The GameStop employee closes the store and never returns

One image shows a handwritten sign about an employee leaving GameStop over a photo of one of the company's stores.

Taylor Neubert did this many GameStop employees I only dreamed: resign on the spot. She’s tired of working 10 hour days alone between piles of video games and stacks POKEMON she traded for less than $15 an hour, closed her store in the middle of her shift, put a sign on the door saying GameStop doesn’t care about its employees, and he left the job forever.

“I was like I’m not getting paid anything right now, you know,” he said Kotaku in an interview shortly after it happened. “So to work those long days, and they took away our bonuses, they took away our incentives and stuff like that, I got mad at that, because I was like, I’m working all of this for a salary that barely pays my bills. in the moment and I miss hanging out with my friends and living life. GameStop has really taken a lot of that from me.”

Previously a manager, Neubert was voluntarily demoted late last year to an assistant role after becoming exhausted from running two stores at once for only $1.25 an hour more. “I was already at my wits end, I was so stressed,” he said. “I couldn’t make my employees feel appreciated because I couldn’t see them all very often because we were the only cover. And so morale was low. They were giving up.”

How to quit your job at GameStop

She decided to give her own two weeks’ notice earlier this month, but was already dreading the remaining changes. Things came to a head on Feb. 4, another Saturday she was scheduled to work alone from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., as her manager was on vacation and no one else was available to fill in.

When Neubert resigned as store manager, her pay dropped from $21.75 an hour to just $14.25, but the long hours remained. I’m tired all the time,” she said. “I don’t go out because I’m too tired to go do anything. Because I work 11 hours, even eight hours by myself, as my social network battery dies at the end of my shift.

Neubert called a former GameStop manager to vent. Instead of resigning, he’d been fired a month earlier after two men stole a $5,000 PS5 from his store, an incident he wasn’t even on shift for and had nothing to do with, and which Kotaku reported at the time. Neubert said reading that story during her shift that Saturday pushed her over the edge.

“I was so mad, and just thinking about all the crap that GameStop put on us, especially around the holidays, it was awful,” she said. Neubert said she tried calling five other GameStops to ask for someone to cover the rest of her shift, as well as some managers at nearby stores, including her own, but no one picked up. “That pissed me off that no one was answering the phone.”

Her regulars, on the other hand, responded and were seemingly ecstatic. “I had texted all my clients and said, ‘Guys, today is my last day, I’m going to try to make it to the end of my shift, but I don’t even think I’m going to,'” he said. “And everyone was like, ‘This is amazing!’ Like, “We knew how miserable you were.” They were all really proud of me.”

A photo shows GameStop's stock price at the height of the meme frenzy.

GameStop store managers are currently trying to sell newly vested bonus stock before the price drops.
Photo: SOPA images (Getty Images)

One of her regular customers at the store at the time even helped take out a pair that had some loose ends so she could lock them up. Shortly after 2 p.m., not even halfway through her shift, she posted the sign on the door explaining the closure, which a friend took a photo of and uploaded to redditwhere he quickly waved the GameStop community with cheers and applause.

“I didn’t do this because for no other reason than I don’t like the direction GameStop is going as a company,” Neubert said Kotaku. “Like GameStop just needs to get their shit together and stop putting so much on their underpaid employees.”

Executives at GameStop get multi-million dollar golden parachutes and meme stock investors reap large windfalls. Store employees, tasked with holding together GameStop’s crumbling video game retail empire as digital sales cannibalize the underlying business, face offensively low increases or permanent wage cuts. Driven by aggressive sales targets for PS5 bundles and new game guarantees while at the mercy of the inventory system, incomprehensible warehouse shipments, and fewer hours, it seems like things are always as bad as they can get. Then they get worse with no end in sight.

A meme stock company with no strategy

While ultimately a spontaneous move, Neubert’s decision to leave so abruptly arose from a series of increasingly frustrating moments. Over the holidays, for example, she said her store was suddenly told she had to schedule a bunch of extra hours despite being short-staffed. “It was almost impossible for me to use all those hours, but, you know, it was like you had to figure it out, so I did,” he said. “And then, before the week was even over, they called each of us individually and said, ‘Hey, they’ve cut the hours, you have to cut 30 hours out of your schedules.’ And I said “Are you kidding me?” And they said, “Apply immediately, figure it out.”

GameStop also recently cut overtime for store managers, a solid way for them to earn a few extra hundred dollars a month to do the work they have to do every week anyway. New sales initiatives launched at the start of the year have also added to the pressure. A new metric measures every customer who leaves the store without buying something. And in a particularly cruel twist of fate, stores are expected to upsell customers on at least three additional games and controllers every time they buy a new console, even if it’s an all-digital one that can’t read discs.

Other frustrations abound, many of them detailed the GameStop subredditand confirmed by many workers Kotaku has spoken to for the past few months. Many pre-orders are still missing. Saves often not enough copies in stock on the day of major releases such as NBA 2K23 and Dead space remake. And managing customer expectations amid the messy console transition has become particularly draining as the PS4 and Xbox versions of popular games such as Hogwarts Legacy they are late. All this mystery shopper calls Grill lone employees on sales pitches amid juggling online orders and in-store transactions.

Cuts under these circumstances are becoming less uncommon, but they don’t seem to get past GameStop’s management. It might even be part of the plan. After all, everyone who quits on their own loses bonuses, including the company’s first batch of meme shares that just secured this week. Many current and former employees say Kotaku that closing stores is necessary and would be a way to theoretically re-unify the groups and offer them more pay and resources. Instead, GameStop continues to spread them thinner and thinner. Whatever the strategy, or lack thereofit is no longer Neubert’s problem.

“It’s really nice to, you know, not worry about anything like just living life,” she said. “I want to travel, I want to go do things and like I’m really excited about my future for the first time in a long time.”

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