by secret shopper
While shopping at TJ Maxx recently, Secret Shopper observed a bustle of activity—not among the customers, who were slowly sorting through racks of clothing—but among the employees, who were scanning, stocking and assisting at the speed of light. Before I arrived someone had spilled nail polish on the floor in front of the dressing rooms and employees were determinedly attempting to remove the stain from the floor. People were being summoned over the sound system,—a brief relief from the Muzak—strategies were weighed, and finally an employee was sent out in the rain to buy a new cleaning product. On his way out of the store, umbrella in hand, the employee on a mission stopped to ask his co-worker if she needed help. Together they pushed what looked like a heavy rack of dresses through the women’s department.
In spite of the energy and skill these retail workers bring to their jobs, a survey conducted by RAP members found that many TJ Maxx employees across the city are making barely more than minimum wage. At such a low wage, every shift you can get counts, yet TJ Maxx employees are receiving inadequate schedules that change from week to week. In fact, every TJ Maxx worker we spoke to for our Discounted Jobs report said they were sometimes or often scheduled for fewer hours than they would like. One worker said he only gets scheduled for three days a week even though he could work more. The store has a sign-up sheet for people to “volunteer” for hours, but there is no guarantee they will be scheduled for the times they request.
Corporations like TJX (whose CEO makes over $11 million by the way) are making it impossible for retail workers to balance a work and a home life. TJX is hardly alone. Only 17% of retail workers have predictable schedules. This is why RAP is launching a campaign to improve scheduling practices across the retail industry -To change these unfair practices.
SECRET SHOPPER is an expose series on the experience of retail workers in retail stores in New York City. If you’d like to contact SECRET SHOPPER, email firstname.lastname@example.org