Dillard's Informative - My Experience As A Dillard's Sales Associate
HOUSTON, TEXAS -- I am a former Dillard's Sales Associate I worked for the company for 1 year back in 2001. I was hired to work in Children's Shoes for an Hourly Rate of $9.50 which was good considering I was only 19 at the time, I had no idea what I had in store for me. The training was very minimal to non-existent, they basically show you how to ring a sale and throw you out on the sales floor without any information on products, I was informed during orientation of my sales goal or Sales Per Hour goal. I remember it being about 85 dollars per hour that I was required to sell. I was told that it was easy to meet your goals and the opportunities to make more money were endless by either meeting your goals and retaining your pay or exceeding your goal past a certain percentage you were to get an increase of 10% or if you fail to meet your goals a decrease in pay of 10%. At the time it did not sound very difficult to achieve. We were to get reviewed every three months to find out how our sales had been.
I was the only Full-Time associate working in my department and there were two part timers, one was terminated for stealing and the other became ill and did not return for work for several months. Which made me the only one to do stock, arrange the displays, leave the department to get change for the register, all of which should be expected of a sales associate to do when working retail, but at Dillard's none of this work matters to them and it all boils down to just pure sales numbers which determines your longevity with the company. The also have a very strict tardy policy in which you had to enter your SSN into a computer and you could not be one second late or a LATE LATE LATE would flash all over the screen, I remember Salespeople fighting and getting upset when a salesperson was too slow to type in his or her number into the system, since there was only one computer to clock into. Some sales associates were later due to customer service representative who had to buzz you into the store took too long sometimes over 5 minutes to open the door.
This didn't matter to management if that caused you to be late you would still get charged with it, I was very lucky never to be late there was one day I was on my way to work and witnessed a head-on collision in the parking lot, I didn't stop in fear that Dillard's would not allow me to have an excused tardy or sometimes referred to as an exception for stopping to assist (Which would have been the right thing to do) that's how strict they were on things whatever that computer says it was what you get, even if you leave for lunch early or arrive early the EARLY EARLY EARLY flashes all over the screen for everyone around the time (clock) computer to see. I was once yelled at like a child by the store manager because I came into work early because I did not realize that the time had changed one hour back or Fall-Back rather so I reported for work as usual and the computer reported me as early so I thought there was something wrong with the system so I went to look for my Area Sales Manager who was not in her office to inform her, another sales associate had informed me that the time had changed so then there was really only about 20 minutes left for the store to open.
So I decided to clean up and put away out new shipment of shoes once I finished I proceeded to call my clients over the phone and inform them of our upcoming sales. Well while on the phone with a customer the store manager yelled at me and told me to hang up the phone and I told him I was on the phone with a customer and he said he didn't care and asked me why I am so early to work. I told him I didn't know the time had changed and forgot to set my watch, and screamed at me with all the other associates watching and told me to clock out and get out of the store, and that Dillard's does not pay for my mistakes. (at that point I was so upset if I would have got to that time clock and punched out I was prepared to quit) but the manager apologized to me and told me that I can stay and for me to please return to my department. (if your asking yourself if I wanted to quit then why didn't I just leave, well when tempers flare you pretty much do anything stupid, but I really needed the job at the time) I was lucky to have a great Area Sales Manager and she really enjoyed having me in her department despite all sales I had brought in for Dillard's (remember I was the only Salesperson in Children's Shoes) I did not meet my sales goal on my second review and my pay was cut to $ 8.55 per hour.
So I was determined not to get another pay cut, despite me not making my goal and cutting my pay on my second review, they raised my Sales Goal to 120 dollars per hour, I was told since the back to school season was near, I took initiative and since Dillard's did not provide it's Salespeople with business cards I used my own money to have card's made and Sales Flyers to send out to the many customers I had in my client book, I tried to build a clientèle just like any good salesperson would and my Area Manager would help by letting me know in advance when we would have a sale so I can make and send out my fliers, I gave my customers the option of either being contacted by phone or by mail, those that did not want to be in my client book anymore were removed. Then management decides to add two more Salespeople to the mix two part-timers. I was fair and did not fight for Sales at that point and advised the newbies that there was no way they would achieve their Sales goals.
I was them what their goals was set for any they showed me the slip they were given with a Sales Per Hour of $140 per hour, I told them that the department itself doesn't even make that much per hour sometimes during an eight hour shift we would have one customer for a sale of $35.00 the average price of a shoe, I started a rotation system so that we could all have a fair chance to make a sale, When I would do the department totals from register tape the department had only made $800 for the 11 hours the store was open for a Department SPH of $72.00 per hour so how are we supposed to make the individual goals that the set for us, I made a chart to show to my Area Manager and she agreed that the goals were unattainable. I asked her how are the Sales Per Hour figured and I was told it's based on the Sales for that department based on an average on the gross sales of all stores in the region. Which I think is very unfair it should be based on the store and department sales that the Associate works in not all of the area stores. not all the store would get the same amount of customers.
Well sorry for all this ranting but I feel that customers should be informed about the way Dillard's treats employees and how they value you as a customer, which they really don't all they care about is if you come in and buy and never return things and open lots of Credit Applications, sometimes customers run into rude salespeople because the work ethics of Dillard's and how they put so much pressure on them that they become disgruntled employees (like I did) I am not excusing that type of behavior but it becomes to a point where it became very depressing to work there. They make it seem as if it's your fault the customers are not buying. and are punished accordingly. Our pep talk by the store manager over the loud speaker was SELL, SELL, SELL!!!
Sometimes this was said as customers were walking into the store. Despite making good sales during back to school at that time I was the only Salesperson on the floor even my manager came to ring up sales under my associate number while I helped customers I still did not meet my inflated goal and my manager did not want to break the news that my pay was getting cut again to a mere $ 7.70 per hour after a year of service with the company, they lowered my sales per hour down to 72 per hour but I refused to be a part of Dillard's money games any longer and my manager told me that there if I were to not make my goals the next round that I would be terminated, So I found a job at Macy's Women's Shoes on a commission and took myself and my "Dillard's customers Clientèle" with me.
The Store manager even told me that If I ever wanted to come back to Dillard's I would be more than welcome to, and that was the funniest thing I had heard all day! lol of course now I am no longer in retail but I just wanted to share this insight into Dillard's and what the Salespeople there are put through on a daily basis, In my opinion they could retain employees if they just go on a all Commission basis. I had told lots of people about my horrible experience there and I will never ever shop or work there again! it was a living nightmare.
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