We’re staring down the proverbial barrel of what’s going to be a pretty bizarre holiday season for retail employees, both because the global coronavirus pandemic is still getting worse and because Sony and Microsoft decided to launch a pair of new game consoles that will presumably be in high demand, but the people running GameStop seem intent on making things even worse for their employees. As reported by our internet neighbors at Kotaku, GameStop is pushing some corporate-recommended “fun” in the form of a TikTok dance challenge where employees at GameStop stores can film dance routines set to UB40's “Red Red Wine” (apparently this is a TikTok thing?) and then submit the videos to a marketing firm called Incisiv that will present the store with the best video with some Amazon Echo products, a $100 Visa gift card, and “10 additional labor hours” to be used during the week of Black Friday.
That last bit, naturally, is the sticking point. As Kotaku explains, hours are a big deal for GameStop managers, with a former employee saying that managers are typically given “strict hour allotments” that result in managers either doing too much work themselves or running stores without enough people. Also, as Kotaku points out, retail work doesn’t simply go away if it doesn’t get done in an employee’s regular hours, the employee just has to do it anyway without getting paid. So, in other words, corporate is literally asking people to dance for the opportunity to be paid for doing work during what will surely be a very busy period for GameStop stores.
This all comes a few months after GameStop argued that it’s an “essential business” so it wouldn’t have to close down stores during the coronavirus pandemic, putting employees at risk. Maybe they could’ve gotten a chance to quarantine at home if they had recorded funny TikTok videos? Either way, if your job does not typically involve dancing and someone is asking you to dance for the opportunity to be paid for the work that is your job, then something needs to be reevaluated.