10 Confessions Of A Kmart Manager

Most people consider Kmart’s merger with Sears the marriage from hell. It should come as no surprise that this sinking chain is leaving thousands of upset customers and employees in its wake, which perhaps explains a letter we received marked “10 Confessions” from a person identifying his/her self as a Kmart manager. The confessions, inside…

“I’ve been reading the Consumerist for a long time and I absolutely love it. I’d like to provide some insight about my job, as a manager at Kmart, and what I’ve learned about the company since the merger.”

1. The cashiers and service desk people are not properly trained.
The turnover in this area is astronomical, and we usually stick them out there with little to no training. So when they don’t know about prices, sales, special offers, or even how to deactivate EAS tags, it’s not their fault; they probably don’t know any better.

2. We have a very small budget.
This is why you can never find anyone in a Kmart. The few employees you may encounter are running around, trying to put out product, marking things down, and resetting counters. Customer service should be the most important thing, but it rarely is.

3. The mystery shop is king.
Our bonuses, raises, and pretty much everything else are dependent on our mystery shop scores, not how many complaints we get or how hard we work.

4. No one gets their performance review anymore.

The store manager is, in so many words, instructed to not rate people too highly because they would get raises, and the company can’t afford that. So the manager rates them a 2 out of 5, skips the review part of the process, and the employee gets nothing. It’s not about their actual performance. It’s all about saving money.

5. We still don’t know what to do with your stimulus check.

We got an email around the time of the press release, and a few flyers, but we would probably give you a blank stare if you came in with your check and wanted your 10% extra. A black hole exists between corporate and the front line managers, through which little information passes.

6. When you call the 800 number, you’re talking to an outsourced call center employee.
They email your complaint to the store manager, who probably already talked to you before you left the store. You will never talk to a district manager or someone in corporate. So you might as well take the 10% discount we give you in the store for complaining, because you won’t get anywhere with the number.

7. We hate Sears just as much as you do.

When we have to call them, they are just as rude to us as they are to you. There is no corporate culture, no meeting of the minds…and we can’t use our employee discount at 90% of their stores.

8. Sears credit cards are HORRIBLE.
Corporate pushes them on us and sends us nasty emails when we don’t get so many applications per customer. We are forced to ask you to fill one out. Upper management and the cashier receive a (very) small commission on every approved application, but the only reason we ask is because we have to.

9. The stores are dirty because they don’t give us money
…to replace fixtures, the leaking ceiling, the horrible bathrooms, or even decent cleaning supplies. We scrub shelfs with window cleaner because we aren’t allowed to order new fixtures or take anything off the shelf that might actually clean anything. That costs money, you see.

10. Corporate just restructured the Loss Prevention position.
Most of our security personnel, who had been with the company for years, were terminated. This is a huge liability problem for our employees and our customers. Expect higher prices in the future as people steal us blind.

Hope this helps,

A Very Disgruntled Manager

(Photo: Getty)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Juggernaut says:

    It’s a party, get you foil-lined bags ready and head to KMart this morning…

  2. B says:

    It’s 10 reasons why I don’t shop at K-Mart.

  3. jpdanzig says:

    Phew — yet another chain to keep away from.

    Again, this is what happens when you pay the guys at the top a gazillion dollars — you have no budget to spend on another important constituency — YOUR CUSTOMERS!

  4. SkokieGuy says:

    So since the cashiers and service desk workers aren’t properly trained, what happens when the Mystery Shoppers attempt to check out or get service?

  5. castlecraver says:

    @B: That last one might be a pretty good reason to go there and “browse,” though. :-P

  6. BabyGorilla says:

    I don’t think I’ll shop there, but I definitely will be exploring future five-finger discounts!

  7. zibby says:

    K-marts have managers? I always assumed they just ran themselves, albeit poorly.

  8. tande says:

    And from a from a “former Sears manager” I’d agee with every single thing on that list. Except for #7 where you would just replace Sears with K-Mart.

  9. backbroken says:

    Holy crap! KMart is still in business? Who knew?

  10. eblack says:

    For some reason I read this as Wal-Mart at first, and thought “what the hell? I thought they were making tons of money.”

    K-Mart, yeah…that’s a sinking ship. There’s one nearby that I used to go to occasionally for oddball stuff I couldn’t find anywhere else, but it’s just so depressing I stopped going.

  11. Bladefist says:

    I have worked for companies in the past that think the best way to make money, is to save money. And they’re wrong. You get out what you put into it. If Kmart had lots of happy faces walking around, clean floors, and knew what they were doing, it would increase revenue. It may take some time for people to catch on, but its an investment.

    It shows when a company has a 2$ budget for upkeep.

  12. silentluciditi says:

    Hey! It sounds just like it did when I worked there 11 years ago! Nothing’s changed, except the addition of Sears.

    Sadly, I still think it was a better first job than working at Wal Mart.

    #9 is especially true. I worled in the deli and ended up learning how to maintain and fix everything (popcorn machine, soda machine, ice cream freezer, cooling cases, warming cases, signage) myself, and even went as far as making new signage for the deli myself. Corporate and regional complained immediately after the fact, but didn;t utter a peep again because they didn’t give a damn about the store’s appearance. Sadly, we had the best looking deli out of all the locations in town because we spent our own time and money to make it look good. The rest of the store? Not so much. Summer’s were fun because after an afternoon thunderstorm (those happen frequently in Colorado) they’d have to put out buckets for leaks, and usually about mid-June the tarps would go up, attached to the ceiling, to funnel the leaks to the buckets. Ah, the memories!

  13. BigJimSlade says:

    11. The Blue Lights actually emit dangerous radiation.

  14. homerjay says:

    Once again, not confessions. A confession is “We routinely disembowel insubordinate janitors”

  15. forgottenpassword says:

    No more loss prevention personel? WOOHOOO! Time to go on a shopliftin’ spree!

    I havnt been to a kmart in probably 10 years. They keep closing down & cant compete with walmart. IMO they should have went out of business years ago.

  16. rmz says:

    @SkokieGuy: Luckily, that ties directly into #4. It all works out!

  17. silentluciditi says:

    oh yeah, and all the employees at our store called KMart ‘Came-Apart’. There’s a reason… >.>

  18. amyschiff says:

    A major issue with Kmart is that they didn’t change with the times. I know this because my father has been a manager at Kmart for over 30 years and I also worked part time there when I was in high school.

    Kmart failed to adapt and integrate new technologies. Instead, they rested on their reputation (which used to be good when they had no competition).

    A big place where this can be seen is with how inventory is handled: if you ask someone at Target whether they have more of an item “in back” they can get a scan gun, scan the barcode on the shelf, and tell you right there. Not the case for Kmart. There is little or no automation. Stores that HAVE adapted can almost have additional products delivered before they run out (with the exception of the occasional “super deal that all stores run out of”) because products are automatically re-ordered based on sales.

    My only hope is that Kmart hangs on a little longer so my father can get out of there and into retirement, which thanks to this company is seriously in trouble due to the fact that the original Kmart stock just disappeared when they went bankrupt.

  19. B says:

    @castlecraver: There’s nothing in K-Mart worth stealing.

  20. castlecraver says:

    @B: Good point.

  21. DeafLEGO says:

    10 reasons why I dont shop there and that’s been about 10 years now too. Sears was screwed up big time and K-Mart just made things worst.

    I hope Crafstman Tools gets sold to someone who will continue the Craftsman idea and lets the rest of the company (Kmart/Sears) just die a quick death.

  22. cybercjh says:

    I used to shop at K-Mart all the time about 5 years ago when I lived in NJ. I really liked that store. Then, when I moved to FL, all the K-Marts in the area because Sears Crapentials. What dumps. The only near me used to be open till 11pm, then 10pm, now 9pm. Why? The store is always empty! They took out the stuff everyone used to buy and put in washers, freezers and a tool department. HELLO! BRING BACK THE PANTRY! BRING BACK THE MARTHA STEWART STUFF. Quit trying to sell me Dollar Tree stuff at Lord & Taylor prices!

  23. I was going to make a lame “Kmart has managers?” joke, but then I remembered that I met one when I applied for a job at one of their stores. (Hey, I was desperate and I have retail experience.)

    They had me take one of those personality tests designed to weed out people with personalities, then never called me back. (Same experience I had with Target, actually.) Those tests are another reason everyone at Kmart seems “off.” Kmart selects for stupid.

    Still, their employees at least pretend to try to help. Almost every time I shop at Meijers, I end up violently angry about the laziness of their employees.

  24. quail says:

    Anyone remember when K-Mart was doing a big investment to upgrade stores in the early 90′s? What it equated to was the building of their big stores and they never got around to all the others in the chain. I’d had some hopes for them back when. Sadly they were misplaced.

  25. cybercjh says:

    (Edited for grammar) … I used to shop at K-Mart all the time about 5 years ago when I lived in NJ. I really liked that store. Then, when I moved to FL, all the K-Marts in the area BECAME Sears Crapentials. What dumps. The only ONE near me used to be open till 11pm, then 10pm, now 9pm. Why? The store is always empty! They took out the stuff everyone used to buy and put in washers, freezers and a tool department. HELLO! BRING BACK THE PANTRY! BRING BACK THE MARTHA STEWART STUFF. Quit trying to sell me Dollar Tree stuff at Lord & Taylor prices!

  26. fluiddruid says:

    Interesting about the mystery shop – they pay a princely sum of $5. Industry standard for a similar shop is about $15. Good mystery shoppers never do them, only total novices or people desperate for cash.

  27. marsneedsrabbits says:

    Who shops at KMart?

    The last time I was in there, it was incredibly depressing. The store was dirty, nearly devoid of customers, the lighting were those old fluorescent tubes that hum and flicker. The merchandise was jumbled – it was a tee-total mess.

  28. quail says:

    @DeafLEGO: Home Depot’s Husky tools carry the lifetime warranty, the same as Craftsman. Lowe’s Kobalt tools might do the same as well. Really, Craftsman is just overpriced. Buy it for the nostalgia more than anything else.

  29. @amyschiff: If you were Austin Powers and staggered into a K-Mart after waking up from your 30-year nap (Mustafa told you Dr. Evil was a manager there), you’d immediately recognize the place (although he’d wonder who that Martha Stewart bird was) because it hasn’t changed much since the 60s. You literally step into a time-warp when you go to K-Mart.

  30. khiltd says:

    I thought K-Mart went out of business years ago, so this is a surprise for me.

  31. Geekybiker says:

    K-marts are worst to shop at than walmart, and that is saying a whole lot.

  32. eben56 says:

    I must live in the wrong place. I do most of my non-grocery shopping at both K-Mart and Sears (They were here long before Walmart decided we were worthy of their presence).
    The K-mart employees are friendly and knowledgable, the building is a little run down, but not dirty.
    The people at Sears are friendly and helpful. I bought an electric range there last month and the salesperson actually steered me to a less expensive model than the shiney one that caught my eye. (and delivered and installed perfectly and right on time)
    Most of the people at the K-mart have worked here for years and its not like they don’t have a choice since they are within 2 miles of Walmart, Kohls, Target, Best Buy, etc.
    And no… I do not work for them.

  33. Mudd-Dobber says:

    K-mart went in the sh1tter when Rosie O’Donnell went on her anti-gun tirade a few years ago. She struck a blow against K-Mart’s key demographic and the store has never recovered.

    Queston: Do they still light up that blue light to create stampedes to buy junk?

  34. Mistrez_Mish says:

    Yeah – I’ve only been to one “nice-ish” Kmart before… most of them are dingy, dark, and falling apart like the one near Herald Square. It’s Target for me!

    And yes, the Sears Credit cards are completely crap-tastic. I used to work for the marketing dept. at Sears and would cringe whenever I heard an employee ask a customer if they wanted to open an account.

  35. razremytuxbuddy says:

    This story makes me sad, because Kmart is one of the stores that enables me to avoid Walmart. The Kmart employees are always friendly and accessible, and the prices are competitive. The parking lot is never too full, so I don’t have to park way down in the “South 40″ and hike back up to the store. The Kmart aisles aren’t clogged with customers with oversized shopping carts full of kids and all the crappy crap people buy at Walmart just because they see it on display. In other words, when I’m in Kmart, I can buy the things I need and get out without wishing I’d never gone there. I’m really pulling for Kmart, but sadly, I do think I’ve noticed the stores getting more run down since the Sears deal.

  36. MBPharmD says:

    @Michael Bauser:

    Probably because you call it “Meijers” [sic] and not “Meijer.” Do you go to Target’s, Costco’s, or Blockbuster’s?

    /pet peeve

  37. mzs says:

    As a kid I spent a lot of time in a Kmart and the arcade next to it. It is sad what has become of Kmart.

    Interesting note about the clueless workers and theft. About 5 years ago my wife and I went to Kmart to buy sheets for a new bed. When we went there it was clear that some customers were stealing sheets right in front of us by stuffing extra and larger ones into the lesser priced twin packages. We took the one we wanted to the cashier and explained what was going on. Also we asked if it was okay to open ours to see if everything was in it. She said we would need to buy it, check it out, and then return it if something was wrong. So we did and sure enough the cover was for a twin.

    So we went to the customer service and again explained what was going on. The lady there said she would give us a refund. Instead she credited to our account the difference plus the price for the queen set. So we explained that that is not right. And she got really confused and misunderstood saying that she thought we wanted to keep the set now and have the difference and that this is what she did. We tried to explain again and this time she got very angry with us. Suddenly she became convinced we were trying to trick her somehow when we were simply trying to explain to her that she was giving us back too much money. There was a definite language barrier issue here as well.

    Finally we just left but while at customer service we saw the stealing customers go to the same cashier we had earlier and have no trouble at all with their purchase of somewhere around five ‘twin’ sets.

  38. blackmage439 says:

    Sounds like both companies are headed for their doom.

    The last time I stepped foot in a Sears store was at a Sears Hardware. I was looking for a pouch for a Leatherman tool; a well known multitool maker. I asked one of the clerks about it, and they said, “Try a hardware store.”

    ?????

    Nah nah nah nah.
    Nah nah nah nah.
    HEY HEY HEY!
    Goooood-bye!

  39. amyschiff says:

    @razremytuxbuddy: amen. I can’t even set foot in a Walmart without this overwhelming urge to vomit.

    I have friends who love Walmart “because it has everything.” That’s exactly why I dislike it. I hate having like 42 options for every purchase I need to make, stacked up on shelves that are ridiculously high and claustrophobic feeling.

  40. BigElectricCat says:

    If this tale is true, then it goes a long way toward explaining why K-Mart’s going under.

  41. PinUp says:

    #4 looks to be a disturbing new standard. The same goes on at Macy’s; they’ve been giving everyone an “unsatisfactory” review so no one gets a raise (assuming you actually ever see your review, which I have not even though it was due in February). Then instead of writing you up, which they should do if you really suck so royally, they want to hear one area you’re committed to improving. I pledge to choke back my reaction to being told I’m a bad employee.

    We are also required to ask everyone to open a credit card, but store management doesn’t call it “credit” anymore, it’s “loyalty.” Soooo, we don’t want to perpetuate the credit crisis and encourage people to spend money they don’t have on things they don’t need (and didn’t even know they wanted until we told them so), we just want them to be loyal. Uh huh, sure.

  42. KatieKate93 says:

    @mzs: That reminds me of the time I bought USED sheets from Kmart, “pills” and all. They let me return them, but not before all but accusing me of being the scammer. I guess it’s because I took them home and didn’t discover the problem until the next day, but who thinks to look at sheets before leaving a store?

    Ugh. Maybe it’s just me, but there’s just something really gross about other people’s used sheets.

  43. Kajj says:

    @MBPharmD: It’s a hallmark of idiomatic English to add a possessive to companies that are named after a person, you pedant.
    If Blockbuster had been founded by Dick Blockbuster (xbox hero), then people would call it “Blockbuster’s.” Your inability to understand how that works doesn’t make other people wrong.

  44. MissPeacock says:

    My first job ever was in a Kmart. The very first day I was there, I noticed a funky smell coming from under my register. I asked about it and was told there was a dead rat underneath it. The manager handed me a can of Lysol and told me to spray if any customers complained. It was a full week before someone came over and got the rat out from under the register area.

    My job in the mornings when I came in was to go through the candy that sits on the aisles and empty out the rat doo-doo. I would also remove any candy that the rats had partially eaten overnight and leave the rest out for customers to consume.

    It was the nastiest, filthiest place I have ever worked and I will never shop there again.

  45. ChuckECheese says:

    @cybercjh: Martha S. has moved on to Macy’s. Here’s a story: [www.marketwatch.com] Martha’s contract with KM is kaput in 2009. Do you think she’ll renew? How long will Macy’s last? Stay tuned.

  46. Pink Puppet says:

    @MBPharmD: You know, I can’t think of anyone I know, including Meijers employees, that calls it “Meijer”. You just get used to it, I think.

  47. Brie says:

    @marsneedsrabbits: Echo echo – the KMart here is so depressing. From the customers to the employees to the Little Caesar’s, the whole place has this air of total beat-down. And that’s AFTER the remodel.

    On another note, I’m vaguely acquainted with one Sears manager and one KMart manager, and when I see them at school/family events Mr Sears always looks stressed out and Mr KMart looks tired. They’re both quite friendly though, and when I ask “How are you?” both will answer with “Oh, you know, pretty burnt from work.”

  48. Brie says:

    @PinUp: Any chance for a Macy’s confessions post? Are you still required to ask “Was your shopping experience OUTSTANDING today?” Because I’m always tempted to snap back, “You’re the first employee who’s said anything to me, and I’ve been here an hour and tried on ten outfits, so no, not so much OUTSTANDING.”

    I like the clothes and Macy’s carries my high-end bras so I would totally shop there more if they deigned to encourage my presence.

  49. coriona87 says:

    I use to work for Sears myself, Can’t say much for Kmart but its true about customer service. Sears doesnt give a rat in their employess I applied for a cashiers posistion for womens apparrel and they stuck me at the time 16 in the Sears home and garden, parts department. And beings that it was in TN, there was a numerous array of southern’s asking about lawn mowers, tools, etc, Craftman tool warranity. What the hell would a 16 year old girl know about that? They didnt even train they said its not that hard heres how to scan,total,cash checks and so on. Aside from that my friends mother was a floor manager who was terminated by Sears because she couldnt get her employess to sell enough extended warranties with the purchase of such home appliances as refridgerators,washers,driers, so on. Being a small town in a poorer southern area face it, if people dont want to buy shit, they’re not going too. And dont even get me started with those bull crap Sears credit cards, We where practically taken out back and shot if we didnt get so many people to sign up for them, some employess even fired because of it. ( I myself told a customer to go to hell over a coupon so that ended that nightmare ) We had so many complains with that card, our services, how we did or more or less didn’t do things, but all thanks to corporate, and the article is right your better off with the discount, or just plain going elsewhere as you will not get customer service from them.

  50. vladthepaler says:

    Is the Mystery Shop where they sell Scooby Snacks?

  51. pal003 says:

    My recent Kmart experience was with a great cashier – a huge improvement over some past employees. My only concern with Kmart is the still selling of seriously past date food and candy – yuk!

    I wish they wouldn’t only use the mystery shopper experience to evaluate employees – that is not always the best indicator. Since I will not shop at that ‘W’ discount retailer – I’ll still be going to Kmart and always hope for a repeat good experience.

  52. dorastandpipe says:

    You know, no store is exempt from bad behavior. They all suck. I like Target for their cleanliness, but I hate their refund policy. I just try not to buy anything at all anymore!

    And by the way…Target is laying off long term employees…oh wait…no…they are FIRING them after making false accusations so they do not have to pay them the higher wages and vacation time they have earned for their 15-25 years of service. If you know anyone at corporate Target in Minneapolis…tell them to watch their backs and get the heck out of there. (I have seen it with my own eyes, many good people gone!) I left before the hushed downsizing started.

  53. bigmac12 says:

    I went to a recently converted (Kmart to Sears) store and was pleasantly surprised at the cleanliness, brightness and helpful employees.
    I had a couple of older Kmart gift cards that they gladly converted to Sears cards so that I could use them that day.
    They might be going down the tubes but you couldn’t prove it from that store!

    Mac

  54. dwarf74 says:

    My wife’s dad was a pharmacist at K-Mart, so she has some family loyalty to the store. And a discount card.

    Really, the one in town here isn’t that bad. It’s relatively dirty, but I’d rather shop there than Wal-Mart. They do seem kinda clueless behind the customer service counter, though…

    About the only thing I’d note is that her discount card works perfectly well at the (actually both well-managed and clean) Sears. We were able to get a clearance lawnmower for ridiculously cheap.

  55. TheNerd says:

    I worked at Kmart for 18 months, and it is ALL TRUE! I couldn’t do it anymore, because my sense of ethics was being violated at every turn.

    I just cannot force myself to ask every single shopper if they would like to apply for a store card with a 25% APR (disgusting!), many of whom cannot even speak English.

    Also, each cashier is supposed to get 10 hours of training – 5 watching over an employee’s shoulder, 5 with a trainer watching over the trainee’s shoulder. At best they would get a couple hours of watch time, then the trainer would be called to another part of the store (due to lack of staffing), leaving the poor recruit to helplessly apologize to each customer for her constant state of confusion.

    My one-year “performance” review was a joke. The manager didn’t even pretend to evaluate me – she just “gave me the same score she gives everybody”, just enough to give me a slight raise.

    Worst of all: the bathroom policy. If you find a mess, you clean it up! There is no daytime janitor. This basically ensures that any employee who spots a bathroom in a state of emergency will leave it to the next person, rather than have to clean it her/himself.

    [Apologies in the event of a double post, I am experiencing troubles with email commenting.]

  56. justleslie says:

    @dwarf74 I think using the card depends on whether the Sears is corporately owned or privately owned. Many rural Sears stores are privately owned, and don’t accept the discount card. The Sears Outlet stores are also well known for denying employee discount cards.

    This is probably confusing to the average Kmart/Sears employee.

  57. Disturbedearth says:

    I have a “Sears Grand” near my house so it’s always easier to go by there first for a lot of purchases. That and I always liked Sears and hate to see them go the way of Monkey Wards. The store is always very clean and bright and still looks brand new.

    The downside is that they almost never have what I’m looking for. I can stand around for an hour without anyone wanting, or offering to help me. I finally found a guy that seems to be there all the time (Employee) so I generally just seek him out now when I go in.

    I have never been in there when the customers outnumbered the employee’s – not even at X-mas (hence the “still looks new” part). I just don’t see how they can last much longer. It’s as if they no longer have an identity – they don’t really do any one thing really well. They are now just a “Kmart with Crafstman”…

  58. edosan says:

    Wow. This sure doesn’t make me want to shop there.

  59. BlackFlag55 says:

    Two great companies that failed to Pay Attention and Stay Competitive. So, it’s double the suck as an idea to merge two giant suckholes together.

    Before the merger, a KMart in Denver was experiencing outlandish losses. Merchandise seemed to literally be walking out of the store. Despite intensive scrutiny and professional loss prevention oversight on scene, no one could figure out what was happening. Then…. one day by sheer happenstance, the architect repsonsible for store makeovers stopped by that KMart to buy some batteries. Afterward – his testimony – he sat in the parking lot puzzzling over something that he saw that his mind sub-consciously wasn’t processing right. Evetually goes back into the store and walks around, looking and finally ends up at the cashier lanes. Where he goes 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 … 9. Since this store had been remodeled in the past year, he knew there were supposed to be 8 checkout lanes. But there were nine lanes. And that’s how the merchandise was literally walking out of the store … through lane number 9. The manager’s personal checkout line.

  60. WeirdUncleDave says:

    Gosh, the only reason I don’t shop at Kmart is because they still owe me $34.75 in back wages from 2002.

  61. HOP says:

    didn’t k-mart evolve from the kresge’s 5 and dime stores?

  62. smallestmills says:

    @MBPharmD:

    I was always told it was a Michigan thing (former HQ of KMartS). People here work for Fords, go to Meijers, and get liquor from a party store.

    It’s a pet peeve of mine, also.

  63. unravel says:

    @SkokieGuy: When I worked in retail and fast food, management would make certain people were on the schedule and covering areas they excelled in when a mystery shop was due (in some places, they always fell in the same 2-3 day time frame each month, and at others, the first location in a district to get shopped would call the others and sound the alarm, complete with a description of the mystery shopper and their car). Same with health department inspections, yay.

  64. u1itn0w2day says:

    -no performance reviews:below average but…

    On one hand they only want to rate employees a 2 and yet they let all those 2s work and conduct business for the company on a daily basis:day after day,week after week,month after month:sounds pretty competent to me.

    No wonder retalers like Kmart are loaded with indifference and attitude

  65. ChaosMotor says:

    Yeah, uh, K-Mart’s budget has been systematically looted for years now by Eddie Lampert for his own personal gain.

    [www.atimes.com]

  66. savvy9999 says:

    @HOP: Yes, It was Kresge’s before it was KMart.

    Decades ago, my very first real job ever was working at the photo department at a KMart. It was actually a fun job. An old guy that sold TVs taught me how to smoke cigarettes during breaks. He’s gotta be dead by now. Just like KMart should probably be.

  67. thelushie says:

    @amyschiff: I agree completely. That is a problem with not only Kmart but alot of stores and then they wonder why they go out of business (or try to blame it on stores that have stayed up on technology, trends,etc.). One of the reasons that I am about to leave the credit union I have had an account with for over 10 years is because of their lack of technology (they also look for “stupid” when they hire). They think there isn’t a need. Apparently, they also don’t hear what others say about them. I think it is because members of the board of directors are afraid of technology or have the “antichrist” mentality.

    And my mom knows what your dad is talking about. She is staying with her job because she has two years to retirement and wants full benefits. A former professor of mine literally had a countdown going.

    I shop at Target which has some pretty stupid employees (at least at ours) but I am not going there for customer service.

  68. thelushie says:

    @PinUp: My time at Macys was the same way. Everything was about making the credit goal. I always made mine and then some and I am clueless to how. I always stopped after two “no”s. Never lied. Never pushy. My managers would never say a thing, after all I was doing it.

  69. MKizzle says:

    Rain Man said it best: KMart sucks.

  70. highmodulus says:

    Ah Sears, racing the legacy airlines to Chapter 7.

  71. Chrome says:

    I swear that was written by the manager I worked for at Kmart a couple of years ago. As a former associate, I assure you everything written there is true. I recieved zero training.

    Later,
    Chrome…

  72. arbeitmachtfun says:

    The Kmart next to my mother’s house looks like an ancient relic. Filthy, in shambles and deserted. I went there a few years ago to buy a birthday present for my dad, a fishing enthusiast. No wonder they’re going bankrupt, just being in there for a minuted gave me the creeps so badly I never returned.

  73. kabuk1 says:

    This is sad. When I think of Kmart I think of my childhood, being 5 years old riding along in Mom’s cart, eagerly looking out for the Blue Light special lady, and raiding the gumball machines at the exit.

    Stupid management. Always hafta ruin everything.

  74. TechnoDestructo says:

    @amyschiff: Regarding reordering based on sales:

    No, more successful stores have NOT adapted in that way. Walmart, notably, hasn’t, but neither have: Lowes, Home Depot, Fred Meyer, Safeway, or (I’m not sure how decentralized these are, so they may not count) Ace or Sentry hardware.

    2006, interior Alaska: The worst year for wasps in since 1994. They were EVERYWHERE. Both above-ground nests and giant underground hives. Every store that sold every kind of pesticide quickly ran out of wasp poison. There were still products on the shelves for ants and spiders and stuff…and maybe the ant stuff would work to some extent if you could deliver it. (Wasp sprays tend to be highly focused, high-pressure, and long-range, out of necessity.)

    Not a one restocked, all summer. No one. Better still, they all had equal shelf space for all the different types of pesticide, despite the fact that ants are far easier to control and less of a problem (there are no dangerous ants in Alaska…the worst ones are carpenter ants), and the fact that there pretty much aren’t any insect problems that can easily be controlled with spray-can pesticides EXCEPT ants and wasps.

    Better still: Walmart had a great big shelf full of ROACH killers. Apart from the occasional infestation in an apartment complex or military base (places where the roaches have someplace heated to run to) THERE ARE NO ROACHES IN ALASKA. And yet they devoted as much shelf space to an almost-non-existent problem as they did to a chronic, and that year acutely bad, problem.

    None of those big-box (or in the case of Sentry…medium-box) retailers are run intelligently. None of them allow their store managers the freedom to adapt as needed, or if they do, there were none in that area that had managers intelligent enough to do so.

  75. @thelushie: The people at Macy’s are always SO pushy about the credit card. I’m quite young so I always point out that I use my mother’s card and do not want my own as I am not even employed (student) and still they push push push push.

  76. akalish says:

    Kmart stores are gross. I always wondered why Martha S. decided to place her line with them. I hope she goes Target in ’09.

  77. DWMILLER says:

    Wife worked for k-mart and she said it should have been called”emplyee theft-mart”. Loss prevention was on the take. Brother worked for Sears. Customer service was a joke! They didn’t care if they pissed a customer off at all. He ended up quitting before his shift started on a Friday. it was payday and a new work schedule was posted and he tells the ass. manager he quits! the ass. manager said you have to give a 2 week notice to quit. He informed the ass. manager that Sears would not give 2 week notice if they where going to fire him! My wife and brother are damaged from working at this Corporation.

  78. metaled says:

    @Michael Bauser: I end up violently angry about the laziness of their employees.

    And you wonder what is up with the personality test? Just Kidding, (Ducking and running), hehe

  79. thelushie says:

    @generalhousewifery: I was never pushy about it. I didn’t see a reason to be. I got two nos and then that was it. I am a graduate student and I don’t have credit cards because, at this point, I can’t pay them off myself. It is part of their job, and honestly, everyone has sucky parts of their job. I don’t know anyone who actually enjoyed it but it is part of it. It isn’t just Macys who push credit. I had a very pushy sales person at Nordstroms once. My advice is that if you look young, tell them you aren’t old enough.

  80. metaled says:

    @akalish:Kmart stores are gross. I always wondered why Martha S. decided to place her line with them. I hope she goes Target in ’09.

    She already went to Michael’S (Arts and Crafts stuff).
    On another note, I absolutely hate Sears Credit card. I only keep it because I like OSh Hardware (only place you can still buy single screws, nails etc. Except for Homedepot, but they are dead to me!). I get about 4 new cards a year, congratulating me for the new gold, platinum, preferred status etc. The limit is not increased, my old cards are no where near expiring. I threw out 3 of them before my wife got the last one and called to activate it for me. I had already caught on to their deal, my wife handed me the phone and told me that she could not use the automated system to activate it, I could have cussed her out if I did not love her so much. You can’t activate their cards automatically, when you still have a couple years left on your old card, it is a play to try and sell you the unemployment/disater insurance. So the guy gets on the phone, verifies my info, “While we are waiting for the system to confirm your activation, I would like to tell you about our card insurance policies for only ….blah, blah, blah.” Fast talk, slow system if it can’t activate in all that time! I just tell him to stop, I am unemployed and disabled, so save your breath. He thanks me and tells me to have a nice day. Got 2 more cards within the last few months! I just got a NEW one activated!!!!! AUGH!

  81. joellevand says:

    The last time I went into a KMart was in 2000, when it was still next door to the DMV in my area of NJ. It was so dirty and horribly smelly, I was sure I was going to end up with dysentery or cholera just from the thick, moist air in the damp, dark, dank store. (I like alliteration. Can you tell?) Ick.

  82. geoffhazel says:

    All the K-Marts here (Seattle eastside) closed years ago. One re-opened as a McLendon’s Hardware, the other is still shuttered.

    Even if they were open, they have to deal with Target (slightly upscale) or Wal_mart (lower prices).

  83. missdona says:

    @Mistrez_Mish: I totally saw a rat scurry across the floor at that Kmart at Penn Station.

  84. missdona says:

    @metaled: Rosie O’Donnell said that Martha told her that she placed her line with Kmart because she grew up in (middle class) Nutley, NJ and these were “her people.”

  85. HungryGrrl says:

    I shop at KMart sometimes… it’s the closest ‘general merchandise’ store to my home. It’s a newer store in a well off town (Newburyport MA) so the store tends to look clean and new, but it definitely is chronically understaffed.

    A lot of their products are crap, but I did get some nice Levis jeans there for $20, and the Martha Stewart kitchen stuff and linens are ok. It’s a handy place to stop when I need something odd like ant traps, or a belt, or a measuring cup.

  86. The Bigger Unit says:

    I disagree that it is thievin’ time at K-Mart! I went there to buy GTA IV (hey, why not). Their games were behind glass locked up. After standing around like a dummy for a couple minutes seeing no one, I walked 3 stores down to Futureshop, grabbed my copy right at the door, paid, and left.

    Nearly $70 lost to K-Mart for not having employees around and for locking up their shit!!

  87. guevera says:

    @DeafLEGO: Yeah, hope they don’t manage to screw up craftsman. The only thing I shop for in sears/kmart anymore is cheap craftsman tools on the holidays. The 10 dollar tool bags are a steal. Now maybe I’ll just load them up and walk out….

  88. chatterboxwriting says:

    Ah, this brings back memories of my K-Mart days. I was hired for the service desk, but trained on register my first two days. On my third day, I was on register and my supervisor came up to me, handed me a set of keys, and said, “okay, you supervise while I go on lunch.” I was like, “do I KNOW how to supervise?” (I can handle the supervision part of it, but there were other things to do like balancing the cash drawer, making “hundred bags,” etc. that I knew nothing about). We never had enough people working – they gave us a labor budget based on store sales for the previous year. So if July 18, 2006 was a slow sales day, you’d have a low labor budget for July 18, 2007, no matter how busy it actually got.

  89. @thelushie: I didn’t mean to imply that you were one of the pushies. Sometimes, depending on my mood, I’ll try the “I’m not old enough, sorry” although that doesn’t work if I’m paying with a credit card that’s solely in my name…oops!

  90. thelushie says:

    @generalhousewifery: I understand completely what you are saying. I really wish they would not push it so hard. It makes all of us look bad. If they kept it up and really were pushy, I would push back. “I said no, I mean no and I will not change my answer.”

  91. phazah says:

    i work for meijer, and the reason for “lazy” workers is they really dont care anymore…
    meijer is a union shop, and the union and has bent the workers over right after the corporation, and neither used KY jelly….
    they get paid very little for the work that the higher ups expect from them. try covering 1/3 of the stores square footage for 8 hrs(if your lucky), or enjoy a nice 4 hr shift set firmly in place so that you cannot work any other job.
    they only give you 21 hrs a week, and any other job you try to get is “competition”. they dont give their workers raises when those workers have been injured on the clock, due to they are “resticted” and the union does crap….
    meijer used to be a shining example on how to do retail, when fred stepped down, and the boys dont do crap, the company has entered into walmart zone….

  92. Raving Rabbid says:

    All the Kmarts here closed during the Chapter 11 problem.

    One became a JCPenney (they don’t build in malls anymore; the place was totally remodeled between its Kmart and JCPenney days) and the other, which stayed open longer, is a Home Depot. (Google Street View and an eerily open Google Maps Kmart address coincided at a Home Depot on the spot. The reason I knew it could be around? The Kmart that was converted to a JCPenney was still listed!)

  93. theoretical says:

    I once met a cashier at a local K-mart who was quitting in 3 days because they wouldn’t give her the day off for her wedding despite several attempts and proper notice.

    None of this surprises me.

  94. ChuckECheese says:

    @MBPharmD: Sometimeses you gets carried aways, and youses puts even more ss’es at the ends of words, like

    Wal-Martses
    Walgreenses
    CVSeses
    and
    Targetses
    and my favorite

    /ladie’s

  95. Obvious the signature of the OP is entirely correct.

    He/She really is “A Very Disgruntled Manager”

  96. econobiker says:

    @cybercjh: Yeah, the kmart closest to me closes at 9pm all week long- The store is visible from the interstate and surrounded by an interstate exit “village” that is up 24/7! I was leaving a 8:58 one night as people were pulling up and I told them it was closing. They said “what the hell!” Funnier thing is that the closest Kmart open until 10pm is in a shadier neighborhood and not even visible from a state highway that runs past it.

    I love Kmart for the clearance toys they have -some stores even had clearance toys during Christmas time!!! I usually have both my sons birthdays and christmas gifts handled by 6 months out…

  97. @HungryGrrl: @HungryGrrl: Hey, I know that Kmart! Across the shopping center from McDonald’s there! I used to walk across and browse/shop on my lunch breaks when I worked at McD the summer of ’03.

    Just so you know, don’t ever eat at that McDonald’s!! If you like, I can explain.

    As for the main topic, it’s sad for me seeing Kmart decline, for me the memories are much like @kabuk1‘s: Our (Ukiah, CA) store was always a wonderful place for a kid to go with Mom and Dad, full of fun toys and stuff. Ours shut down in 2003, only about 3 years after they built a huge brand-new store. The building is now a Home Depot.

    -Dan

  98. 1 Confession Of A Human Being:

    It’s true about the loss prevention. My former coworker (no, we didn’t work at K-Mart) was bragging about walking out with a cart full of stuff at K-Mart. He said the security alarms went off (they were extremely loud) and nobody even came after him or questioned him. He just casually walked to his car while the manager was busy helping people at the customer service desk (also the only register open at the time). I didn’t believe his story at the time, but now I do.

    * * *

    I feel bad for retail associates. I used to be one. You work your butt off and never get rewarded for it. Now I know why — everyone is getting the same bogus review! And this isn’t just at K-Mart, other stores use even shadier techniques to keep their employees from getting paid what they’ve earned.

  99. MercuryPDX says:

    @SkokieGuy: Speaking from experience, we report a fair, neutral and objective account based on the visit.

    While it seems a bit odd to me that Sears SOLELY ties raises/advancement to Mystery Shopping, if you look at reason #4 I can see why it becomes more important.

  100. MercuryPDX says:

    @fluiddruid: Actually less if they require you to make a non-reimbursable purchase to get a receipt. “Cheap” shops like those are good for newbie practice.

    @unravel: In a rural area it’s quite possible to see the same person do multiple mystery shops for a “client” in the surrounding area. In the denser populated areas, not so much. And if you KNEW who the shopper was based on their actions, either they didn’t do their “job” right (blend in with the usual customers) OR the company needs to update the scenario they send us out with.

  101. The Porkchop Express says:

    @quail: I worked on one of those stores. Great summer job for a high school kid or hell even a college kid. I think it was 12 bucks an hour for 30 hours a week.

    of course the money was all for booze and smokes and what not. nothing good came of it. And the store that I worked at was gone in a couple of years. pretty funny.

    They also make/made the employees call the managers Mr. and Ms. Headinass or whatever.

  102. MonkeySwitch says:

    When I was in highschool, I worked at a Kmart part time. It was a very lonely and boring job. I often was told to clean my keyboard with a q-tip and alcohol, but not even that could take away the stains of time. I also learned that our Kmart had only one security guard, and she was never there. In our training video, it was stressed that security personnel were the only people allowed to stop a shop lifter. You could watch someone stick something down their pants, and you were not allowed to say anything. I let all of my friends know.

  103. nerdstalker says:

    KMart was my first “real” job, and at first it was ideal for the simple fact that it was not food service. But the only training I got was “Don’t Steal Stuff” and after about a month my poor, sensitive, 16-year-old self couldn’t deal with the horrible customers.

  104. trk182 says:

    @backbroken: That’s what I thought. I could have sworn K-mart went out of business like 4 or 5 years ago. I haven’t seen one in Houston for at least that long.

  105. TNKmart says:

    #6 is true about most customer service centers. No one handles their own customer service lines anymore.

    My last encounter with a mystery shopper left me with a huge grin on my face. He reported back that I was in my twenties! I’m 39! lol!

  106. freejazz38 says:

    hahahahahahahahahaahahahahahaha And this is news why?

  107. strathmeyer says:

    Sounds like somebody’s goin’ CompUSA!

  108. Jasoco says:

    Four years. I worked at Kmart (One of the flagship stores for that matter) for four years. Every single thing the article says is true. Ever since the merger it has become terrible. I quit last October. During my 4 years I was tossed all over the place when all I wanted was to be where I knew what I was doing. Electronics. I was made Electronics Manager at one point. But after 8 months they decided to secretly train a replacement, demote me to register jockey and put him in my place. Eventually he got taken to CVS by a friend who also went there and left them without a manager. At that point they tossed people in all the time who knew NOTHING about Electronics all the while I would be on registers. You know, because the best place to put your most knowledgable person is not in the department he is knowledgable in. That would actually make sense.

  109. Mudpuddle says:

    The owner of Sears and Kmarts just bought them for the property. Nice locations and low property values made them a steal. Its all sad for the employees and the shoppers.

  110. missin says:

    I know of a person who has worked at a k mart for the past 32 years that was fired today because of a new manager. Said manager made up lies and what not and this person, who has been a loyal employee there for 32 years, lost his job, his benefits because of a miserable manager which is rumored to want a relative or friend to get this job. Its not right, that a new manager can come in and after a person has been there for that long, dismiss him on one person’s decision.

  111. deligirl says:

    I just love my job at k-mart, I get to clean stuff all the time, cook, use my wonderful customer service skills, only downfall the lazy ass that I work with sometimes, thinks shes a boss, and leaves for extended periods of time, doesn’t clock in and out when she takes off for her extended periods of time, and shows up late, when Im coming in on my day off to help her ass out. Yup, theres always a few people got to make it worse for the people that will bust their ass. The place is a dead-zone. funniest thing in the bathroom stall it says Walmart is better. lol Probably is but I waited 30 minutes in their deli line. Dont have to wait that long at the one I work at. ;)

  112. missin says:

    my brother talked to the labor board out it indiana because some of his follow employees told him not to let this manager get away with his actions, the labor board said Indiana is about the only state where its ok for a place not to give you a break or lunch hours, so basically they can treat you however they please and this same kmart just fired six other people in the past week, I will never shop at one again

  113. missin says:

    well, kmart is still causing problems for friend that was let go after 32 years. manager that fired him is slanding his name all over the town where he lives making it difficutl for him to get a job and said person who did the firing apparently wanted that job because he now has that job. Why are people allowed to get away with this kind of stuff. Friend did call the main office and complained.

  114. missin says:

    same person that lost his job after 32 years, and now manager’s relative in his twenties is now working there. Person was denied unemployment reason misconduct. As everyone in the store said it was a setup deal to get other person in. No wonder kmart is turned into a mess with managers like that. Said person is not able to find a job because manager is spreading the lies all over town. So he will probably lose his home next and then his car. I hope this manager can sleep at night because a person is going to become homeless because of his lies and actions

  115. SmritaMessene says:

    Just wanted to add one more comment, that the manager that fired my brother just got fired himself from the coporate bosses, hopefully now my brother will beable to get his unemployment, manager that caused all the trouble also lied to the employment office stating that he allowed my brother to keep his medical insurance and other things which he did not. Sure hope they turn him down for unemployment. I guess every so often there is some justice in the world for the good people

  116. Timberwolf87 says:

    I actually work at a K-mart store in upstate New York. I am the menswear, kidswear, and infants lead. Yes, you heard right. I would just like to say that this article is the absolute truth. Our budget is constantly getting cut because we dont have good sales, but yet there are few employees around to help achieve corporate’s goals. And yet our store added a home appliances section… why would they do this if sales were so horrible… by all means this does not make sense. It is not just corporate that’s to blame but sometimes assocaites in the store who are completely in it for themselves. If this business is to succeed we have to help eachother. And management has to realize this, our budget gets cut and yet all the same pressure is on the leads of each department when they have nobody to help them. As a confession I would like to say that i worked my way up the ladder around the store and here’s what kind of pressure i face in a day. There is the ding-dong of the fitting room bell constantly because we have to keep it locked to prevent theft. Then there is the code 1000 to layaway or jewelry when there is nobody there to cover it. I have also on many ocassions covered the service desk, as well as ring at checkouts and assist the customers. And by all means I am not the only associate facing the problem… one lead in the store is constantly called for stock calls and still expected to get his work done. Most associates will help out each other but others are in it for themselves. Not just the associates are over worked and underpaid our managers are the same. I have seen some of our managers stay at the store from open to close and be the only manager on the entire sales floor. So let me close this simply by saying that in order for this chain to succeed we have to work together to develop a solutions to this gruesome dilemma.

  117. masterasia says:

    I used to ride the little merry-go-round outside of K-mart when I was little.