demanded that the tech trades would not halt.
GameStop’s obsession with tech trades (accepting old phones, allegedly even if they were stolen, repairing them if needed, then allegedly selling them overseas at an inflated cost) was one of many claims in our editorial series on Camelot’s videos. Some sources claimed this was the only way GameStop was still in business.
The regional call also allegedly confirmed that staff are expected to continue working, even if a colleague catches the coronavirus. This had allegedly had already happened.
“They will not shut down a store if they can avoid it. Even if an associate has come down with the virus, which has happened by the way. They expect associates from another location to come in, clean the location and re-open. This is mind-boggling.”
District managers were also told they were “not allowed to email anyone about the coronavirus issue. Everything HAS to happen though voice calls.”
Camelot then spoke to his “corporate contact,” an alleged source from within GameStop’s corporate office. The source claimed to Camelot that GameStop had no intention to send out the hand sanitizers.
They claim that GameStop saw the outbreak as an opportunity to be the only retail store open during the crisis. They also claimed that while staff who had “come down with symptoms of the virus” had been sent home, the store remains open with all other staff still working.
“We had a meeting and basically it boils down to this. Gamestop is looking at this as a good thing. To be the only retail store open during this crisis. They released a press release claiming to be sending out cleaning kits and what have you. They actually had no intention on sending them out. At all.
We have had associates come down with symptoms of the virus. They are then sent home and the store just continues being open after that associate has been in contact with that store staff. So any customer going in that store is at threat. Gamestop will indeed keep that store open.”
The corporate source’s recommendation to hold off on tech trades for the foreseeable future (due to fear of the phones being contaminated) was “instantly shot down. We will continue taking trades regardless of the situation. Even if someone with the virus trades it in. The associates have to take them.”
The source also claimed that they had been issued a statement to not leak the information of the lack of hand sanitizes and other information to “anyone on youtube […] or in the press.”
“Gamestop doesn’t want anyone knowing that they are trying to profit off of this disaster at the risk of lives of their associates.”
To bypass the issue of their stores being non-essential, GameStop CEO George Sherman allegedly “labeled” the company as purely electronic, thereby making it an “essential” business.
Any pressure to close a store from government or authorities will allegedly be met with threats of legal action “directly against the local government or higher. […] Gamestop plans on suing anyone who tries to attempt to force them to close.”
Finally, the corporate source claims that if GameStop closes “even for a week or two. They will have to file for Chapter 11 [bankruptcy]. So they are refusing.”
Camelot harshly condemned GameStop, recommending all stores be closed, and all associates be paid during that time. He then compared to how the executive staff were most likely not in the corporate office, but safe at home.
This includes the postponement and cancellation of GDC and E3 2020 respectively. At this time, Gamescom 2020 is still being prepared, with organizers monitoring local regulations and the virus’ spread.
The Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering are mapping the virus’ spread [1, 2]. As of this time of writing, there have been over 200,000 confirmed cases worldwide, and over 8,200 deaths. Over 82,000 people have made a “total recovery.” On March 11th, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak “can be categorized as a pandemic.”