Target Sucks - We Hate Target and We Know We're Not Alone.

October 22, 2014 - formercashier

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith

Is it extreme to reference a piece of scripture that is generally quoted at funerals to describe my feelings over finally being done working at Target? Perhaps. But I view the year of my life that I dedicated to bagging the groceries of harried soccer moms and forcing red cards upon unsuspecting Target patrons as a sort of extended near-death experience.

As a broke college student, it came to my attention last October that having money is incredibly useful for mundane little things, like paying rent and tuition and buying the cheapest food available to cook up in my microwave. You know…just girly things…and so I naively applied to a somewhat-nearby Target. I believe my exact thought process was something along the lines of: “well, I like shopping there! So it should be fun enough to work there!”

Jesus Christ. How innocent I was back then. I have had a part-time job since I was fifteen, but this was my first retail experience, and the first red flags cropped up during orientation. We had our little four-hour session where they fed us cookies and tried to paint a cheery picture of what being a corporate slave would entail. I specifically remember the unionization video they showed us where they were like “we can’t actually tell you not to unionize! But don’t do it! But we’re not telling you not to do it! Just don’t do it! But don’t tell anyone we told you not to do it! Confused yet? Us too.” Had a good laugh over that—like I’m pretty sure I genuinely laughed out loud in the middle of that video. If only the HR lady had had the mercy to fire me on the spot right then and there.

Then there was the actual cashier training…now, I know a lot of people who make a living working as a cashier, and I would never want to insult their lifestyle and line of work. It’s just that it’s a terrible fit as a job for me, personally. I’m very introverted and hate making small talk. I’m terrible at selling things, so the red card was a major anxiety-inducing facet of the job for me right from the onset. I just have this vivid memory of scanning items over and over during the training and putting them in the same plastic bag and having this sort of moment of… “shit…I hate this already…how am I going to do this for more than ten minutes at a time?”

But do it for several hours at a time, I did. That money thing is a strong impetus *waves fist at capitalism*. I’m pretty fast at picking up new things, so it didn’t take long for me to become a proficient cashier, but there were issues from the get-go. First of all, I was terrible at marketing the red cards, and I hated it. So I often wouldn’t do it unless a supervisor was standing directly behind me, and even then they’d coach me. Scheduling was another big thing. I’m a full-time student, so my availability was always set at max 20 hours a week, but I’d tell them that I only wanted like 10-15.

So naturally they’d schedule me for 30 hours almost every week.

I know a lot of people have trouble getting the hours they want, and I’m sorry for complaining, but I had the opposite nightmare going on. I lived 20-30 minutes away, so it took a chunk of my day to get there and back, and I had absolutely no free time most days because I was stuck sitting in class and then putting shit in bags for 7-8 hours at night. It killed me, honest to God. I know there are worse problems to have in life than a shitty retail job, but it was incredibly frustrating that they wouldn’t just SCHEDULE ME TO FIT MY AVAILABILITY. It’s not my fault you’re understaffed…maybe you could just like….oh, I don’t know, hire more people? So that you have enough employees to efficiently run the store? Is that such a wild idea?

So on top of that debacle, I couldn’t go home for any of the holidays, and they were very inflexible about giving any other days off. I live in the northern half of America, and I’d call in sometimes when it would snow ten inches overnight. Sorry, but I’m not going to risk my life driving in those conditions in my shitty car to put things in bags for people. So sue me. Hence why I only got a $.07 raise at performance review.

I have to say that I generally really liked the people I worked with, however, even though the GSTLs/GSAs and ETLs were crazy. Nice, but crazy…they were all willing to shave their heads and do lots of weird shit to inspire us to get red cards, and most of them didn’t talk about anything besides Target. They also always tried to make me feel terrible for leaving when my shift ended and not staying to cover extra hours for them. But I always peaced out asap when my shift was over because I was already being scheduled ten hours more than I wanted a week. Sorry not sorry, front end.

My fellow cashiers were great, though, and I learned a lot about humanity in my time working there. Primarily, that people are fucking weird. Here are a few examples:

  1. One lady asked me to bag her 12-pack of coke one time…like…bruh…what does that even entail? I just put it in two paper bags for her but like…it’s a 12-pack…it has a handle…
  2. If I had a penny for every time somebody saw me standing out and bounced up and cheerfully said “you look like you’re looking for something to do!” I’d be rich enough to never work again. Seriously though, why do people say that? It always made me irrationally angry. No, I’m not just here for fun, looking to bag your shit for a good time. I’m here because I need to buy food and pay for the roof over my head. I know that’s petty, but that’s how I felt.
  3. People who come up to the register at 11:05 with two carts full of groceries and have the balls to be difficult are literally the devil incarnate. Like…I will always be nice to you during business hours, but it’s a whole different ball game after the lights go out. I just want to go home. I don’t want to rebag your stuff in plastic because you forgot to say you wanted paper. You lost that privilege at close, in my opinion.
  4. After the credit breach, stolen-credit-card jokes became this weird genre of humor, where all the guests would try and find these new and witty comments about the breach. (*swipes card* are my numbers going to be exported to Russia now? *forced laughter from all parties*) Most of them got incredibly repetitive after hearing them more than one time, but people were still trying to take a stab at breach-humor just a few weeks ago, so perhaps it’s the new era of comedy that’s here to stay.

Overall, the guests weren’t too bad. It’s just my personality to hate jobs with lots of menial human interaction, I guess. I always liked working the floor much better. Nothing made me happier than zoning the shampoo wall or hiding out at guest services on a quiet night.

There were some benefits to being a long-standing cashier in a world full of turnover, however. I never worried about getting fired in spite of my truly deplorable conversion score, and people knew I was a fast zoner so I’d get to get off the lanes and go zone a lot. But once they started getting way more intense about red cards the past month or so, I knew it was time to get out. I’m in my last year of school and I’ve got a lot of professional development stuff going on. I’ll miss the discount and some of the people, but nothing else. Overall, what I learned from working at Target was that I should stay in school so that I don’t have to get stuck doing that job for the rest of my life.

TL;DR Target is evil; this blog gave me strength during dark days, and I’m not cut out to be a cashier.


Employee Experience / TargetSucks

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