In a viral video with over 6.3 million views as of Saturday, TikTok user Red (@redsonjattv) shares what she says it’s like to be a manager at a physical GameStop location. The outlook is not great.
“Everything’s on clearance,” she writes in the text overlaying the video. “No one comes in anymore and the corporate layoffs have started.”
@redsonjattv Other #gamestopemployees, its been a privilege. I guess im going down with the ship #retailproblems #gamestop #titanic #lesbiansoftiktok #gamer ♬ Nearer My God to Thee – I Salonisti
The pivot away from retail shouldn’t surprise anyone that’s been following GameStop. In the company’s 2021 annual report, the company claimed they were “focused on transforming into a customer-obsessed technology company to delight gamers,” which included strengthening its e-commerce presence.
In the time since, there have been major shakeups at the company including a series of layoffs, as mentioned in Red’s video. The company also appears to have recently closed a Kentucky-based distribution center.
According to RetailDive, these moves were likely made as a result of the company’s recent focus on profitability.
“Looking ahead, we have two overarching priorities: achieving profitability in the near term and driving pragmatic growth over the long term,” CEO Matt Furlong said on a call with investors, per RetailDive. “[W]e are going to be very judicious with respect to how we allocate capital to the core business.”
On TikTok, Red’s video inspired users to share their thoughts about the halcyon days of GameStop.
“This hurts my soul,” a user wrote. “I worked at a GS as a manager for 7+ yrs back in the day and it used to be the place to be.”
“As a former Blockbuster manager, I salute thee,” another added.
Some gave reasons as to why they thought the store was apparently underperforming.
“They are unfortunately too expensive when you can buy the games cheaper on Amazon,” noted a commenter.
“Just kinda wish it was less of a merch store and more of a GAME store,” a second explained. “Used to walk in and grab one new game and like 5 used games.”
“Karma, my brother wanted to sell his DS with 12 games and offered him $30 bucks and he said ‘hell no’ and then they want to sell a used game for $20,” a third recalled.
We’ve reached out to GameStop and Red via email.
Update 1:38pm CT, Feb. 19, 2023: In an email to the Daily Dot, Red elaborated on the current status of her GameStop location.
“It was dead pre-Christmas, picked up during the holidays and then immediately died again after New Years…It even had its dead moments during the holidays too, which was odd,” she wrote. “I mean, for Black Friday we opened at 5, [and] I got there at 3 to make sure everything was set up and ready – no customers showed up until after 8am.”
Still, she says there’s been no talk of closing her location.
“I don’t know why everyone in the comments thinks [we’re closing] lol,” she continued. “Tons of GameStop stores have closed over the years and recently. Currently, there are stores going through closure in other cities/states, but the employees are being told to still push reservations for games coming out after the store will be closed. It’s a little disgusting on corporate’s part.”
She said while it wasn’t a closure for her store, they laid off over 50 district managers, an entire warehouse, a whole tech support team, and a whole customer service for the phone support without notice.
Her relationship with the job has changed over time, she added.
“I have been at GameStop since 2005 (quit twice and came back). I’ve been a manager since about 2009/2010. GameStop used to be a great job; I love the people I work with and some of my best friends are former coworkers,” she shared. “How can you not like this job? You literally sell happiness.”
“Corporate has slowly killed this company over the years beginning with the purchase of ThinkGeek and the forcing of phone trades,” she stated. “I love selling games and talking to customers about gaming. It’s my passion. However, I refuse to lie to customers and tell them they need to have xyz or tell them they need to have the membership card to get price-matching. I would much rather have a happy return customer rather than nickel-and-dime them.”
“I love helping people, creating a happy moment and making that connection,” she concluded. “It’s my dream to run a gaming store of my own one day, and I will miss GameStop when I eventually leave.”