Closing: An Employee Report From Inside The Wilson's Leather Bloodbath

Reader L is an employee of Wilson’s Leather and has the following to report from inside the liquidation. Everything and everyone must go.

Here’s the most important take away. Now that L’s store has been taken over by a liquidator the prices are actually higher than before. Don’t fall for this so-called “sale.” Apparently, it’s just CompUSA, but with coats.

I’ve been at a Wilson’s Leather store for over a year when we were told about the closings. Since nobody has reported it yet, here’s how it all actually went down and certain points that makes all this even worse.

1. On 2/13, there was no indication whatsoever about what would happen the next day. We were sent the usual e-mails and price changes, as well as shipments.

2. Some new sign kits showed up on 2/14 (Valentines Day) and my manager knew immediately what they were. (They had the signs with the “Everything Must Go” wording on them.) She called out District Manager and asked him about it. He knew nothing and made some calls. They told him everyone would be told in a conference call at 3:00PM. Otherwise, they told him nothing. It’s always fun when signs stating you’re going out of business arrive before you’re told you’re going out of business.

3. The conference call consisted of them basically firing almost all their Regional and District managers (including ours) and telling stores they were being liquidated effective immediately. The best part was them thanking everyone who was now pretty much fired for being loyal employee’s. Nothing was said about severance or unused vacation time, etc. And that was it. We–or any other cut store–had no real ties with Wilson’s anymore. We were sold to a liquidator and they were taking over day-to-day operations from here on out. We received an e-mail listing all the stores that had been closed and a really vague FAQ about what was happening and why. That was the last communication to or from the Wilson’s corp. to our store.

4. The signs are up, the tags were put on everything and we get to deal with customers who are angry that we can no longer accept returns or exchanges on anything regardless of when they made the purchase. Not to mention that the prices now (since the liquidator took over–who we haven’t even seen yet, by the way) are higher than they were before the closing. So consider that a heads up to anybody planning to buy anything.

The only parts of this that anger me more than anything else are these facts:

-We have NO idea when we’re being closed. The guy could show up at any time, say thanks for working, and shut the store down. We’re just standing there waiting for the other shoe to stomp us flat.

-Despite e-mails to Human Resources, we’ve heard nothing about severance. If it actually happens and is not worth even getting, you’ll be hearing security gates shut all across the country.

-My boss, who is the sweetest, most honest woman I’ve ever met in my life, has been a manager for about 14 years and trained the majority of the managers in other stores in our area, was let go without warning. There are people out there who were with them even longer who were dropped as well.

Everyone in the store considered each other family since we were always together and hanging out. My manager gave me a job when nobody else would and became probably the best friend I’ve ever had. Though I’m angered that all my coworkers are now left in the lurch, I’m especially pissed about the way she was told. I couldn’t even speak when she was left in tears over this.

So thats the real story behind the closings. Nobody had any warning, no indication, not even a rumor of anybody being shut down. I’m sure other ex-employee’s of companies have similar or worse stories about their closings, but I didn’t work for them. This is a job I actually enjoyed doing taken from me without so much as a kiss.

Thats it.

Our condolences to the folks at Wilson’s Leather. A big hug from the Consumerist to all of you.