Container Store – El Segundo, CA +4 locations
Part-time positions include day time shifts to accommodate busy school or family schedules and evening and weekend shifts to work around a full-time… Glassdoor
Container Store – Costa Mesa, CA
include working with inventory, signage, props, samples, cleaning and every merchandising detail that sets The Container Store apart from other… Glassdoor
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- Comp & Benefits
- Work/Life Balance
- Senior Management
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
I worked at Container Store full-time for more than 3 yearsPros
Absolutely wonderful coworkers. Highly selective hiring process ensures most employees are kind, fun, and professional. I made many lasting friendships there, in fact, the camaraderie was what made everything else bearable.
Everyone at the home office in Dallas with whom I worked or had contact was always friendly and helpful. Most of my full-time colleagues have had the same experience.
The home office still upholds certain values, especially when disaster hits, e.g. after hurricane Sandy they decided to pay PT employees for shifts missed during the few days our store was closed.
Health benefits available to PT employees, although I’ve been told the coverage is mediocre at best
TCS likes to tout its “yummy” culture based on employee-first values and open, honest communication. Unfortunately the way things have progressed in recent years, they really need to drop the puppies and unicorns shtick. Combine the departure from noble values with what many have described as the “Kool-aid” ethos (totally spot-on) and you end up with a bizarre Stepford Wives exterior veiling an increasingly toxic reality. The extreme emphasis on constant positivity is fake, disconcerting, and unhealthy. There is a borderline oppressive scrutiny of verbiage that is simply absurd. I was once reprimanded for using the term "controlled chaos" and generally if your every word does not ooze rainbows and sunshine, be prepared for a "coaching conversation". Of course it’s important, especially in customer service, to be generally positive. However, when the vast majority of employees are afraid to speak freely and can’t even voice a concern or frustration behind closed doors for fear of being disciplined, something is wrong. Especially at a company that supposedly values transparency and employee satisfaction.
The main problem in Paramus is the management, starting with the GM: micro-managing, condescending, manipulative, disingenuous, and artificial to the point of being saccharine. There were accounts of this GM reading “anonymous” employee surveys before mailing them. This GM would often give me positive feedback about a project I’d led only to make negative comments to my colleagues five minutes later, would inappropriately send FT leaders to deliver negative criticism to one another, and blame others instead of taking accountability for mistakes. One Store Manager quit after 3 months because she couldn’t stand this GM. The next SM, the best manager by far that we had, left after 1 year for the same reason.
TCS employees take a yearly survey (the aforementioned “anonymous” one) and our store was consistently at the bottom in terms of employee satisfaction. Our GM was put on an action plan and we had a store meeting in which the reasons for our unhappiness, as well as the GM’s opportunities, were addressed. In the months after that meeting I watched things steadily decline, and several tenured employees have expressed to me recently that it’s the worst it’s ever been. I truly do not understand why they retain this management team, in particular the GM.
Just a sampling of the biggest issues:
Despite upper management’s fervent claims that nothing would change, after going public last year TCS is increasingly about the bottom line.
Clear favoritism on the part of management
Major double standards, in many respects. A few examples:
-Mgmt recently decided to crack down on time and attendance, writing up many employees for being 2 or 3 minutes late while looking the other way for others, including the GM’s favored SM who often arrived 15 minutes or more late and regularly left early. (Conveniently, managers did not clock in or out, so there would be no record.) Another good one: I was written up for being 4 minutes late the same week that I was woken up at 5 am on my day off and came in to open the doors for a rework team because the managers had changed the locks the day before and forgotten to give the next opening Leader a new key.
-Policy states that a store manager is required to close every night. Instead, FT leaders are relied upon to close constantly, to the point that there’s a severe imbalance between how many closing shifts full timers work as compared to managers.
-Single employees held to different expectations than employees with families. One PT employee related to me an experience in which the GM addressed a large group of employees who were working a late shift and suggested that the younger single folks shouldn’t mind staying late because they had no commitments and nothing to get home to.
Completely incompetent schedule-making. Blatant errors came to be expected on a daily basis to a point that it became almost laughable if not for the fact that it negatively impacted so many people. After posting them late, managers would often add/delete/alter shifts but never tell the employee, causing them to miss a shift or show up for no reason. Frequent gaps in coverage, people scheduled outside availability, etc. And always, those who dealt with the resulting mess (FT leaders) were expected to smile, fix it—if possible—and deal. It reached a point where the FT team regularly proofed the schedules to catch managers’ mistakes. Besides causing endless frustration for the staff this also further weakened the credibility of the mgmt team.
Ridiculous level of unnecessary communication. In addition to a constant stream of VM, email, memos, newsletters, etc from corporate (they don't like that word but that's what it's becoming), we also were expected to leave incessant VMs celebrating who we coached, how we inspired, whose basket we filled, how big a wake we left, how far the ripples reached, how impactful our billboard shelves were, etc. etc. ad nauseam.
Managers consistently spend all day in the office, sometimes doing legit work (hiring, schedules) but often perusing their Facebook newsfeeds or shooting the breeze. They’re very quick, however, to reprimand the FTers for spending too long on the computer trying to catch up on the endless email and VM (i.e. actual work).
Morning merchandisers expected at the store at 5 am even in blizzards. Sure, we say don’t come if you don’t feel comfy, but much of the team still feels pressure. And as the key holder, I really had no choice. Loved risking my life driving to work in countless snow storms to merchandise boxes. Oh but sometimes we were permitted to start at 6 instead of 5! Which is really helpful when the 14” of snow will not be plowed for another 3 hours.
Visual merchandising roles are extremely physically taxing. They stress safety but then expect the team to complete unreasonable workloads with incredible attention to detail within strict timeframes. Many employees were worked into the ground, some developing sustained injuries. I’d heard stories about my predecessors who needed weekly massage or chiropractor appts and after doing the job for 4 years I know why. Pay might be a bit higher than some competitors but it’s not high enough.
What many have said about opportunity for advancement is true. We had FT leaders who put the managers to shame in terms of leadership, yet we still hired from outside instead of promoting from within when there was a SM spot open (which there usually was because it was hard to keep anyone there).
As others have stated, when they want you out, they will find a way, however dirty and underhanded the methods they deem necessary. When I joined the company I was told this by many who'd witnessed it happen and, true to the stories, I saw it done to several valuable, tenured employees including myself. Many of my coworkers told me it was a blessing in disguise that I was bullied into signing a resignation form, and while that is true, it doesn't make the tactics they resorted to any less disgusting.
In the interest of transparency, which TCS supposedly values, a few employee quotes:
“Every time someone leaves this company it’s like a spaceship comes out of the sky and whisks them away, never to be seen or heard from again.” -Current employee
“I’m not sure what happened to you, but after X years here, I know it can't be good.” -Voicemail from a coworker after I too was whisked away by the spaceship
“There is a toxic undercurrent in this store that stems from the top.” -Another great employee who had enough and left
“They need to wipe out the entire management team and start over.” -Current employee
“Why does she talk to everyone like they’re in kindergarten?” -Current employee, regarding the GMAdvice to ManagementAdvice
Stop calling yourself an employee first company. You can’t treat people the way you do and then say you're employee first. It’s one or the other.Doesn't RecommendNegative OutlookDisapproves of CEO