In 2015, Target had to shut down its disastrous, failed “Target Canada” experiment, and deal with subsequent corporate layoffs. The voraciously anti-union company even suffered the ultimate indignity of having a small group of employees unionize. Still, Target is putting on a smiling face. In a new interview, Target CEO Brian Cornell says that he is “modernizing our strategies” and “transforming the company,” and that Target is “an iconic brand” with American consumers.
That much is true. But the impression that Target makes on its own workers is not so rosy. For years, we have been bringing you periodic stories from Target employees about what life is really like in the big red bullseye. (Short version: it is not good, and the pay is bad.) In honor of the new CEO’s commitment to transformation, we bring you a few more thoughts from Target employees who have reached out to us this year. From a four-year Target veteran in Rhode Island:
I recently got a raise which put me at 8.56 an hour. I was happy etc fine with it. Then target recently started giving us group huddles to discuss how the customer is always right etc. I have no problem letting a customer get a discount or w.e if their not happy with our service. But come 2015 im now making 10.00 which is the stopping point for target. I have customers yell at me 24/7 because I noticed everywhere people are becoming assholes cause they can get away with it. Our bosses push more on us. We have no help on the floor. We are literally doing the work of 3 people during our 5 hour shifts. We are only allowed at most 30 hours but we usually get 12-24 hours a week because most of the team leads get 40 hours no matter what. We are now treated like second class citizens by employers and customer alike. That’s why most of us last a year at most after hiring. While we do the work they sit and talk in the break room because no one can say otherwise. Working for target is depressing and we don’t understand why we can’t make more money if people like Walmart charge less for their product and pay their employees more. We charge more but get less. We get mannequins and satellite tv but our manager won’t put the ac or heating on when the weather is sucky. I just wish target would look at us and not the customer as valued.
From a Target employee who feels his job is in danger because he suffers from dyslexia:
Multiple times, before I came to them a few days ago, I’ve told them I do not feel comfortable as a cashier and it was not what I applied for but yet they kept pushing it off instead of helping me switch departments. Target isn’t my first retail job; I actually worked at Walmart before this. Now I’m not saying Walmart is any better but they did ask me if I wanted to be a cashier and I told them the same thing I told Target. Walmart’s HR didn’t put me on [a leave of absence] or fire me. They LISTENED to me and put me in a department that would better fit me according to my resume. Target needs a union because their whole thing of “talking to one another to figure things out” isn’t working. Oh! and Target has stated that their stores comply with the ADA (The Americans with Disabilities Act) but yet in two months I may be out of a job for having a learning disability.
And a final thought from a former Target work in California:
When I quit, our HR [team leader] told me this, “Retail isn’t for everyone, and Target isn’t for everyone in retail.”
An understatement in my opinion.
Happy Holidays, Target workers. I hope Santa brings you a better job next year.