GameStop employees walk out and blow up the company in a farewell note

A sign posted outside a GameStop explains why the workers walked out.

Photo: Google / this person reddit / Kotaku

The GameStop in the Gateway Mall in Lincoln, Nebraska is one of the busiest, at least according to whoever ran it. But over the weekend it was closed after four employees decided to leave and never return due to what he says were poor working conditions and a verbally abusive district manager. This is the second time this year that a GameStop in the region has seen its entire staff resign in protest.

It’s no longer uncommon to walk into a GameStop and see a sign that the store is temporarily closed while employees are on lunch or bathroom breaks. Overworked and understaffed, sometimes there is only one person working in the whole store, which leaves him no other choice. On Sunday, the makeshift sign outside the Gateway Mall GameStop said something different.

“We regret to inform you that we have all resigned,” the piece of paper glued to the front door read, a photo of which was shared on Lincoln’s subreddit later that day. It continued:

Our district manager has no respect for us as employees or as human beings. Our District Manager told us that we were supposed to have this store hitting sales quotas and running perfectly 6 months ago. It was 3 months before many of us were hired. Unfortunately, despite the staff’s best efforts, we are not God.

The newspaper then listed nearby competitors, including a place called EntertainMart located elsewhere in the mall, and told potential customers to shop there instead. “Spend your money in an establishment that respects its employees [sic].”

When Kotaku called the store on Monday, someone said it would be reopening soon and asked us to contact the communications firm Longacre Square Partners, which specializes in topics such as investor relations, shareholder activism and management of crisis. A company representative declined to comment officially on the situation over the phone. They also declined to comment in writing and demanded that we not mention Longacre’s name in the story.

“For my health, I had to leave,” said Frank Maurer, the recently promoted store manager. Kotaku in a telephone interview. The stress and anxiety were so intense that he had trouble sleeping and didn’t even enjoy the games anymore. He said he only started working on it at the end of 2021, and while at first it was fun, it quickly turned into a nightmare between lack of resources and strict management quotas. To support it, Maurer said he was paid $17 an hour, only $2 more than the neighboring target’s entry rate, while his subordinates earned only $9, the minimum wage for the Nebraska.

He also claimed that he was never properly trained by the company on the new responsibilities given to him as manager, nor the resources and time to train others at the store. At one point, he said he had to work two weeks straight with no days off just to keep the store running.

“When I asked for help, I was met with silence,” Maurer said.

Then there was the district manager, whom he accused of regularly threatening and belittling staff for their “failure” to achieve impossible goals. “He was verbally abusive,” Maurer said. “He was constantly threatening people’s jobs.” Staff would be told they could be easily replaced by other middle schoolers, part of a relentless “churning and burning” mentality that Maurer says is part of why the store was struggling to live up to its unrealistic quotas. “All he sees are numbers on a computer.”

A graph shows the meteoric rise of GameStop stock over the past two years.

GameStop raised $1 billion in sales from its meme stock, but never passed it on to its frontline workers.
Screenshot: Google/Kotaku

A similar walkout sign recorded on Lincoln, Nebraska’s other GameStop earlier this year, also blamed the district manager for the mass resignation. “There have actually been four walkouts since August 2021 because of him,” a former employee wrote on Facebook. “Two at each location. The former were kept fairly quiet.

Asked about the prospect of unionizing amid huge labor spurts at Starbucks, Amazon and Apple, as well as recent efforts in the gaming industry in general, Maurer said he couldn’t. see this happen. Like every other current and former GameStop employee I’ve spoken with over the past year, he thinks turnover is too high and management is ruthless to get something like this off the ground.

While it’s always been a tough retail job predicated on harnessing employees’ passion for gaming, there’s a growing sense that turnover and burnout are worse than ever at GameStop, even though his new corporate overlords quite a pivot to crypto. Last November, employees said Kotaku that they were pushed to the breaking point during the holiday rush, and publishes daily articles on low morale and people who leave flood the GameStop subreddit.

“I left because they kicked out my old boss and the new one was brought in by the district manager from South Dakota, where he came from in a really bad way,” said another employee who recently left the job. ‘company. Kotaku on Facebook. “He was a jerk to customers and employees, when he was hired all the staff left quickly except me, I stayed until it was clear he wanted to get rid of me too. I am honestly surprised that more GameStop aren’t up to the job of workers.

Many are tired of having to harass customers about memberships and warranties like used car salesmen, and always being told it’s never enough, while random strangers online rejoice in the the success defying the market of meme stock.

“It got daunting,” Maurer said. “[Employees] hate investors. They are furious with people who invest money in this company without caring how it treats its employees.

So he decided to resign. And when the other three store employees heard he was done, they all decided to leave too, Maurer said. He would have left earlier but was afraid to walk away. “I didn’t want all my passion and effort to go to waste,” he said. But despite wasting time, he still felt “thrown away like a damp paper towel.”

“This company encourages managers to be horrible to their employees.”

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