From Hagerstown, MD — 02/03/2007
Since I was 15, I wanted desperately to work at American Eagle. I wasn't so much obsessed with the clothing, but I liked it and thought I'd be good at selling it, plus a 40% discount looked pretty sweet to me. So I applied when I was 16 and was told you had to be 18, which was odd because I knew two people who were 16 and worked there. I waited, though, and they hired me 4 weeks before my 18th birthday. The pay is awful and commission is nonexistent at AE; I was paid $6.50 an hour and the only thing I got for high sales or a lot of credit cards was a pat on the back. They were obsessed with getting credit cards, too...
There weren't any benefits to us part-timers, and there was no such thing as a full-timer. Management actually wouldn't let anyone work more than 35 hours a week so that they didn't have to give benefits to the full-time employees or pay for overtime.
The job security was the best thing about working at AE, because once you're in, you have to really mess something up to be kicked out, but of course when you consider the high turnover that they have it's really not that hard to believe.
One of the worst things about this job is the call-in shifts... They schedule for times when they MIGHT need you, and want you to call in 1 hour before the shift starts. Usually they don't need you, but sometimes they do, so it makes it impossible to be able to plan something during that time because you may be going in. Also, several times a week they will call you and tell you they need you to come in, and if you don't, they treat you like dirt pretty much from then on.
I wasn't aware of any potential for growth or promotion, and the word "raise" was never mentioned in the 6 months I worked there. It seems as though people are either hired for the sales associate position or hired for a management position, but you can't cross over from one to the other.
The location of the AE I worked at was awful. I had to travel via interstate highway for about a half hour.
Some of the coworkers were awesome, and I made friends with some really cool people, but then there are lazy people who don't do anything and then point the finger to you. Also, if the management doesn't like you for one reason or another--maybe you're TOO nice or you work so hard that it makes overs look bad--then they treat you like dirt and you have to just accept it.
I liked the environment... Good music, fun people, customers were usually very nice, but if you don't like the people you work with, you almost can't like the job.