Sunday, August 7, 2011

Blowing the Lid Off: A Macy's Exposé

So, for those of you who don't know yet, I quit my job a few weeks ago.

Basically, Macy's sucked.  A lot.  I dreaded going to work, I was always stressed out and even after I had gotten home, I would still be thinking about it.  I've never worked in such a hostile work environment.  I only lasted there a couple of months and I don't know how people can stand working in retail for much longer than that.

I have a lot of stories to share about the craziness of Macy's.  So, this may become a series of blog posts.  For now, I'll tell you all about my first couple of days there.  I worked as a floater between all the different lines in Cosmetics and Fragrances.  I could pick up whatever shifts I wanted online (this was my favorite part) for whatever line had an opening.  After completing a rather extensive training day on the POS (a type of register that basically has everything on it... your schedule, a clock-in system, not to mention handles all the sales, returns, etc), I began my first day in Fragrances working with another girl who was supposed to show me around.  Every employee has a sales goal for the day that is calculated on the computer, based on what department you're scheduled for and what line you're working in that day.

Although I had gotten plenty of training in the general sense of sales and about Macy's, my manager never trained me in my department.  So, my first night was a pretty short shift (6-9) and I ended up opening a Macy's account, by sheer luck.  This was my first and only account I opened, much to the managers' disappointment.  This is their number one priority, above sales and customer service, no matter what they tell you in training.  I was never in their good graces because I opened only one account the whole time I worked there (they tell you that you should be opening at least two accounts a week).  I would habitually ask, "Would you like to open a Macy's Account to save 15 percent on your purchases today?" but after they usually rejected my awesome offer, I just gave up.  I would never want to push that card on people when a ton of credit cards are usually not a good idea.

For you Macy's shoppers, always decline to open a Macy's account.  It's a scam and they're only asking you to open one so they can get Macy's points or to please their manager.  So, my first day I walked around all the Women's and Men's Fragrances and began to get familiar with their scents.  It went by pretty quickly and with the help of one of my co-workers, I closed my register and went home.  Two days later, I was to open at Clinique.  I showed up, expecting someone else to be working with me to at least show me around, but to my surprise I was going to be the only one for three more hours.  I had never opened a register, so naturally I began to panic until a bleach-blonde aggressive New Yorker (let's call her Lion Queen) came over and barked, "Are you new?"  I told her yes and that I would love any help she could give me since no one else was coming in for a while.

She helped me open the register and an announcement came on the PA for all employees to collect in the Men's Fragrances section for the daily "morning rally." After this very cheesy meeting, I went back to my place in Clinique.  Every counter keeps their supplies in locked drawers and you have to unlock and relock the drawer each time you get something out.  So, since I didn't know where anything was kept and nothing was labeled, I began to unlock every single drawer to get an idea where things were.  Keep in mind also, that Clinique and most every other line has a ton of not only different makeup products, but also a ton of skin care products.  And I knew nothing about any of them, because I hadn't been trained at all.  So the morning progressed and I handled a few customers' transactions, but I was completely stressed out.

Fast forward to the last hour of my shift, and I had the most difficult customers of the day.  One woman was trying to make a return off of something she didn't have the receipt for, nor had she paid with a Macy's card or credit card to look up her previous purchase.  I politely told her that I was new and to please have patience with me, so I called someone in another line and asked them to come over to help.  The woman began to grow very impatient with me and yelled at me, "Forget about it, I just want my money back!"

A few minutes later, a young teenage girl came up and listed off the names of three products she needed.  I told her to be patient because I didn't know where anything was kept, and she was pretty nice about it at first.  After I had spent probably close to fifteen minutes finding everything she needed, I brought her purchases up to the register, and the girl asked, "I'm going to get a free sample, right?  Cause I'm not just going to buy all this and not get any."  I told her that I didn't know where the samples were kept so I apologized and she threatened again, "Well, I really need a mascara sample or I'm just going to go to Bloomingdales."  I told her again I didn't where they were, I wasn't trying to keep them from her intentionally, and so she just left her things there and left.  This was my very last customer of the day, and I left as soon as I could and called Israel crying.  My first day on the job and I already hated it.

Stay tuned for Part 2, where I'll explain the daily morning rallies!


  1. Ugh, retail sucks. :-( I worked at the mall for a while right after high school and it was the same thing - "Get them to apply for a card, get them to apply for a card." It's such a scam! You don't get the discount if you aren't approved (at least that was the policy at my store), and having more than one credit card is just financially stupid.

    I hope you'll find a job you like more, soon!

  2. Isn't retail the worst?! For me, I got used to the rude customers after a while, but it was my super competitive co-workers that bothered me the most about the job. And thanks, Emily. I've been applying to tons of jobs, so hopefully something will work out soon.

  3. Oh my gosh, Elena! I am so sorry to hear about your experience! You're right, retail is awful. I always hate trying to get people to buy things. But man, I can't believe they did not even train you. I hope you find something you truly enjoy!
    -Erin S.

  4. Ugh! That truly sounds awful. You will find something somewhere else. It's not worth being at a place for hours and hours a day that you can't stand.

  5. Macys is horrible to work for. I AGREE with you. In corporate you are not allow to have a life. That is why they mostly hire kids straight out of college. They need to be exposed. Horrible place.... the worst.

  6. Hi Elena, This is anonymous can you please delete my post above. I needed to vent. thanks and I hope you find something soon.