posted on Jan, 10 2008 @ 11:36 PM
I work at Wal-Mart. It bites. This news article should read, "9,600 People Are About To Have Something Good Happen."
The pay is dirt, the benefits are overpriced and pay out too little, and a large percentage of the customers are either stupid or disgusting. I
suppose that third one isn't Wal-Mart's fault though.
And I don't mean the pay as a cart pusher or a cashier is dirt. Everyone gets paid dirt for what they do. As a salesperson in the electronics
department, I receive about 25 cents per hour more than an ordinary cashier would.
That might not seem like such a big deal, but to do the job well actually requires a bigger skill set than you might think. I'm knowledgeable in
computers in fields ranging from networking, to parts replacement, to software and games. I have to know all about televisions, from the different
kinds, to the numerous types of inputs, to the dvd players and surround sound systems, plus how to hook it all up. I have to know about stereos, video
game consoles, and telephones.
I also have to keep up with information about music, movies, and video games that I have absolutely no freaking interest in. Half my sales in those
areas are, "Do you have that new movie with so-and-so in it?" or "I'm looking for the CD with that song whats-it-called on it." So it's not good
enough to just memorize the titles of stuff.
Not only do I have to be able to know this stuff myself, I have to be able to teach it. I find myself teaching people stuff in 15 minutes what college
professors teach people over the course a week for 50 grand a year or whatever they make... more than me, is all I know.
And of course, there's an unspoken "tech support" role that I have to play. If something happens to a display, I have to be able to fix it, whether
it's a TV, a stereo, or a video game system. If a customer has a problem, quite often they'll call the store expecting us to know how to fix it. No,
we don't get TRAINED in how to fix this stuff, we're just expected to learn it on our own somehow.
It's not simply enough to have the information in my head. I have to be good at presenting the information, also. I have to be outgoing, sociable,
have a good ability to sell imported foreign crap like it's God's gift to mankind, and be able to keep smiling even when I'm under stress.
I'm also expected to ring people out, not merely throw it in their cart and send them on their way. So I have to be good with money and operating the
cash register... okay, that's not such a big deal and anyone can do it, but still it's one more thing I have to do. Let's not forget the heavy
lifting. 32 inch televisions are not light, by any means.
Then there's the whole trust-and-responsibility issue. I have access to the cash registers, all the locked-up merchandise in my department, and am
given access to secured rooms in the back without question. Some of these things are extremely small objects that are worth obscene amounts of money,
and of course I know how to get around allllll the security. My incentive not to make an extra hundred bucks a week fencing stolen goods is that I'm
just not a thief.
I am, however, required to participate in monitoring for suspicious activity, keeping my department clean so maintenance doesn't have to do anything
(ever), preventing safety hazards, and safeguarding expensive merchandise.
Cameras and cell phones are another department, but it's come down to teaching myself about those as well because they're right next to my
department and customers can hardly be expected to realize it's not my job to sell those things. But I do it anyways, without compensation (the
people HIRED in those departments make a few cents an hour more than me.)
And do you know why I get paid dirt despite having to do all this? Because Wal-Mart doesn't hire smart. They pay so little because out of the 10
people that work in my department, I'm only 1 of 2 that can honestly say they actually do all of what they're supposed to. My pay goes down because
they distribute the pay evenly instead of according to the actual skills and responsibilities that any of us ACTUALLY take.
Don't even talk to me about commission. The idea that I should get a slice of the pie when I sell $2,000 worth of home entertainment products to
somebody is basically a sour joke.
Instead of hiring for keeps, they hire for temporary spots. Turnover increases because they keep getting people who aren't good at it, and training
costs skyrocket. Sales are affected by salespeople not being good at their jobs, which decreases money that can be made through profit sharing, not to
mention what the store is willing to spend on handing out paychecks.
To add insult to injury, most people look at my job and assume it's easy just because it doesn't take a college education. Most people assume the
job SHOULD pay low wages simply because it's "just retail" - nobody ever stops to think about what all is required to do the job WELL. But let me
tell you something, if Wal-Mart hired people for their skill sets, knowledge, and dependability, they could offer better pay and benefits, have REAL
career potential, and not be seen as just a "McJob."
And I haven't even touched on the way they treat us while mismanaging the company. And I won't, because I spend all day dealing with it.