I was scrolling through Facebook today when I saw this letter that a friend had just written to the corporate management of GameStop, the big national chain of video game stores. Language is powerful, and with Jeremy’s permission, I’ve offered to share his words on my blog here. Thanks Jeremy!
My name is Jeremy Hiltz, I am a person in long term recovery. I am writing this email today to share my experience that happened in your Auburn store.
On Saturday 10/20/2018 my self and my 2 sons ages 8 and 14 went to the Auburn location to exchange some of our old games and a playstation 4 to get credit for a refurbished ps4. By the end of the transaction there were items that Game Stop wouldnt accept. So I asked the sales associate if he could discard them. This is where an issue occurred.
The sales associate proceeded to tell me that the reason the he could not throw these items away is that he didnt want “the junkies and crackheads going through my dumpster”. This is a major concern for me as going to Game Stop on a Saturday afternoon is a fun activity that me and my sons do together. This type of derogatory language is unacceptable to me.
I proceeded to ask the man what he meant by these statements and he proceeded to again use the same language (junkies and crackheads) in front of my children whom I am teaching a different view on the world. Addiction is a medical illness recognized by every major medical institution in the world. I am a person that recovered from this medical issue. We would not use derogatory language around other diseases. His comments also imply that the only people that would search a dumpster are people that have addiction issues which simply is not true.
After I spoke I voiced my concerns to this man I asked to speak to the manager who proceeded to not only dismiss my concerns but tell me that the store does not have a policy around not using this language. Which is a huge concern of mine as many children frequent Game Stop and may have a parent or loved one that either have or had addiction issues or have lost a loved one to addiction.
When we were in the parking lot my 14 year old son asked me why did I not ignore it. My response to him was “change does not happen by ignoring ignorance”.
I have a solution for you. I am a chapter lead for Young People in Recovery a national organization that focuses on changing the stigma of addiction and recovery. We have a workshop around recovery messaging that we could present to your staff.
My request of you is that you address this issue the same way that you would if a staff member used any other derogatory term. I noticed that you were collecting money for Veterans. I thought to myself if a veteran was in your dumpster would you consider them junkies or crackheads?
My intention in this email is to voice concern and provide education where most effective. I hope to hear back from you as I will be in touch if not.
Jeremy, Person in Long Term Recovery
(Not former crackhead or Junkie)