New Book Praises Costco for Treatment of Employees

June 1st, 2011 · 5 Comments

I was just reading an interview with an author that mentions Costco, in glowing terms, for how they treat their employees.  The interview was to promote  a new book all about the world of a sales associate at a retail store.  It sounds like it isn’t a pretty story, but we’ve all shopped or actually worked in retail and can certainly understand where the author is coming from.

The book, Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail, was written by freelance journalist Caitlin Kelly and recalls her two, long years working in retail.  She started the job as a way to make some money when she lost her job as a journalist.  The book recalls her time spent at The North Face at a mall in White Plains, N.Y.  It’s a very affluent area, and very expensive to live around there, however, she made just $11.00 per hour and had to actually pay practically a whole hour’s worth of pay ($8.00) for parking during her shifts.   The interview covers just a little bit about the pressure to sell, sell, sell, complete with targets, and the highly regimented nature of working in the store (how to approach customers and all that kind of stuff).

But the reason I’m posting about it is because she mentions Costco quite favorably:

Kelly lauds Costco as a “sort of God” for its pay scale, citing in the book a Costco official who says the average wage is $19.65 an hour. When she asked the CEO about it in an interview, he responded that it was the right thing to do.

When retailers train their workers, give them decent hours and enough hours that it’s actually a job, then they have associates who are terrific with customers, she says.

“Funny thing — you sell more!”

So, good for Costco!  But then, we all knew that they were a retail superstar, didn’t we?

To read the full interview:

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5 Responses so far ↓

  1. 1 Brian // 2012.04.28 at 6:54 am

    I’d like to chime in with my two cents as an employee at Costco. I used to work in the majors (electronics) department for four years (have moved on to another dept now) and I’d have to say the other great thing about Costco that most people don’t know about is that they don’t demand us to sell the most expensive tv, sound system, computer, etc. to the members. We don’t work on commission and we were always told to sell only what the member needs or wants as opposed to what they can pay.
    The main concern is to prevent returns because that is what hurts our profit numbers.

  2. 2 Danita // 2011.06.02 at 11:48 am

    I agree about Costco. I refuse to shop at Walmart. I hate how they treat their employees and their suppliers. Did anyone see the news about Walmart getting the okay to buy the majority ownership of Massmart in S. Africa? It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

  3. 3 Janice // 2011.06.01 at 8:30 pm

    http://money.msn.com/investing/the-complete-list-of-company-rankings.aspx

    This link places Costco in the top 10 of rankings by consumers in April, 2011 for customer service.

    Another reason I shop so much at Costco.

  4. 4 Clue // 2011.06.01 at 6:23 pm

    This is, and always has been, the Number One reason why I shop at Costco and why I Costco is the only individual stock I chose to own.

  5. 5 Scott // 2011.06.01 at 3:20 pm

    Everything I’ve ever read about CostCo the corporation has impressed me. Here is another good one about how CostCo became the “anti-Walmart.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/17/business/yourmoney/17costco.html?pagewanted=3&_r=1

    Side note: I love your blog. My wife and I are CostCo enthusiasts, and your blog has come in handy many, MANY times.

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