February 24, 2016 - greenpanda
survived six months of retail exposure therapy so far
I was hired immediately after I applied. Literally the day after I sent my application to them online, I was called for an interview (I expect because of the high turnover rate). I both verbally acknowledged to the HR rep, a TL, and an LOD that I was applying for a part-time position and wanted to work no more than twenty-five hours max, as well as having written that in my availability sheets (I’m currently in college).
Upon working for no more than a week, I was being scheduled for forty hours and became a full-time employee without any face to face or verbal explanation as to why. I was told I could not change my availability until the ninety day probationary period was over, but when I finally was able to see our HR rep and could ask her about changing it, she attempted to subtly intimidate me into not doing it. I told her I needed two days off a week, but could still close the other five nights and she asked me repeatedly if I “really couldn’t be available at ALL those days???” and actually asked me why I couldn’t be available as well [many of my co-workers work six days a week, forty-eight hours a week] while hovering over my shoulder, watching me on the computer. I felt pressured and decided to instead use the box on the site to input the max amount of hours I’d be willing to work as thirty, which was still more than I had been told I’d have to work when I applied. The site literally does not allow you to use that box, it’s unclickable. I asked the HR rep why it was there if you can’t use it and she started acting like she had no clue, which I find kind of hard to believe.
I worked forty hours a week, sometimes closer to fifty during the winter holiday season, closing five nights a week without fail, and during the Christmas rush, I would regularly not get home until one in the morning. For weeks straight, I closed in A alone five nights a week because everyone else refused to do it. Our STL is anal and will embarrass you over the walkie, asking you to rezone cat food, and requests that every solitary can of cat food is stacked as high as can fit and that each individual can has it’s label facing out, while you are already attempting to zone forty other aisles, stock shelves and get cardboard to the bailer, take phone calls and check inventory on myDevices that don’t work half the time, run to the backroom a dozen times a day to get specific things for people, and do reshop. Some of our backroom members will act like you killed their cat if you ask them to pull a piece of furniture for a guest purchase. Some of our TLs will force our closing team to follow them through each department after we close as the TL points out every flaw in our zone in front of the rest of the team and force other co-workers to help you fix your zone. I’ve also been ‘jokingly’ told that I’d be “strangled” if I didn’t notice and fix one of the flaws in my zone by one of our TLs. Another one of our TLs pulled me into an office after I’d only been working there for a week and told me I had “no personality” and needed to “smile more” at work.
Recently I got stuck being a backup cashier for two hours and nobody acknowledged that I’d left my zone and my pulls to help, they just switched off my light and waved me away. I went on my first fifteen minute break and our STL grimaced at me in the break room, pointed at my chest, and asked me to zip my sweater up when my shirt underneath was showing absolutely nothing. I’ve been told I do reshop wrong, as if it’s some form of complex science that my pea-sized brain wouldn’t be able to understand. I had bronchitis for three weeks that I caught while working at Target and only took two sick days, brought in a doctor’s note, and was still told I call out too much and issued a verbal warning. Even though it’s against policy, I’ve been made to clean up chemical spills because the management will see a spill and decide to call you personally on the walkie to deal with it, so they don’t have to do it themselves.
The team members in certain departments, out of favoritism, are never asked to do backup cashiering and will walk around on our busiest days and try to tell you how fantastic it is that they are so ahead of their zone and how easy their day is going while you are practically red-faced and panting from running around like a madman for a nine and a half hour closing shift lifting heavy furniture, rezoning the same towels/cat food cans/rugs that stink like shit, etc. This job has doubled my anxiety and I realized this one night when I was verging on tears trying to zone heavy rugs that had been all unwrapped from plastic, laid out to cover the whole aisle, and had been stepped on all day.
Getting acknowledgement for doing a good job almost never happens. Even if you fulfill all of the ridiculous expectations set for you on a given day, they will just find something unrelated to work performance to criticize you about – your shirt being too low cut, not “having a personality” or not “smiling enough”, etc. The one co-worker I have who does get complimented on work performance is someone who zones haphazardly and always finishes his zone early. It looks like crap, but they don’t care if the STL isn’t there, they just want it to be fast. This guy also has come up to me and told me he wanted to “smash” a guest’s “head into the ground and fucking murder him” for wearing “girl pants” (skinny jeans). I do like the majority of my co-workers, but this guy in particular makes a closing shift an affair to forget.
During this past winter, we had a blizzard so bad that none of the other dozen or so stores in our plaza were open except for Target. I drove through severe snow and black ice for a five hour shift where our LOD for the night told us we were not even going to be assigned departments because there were no guests, but he could not let us leave because our STL was requiring us to stay open, even though she was at home. When she closes, she also requires that we dust our entire departments, as if we don’t have enough to worry about. One day I had the same lunch break as the TLs and in the break room they were openly complaining because the STL who was at home was texting them red card updates from other stores in the state and trying to pressure them into getting more red cards than other Target locations.
I’ve also had enough of picking up calls where people ask if they’re speaking to the “perfume department”, “tapestry department”, or “automotive department”, as if we are actually staffed to the point where there could ever be multiple people within each department enough to sector people off to only a couple aisles each. What a laugh.