I'm at a West LA store and I'll start by writing about the good things about working for Pencils (while it lasted) and then the dark side of working for Pencils.
This month, I start my third year since I started working at Pencils as an EasyWreck technician. My first year and a half was pretty good. The GM at that time would actually do some work. He would come in to work like at 6:00am and finish most of the work he had to do for the day. By the time the store opened, he had enough time on his hands to be on the floor to greet and help out customers or help out at the Copy and Print Center. He would treat managers just like managers would treat associates. The GM would put managers to work! EasyWreck was cool too because he would help with the sales and there was hardly any sales pressure on the associates, which made everyone work hard. It was motivating. I had full time hours, little pressure, and I was glad to work there. The numbers were good, always above 85% in CSAT, and everyone was pretty happy.
THE DARK SIDE
A year and a half later, the GM left the store. He wanted to get transferred to a store closer to his home. The new GM that we got was... um... she was pretty much like just any other associate. If you had a problem with anything in the store, she would just say something like, "Yeah... oh well." and then she would just leave like if she had absolutely no control over how to fix the problem. It's her store! How could she not act like a leader and do something about it! Everyone started transferring to other stores and the store was really changing. We now have managers who are lazy and get angry every time you page them for help or page them for an override. All the managers, including the GM, are always in the office. My hours were cut short too, from 30 hours to 16 hours a week. This sucks! I'm the On-site tech/Resident tech/BM associate/cashier. When the cashier is on break, I have to cover the whole floor except Copy and Print and OS. I can't even call for back-up because there's no one to call!
Regarding EasyWreck, I'm pressured to sell because if I don't, I get in trouble. They even printed an email for me sent by the DM saying that if we can't sell, to just replace us. Our knowledge doesn't matter to them. All they want is money, even if we have to lie (which I refuse to do). A few weeks ago, they gave me a write-up because I don't sell $1000 worth of EasyWreck services a week. A couple of weeks ago, my hours were cut to only 8 hours a week. They said they'll give me more if I promise to sell more. They cut my hours on purpose just to "incentivize" me into selling more! The store is always dead, empty!! How dare they!!! Isn't this against the law?!!!! Who can live with 8 hours a week!
The store is almost an hour away from my home (due to traffic). I wanted to transfer to a store that is literally 5 minutes from my home. I went to the manager of that store and I talked to him. For some reason, he already knew me and he said he would be happy to have me there. I would have had 8 hour shifts. When I went to my store and asked for the transfer, the GM said she would have to find someone to replace me before she authorized the transfer. One month later, after I kept on reminding her about the transfer, she said that the other store already got someone else and didn't want me anymore. That was unfair. It was really messed up. Pencils has disappointed me so much. I don't even care anymore about repairing anything. It's depressing. I'm already looking for another job.
All retail stores are the same. All they really want is money. But, not all the stores are messed up. It all depends on the managers who work in the store.