From Joplin, Missouri — 06/12/2010
From reading several pages of reviews, it would seem that each store is very different. Several people talk about how they truly love their job and enjoy it, while others think working in AE is like working in the Devil's butt crack. Here in Joplin, I must say I am very satisfied with my job. There is irony in my situation, however, because the managers AND associates in our store are extremely caring about the customers. Our managers follow in store policies, and still balance it out so that they seem like you're friends rather than bureaucratic tools. Our store manager does a good job of motivating employees without being mean. Our Associate manager is passionate about making people happy and promoting the welfare of our store, and she motivates you not because she is bossy, domineering, or mean, but because she truly wants you to be a good employee. Our third manager is very smart and knows how to deal with customers very well. He can skillfully turn away a customer looking to screw the store over, and help out the old woman who's coupon expired the day before by giving her the discount anyway. Our fourth manager is the motherly kind; she is the nicest perosn in the store and you do what she says not because you're scared she will get on to you, but because you would feel bad by defying her :) Our associate manager is the one who determines who is hired, and paired with her passion to make our store do well, she is very good at weeding out the people who would be bad for our store. In addition to all of this, the managers do a good job at making the associate feel respected and important: I am 18 and one of the younger employees, yet I feel as if I am an adult and am not ever patronized. Pay is ok, but hey I didn't sign up for this job thinking I was going to make a six-figure annual income. And for the people who have "worked here for 9 months without a raise"- every February the managers do a individual report on associates who have been with the company for at least a year and, based on the report, associates are given or denied raises accordingly. Conversion is king, and it is a cruel king. As mentioned above, many times families or groups of at least 5 will come in and put their purchase on one transaction; this means a 20% conversion which already means it is sub-par to what the company expects. In short, conversion is a crock that is just another tool given by corporate to micro-manage and squeeze each employee for what they're worth. Oh right, I forgot to transition..... As I mentioned, our managers care for associates and customers, but all corporate cares about is money, money, money, and more money (oh and credit cards). Our DM is a total jerk, and treats all of our managers very poorly whenever they fail to meet the outrageous standards set by the company. AE is very slowly, but very steadily cutting away our benefits in favor of corporate. Our managers are all very aware that many of the expectations of the company are stupid, but are nonetheless obligated to follow them. They push credit cards as if it were gold, yet their reasoning behind it is (like many other things they push) lacking in common sense. They believe that people who get credit cards will shop more at AE, when in reality 50% of the customers I talk to who have (or had) credit cards have signed up for them for the 15% discount and then canceled the card. What they should do is make sure you ask every customer if they want a credit card, and not make sure you MUST get a card; FACE IT! Not everyone wants a credit card especially since our country's fiscally in the toilet mostly because of credit! Whenever we are out of supplies (medical, shoppings sacks, etc.), it takes forever to send new ones; we were TOTALLY OUT of shopping sacks for 3 weeks straight and had to resort to using Chinese Food "Thank You" sacks until we receieved new ones (oh, did I mention we had placed the order for new ones 2 weeks before we totally ran out of regular bags making it 5 weeks before receiving what we needed).
In conclusion, the job of "associate at American Eagle" is very up in the air. You can work at a store where the managers and associates suck and corporate doesn't give a hoot about you, or you can work at a store where the managers and associates are great and corporate still doesn't care about you. The latter is very tolerable; mostly a slap in the wrist once in a while from the DM and maybe an inconvienance once in a while for you personally, but overall a decent experience.