We know you could probably use some good news today, which is one of the many reasons it breaks my heart to inform you that GameStop is encouraging employees to dance on TikTok in exchange for something that the company refers to as “labor hours.”
In a recap of the recent GameStop virtual conference posted on the GameStop website (as spotted by TheGamer), the company revealed that they are encouraging managers to ask their employees to participate in a TikTok dance contest (sponsored by Incisiv) in which they must come up with the most creative version of a designated dance. Specifically, they must come up with a creative interpretation of this particularly awful dance:
I’d love to tell you that particular piece of cringe-worthy social media is as bad as this story gets, but the real horror story can be found in the prize section of this competition:
“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,” says GameStop regarding this competition’s rewards. “Imagine what you could do with all those prizes!”
At this point, you may be asking the very reasonable question, “What in the Orwellian fuck is a labor hour and why is GameStop encouraging its employees to dance for them?”
That’s a great question that we wish we had the definitive answer to. There are a few popular interpretations of what constitutes a labor hour in this instance, and the most generous of them suggests that what GameStop is offering is either 10 paid hours of vacation time or a financial payoff equivalent to those hours. That means that in the best scenario, GameStop is making their employees dance for paid vacation time during Black Friday in the midst of, we must remind you, a global pandemic.
The other interpretations of this statement are even more disturbing. For instance, it’s been suggested that what employees are really competing for are bonus hours that they’ll be allowed to work during the Black Friday rush. Along those same lines, some believe that “labor hours” is a term intended for the managers who attended this conference, which could mean that the real reward is that a manager will be able to offer 10 additional work hours during the week of Black Friday to be distributed as they see fit.
Assuming that the meaning of this wording doesn’t relate to a cash prize payout (which, given the average hourly wage of a GameStop employee, may not be substantial in the first place), then you’re left with a world in which GameStop is asking their employees to dance on TikTok in exchange for either paid vacation time, overtime, or even simply the right to work.
Wow. You know, if you’ve been following GameStop’s actions since the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, you’d know that the company has botched their response to this situation at pretty much opportunity. Even still, I could have never imagined that they’d go full dystopia by offering “labor hours” at a retail store during a global pandemic as the prize for a social media dance competition. That’s not just an idea that sounds like the premise of a Black Mirror episode, it’s an idea that pretty much was the premise of a Black Mirror episode.
Consider this another reminder that the best thing to come from 2020 thus far has been those novelty 2020 New Year’s Eve glasses that actually had two zeroes in them and thus functioned reasonably well as glasses.