Look, childcare is expensive. Like, really expensive. So it makes sense that many parents are looking for creative ways to cut childcare costs. But a new trend has emerged for parents looking to get some errands out of the way with their kids in tow: GameStop Daycare.
Now don’t get excited — the video game chain does not ACTUALLY offer any type of childcare — but it seems that more and more parents are dumping their kids at GameStop for a couple hours while they knock off a few things off their to-do list. And GameStop employees, most of whom start at minimum wage, are not having it, as a popular thread in the GameStop employee subreddit goes to show.
“So what do you guys do when kids randomly walk in while their parents are shopping elsewhere? Or when parents just drop their kids off? Are we even ALLOWED to do anything?” asked one employee. The employee — and the dozens of others who followed up in the comments — weren’t just talking about letting a kid play at a demo station as mom or dad pops over to the next store for five to 10 minutes. “Literally had a mom walk in [and] ask ‘did they behave?’ after leaving her kids here,” responded one user. “But like for real? What the f*ck.”
Many others echoed frustration and offered tips to keep their store from becoming a free child dumping zone. “I always turned off the console displays once they came in without a parent. Then called security if they stayed longer than 20 mins. I was at an outdoor mall, so it was for their own safety,” noted one.
Another said that they tell the children that an adult needs to be with them in the store and offers to call their parents, which usually results in the kids bolting out of the store back to mom or dad. One truly frustrated employee decided to stick a note in the front window of their store: “I eventually became so tired of it that I actually put up a sheet of paper in the front of my store saying, “We are NOT a daycare. Children left here WILL be picked up by security.”
Legally speaking, 39 states do not have an age limit on when children are allowed to be left unsupervised at home or in other areas. Still, this doesn’t mean that parents should feel free to let their kids run free in a video game store and leave a mess for employees to then clean up. No where in their job description are they required to know anything about child care, and they are not legally responsible should a child go missing when unsupervised.
“And here’s the worst part of it, the parents can feign ignorance and blame us for not doing our jobs,” one employee vented to Kotaku. “Well sorry Karen, but I’m not your kid’s babysitter. I have a job that I’m supposed to be doing, but I can’t do it because your little brat keeps making a mess of my f*cking store.”