GameStop has taken their TikTok dance challenge contest off of their website after swift backlash from employees and the public. A dance contest amongst other stores seemed like a great idea to improve employee morale as the retail world shifts into the holiday rush. Even in 2020, retail stores will more than likely get bombarded and the gaming store has two big consoles on the way. However, the corporate think tank at GameStop headquarters came up with a rather bizarre prize: 10 hours of labor on Black Friday.
To enter the contest, GameStop asked its employees to upload a video to TikTok, which showed them dancing to UB40’s hit single “Red Red Wine.” The page on the official site said, “Be creative, rope in your team, and have fun with it!” However, the page has since been removed after employees learned that they were basically entering a contest to work more hours during the holiday season. The winning store would also get two Amazon Echo devices, a $100 Visa gift card, in addition to the “10 additional labor hours.”
“Imagine what you could do with all those prizes!” the GameStop contest page exclaimed. However, not a lot of people were sharing GameStop’s excitement to work more hours and dance for them in public. Working more hours isn’t exactly a great prize, as many have pointed out, with several calling it a slap in the face to the employees. The official GameStop website has since scrubbed any memory of the contest from the web. As of this writing, the company has not addressed the contest or their reasoning for pulling it.
GameStop holiday hours are limited, like a lot of retail jobs. Working over a certain amount of hours would mean that the company would have to pay for health benefits. “Hours have always been a sensitive subject for the managers,” one former GameStop employee said. “They’re typically running their stores off strict hour allotments which causes the managers to overwork themselves or run their stores with limited help.” The company has been criticized for its holiday hours, which has included having the store open on Thanksgiving. While the hours can be limited during the holiday crunch time, some employees would rather not have to dance on TikTok to get some extra help. “Some of us have holiday help to hire and train in 3 weeks and prefer to not be on TikTok,” said another employee.
This isn’t the first time that GameStop has come under fire this year. When the public health crisis first took hold in March, the company tried to claim that they were an essential business and kept stores open with employees who felt uncomfortable staying inside a store and dealing with the public. Several stores closed before the public health crisis, and it looks like the company will likely lose more in 2021. Kotaku was one of the first outlets to report on GameStop’s unorthodox holiday hours TikTok contest.