- Target eliminated overnight and backroom shifts in stores across the country, the company confirmed to Business Insider.
- The move is part of a general “modernisation” plan that is meant to increase the availability of the team to help guests on the floor.
- Business Insider spoke to more than 50 current and former employees in Target stores across the country, many of whom said that their back rooms were becoming unsafe, overcrowded “nightmares” because of the changes involved with modernisation. Many said that sales floors were becoming messier and that workloads have become difficult to manage.
- “Our store leaders and team members undergo mandatory safety training every year and we invest in the technology, tools and processes that keep our stores safe and ensure we comply with all federal safety guidelines. We work quickly to investigate and remedy issues anytime we receive safety-related concerns from our team members,” Target said in a statement to Business Insider last week. A spokesperson declined to comment further for this story.
- Here are photos that show how modernisation has impacted Target stores across the country.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories .
Target stores are undergoing some massive changes.
The company is currently in the process of implementing a new way for the stores to function, which includes the elimination of overnight and backroom shifts in many stores as well as a new, detailed process for unloading merchandise from a truck.
These changes are part of a “modernisation” program that is meant to drive efficiency and allow for workers to increase their availability to help guests on the floor. But many workers say changes have created an increase in workload, which has led to overcrowded back rooms and sales floors in Target stores across the country.
Business Insider spoke to more than 50 current and former employees in Target stores across the country, many of whom said their stores were becoming overcrowded and chaotic as a result of the changes. Most of them spoke on condition of anonymity so that they could speak frankly about working conditions and the situation more generally at Target. Many of them sent photos that revealed the conditions they described.
“Our store leaders and team members undergo mandatory safety training every year and we invest in the technology, tools and processes that keep our stores safe and ensure we comply with all federal safety guidelines. We work quickly to investigate and remedy issues anytime we receive safety-related concerns from our team members,” Target said in a statement to Business Insider last week. A spokesperson declined to comment further for this story.
“I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat,” said one salaried Target executive in Texas, adding that the increased workload put severe pressure on his store.
“The backrooms in the majority of the stores show how Target cannot keep up with the workload,” the salaried Target executive said. “It’s a hot mess.”
Below are photos sent in from current and former Target workers across the country.
Target confirmed that shift changes started rolling out to various markets in 2016 before launching nationally this year. For some stores, the effects of the changes were immediate.
Some employees say their stores underwent changes as early as September 2018, likely as part of the earlier trial period, while others say they only started noticing differences in the last few months.
A former leader in an overnight inbound team who worked at a New Hampshire Target for three years said that changes in her store began last September and took effect practically overnight.
Without enough people whose jobs were dedicated to clearing away deliveries, boxes of merchandise piled up in the backroom, she said, adding that the store often stacked thousands of pieces of freight in piles that could be up to eight feet tall.
Wooden platforms – called pallets – were often scattered on the sales floor or placed in a way that made them likely to fall on passersby.
“There was a point where my store should have been shut down due to unsafe working conditions,” said the former New Hampshire Target employee who left in February.
A former employee in a Houston, Texas, Target said his back room often got out of control.
“There were even a couple days where I just couldn’t even do my job,” he said. “I could not get into the temporary freezer we had because of the sheer amount of boxes and pallets.”
An employee in an Arizona Target said that the back room sometimes gets so full that merchandise spills onto the sales floor, blocking shoppers’ pathways.
A Michigan Target had similar problems as of May, according to a former employee.
Business Insider visited a Target store in Manhattan, New York, in August and found the store overrun with boxes.
A representative from that particular store declined to comment on whether or not it had also ended its overnight and backroom shifts, though an employee said that the store looked like that on a regular basis.
The back room in this Target looked disorganized and seemed to have items spilling from the shelves.
“The working conditions became too unsafe and literally unbearable making me feel as if we would never catch up on all the work,” said a former employee in a California Target who left her job at the end of September.
This California Target had a mess bleeding into the aisles.
“This new process is completely unrealistic and is causing unsafe working conditions,” said the former employee, who had worked at Target in California for over a decade.
“I need to contour my body just to get to my desk each morning,” said a current employee in a West Coast Target who described his back room as “incredibly disorganized.”
A former employee in a Pennsylvania Target said that her back room was constantly overcrowded.
A former employee in a Minnesota Target dubbed this section of her back room “Mount Repack.”
“I was in charge of sending out online orders, but most of the time the items I needed were in these mountains of unmarked boxes, and I was required to crawl through them to find my items and do it in under 30 minutes,” said the former employee, who left her job in April. She said that boxes would frequently collapse on her.
“Whenever corporate would visit, our managers would have teammates hide these hazards so we wouldn’t get in trouble,” she added. “My job became impossible and I left shortly thereafter.”
A back room in a Maine Target had a large mountain of boxes as of this month.
Some employees said that their fixture rooms — or the areas that hold store signing material and shelves — were also overcrowded.
A former employee at a Michigan Target said that his fixture room was commonly messy.
“I was the signing person starting in February and I begged for at least a week to deep clean and organise the space if they were expecting me to take on the signing position,” the former employee said. “Due to cuts in payroll, I was always ignored.”
An employee of a Tennessee Target store sent a photo of a fixture room that employees had to navigate in order to retrieve any signing or fixtures that they might need.
The employee who sent this photo said she had been with Target for almost 15 years before resigning in December 2018. She said modernisation began in her store as early as 2016.
An employee in a Maryland Target said that his location often has unsafe conditions, overcrowded work spaces, and not enough time to complete tasks.
This employee said his store has been experiencing the effects of modernisation for about two years.
“I’ve seen a pallet tip over and create a domino effect of disaster,” the employee said. “You could see how that becomes a real issue in the way things are lined up and stacked haphazardly.”
In some cases, overcrowding has led to unsafe situations. An employee at an East Coast Target sent a photo of a blocked fire exit in his store, taken in July.
Multiple employees noted that fire exits have been blocked on numerous occasions.
One employee described her store as a “dumpster fire” and said that fire exits are routinely blocked in her store.
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