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Working at Target
May 23, 2005 12:31 AM   Subscribe

What's it like working at a Super Target? There's one opening here in town. I understand they offer some decent benefits. How's the work environment? Would you recommend it?
posted by wsg to Work & Money (14 answers total)
 
I have a friend who works at one in the Seattle area. Of course the state sets the minimum wage about two bucks higher than does the federal government and the cost of living is pretty high there, but the pay figures she quoted me (she just got a promotion, so her pay was much under discussion) were pretty impressive; she's going to be making about eleven bucks an hour for being a sort of shift manager for one of the departments.

She did describe a pretty comical dependance on corporate jargon in the promotion/hiring process. I had to explain to her what her employers meant when they said "skill set." She likes working there and, as she describes it, it's a pretty low stress, worker friendly environment. Plenty of bureaucracy, though.

Oh, and they have a program where you can send money from your paycheck directly to a savings account. Pizza Hut never offered me anything like that.
posted by Clay201 at 1:00 AM on May 23, 2005


My brother-in-law has worked for Target in the Kansas City area for over a year. He likes it and has advanced quickly.
posted by badger_flammable at 6:47 AM on May 23, 2005


The Minneapolis paper just ran an article yesterday about the differences between Target and Wal-Mart. Basically, the article said that while their image is much better than Wal-Mart's, they don't do much better by their workers.
From what I've seen the stores look like good places to work. However, their corporate HQ is fairly notorious around town for paying relatively little and burning through new graduates like you wouldn't believe.
posted by Coffeemate at 6:51 AM on May 23, 2005


I heard somewhere (NPR?) that Target often under-schedules its employees so they will not qualify as full-time. I was really disappointed to hear that, as I love Target irrationally. Hopefully those are isolated cases and not a corporate strategy. But it might be worth asking about in an interview.
posted by SashaPT at 6:53 AM on May 23, 2005


Perhaps tangentially useful: Jeanne at Body and Soul (one of my fave political blogs) recently linked an article comparing Target and Wal-Mart on pay, health benefits, etc. It also wondered why Target seemed to be avoiding the anti-chain criticisms that dog Wal-Mart. Jeanne's comments are great, but the article is here:

...Wal-Mart's critics lambaste the retailer's pay and health benefits policies, alleging that the retailer doesn't adequately pay or provide medical coverage for its non-managerial employees. Oddly, these same critics confess that they can't prove Target's wage and benefits are significantly better. And Wal-Mart maintains that its wage and benefits are comparable to Target.

"We think that Target and Wal-Mart are both guilty of wage suppression," said Bernie Hess, the union organizer with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 789 chapter in St. Paul, Minn...

The St. Paul union office estimates that Target's hourly employees typically make around $6.75 to $7.25 and that less than half the company's workers are covered by its health insurance plan. Said Hess, "Two years ago Target started to feel the increasing cost of healthcare coverage. So it raised the threshold for minimum number of hours that have to be worked to between 24 to 28 from 20 hours a week in order to qualify for healthcare coverage."

When asked for a comment, Target e-mailed the following response to CNN/Money:

"Misinformation has been circulating recently regarding our wages and benefits," Target's spokeswoman Carolyn Brookter said in a statement. "We regularly complete wage surveys in all of our markets to ensure that we pay competitive wages."

"Target has one of the best health care and benefits packages in the industry," Brookter said. "We are an industry leader in providing a wide array of excellent benefits that allow us to attract and retain the best team members."

However, Brookter declined to offer details of Target's compensation or benefit information, citing competitive reasons.

posted by mediareport at 6:53 AM on May 23, 2005


I worked at a Target for more than three years. The pay was OK (I only just started making at my current job, what I made when I left Target). The benefits are OK (401K, paid vacations, etc.); but like most retail establishments, it can be tough to make a living if you're not at least a department manager.

The reason is, the only people guarenteed full time hours are department managers and up. There are several times during the year when sales are extremely slow (basically, whenever there's dollar days: January, July, October) and it's possible to only get 14 hours or less. Managers with heart will know who is making a living off their job, and who is just doing it for extra income, and will schedule accordingly, but not always.

When it comes down to it, it's a retail job, which means you're trying to push items on the customer, and the customer 50% of the time looks down on you/treats you poorly. It's better than fast food though.
posted by drezdn at 7:02 AM on May 23, 2005


Yeah, what *is* with that widespread irrational love of Target? I read this thread merely because of the phrase "Super Target". "Ooh, " I thought. "That sounds interesting.".
posted by redsparkler at 7:10 AM on May 23, 2005


Redsparkler, I think the love of Target is based on Target's conscious attempts to market itself as the hip discount store. Walmart has low prices, but Target has cool designs. The fact that Target isn't as ubiquitous as Walmart makes people less likely to attack it as well.
posted by drezdn at 7:34 AM on May 23, 2005


Well, these things vary significantly from store to store. One guy I know who worked for Target was upset with them because they were trying to make him take on more and more managerial without actually promoting him and giving him managerial pay.
posted by dagnyscott at 7:42 AM on May 23, 2005


Big boxes don't offer benefits in the same way that professional or government employers usually do. The Target (and the Wal-Mart) plan basically lets you swap half your salary (or more) for family health insurance if you'll work at least half time.

It can work very nicely for someone whose husband or wife brings in a reasonable amount of cash but in a line of work (like self-employment or seasonal non-union construction) or non-work (on disability) which doesn't offer family health benefits. It doesn't do much at all for someone who actually needs to maintain a household from their retail paycheck.

As for the question of atmosphere, you can answer this for yourself: salary and benefits aside, would you rather work at Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts. Starbucks = Target, most other non-union mass merchants = Dunkin' Donuts.
posted by MattD at 10:23 AM on May 23, 2005


i work for target, so i just want to address a few comments:

"She likes working there and, as she describes it, it's a pretty low stress, worker friendly environment. Plenty of bureaucracy, though."

if she's finding it low stress, either she's doing something wrong or business is slow. "low-stress" and "retail" are quite antonymous :)
the bureaucracy comment is spot-on though.

"I heard somewhere (NPR?) that Target often under-schedules its employees so they will not qualify as full-time. I was really disappointed to hear that, as I love Target irrationally. Hopefully those are isolated cases and not a corporate strategy."

i'm sure they're isolated incidents. wal-mart gets criticized a lot for this, but i used to frequent a message board for 'team members who hate their job' and nobody i talked to there had ever complained about exploitation of this sort.

"The reason is, the only people guarenteed full time hours are department managers and up. There are several times during the year when sales are extremely slow (basically, whenever there's dollar days: January, July, October) and it's possible to only get 14 hours or less. Managers with heart will know who is making a living off their job, and who is just doing it for extra income, and will schedule accordingly, but not always."

true that. depending on your department though, you may have an easier time getting full-time hours. i've done pretty much everything there is to do for someone in my position and currently work in the backroom. our backroom manager knows that everyone he's got working for him is efficient and reliable, so we make do on a skeleton crew, which means all the available hours are fairly distributed amongst a few people. other positions i've been in have not had such benevolent managers or dependable TMs, as they would give additional hours to full-time poor performers and cut hours of part-time good performers. or they would just hire way too many people, expecting a high turnover, but then end up distributing a handful of hours amongst a crowd of TMs.

"Well, these things vary significantly from store to store. One guy I know who worked for Target was upset with them because they were trying to make him take on more and more managerial without actually promoting him and giving him managerial pay."

this is actually a huge problem at my store :( one guy is about to go postal...

--

anyway, the benefits are good, as is the work environment. it's not perfect and has lots of quirks depending on who your management and clientele consist of. having to harass every guest about signing up for the target credit card gets old and frustrating fast, but depending on the position applied for and wage offered, i would probably recommend working for target.
posted by Ziggy Zaga at 10:34 AM on May 23, 2005


Um, I worked in Target in high school (so maybe this doesn't apply...), but it is totally bureaucratic and full of favoritism. So be prepared to suck up and suck up to people who are grossly unqualified. I was low level target team member of sporting good and hardware mind you, but all the team leaders I worked with were college drop outs and all-around jaded, lazy, (a)pathetic people.

Yes, I have an irrational love for Target as well (it's so clean and bright and well designed store-wise!), but don't be fooled by the shopping experience into thinking the (for lack of a better word) "political" climate is sleek and attractive as well. If you're at all competent, maybe you could go far and change the system from the inside. (Wishful thinking?)

All in all, you can do fine if you know hot to play the game and put up with gross incompetence (IMHO).
posted by mercurysm2 at 11:03 AM on May 23, 2005


Along the lines of the Walmart / Target comparisons here, I've heard very good things about the way CostCo treats their employees, as opposed to Walmart, et al. Anyone have experience with them?
posted by idontlikewords at 11:24 AM on May 23, 2005


Here's the link to the article that I am basing that on, FYI.
posted by idontlikewords at 11:25 AM on May 23, 2005


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