LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS -- Have you ever wondered what causes so many retailers to have to close stores, layoff employees and liquidate their assets? I don't have to wonder because I was at Big Lots today. It was at Big Lots that I realized that corporate America has fallen so very, very far.
I can remember when businesses hired people for employees that really wanted to work. I can remember when employees were trained. I can even remember when the people left in charge (management) were in charge because they not only had more experience but also were capable of directing other employees. I can remember when being a member of management meant that you had leadership skills, customer service skills and took pride in your work.
Imagine my surprise when I encountered a manager that not only didn't have ANY leadership skills, any customer service skills, any pride in his work or place of employment, very little if any training and very bizarre and disturbing behavior. Now I realize that sometimes businesses get so big that it is often difficult to monitor all of their employees. I even realize that sometimes some employees slip through the cracks but surely Big Lots has employees in place (like district managers or regional managers) that should be monitoring management and operations at the local level. I unfortunately discovered today that apparently there is not ANYBODY in charge of the hen house in my area of the United States. Now you might be asking yourself what in the world would make me say such a thing.
Today, after arriving at the college that my son will be attending for the next several years, I realized that there may be some additional things my son would need before starting school. Now since the college has grown so much that it has encompassed a large amount of property and has virtually taken over even a small strip mall at one end of the campus, I found myself at one of the two stores left in the strip mall, Big Lots.
I entered the store thinking I would be able to make the necessary purchases and maybe even get a deal or two. I was wrong!! The store was very cluttered with unattended pallets of merchandise and pallet jacks. I mistakenly thought that perhaps they were just putting out more stock. I soon realized the clutter and impassable aisles were just a small indication of an even bigger problem. While I wasn't pleased when an employee almost ran me over with a flatbed, I was even less pleased with his rude indifference. I was soon to discover that this encounter would be the highlight of my experiences at this store location.
I completed my shopping while watching out for any additional disgruntled employees. I thought when I had made it to the checkout that the unpleasant experience was almost over. I was wrong!! What could possibly go wrong? I was checking out and within 50 feet of the door. Finally, this was going to be over! Wait, what was that price? What?! Double the amount it was supposed to be? That's not what the sign said! Sir that is wrong, let me show you where I got it and what the sign says. So I thought, well surely once I show the "manager" where it was and what the sign said that he would realize I was being charged an incorrect price. But to my utter amazement after acknowledging that the sign indicated the item I was purchasing and indicated it was half of the price I was being charged he said but not for that one! What?? What do you mean not for that one? These are all alike items! Yes he replied but that one will cost you double. I told him that it was not right to indicate an item and a price but then change it when it was being purchased. I then asked for a corporate number. It was at this point that he began to tsk, sigh and roll his eyes. As he was towering over me in my wheelchair, he continued to tsk, sigh and roll his eyes then scared me half to death when he snarled at me " Well if you are going to make a big deal out of it, I guess I will have to give it to you at that price". He then walks up to the cashier and tells her to give it to me at the advertised price. By then I just wanted to get as far away from him as possible and I was afraid to give them my Big Lots reward card as I was scared that when he found out my address he would come to my residence. I can't help wondering how many people has he scared into paying the higher price with his antics. How many parents bringing their kids to the college has he pulled this stunt on? I am giving this experience a one only because there are not any negative numbers allowed.
BRIDGETON, MISSOURI -- I went to Big Lots to do research. Customers are to give purses and backpacks to the cashiers or else they are not allowed to shop there. They probably want to cut down on shoplifting but truthfully you can shoplift without those things.
If you appear bulky, an employee will stalk you throughout the store, stop you, and tell you to unzip and take out all the things from within your bags. They'll tell you to search your pockets and take everything out. If you don't comply, they threaten to call the police so it's best not to cause a conflict.
The employee who did that never smiles. Never says "How are you?" Never seems to say anything nice to customers. She only talks to customers when she finds them suspicious. It's not race related either so don't worry, they do this to all bulky looking or purse/bag carriers.
But then again that same employee said in the usual rude, sassy tone "You do know you cannot wear that scarf around your head?"
She fails to speak in a polite way as usual. I think that comment would be offensive to Middle Easterns to be honest. She didn't even bother to know if I was wearing the scarf to protect a possibly balding head due to chemotherapy.
But I guess they don't want potential shoplifters to hide their identity. They're against wearing medical masks for that reason too and my relative has a respiratory problem.
The prices are some of the lowest I've seen for toys at least. The snacks and foods are priced OK... could be lower. Some of the things like iPhone cases and silicone coin purses are WAY overpriced and can be found on the internet for like 1/8th or 1/4th of what they're selling it for.
This store is full of mainly cheap items from China that you don't really need but are nice to have. For electronics, they're not reliable. The food is mainly candy and packaged cereal, junk food, things that are almost/beyond expiration. Big Lots sells lots of secondhand items that bigger stores cannot sell I hear. So you get what you pay for.
So... if you want cheap toys and headphones I suppose this is an OK store. Everything else is OK priced... I found My Little Pony toys (Traveling suitcase pony edition) there for $5 each when they're like $7 each on Amazon. I can't find other places that sell them for lower.
Thrift stores are better... But honestly you have to be tolerant about being treated like a criminal and being stared at. Shoplifters aren't tolerated in any store to keep prices low you know?
Sub par items, sub par employees...
Hello all, I currently work for a Big Lots store and have for going on 3 years. I will say I agree with a lot of the comments people have made on here. A lot of the policies the store has are pretty ignorant, but if you (the customers) are to ignorant and irresponsible to keep a receipt for a short period of time then it's your own fault. I have checked out numerous people that will buy something for their car, go out to see if it fits, then it doesn't and then come back in for a refund, and have already lost their receipt somewhere between the front of the store and their car;then they whine and complain, " oh I just bought it", "You remember me don't you", Yeah I do remember you it's only been 5 minutes, but what people don't understand is the employees have to go by company policy. Do you think every manager likes having to say "No sorry sir, I know you were just in here but I can't do anything without the receipt". No we don't but and in some cases the manager will look the receipt up if it has been a very short period of time, but we also want to keep our job even if it is not the job we would really like to have right now. We are just enforcing their rules, and usually it's the customer that gets rude before any employee because they are upset they can't return something or get a refund because of policy.
It's not the managers fault or the cashiers fault, it's the fault of a company that should have some better policies in place for certain situations. We can't bend and shape the policies for every customer and every situation that arises just to please everyone that walks in because every situation is different in some way. I know my store manager does a lot more than he is supposed to when it comes to making sure the customer is happy and won't call corporate. It's a double edged sword in retail at Big Lots, if you try to go by straight forward company policy you piss the customer off and they want to call corporate, but the manager doesn't want that to happen because even though he/she is going by company policy they will still get yelled at because they didn't please the customers every whim.
So then, at my location anyway, the store manager usually winds up giving in even though most of the time the problem is the customer not having a receipt, and should not get a refund anyway. It states clearly on the receipt, Returns accepts for 30 days with receipt and original packaging, it's not the employees job to keep customer receipts, it's your job as a customer and a responsible adult. But when a customer is in our store literally acting like a little kid that didn't get an extra cookie after dinner our store manager usually lets them have their way. I know there are different refund/return/exchange situations that are more difficult/complex to deal with but this is the most common.
Another issue that the customer base just doesn't understand is that Big Lots is a close-out store which means that a lot of item/furniture /patio furniture is overstock or discontinued items from other retail store and manufactures. This is especially true when it comes to patio-furniture, most of this product is the manufacturers previous year model inventory, so when Big Lots runs out they may or may not get the product back in again before the season is over, we can't just crap out another one to please you. We can't call the manufacturer because nothing is ordered at the store level, all product is ordered at the corporate level. The most we can do at the store is call another Big Lots location and see it they still have any in stock.
And I at the store I work at moral, is and always has been since I've been there, very low, because the store does nothing to boost moral or raise the spirits of the employees and when most of your employees are depressed it's going to show when dealing with customers and work productivity is going to suffer. But with the economy the way it is and jobs very limited we all know we just have to try to keep out mouths shut and try and keep our jobs no matter how depressing it gets. This is just my two cents and I could say a lot more but I'll leave it at this for now.
GREENACRES, FLORIDA -- As a Big Lots employee, one of the greatest stressors in my workplace is numerous complaints about signage.
An end cap of cookware was signed $4 TO $18. Many customers thought they could buy four items for $18. I had to explain over and over that the sign said that prices ranged from $4 to $18 per item.
On a recent Friends and Family Day, a sun shelter that normally sells for $105.99 was signed simply "$84.79". One customer insisted to me that she should get 20 percent off the $84.79 price. I showed her how it worked, scanned the item and showed the usual $105.99 price, then scanned the F & F coupon to show the $84.79 price, and explained that said price was for that sale day only and that she was indeed getting the item at the signed price. She lectured me for a few minutes about how misleading the sign was, which held up my line, and then, two weeks later, called corporate to complain about me, not the sign!
This week's ad features "sandals" for $2. The ad signage also says "sandals". The actual featured item is rubber flipflops like those most of us have worn since we were kids. One woman wanted to buy a pair of men's $10 sandals, a $6 pair of women's leather thong sandals and a $5 boy's pair of canvas camouflage sandals for $2 each. The MOD let me change the prices to please the customer. It cost us $15 shrink.
Customers, please read the signs carefully!
The vast majority of signage issues are from native speakers of English, not people who have come to the States from other countries. In light of this, there might be a problem with signage ambiguity, so I ask corporate to please review signage policies and procedures so that signs are easily understood.
RICHLAND, WASHINGTON -- If you become an employee of Big Lots you are always looked as a thief. They expect you to give 110% but they are not willing to give you 50%. You can only get a 25 cent raise a year. They expect you to be a company spy for minimum wage and give great customer service and work short staffed. There are no benefits at Big Lots so if you like being under paid over worked and told you cheat, lie, steal, and don't get paid for it go work for Big Lots. Yes I still work but I'm working at this store but have come to my senses for all the people who have had bad service now know why.
ESSEX, VERMONT -- Big Lots had a 50% off Christmas sale. In the store were ad cards stating 50% off ALL CHRISTMAS STOCK. I went to purchase a Christmas decoration storage box marked at $20.00. The box was red, the cover was green, it had snow flakes on the label, and it said Xmas stock on the label as well. It was displayed on a table with Christmas trees and the sign under it said 50% off ALL CHRISTMAS STOCK. I went to the register and was told that the storage box was not on sale. The register girl was rude and condescending. I asked for the manager and was told he was out. I purchased the box at full price. I called the store the next day to speak with the manager and the Assistant manager was rude, and denied that the box had snow flakes on the label and that it said xmas stock on it, and refused to honor the stores stated sale policies. When I asked him for his name he hung up. I called the corporate offices of Big Lots and was treated the same rude way, with the man telling me that the label on the box did not have snow flakes on it, that it did not say Xmas stock, and that if fact the box was not red with a green top. I asked to speak with someone over his head in the company and was told he was it, there was no one over his head. I returned the box to the store and showed the manager the color, the label, and the display, and he just walked away from me. I got my refund and left to never return to this store or this company. Last year they swapped price signs in the middle of my purchasing a mattress (raised $100.00),but I caught them and they honored the original price. Frauds! Boycott!
OCEANSIDE, CALIFORNIA -- This place is a horrible place to work. It is minimum wage hell. Supervisors and managers to do not fully explain policies or rules and then get mad when you do not comply with the rules they never explained. They make you follow stupid rules that you know are just going to piss the customers off. If you like to help ppl and actually apply your knowledge and time to help their needs, this job is not for you. I've wanted to go home and shoot myself many times due to the quality of the treatment of employees. I do recovery part time, and cashiering the other half, and let me tell you. This place at the end of the day always ends up looking like a zoo. The organization system they give us to follow is horrendous, and if you try to go above and beyond to fix it and make it look nice and do not finish in time you get penalized. They give you three hours at the end of the day to recover the sections and expect it in tip top shape, but like I said, if you REALLY make sure it is in tip top shape and don't finished you get penalized, so it still ends up looking like a zoo at the end of the day. There is only three of us most nights, plus the 5 something carts of go backs we are usually left with at the end of the day. At the register, no matter how busy, even if there are customers backed up all the way to the aisles, we must hound each and every customer to join our rewards program or else we get written up. It does not matter how many ppl are back there in line and how you just want to get them out quickly, you HAVE to take the time to hound each one about the rewards club. No matter how annoying it is. My managers are b***hy, and I think there may be some kind of racism or favoritism of race going on for whom gets bumped up to management. Not proof, just a theory. But still nonetheless, this is a horrible place and I advise you go work at Wal Mart or something. This place suckss!!!
I shop at Big Lots because they have good sales on many items. However, many of their prices have gone up considerably within the past three to five years. That narrows the margin between their originally good prices, and the prices of competing stores. Big Lots is slowly losing its appeal to thrifty consumers.
As far as customer service, their clerks have always seemed bored and robotic to me. On six occasions in two years, clerks have forgotten to place purchases in the bags before I left the store. This happens more at Big Lots than any other store I've frequented. It's evident that this company doesn't make any effort to motivate personal enthusiasm in its employees. To add to my several unpleasant experiences at Big Lots, I've witnessed blatant rudeness from clerks, who seem to develop a sort of mob-mentality when dealing with customer complaints during checkouts and returns. It is not unusual for two or three clerks to gather behind the checkout counter and address a single customer "en masse". This is very juvenile, and rather obnoxious. It is an "us against them" attitude which no proper business would want to portray to the public.
Returning anything at all to Big Lots means the consumer has to deal with the "third degree". If you don't have a receipt you might as well give up. This doesn't happen as much with other stores that take the time to research transactions via computer, if necessary.
Case in point: I was assured by a clerk that I could return something after the 30 day limit on returns. I told the clerk BEFORE my purchase exactly when I might make the return (to the day) because it was a gift to be given after the 30 day time limit for returns. I asked, "Would it really be alright to return it after 30 days?" The clerk said, "Absolutely! No problem." Still, to feel really comfortable about this, I asked a different clerk the same question, and he told me that there is a very liberal policy on returns after the 30 day limit- not to worry. Because of these assurances, I felt at ease making my purchase at that time, thinking that there would be no problem with stretching the return time period by two weeks. Looking back, I probably should have asked the workers to sign my receipt. But who thinks of those things during what seems like a friendly, respectful transaction?
The gift for my friend didn't work out, so I took my receipt, and the unused item back to Big Lots in its unopened packaging. But... it turns out that both clerks had misinformed me at the time of my purchase. This misinformation caused an embarrassing scene. I was told that never would a clerk who worked there assure me that I could return something after 30 days, nor that another clerk would have told me that there was a liberal return policy. Suddenly there were three rather nosey Big Lots employees at the checkout stand, who presumed to tell me what two other clerks had said six weeks prior, when they were not even there. Although they had no way of knowing what had been said, and were absolutely in error, they pretty much told me I was lying about my experience. One clerk mentioned she could lose her job if she let me return the item. I was flabbergasted, and very much offended by it all.
I decided to call the main office and was treated even worse. The manager there told me I didn't even deserve a store credit, but that he'd give me one anyway. Gee, thanks. Whatever happened to the "good will" policies that didn't make a consumer (a repeat shopper at that) feel embarrassed and defensive?
I won't be frequenting Big Lots as often now, and I believe I'm not alone in my disappointment with this company. There are other stores that treat their customers with dignity, and still have fair prices which don't escalate every year. Those other companies are wise enough, and flexible enough, to think outside the box when it comes to dealing with the public. Good public relations = good business.
WEST JORDAN, UTAH -- Renae, who claims to be the store 'manager' at Big Lots #4485 (90th and Bangerter) kicked my kids out of the store because my 14 year old daughter was not using a chair to her standards, and then got 'mouthy' in her opinion. What the so-called 'manager' didn't know was that I was one aisle over and heard the entire conversation.
My 14 year old daughter was sitting on a floor model chair with one leg over the side. This employee asked my daughter to "sit like a lady". My daughter complied by setting her other foot on the ground, and responded with "Okay". Renae then snapped back by telling my daughter "There you go; now you're acting like a normal person". My daughter told her she was a normal person, and that "you don't know me". This must have been what Renae found to be 'mouthy' because she proceeded to speak to my daughters in a very loud and even more condescending tone.
She asked if they "wanted to leave" and told them that "we can play it this way. Is this what you want? Well, is it?" Both of my daughters answered only with "no" more than once, but Renae was already calling security to escort them out. My 11 year old daughter told Renae she "had done nothing wrong" and that she needed to "get my mom". Renae said "I know, but that's too bad, you're with her (referring to her sister), you need to leave too." Then started shooing my daughters, waving her arms at them with a "Come on, let's go, let's go!"
She fully intended to send my minor daughters out into a parking lot without regard for their safety. She lacked concern for notifying or locating an accompanying parent or adult and denied my daughter the opportunity to do so. Fortunately, being an aisle over I was able to catch up and walk out with them.
I feel the store 'manager' thought my daughters were in the store alone, targeted them for that reason and looked for an excuse to kick them out. Renae said all of two sentences to my daughters before telling them to leave. I call that age discrimination, possibly sex discrimination, since my daughter's ability/inability to sit the way Renae figures her gender should was at issue.
I have considered purchasing furniture from Big Lots in the past and was allowed to try it out beforehand, that's what a floor model is for, right? I have never seen a diagram on how Big Lots customers are allowed to sit in a chair, more specifically how a lady should.
Is this 'managers' job to tell people how to behave if it's just against her personal code of conduct? My daughter simply had her leg over the arm of the chair. I don't believe that is against the law or destructive to store property. If this is damaging to the furniture in any way, that chair is poorly made and Big Lots should reconsider putting their name behind it.
If Renae has some type of degree that makes her an authority on identifying a normal and moral person it must also entitle her to belittle those who don't measure up. After my daughter sat in the chair the way she was asked to Renae should have walked away and left it at that. Renae antagonized the situation and acted aggressively towards my children. At 14, 24 or 54 my daughter has every right to defend herself against someone personally attacking her.
I'll make sure to tell everyone I know about my bad experience, as its well known that is exactly what dissatisfied customers do. I will post this on my Facebook and MySpace as well as any consumer blog I run across. I will never shop at Big Lots again. My daughters and I set down approximately 35 dollars worth of merchandise and hadn't even made it half way through before exiting the store. At minimum wage, that's practically half of Renae's wages for an 8 hour shift. In today's economy I don't see how Big Lots can afford to employ people such as Renae, let alone promote them to 'manager'.
I sent this inquiry about Bog Lots Layaway policy...I know the USE to have Layaway, as I have used it! But, I wasn't sure if Big Lots (like Walmart) had quit using Layaway, so I wanted to check BEFORE I drive 50+ miles to the closest store to see about some specific furniture pieces that I want to purchase.
HERE is how the correspondence goes:
02/19/2010 11:18 AM
Subject From BigLots.com: Other
The following item has been submitted via TalkBack from a Biglots.com user:
Name: DELETED for privacy
City: Live Oak
E-mail: DELETED for privacy
Phone: DELETED for privacy
Message: Does Big Lots still have Layaway on furniture?? If SO...can I make arrangement to make MONTHLY payments instead of weekly or bi-weekly? I am a senior disabled lady living on a low fixed MONTHLY income, and I can only make payments as I get my check on the 3rd of each month! You have some bedroom furniture that I would LOVE to have...but, I can NOT afford to pay CASH for the complete outfit, and I don't want to run the risk of losing the availability of part of the set by purchasing it by one piece at a time. The items I am wanting would run about $250 - $300, so it would take me about 3 months to pay it out of layaway by making monthly payments of approximately $100 per month! I also live about 50+ miles to the nearest store, and I don't want to waste the time/money/gas to drive all that way IF you don't allow layaway. PLEASE let me know ASAP, as IF you allow layaway...I would like to plan a trip for March 3rd...when I get my check! Thanks!
This is the reply I got back from Big Lots...in a timely manner, I must admit!
Good afternoon and thank you for contacting Big Lots! Big Lots stores do not offer layaway for any of our products. We do offer a Price Hold policy for our furniture products. Price Hold is not a layaway, only the price is guaranteed for later merchandise pickup. We do not store your items. Big Lots holds customer payments until items are paid for. Feel free to contact your local Big Lots store for further information.
OK...Am I missing something here? Does anyone make any sense out of this 'Price Hold'? Sounds like a wild goose chase to me...and I think the GOOSE gets away with the money, and I end up empty handed all the way around!
At any rate...I've decided that as much as I would LIKE to HAVE those pieces of furniture, I'm NOT going to travel in excess of 50 miles (one way/per trip) to take the risk of being taken even MORE!
SORRY Big Lots! But, you USE to be a decent place to shop for furniture...but, I think you've gone down hill with the rest of them! I'll keep checking around...ONline if I have to! I'll find a better deal *somewhere*, I'm sure!