Workers Who Win All-You-Can-Grab Shopping Sprees Are Living Your Childhood Dream

RetailMeNot's worker spree.

RetailMeNot’s worker spree.

When I was but a wee consumer gleaning knowledge from the glowing screen before me, I was pretty sure my future needed to include only one thing to attain lifelong happiness: I needed to run through the aisles of a toy store for in a timed race and grab every single thing I could. And now some employers are rewarding their workers with just that kind of spree.

One 27-year-old who works for RetailMeNotInc. wasn’t even a member of Costco when he found himself with 120 seconds to run wherever his legs could take him through the store, grabbing things like a plasma television, a video game console and almost anything else as a reward for his work as a software developer, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Basically, he’s living my dream, but with grownup stuff instead of Polly Pocket, a new pair of rollerblades and a mini car.

Instead of the old-fashioned holiday bonus checks or gift cards, there are companies out there who feel a good way to show employees they’re appreciated (and to inspire loyalty) is free shopping, à la Supermarket Sweep.

Another company that owns restaurants lets employees race through Winn-Dixie for two to four minutes to fill up their carts, while others give workers $300 and a trip to the shopping center after they’ve put in 20 years with the company.

A consumer psychologist tells the WSJ that when the boss is splashing out the cash, workers really feel cared for. It’s like a hug from Dad but made of money, causing them to see their employer as “magnanimous and parental, she says.

And even if you’re just watching, it’s fun as well, she explains. Heck, you’re probably thinking of when you’ll get to do the same thing.

“It’s a fantasy that everyone can participate in.”

Another RetailMeNot employee recently rang up almost $25,000 in stuff after a three-minute jaunt through Costco. Her husband helped her stack computers, cameras, bottles of Dom Pérignon Champagne and three Roomba robot vacuum cleaners onto a flatbed cart.

At the end, she was panting and tired.

“I wish I had physically trained. I wish I had gone jogging or something,” she says.

That is one kind of workout I would totally engage in, any time, any day. And yes, my 6-year-old self is very, very jealous.

Workers Win All-They-Can-Grab Shopping Sprees [Wall Street Journal]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.