Tale Of A 16-Year-Old Kmart Employee

Despite the common stereotype, there are some young people willing to work hard. Patrick found a job at Kmart since it is one of few stores that starts hiring at age 16. He was hired under the guise of Customer Service Representative, but Patrick soon realized he was really the “Coach’s Bitch.” Besides being treated as nothing more than a slaveboy, Patrick says he was instructed to do things that are illegal for minors. His letter, inside…

My experience working at the big K is over! Thank god. I can say, what everybody says about working there is true. It is a horrible place to work.

First the enviroment. It sucks. It’s dirty. I NEVER worked where I was hired for (Customer Service). I instead worked “MISC-UTILITY”, also known as runner, or “the Coach’s Bitch”, where I was asked to do illegal things, such as:

* Cleaning crap (literally crap) off the walls without gloves or other safety and health gear
* Working Freight Elevators (that broke down frequently)
* Handling spent and leaking batteries without proper safety equipment
* Running compactors and balers
* Working with chemicals that could probably sterilize a cat

The management? Don’t get me started. We call them coaches because “we’re a team!” Ha! The bureaucracy is bull. They care more about the bottom line than the safety of their employees. Case in point: I had a severe asthma attack while cleaning Infants/Softlines. I went to the coach to tell them that I was not able to complete my job. She called me a liar. She then sent me out to go collect shopping carts…hello?!

When I came in today, I was confronted my the head coach, who told me that I had signed that I didn’t have a medical condition that would affect my job. I assured I didn’t, as long as I was working customer service, or working in a section, and that if I knew I would be working the stockroom and pushing carts, I would have never applied.

The workers. Most of them are drunk half of the time. The other half are just jerks. They do nothing, and hurt the bottom line more than anything, and they are gods to the coaches, meanwhile I work my ass off and get barked at for not being good enough and not “showing enough initiative in my work.”

Furthermore, after I had put in my 2 weeks notice, they refused to schedule me. Now, there are 2 ways to have off of work, “NO AV” or not active or “OFF” requested time off. On my normal working days, it said “OFF.” Great, made them look like gods. It makes me look like crap. To corporate it looks like I put in my 2 weeks and then took vacation, and it makes the store look generous enough to give it to me.

I said goodbye to Sears Holdings for good tonight. When I left, the coach on duty asked me if I was ever going to visit again. I think you can all infer my answer to that.

It looks like you learned an important lesson at an early age, Patrick. Kmart sucks.