From Pittsburgh, PA — 09/30/2009
I went into Office Depot expecting the worst. I hadn't had any luck finding any sort of meaningful work so I took it up only as a stopgap. It turned out to be a decent little gig for the short time I was there.
The pay is as expected for any basic retail position - minimum wage. They also give you the opportunity to earn commissions by selling Protection Plans & Tech Depot services, which I guess is nice. You can get a couple hundred extra in commissions each month if you're good at selling.
The managers treated me respectfully most of the time even when I was careless and I appreciated that.
The benefits were non-existent, but then again I only worked part-time.
Job security, at least at the OD I worked at, is pretty good once you're in. If you're willing to work (and sell the services) you'll have your job there. They have a high turnover rate because they go through a lot of lazy bums who don't show up, call off, screw around, et cetera.
They were pretty accommodating of my schedule. I wasn't given ridiculous hours and I was able to talk with the store manager about what would be convenient for me. It was a nice change of pace. The standard policy is that you have to provide two weeks' notice before taking a day off, but they made exceptions for me.
They told me I would be made a manager in 6 months if I stayed there because I'm extremely knowledgeable about technology. The problem with that is that OD is an absolute trainwreck at the corporate level and I'd probably hang myself if I had to deal with them all the time. When the district manager came in, for instance, he either watched us like he was waiting for us to make mistakes or sat on his fat ass in the manager's room. Not ONCE did he help us out with any of our day-to-day duties: talking to customers, cleaning up the store, et cetera. Corporate is more concerned about meeting statistics and pushing extras most people don't need or want. That, I guarantee, will be their downfall if things don't change.
The location for my OD is absolutely horrible. It's tucked away in a remote, practically invisible corner of a plaza where all of the important stores have gone out of business. It wasn't unusual for me to talk with 10 or less customers in a single day. Well, at least I always had a place to park!
The people who had been at OD for a while knew what they were doing. They knew the answers when I asked them questions...except when it was about technology. Since most people with actual technical knowledge are doing more rewarding work, they turned to me for tech questions.
Corporate nagged the managers about pointless crap and the managers then nagged us, respectfully, about it. We have this "mystery shopper" program, for instance, and you get graded apparently based on all the stuff you're "supposed" to do. For example, you get penalized if there's not a "sales xpert" (that's an actual position, BTW) standing at the front of a store holding a clipboard. You're supposed to push the Protection Plan on customers before they even agree to buy the item...then, when they check out, you're supposed to try and sell them ink, toner, paper, and stamps. Good grief, just let them come in, buy, and leave! Quit being so pushy!
The store itself is in bad condition. The soap dispensers in the bathrooms don't work, the appliances in the break room are filthy, and some of the security equipment is busted so they can't put certain items on display. Here's what's really funny - corporate doesn't care about any of that. Not even the security equipment.
If I had to sum up Office Depot in a sentence, I'd say this: corporate has their heads up their asses and the store workers are decent people. Please, give the guys in the stores slack if they try and load you up with extras. Corporate makes selling the grossly overpriced Protection Plans and Tech Depot services a necessary part of employment and if you don't sell them, you get the boot. They're just trying to keep their jobs.