GameStop revises its Circle of Life program for the better
Working a retail job isn’t exactly easy. There are always goals you have to meet, and dealing with customers who aren’t exactly friendly doesn’t always help. I’ve worked at a few corporate-run game stores (GameCrazy and Gamerush), where we had certain goals we needed to meet each month, but they weren’t too difficult. Well, that was until new management decided to shake things up and things got a bit crazy with new plans and goals.
When news broke out of GameStop’s “Circle of Life” program by various media outlets, it was quite surprising to see just how badly the company was treating its employees. If you aren’t familiar with how the program works, it kept track of every single pre-order, used sale, new sale, and membership sign up each employee had over the course of all their transactions for each individual employee and the store overall. The more used sales, trade-ins, pre-orders, and memberships each worker had, the better their overall score. The sales of new product actually could hurt their scores quite drastically, as GameStop wanted workers to focus primarily on used sales, which obviously makes sense since profit was higher.
If a customer walked in and wanted to buy a PlayStation 4 Pro system, PlayStation VR and a few newly released games (spending close to $1,000), an employee might lie about having any of the items in stock. It’s not because they don’t want to sell you the items, but because it could get them fired.
By not meeting a monthly quota, an employee would be given a warning first and then let go the second time. Honestly, this was quite disappointing to hear; especially as I have a few friends who work at GameStop. I knew it was bad, but I didn’t know just how bad. It’s surprising because GameStop should be happy anyone would want to buy anything from them. After all, they still sell new games at full retail while Best Buy and Amazon offer 20% off new releases as part of their membership program. (It also sells Pops for $2 more than everywhere else.)
Luckily, that’s about to change for the better, as GameStop has revealed that it will stop tracking individual Circle of Life scores and just focus on a store’s overall numbers. The game seller also announced that it will be adding new sales to the list, which means that workers won’t need to worry about selling new items while risking their jobs. It wasn’t that long ago when I talked to a former worker who told me he was worried every time a kid would walk into a store after school every so often and buy a Riot gift card or a pack of Pokemon cards because he was worried about how the numbers would add up after every single transaction. After the original announcement, you can bet GameStop went into damage control mode, since there was so much outrage and media attention focused on just how shady and disturbing things were getting. There was a corporate email sent out that told workers not to talk to any members of the media and that the company was suspending the Circle of Life program temporarily because what was happening wasn’t their intention.
Now employees can breathe a little easier knowing they can get back to work without having to worry about every single little detail, like new product sales and how it will affect them since they can now work together as a store to meet their goals.