What It's Like to Work at Macy's

You know their famous red star emblem. You probably shop there either regularly or at least from time to time, and it is practically impossible to not get swept up in the fever of the holidays (that start earlier and earlier each year) without wondering what it is like to work at a large department store like Macy's.

How do those big crazy sales work and what does it take to be a Macy's employee?

To find out the answer to these questions and more, we went behind the scenes and talked with Sherry McCamley, a Cincinnati, Ohio-based, "on-call" employee at her local Macy's store.

An entertainer by training, Sherry admits that while she loves the arts, they don't pay that much. Add in the dip in the economy and her husband getting laid off from his job, and Sherry decided it was time to take on a part-time job to make a little extra money to help pay the bills. "I had never worked in retail before, but I shopped at Macy's and there is one just 1.5 miles down the street from my house, so when I saw a sign in the store saying that they were hiring, I thought, 'why not?'"


The hiring process

After Sherry saw the sign, she went home and filled out an application online. A few days later she was contacted by the store and asked to come in for an interview. A few days after that she was called back into the store for a second interview and was offered a job.

Sherry was then sent for three days of in-store, paid training, the majority of which focused on getting familiar with the computer system, since registers are a thing of the past. You are also taught salesmanship strategies and how to troubleshoot.

For your first few shifts on the floor at Macy's you are assigned a shadow to work with, which means that you have an experienced Macy's employee watching you and answering your questions along the way until you become comfortable with the work.

Sherry says that for the first few months of work, you are never in a department by yourself. "I work a lot in the women's department and for my first couple of months at Macy's, there was always someone else there."


What type of employee are you?

Sherry is considered an "on call" employee. This means that she works part time and does not receive benefits of any kind, but she does get some more flexibility in terms of the shifts she chooses to work. Just like a doctor or nurse at a hospital, "on call" employees are on a short list and are the first ones contacted when someone else calls in sick or does not show up for work. In order to maintain your "on call" status you need to work a minimum of 40 hours per quarter, which Sherry says is not difficult at all, and there is no maximum on the number of hours you can work. "On call was a better fit for me because, as a performer, I work a lot of weekend hours, so I pick up more shifts during the week and daytime."

Macy's also offers full-time employment, which affords employees a more set schedule. They usually work from about 9AM to 6:30PM, says Sherry -- so in that respect it is more like a FT office job or corporate job you might have in another industry.

If you sign on to be a regular (instead of "on call") PT employee, you are also assigned a set schedule every week, but those schedules almost always include weekend work and night shifts.

Currently, Sherry works about two to three days per week on average, and her shifts tend to be about six hours long, like 12-6PM or 10AM-4PM. For her efforts, Sherry is paid $8.25 per hour. That's low because she has no prior retail experience, but she's been told a raise is in her future because Macy's is pleased with her work.

Macy's also likes to promote from within and even asked Sherry to go to regular part-time employment two months after being hired, but she passed on the opportunity. "Being a performer is my thing and I need to keep my schedule flexible," she says.


Pros and cons

Besides the awesome employee discounts that Sherry enjoys, she says that working at Macy's is the first job that she has had since college where she doesn't have to take the work home with her. "When I was a teacher I had to prepare for class or grade papers or something after work hours. At Macy's, I go in five minutes before my shift, clock in, do my work, then I leave and that's it."

"There is some baptism by fire in retail, though, because there are certain things that have to be learned by doing, and cannot be taught in a training class." The upshot, Sherry says is that: "I can usually figure it out and I have never had anybody be grouchy about it. All the other employees that I have come into contact with are really helpful and nice."

Sherry has also found the work to be physically demanding because she is frequently on her feet for six or eight hours at a time and she is often hauling around heavy loads of clothing.

For Sherry, Macy's has been the perfect fit for that part time job and that extra money she was looking for. "Typically the days are not ridiculous and I get what I need from it. I plan on keeping it as long as I can do it," she concludes.

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jimjones2004jim

a job's a job. not going to say that i love it, but it is bearable.

December 09 2013 at 9:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jessica

I am 18 and was pleased to get a job at Macy's working part-time in the juniors department. I had a few months of retail experience before, but never working a cash register. On my very first day of work (besides training), I was thrown into my department. I was happy to see someone there to work with me on my first day. However, they left for a lunch break 20 minutes in. I was so nervous to handle everything by myself! I felt ignored as a new employee and was frustrated that no one was there to help or train me. Computer-based training helped a bit, but nothing can prepare you for real customers and all their complaints and demands. I ran back and forth to different departments multiple times to find someone to help me, and most were nice but some just told me what to do and sent me back alone. I still couldn't figure it out at times and felt stupid bugging the other employees multiple times when they didn't seem to want to help me. Maybe it is the juniors department, but i was so shocked that they just threw me in with no shadow. So while this article touches on some components of working at Macy's, it claims that you will have a shadow for your first three days of work when I didn't even get one on my first day. I am torn whether or not I like this job--it is so much harder than I thought it would be. I have worked here for about 2 weeks now, and 90% of the time I have to run the juniors department on my own. While this is nice at times because I don't have to deal with middle-aged, grumpy co-workers, it is hard to do everything myself. I am expected to keep the fitting rooms clear, the sales floor neat, the customers happy, and my sales goal met. It's hard when there is a line of customers, someone else is asking you a question on the side, the phone is ringing, and the sales floor and fitting rooms are a mess. By the way, they never even taught me how to use the phone (transferring calls, putting customers on hold, etc.) and I have asked other workers a few times how to do it but I'm still not sure I'm doing it right. So while my job is rewarding when the customers are pleased, I felt like I was thrown into everything without a shadow and proper knowledge of how to do certain things that the training didn't teach me. It takes an independent, determined, patient person to work at Macy's. I am satisfied that I have a job and it is fun at times, but I feel neglected as a new employee.

June 10 2013 at 11:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alhenry

MACY’S RECIPES FOR HIRING PEOPLE AND ABUSING THEM
Macy’s managers are well paid to abuse Macy’s workers and employees
Macy’s managers enjoy the good life, driven very expensive cars, getting high as much as they want to and promotes violation of labor laws for Macy’s benefits with the advised of some lawyers working on the Labor Laws ethical borderline
Very well paid Macy’s managers abusing a lot of employees justifies their very high salary, because they are saving a lot of money to maintain a large number of employees paid at the minimum wage and making a lot of profits on its sales as well on the low wages paid to employees.
No employee hourly increases, in other words nobody gets a dime, never, even after working many years for Macy’s and having an excellent performance on the job
Macy’s profits came from a combination of paying low wages to employees and very high mark ups of cheap merchandise bought from Asia
Violations of labor laws is the norm at Macy’s and well and cheating and deceiving.
Macy’s is having Lawsuits for paying less hours that the hours worked by the employee. Not one case, but on many cases on employees working in the USA
Also taking more deductions than the law allows on employees paychecks
HOW YOU CALL A COMPANY DOING CHEATING AND DECEIVING AND BREAKING THE LAWS?
“I know the name you have in mind, but unfortunately you can not say it here, because it is a bad word and some people may feel offended by that”
The best you can do is not shopping at Macy’s
Show Macy’s smart ass managers getting high all the time, who is the boss!
Macy’s without customers, won’t go anywhere and Macy’s managers will not get the money to buy the drugs to get high and doing illegal things on employees
But obviously, Macy’s managers are receiving orders from the CEO or others very important people at Macy’s to act illegally
MACY’S, WHEN A DOG STILL AT LARGE!

February 08 2013 at 1:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alhenry

MACY'S, WHAT IS BEHIND ON MACY'S BIG NAME
DO NOT SHOP AT MACY'S. NEVER!
Macy’s Department Store is the most abusive company you can work for.
25 years of unpaid overtime $477,906.
(interests was not calculated yet on the above and below amount)

20 MONTHS (62 weeks) OF UNPAID MONEY TO REPLACED MANAGER AT MACY'S CULVER CITY, CA TOTAL $ 9,920.

$ 8,000,000 dollars is my claim for catastrophic injuries by negligence and violation of my wife rights while working at Macy’s. Thanks to Macy’s; my wife is a living wreck for the rest of her life
MACY’S forced my wife to resign for her disability by Undue Influence
Macy’s located at Westfield Mall, 14000 Riverside Drive, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423 – 818-788-8350
My name is Al Henry, a disabled person and thanks to Macy’s my wife is a living wreck for the rest of her life. My wife is in a wheel chair and unable to do anything at all
Requires my personal care 24 hours around the clock
My wife worked 25 years at Macy’s
JUSTICE IS NOT DONE YET!

January 19 2013 at 2:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alhenry

My wife is a living wreck today, thanks to Macy’s and its unlawful working conditions
My wife worked 25 years for Macy’s at 14000 Riverside Drive, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423 – Westfield Sherman Oaks Mall and also for Macy’s at Westfield Culver City Mall in Culver City, CA
Year 1998-1999-2000-2001-2002 at Macy’s Culver City Mall: My wife was receiving orders from the store manager to replace the department manager and doing it for 5 years, on and off for months at Macy's Culver City Mall
After the 1994 big Northridge Earthquake in Los Angeles, my wife was transferred to work for years from Sherman Oaks to Macy's West at Culver City Mall, Culver City, CA
Then, when the Macy's Department Store and the Sherman Oaks Mall was 100% rebuilt, my wife came back to work over again for Macy's at Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

Overtime at home: 25 years ago, and only for 4 days, Macy’s Store Manager told my wife to do paper work during working hours, but soon after that, Macy’s told my wife not do it during working hours because it wasn’t productive neither profitable for Macy’s. Macy's manager told my wife to do it at home.
My wife asked the manager if she will get paid for the overtime and the manager answer was: not problem, you will get pay overtime
Over the years, the following department managers told my wife to keep doing home overtime for as long my wife had a job at Macy's
MACY’S OWES MY WIFE MANY THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN UNPAID OVERTIME from 1985 through 2008, based on thousands of unpaid overtime hours
I'm talking about my wife, a 40 hours weekly full time employee since she was hired in 1985
MACY’S, IS THE CULPRIT OF ALL THE PROBLEM ON ALL MY WIFE INJURIES AND SICKNESS
Back in 2002 my wife’s doctor informed Macy’s of my wife early symptoms of disability, but she was able to do a different type of work with accommodation
In 2003 my wife filled 2 complaints at Macy’s Human Resources’ Office asking for accommodation. The request was ignored by Macy’s office and telling my wife that Macy’s office never received any complaint for accommodation
Complaints to the manager went nowhere
My wife was an specialist in expensive women apparel and making more money than others co-workers, so Macy’s refused accommodation, because Macy’s will not pay my wife the same hourly pay to do office work or any other type of work
My wife always was a full time employee working full time, 40 hours a week for 25 years, having and extreme top reputation in Macy’s but forcing to work like a slave
My was forced to resign on 10-3-2008 by Undue Influence
In 5-2010 at (Valley Presbyterian Hospital) my wife was diagnosed with mental disability based on the MRIs taken. That diagnosis also covered 2008 or earlier when my wife was forced to resign by Undue Influence.
Previously in 2009 my wife’s doctor found mental problems on my wife caused by defective drugs Fosamax and Nexium
Those defective drugs also were the culprit to cause on my wife a large esophagus cyst.
All those drugs problems are well documented by patients and doctor all over the USA. In 2010, my wife was in the hospital operation room and the operation was performed to remove a bad large cyst that was already having a cancerous look under MRI examination and leading to a worse situation
The actual esophagus situation is unknown or perhaps my wife is already having cancer
Defective drugs were prescribed by Macy’s Insurance doctor
My wife was hospitalized for 30 days, having a large Medical Record (62 pages) MRIs, CT Scans and many x-rays taken
The whole Medical Record and test taken at the hospital, shows all the physical and body damages that my wife got while working at Macy’s, (damaged bones, knees, legs, femur and spinal cord), walking the sales floor for more than 25 years, not seating, not resting, not breaks, not nothing and several times a day moving heavy loads of clothing, cleaning all the time the dressing rooms and putting back all the clothing to where it belong. A very hard work to do every day
My wife got all the injuries due to unlawful working conditions at Macy’s
For years, Macy’s knew about my wife problems, but the lousy HMO insurance provided by Macy’s that never approved tests, was taking a toll on my wife, year after year
If needed test were taken and approved by Macy’s insurance years ago, that will put a stop from the beginning, on my wife sicknesses, having better drugs to control the whole
situation or even surgery if needed (for her kidney disease) MRI taken on Kidney disease (but the insurance did not approve tests, neither approved

January 08 2013 at 6:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Alhenry's comment
selena2v

I'm sorry if I sound a little unsympathetic or even rude, but after the first week's paycheck of doing paper work at home and being promised overtime pay, but the over pay not reflecting on that paycheck...don't you think your wife should have refused to continue doing the overtime until she was paid for it, instead of continuing to do it for years w/out being paid for it? As far as her disability...I'm not sure I really understand how Macy's caused her to become sick. I'm not saying it isn't their fault or that it is. I'm saying that I don't really understand how or why. She really should have looked for a job elsewhere if it was that difficult working there though. I mean 25 years is a long time to put up with what you think to be unfair. It wouldn't have been too hard to find another retail job elsewhere.

October 22 2013 at 12:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jampacked

Macy's doesn't treat it's employees fairly in the slightest. The first chance you get, leave them! They'll expect you to be there during the end of the world and chastise you if you weren't on time. And thank you Luke, that sums up my Macy's experience to the T.

November 08 2012 at 9:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Luke

Macy's is the absolute worst place to be. If I knew someone who said I want a job at Macy's. I would tell them to run as far away as you can. The one thing I really hate the most is the worthless piece of **** macy money. Thats their incentive to everything, where you have to spend money to use it. One incentive is call Loss prevention to catch shoplifters and they will give you Macy Money. One way I'm satisfied is if I ever see anybody steal anything, or something missing. I just dont call because I would rather have them take a loss then make money off me! Thers nothing positive about macy's. Especially how they scam you with the draw vs. commission. And the points how they want you to never be late and always come in on time, yet they dont wanna pay you for coming to early because they are CHEAP TO THE DOLLAR!
Im in the process of getting my apps out everyday on job sites. But I wish Macy's went bankrupt so I would never have to deal with them again. And for anyone looking for a job, working at Macys is like selling your soul to the devil

September 01 2012 at 2:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Luke's comment
selena2v

Wow a job that expects you to be on time....how dare them???

October 22 2013 at 12:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
midnightwriter79

Macy's is by no means the worst retail job I've ever had, but it's not roses and candy like this Sherry person has made it out to be. I mean, really!?!? Talk to more than ONE person if you want to know what it's really like. In this economy, I feel blessed to even have a job, so on that note--thanks Macy's. Other than that, I am barely scraping by and my school loans are STILL in deferment. You cannot support yourself or even make a worthwhile contribution to the family pot in the pay I get.

I have a B.A., and I started at $7.25 an hour. Now I'm permanent PT (20ish hrs) and make $7.55. Peanuts, but better than no peanuts. I'm looking for a second job because I can't find anything full time. Macy's already stretches out my 20 measly hours to 4-5 days a week, meaning I'd have to work 6-7 days a week to make up for it. Some life.

Each Macy's store is different, really. Some suck a LOT and some only suck a little. My store sucks somewhere in the middle. My co-workers are great and a couple of my managers aren't terrible. Company policies are nearly as laughable as that bit in this article about so-called 3-day training and never being left alone in the department when you're new. Utter B.S.

I can't count how many times I've had to run back and forth between two departments for the entire night because a newbie was thrown out on the floor for a closing shift, all by themselves--in a department they knew nothing about, running a register they were only vaguely familiar with from the 3 HOURS of computer training they had a few days before.

But, hey, it's retail. There are worse things than working for Macy's--like customers.

June 08 2012 at 9:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
midnightwriter79

Macy's is by no means the worst retail job I've ever had, but it's not roses and candy like this Sherry person has made it out to be. I mean, really!?!? Talk to more than ONE person if you want to know what it's really like. In this economy, I feel blessed to even have a job, so on that note--thanks Macy's. Other than that, I am barely scraping by and my school loans are STILL in deferment. You cannot support yourself or even make a worthwhile contribution to the family pot in the pay I get.

I started as a on-call two years ago at $7.25 an hour. Now I'm permanent PT (20ish hrs) and make $7.55. Peanuts, but better than no peanuts.

Each Macy's store is different, really. Some suck a LOT and some only suck a little. My store sucks somewhere in the middle. My co-workers are great and a few of my managers are okay. Company policies are nearly as laughable as that bit in this article about so-called 3-day training and never being left alone in the department when you're new.

I can't count how many times I've had to run back and forth between two departments for the entire night because a newbie was thrown out on the floor for a closing shift, all by themselves--in a department they knew nothing about, running a register they were only vaguely familiar with from the 3 HOURS of computer training they had a few days before.

But, hey, it's retail. Laugh it off. There are worse things than working for Macy's--like customers.

June 08 2012 at 9:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
slavelabor

macys pays so little cause they have to pay so much to carry crap merchandise from trump martha stewart jessica simpson and others. i knew someone who actually retired after 30 years with macys and not a single manager showed up. we brought in a few things for a fast lunch and collected money for a non-macy's gift card.

June 03 2012 at 9:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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