GameStop slammed over 'appalling' employee contest: 'This is an ultimate new low'

Jonathan Lee
·2 min read

GameStop hosted a TikTok contest for employees and among the prizes was a dubious reward: extra work hours during Black Friday.

The contest was posted on the GameStop Conference website, which features competitions for different rewards. One contest, called the “Incisiv TikTok Dance Challenge,” asked store managers to film dance routines with their workers.

It sounded like a fun event, but the reward has raised some eyebrows.

“The winner of the challenge will receive an Echo 8, Echo Auto, $100 VISA gift card and 10 additional labor hours to use during Black Friday week,” the contest rules stated. (thanks, TheGamer)

GameStop’s events team filmed an example for contestants to follow.

The language regarding these labor hours are cryptic, and, as Kotaku noted, GameStop hasn’t clarified the offer. Would it have counted towards overtime? Would it have counted as holiday pay? We don’t know.

Gamers on Twitter widely condemned the contest as exploitative and abusive.

“They’re literally making the working class dance for the right to put food on the table,” one user wrote. “This is an ultimate new low.”

“This is absolutely appalling,” another user tweeted. “You want your employees to advertise for you for the privilege to work more hours for you? GameStop can’t die soon enough.”

Related: GameStop closing more stores than anticipated

And this isn’t the first time GameStop has sparked controversy this year. When the United States announced the national COVID-19 quarantine in March, GameStop declared itself as an essential business, to the outrage of its own employees. The retailer closed all its stores later in the month following backlash.

As the United States suffers yet another spike in coronavirus cases, Black Friday is sure to be a fraught environment for GameStop workers. Fall is always the busiest season in video games, but this year’s Black Friday is primed to be especially chaotic.

With the Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 both releasing this year, eager customers are going to be swarming retailers in a shopping spree that could result in another explosion of COVID-19 infections.

GameStop creating a contest for tired, unsupported workers to compete for more working hours is not putting forth a very good look.

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If you enjoyed this story, check out In The Know’s article on how Cyberpunk 2077’s development has been plagued with disturbing allegations of labor abuse.

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