Zara shoppers complain of hour-long lines, messy stores, and poor customer service, as the retail industry struggles with a labor shortage

A line outside a Zara store in Los Angeles
A Zara store in Los Angeles in November 2020. VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images
  • Zara shoppers are complaining about long lines and poor customer service at stores.
  • Shoppers rushing back to stores, combined with a lack of retail workers, may be to blame, experts say.
  • “The levels of rudeness is uncalled for and the lines extremely long,” one customer wrote on Twitter.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Zara shoppers in the US are complaining of hour-long lines, chaotic stores, and poor customer service at the apparel giant, as shopping picks up again.

“Why is your Yonkers store such a pain? Lines are ridiculous, customer service is terrible,” one customer wrote on Twitter this month.

“Myself and other customers are having the worst customer service experience in the downtown DC @ZARA. The levels of rudeness is uncalled for and the lines extremely long. Not a single staff member or manager has bothered to open additional registers,” another wrote.

“Messy stores, more product in bins than hangers, few employees working in the store and one person at the register. Invest in some customer service please,” another shopper said.

-Marielo0106 (@marielvallejos4) June 15, 2021

There are dozens of complaints on Twitter, and they are not limited to the US – shoppers in other parts of the world also say they face similar problems.

-Kieran Frost (@kiefrost) June 23, 2021

A spokesperson for Zara did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

While Zara is known for notoriously long lines, reports on social media suggest they’re worse than ever, as shoppers return to stores to restock their wardrobes.

According to research from Bank of America, cited by Insider’s Avery Hartmans, US clothes spending is up 35% from two years ago.

“I think the resurgence in apparel buying has led to a sharp uptick in demand for popular brands,” GlobalData Retail Managing Director Neil Saunders told Insider. “This is much more visible in terms of lines to get into the store because of continued social distancing and capacity limitations,” he said.

Some shoppers are begging Zara to reopen its fitting rooms in the US, which closed during the pandemic – they say this is making the lines worse because customers who can’t try clothes in-store end up returning them.

Zara’s customer service team has responded to multiple customer complaints about this on Twitter, saying that its fitting rooms will remain closed “for the safety of our employees and customers.” A spokesperson did not respond to Insider’s request for comment for more details.

On top of soaring demand coming out of lockdown, retailers across the US are also grappling with an ongoing labor shortage, which is making it difficult to recruit enough staff.

This “has put pressure on wait times at the registers and the availability of associates on the shop floor,” Saunders said.

Saunders isn’t expecting these long lines to put off customers any time soon.

“Consumers have a reasonable degree of tolerance for brands they like and are prepared to wait a while,” he told Insider.

“I expect this will disappear at some point once the novelty of getting back to shopping in person dissipates and acceptance of pandemic restrictions lessens.”

If you work in retail and have a story to share, please contact this reporter via encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 (646) 768-4716 using a non-work phone, by email to [email protected] using a non-work email, or Twitter DM at @MarySHanbury.