Big Box Store Employees Reveal What Happens Behind The Scenes That The Public Doesn't Know About
I'll shop from home...
You know there is no such thing as a free deal in this world, especially when it comes to retail. One can only imagine what goes on in the backrooms of Target, Wal-Mart and the local Dollar Tree, and maybe it's best we don't know. If we did know we may never shop again, well that's an exaggeration but sometimes it is best to feign ignorance.
Redditor u/yo_gabby_gabby wanted to hear some secrets from retail employees by inquiring.... Ex-Big Box Store (Target, Walmart, Best Buy) Employees, what's some of the behind-the-scenes stuff that happens that the public doesn't know about?
Wal-Mart: The Musical....Giphy
In the early 1990's, there would be a before shift "Pep" circle at Wal-Mart. People hold hands and recite pledges to be the best Wal-Mart employees. There may have been a prayer and/or a song also. It ended with everyone holding hands and jumping in the air. I politely declined and was immediately suspect. I lasted 3 weeks. beautifulmutant
We See You!
Zellers around 2005-2007. Zellers was like a Canadian target or K-mart that had a diner in it.
I worked in the clothing dept.
- We once found a box long lost and buried in the back with girls dresses. They went on the shelves discounted, then discounted again etc. Idk if they eventually sold.
- Would find the remains of shoplifted weight loss supplements in the plus size section all the time. I wonder if that still happens?
- People would occasionally try to shoplift jeans, leave their old jeans on a hanger, but walk out with the size stickers still on them and get caught.
- People shoplifted all the time, like constantly. Some would wait nonchalantly near the fitting room for the attendant to return clothes and go ham. We would find discarded tags EVERYWHERE. Employees did too, my supervisor was fired for it. bonniha
No Sale Here....
There are often laws (depending which country you are in) that dictate how long a "promotional" price can be displayed before it becomes the "normal" retail price. Other comments mention inferior product being bought to sell at clearance prices but it can go beyond that. Let's say a toaster is "normally" $100. For the next two weeks, it's on a half price sale. The two weeks after that, it's buy one appliance, get another free. Two weeks after that, it's buy two appliances, save 50%. That toaster's retail price is $50, no matter how it's worded. she_rahrah
Market pantry (target brand) is literally delivered in Tyson boxes. You're getting Tyson chicken for a cheaper price than Tyson even though it's the same stuff. BebopBarbecue
If you spend you'll save...Giphy
Worked at Target and if there is any price dispute at all with what's rung up and what is posted they will take the customers word for it (within reason) for example I worked in the food and we had meat for sale at 2.99/lb the sticker on the food said/lb but the signage in the aisle said "2.99." A woman disputed it and got $40 of meat for 6 bucks.
Side note: this is just a tactic to keep customers coming back. In my example the woman was an absolute regular. She has easily spent thousands of dollars at that target more than she has ever gotten in "discounts" so the managers know she will come back and spend more money if she thinks she is "winning" I worked at Home Depot too and each cashier can take $50 bucks off for "customer satisfaction" and we've been told to discount orders for things like "it took forever to find what I needed." Jamesbondinator
I worked at SuperTarget a decade ago. Working in the warehouse was one of the most fun jobs I had in my young life. My boss used to walk around with a boxcutter and "slip" next to bags of cookies and chips resulting in the product becoming "defective" so it was up to us to "dispose" of the product. Obscure_Teacher
More like Cheap Friday...
Many of the Black Friday deals are items made with inferior quality compared to the original product. They change the SKU number to protect themselves legally. _MKUltraViolet
This makes me cringe. People are mindless and embarrassing. Myownsolution
Tearing it Up!
Former JCPenney employee. They'll take almost anything back. A lady came in wanting to return a pair of pants but didn't have her receipt because she had bought them a few months prior. She explained that she had worn and washed them several times since buying them but one of the legs got a small hole in it, and she "just didn't think they should be tearing up already."
The manager accepted the return and gave her store credit. bcm315
E Tu Kohl's? E Tu?
Stores like Kohl's or other discount retailers ship products with the"sales" price in the truck. "Was 49.99 now 34.99," means it came to the store in the truck with a real retail price of 34.99. the big "you saved 100 bucks shopping at Kohl's" at the receipt? That's BS. You paid the normal retail rate, and they add like 20-40% and claim you are "saving" money. Arluza
I wanna be a Toys 'R Us kid...Giphy
Used to work at Toys 'R Us years ago, I loved my coworkers. Everyone was a nerd for something (comic books, anime, card games, etc,) which made work really enjoyable.
But in addition to bad pricing year round, certain popular toys would experience "price creep" starting in September/ October. Ex. EZ Bake Ovens were $40 in Sept., $60 by Nov. then during Black Friday and random weeks throughout the holidays would be "on sale" for $40. Skylanders same thing, $10 normally, creeped to $12-13, and then "on sale" for $10.
The kicker was they'd keep the prices high and then offer no "sales" post-holidays so your gift cards wouldn't go as far. Prices usually went back to normal by April.
Also, at least my store was very "customer is ALWAYS right" that 50% off a baby item coupon from Babys 'R Us? Bring it to TRU and ask for a manager, you'll get the discount on a toy. Customer claims price tag is different? If it's within $10 don't question, just change it. If you didn't mind getting a little confrontational you could get some good deals. cloudymecha
Walmart has some explaining to do!
Walmart regularly hires people to work full-time hours but calls them part-time so they don't have to give them benefits. They say you'll be working 25ish hours per week and then book you for 40 and say it's "temporary." It's not.
They also don't care if you're being harassed. I had a fellow employee threaten to run me down in the back room with a walker-stacker machine and when I told management, they laughed in my face. The woman who threatened me had a history of doing it to new employees. CrazyCatLushie
Target will get you!
When you ask us to double check the back and we go? We're just sitting on a box looking at our phones for a few minutes before coming back out. We know it's not back there.
Also, you think you got away with shoplifting from Target? They saw. Don't make a habit of it. Target waits until you've stolen enough (~$500) and then calls the police and gets you charged with an actual crime. bezosdivorcelawyer
Find the NARCs!
The NARC population at Walmart is just as big as ever. We have them all over the electronics and automotive sections. Look for anyone that gives off the "middle age divorced dad" vibe. Huge giveaway is also when they linger but have empty carts. I've heard of other locations employing younger people to play their NARCS, but if you know what to look for they're impossible to miss. blakebray
The Best Buy Stance...Giphy
When I worked at Best Buy, we had a guy grab two XBox Ones and just start heading to the front like he was gonna check out. We all knew what was gonna happen so I asked LP to kinda stand at the exit. We aren't allowed to touch someone so we kinda had to let him go if he decided to run.
We were preparing to call the cops because he was making that familiar "I'm gonna stand near the front and look at the clearance phone cases" stance. Which means that he will dip at the earliest opening. Well the door opens to the entrance and he shot out it, with two XBox One in hand, and ran straight into a police officer who was swinging in to see his girlfriend.
Homeboy got arrested (all while screaming that he did nothing wrong) and I have one of the best stories regarding my work at the Blue Box. Swibly
Is Michael's running a labor camp?
My mom worked at Michael's for over a decade. After they were acquired by Bain Capital, all these costs started getting slashed.
She used to stock the shelves after they unloaded the truck at 5am. Bain implemented a policy that they wouldn't turn on the lights or HVAC until an hour before the store opened, when most employees arrived. There was no way to override this, as everything was timed and controlled remotely. So the early morning staff, including my 60-year-old mom, wore parkas and those miners head lamps (paid for out of their own pockets) for a few months before someone threatened to go to the press when the temperature was down in the 20's and there was no heat for 4 hours.
My mom also bugged the crap out of corporate to change another policy. She used to be an elementary art teacher for a rural public school. She was basically given a bucket of markers and a box of construction paper every year. Meanwhile, Michael's is throwing thousands of dollars of high end overstock art supplies into the trash compactor every month with a corporate policy not to let them leave the store. Mom started a letter-writing campaign (more like a letter-writing assault) and they eventually let her donate the supplies to local schools and community programs. HeroesAndVillas
Keep them Receipts!Giphy
Our Sam's Club, and others I'm sure, have a very generous return policy that I don't think people really know about. You can literally return anything no matter how long it has been. We had someone return a grill they had bought 5 years ago, rusted and very used, and exchange it for new model we received that spring. Sure it's taking advantage of the system, but Sam's will accept the return.
Another customer asked, how long they had to return a mattress if they didn't like it after they had bought it. I had to ask a manager cause I didn't know at the time. His reply, "As long as they have the receipt they can return it whenever, whether that's 10 days from now or 10 years. Tell the member to tape the receipt under the bed."
Thanks Sam Walton. Drewmann
Cleared but not forgotten...
The superstore has a policy that if a customer complains enough they'll just do the return.
The gift cards from the clothing section (Joe fresh) can be used on anything in the store.
We can look in the back for your size of clothing unless it's clearance. We keep all clearance on the floor. mountainsprouts
Target is a Fortress...
Current team member at Target. All cameras in the store have facial recognition and at my store we usually have a good bit of security walking around pretending to shop. Oh and here is a little known tip for everyone, yelling and making a scene at guest services does not help when we deny a return (which we have the option of denying for any reason). Bellstjohn
Big Brother is ALWAYS watching!
I worked as a manager in training at Target for a Summer about ten years ago. The most interesting stuff was in Loss Prevention. There's usually an undercover person in the store shopping. They always profile women with bags and watch them on cameras. There was an unbroken line of cameras from the exits to the high end electronics (at the time, it was iPods). Whitening strips and diabetic test strips were heavily monitored because of their size to price ratio. ViolentEastCoastCity
Find the dead things!
I worked at Wal-Mart for a year back in the day. They spent an insane amount of money and time keeping the sales floor clean and organized. The back room on the other hand was a hoarders dream. It was a room about the size of a small gymnasium and it was just piled to the roof with boxes and merchandise going back to the 90's. Plus it stunk to high heaven from the rotted food and the dead rats. gil_beard
We are told that, if you're not confident, you should just "fake it til you make it."
This is great--in theory. In practice, sometimes "faking it" can have extremely real and terrible consequences, which these people found out the hardest of hard ways.