I was reading online all about the complaints about Cato stores and I agree with most of them. I worked at Cato for four years. I was originally hired on as 2nd Assistant manager. Then was promoted to store manager. I was given no training at all for either position. The upper management is horrible. They say that they care about all their employees but thats a load of BS. The job is almost impossible and the expectations are unattainable. I worked in a more rural location where the economy was hitting hard. I went to great lengths to please the upper mangement. I looked into advertising (which they refused to do) and also gave them local ecnomic reports to show how hard retail was being hit in our area and was blown off. I tried for 3 years to boost sales to no avail. They expect you to solicit credit cards with a 22.9% APR in a failing economy, then when you don't force people to get them they thraten you to write up all the associates. The managers were not allowed lunch breaks while they were alone with a sales associate (and i uaually was) You have to just push through a 12 hour shift with no break. HAVEN'T YOU EVER HEARD OF LABOR LAWS?!?!Audits done monthly were never consistent on what the requirements were and just when you thought you were doing something right they would change the policy without notifying anyone and take the points off your audit. The LP audits were worse. A giant intimidating woman came into the store with the intent of intimidation. She would expect us to walk around this tiny store shouting "leaving zone 1 entering zone 2 entering zone 1 leaving zone 2, leaving the floor" Not only was this embarassing, but the customers found it off putting to have the associates running around screaming. If you didn't do it you had points taken off your audit score. I'm suprised they didn't expect us to shout that we were going number one or number two! As a manager I was required to do most of the store maintenece on my own. I had to repace light bulbs that were stuck in the ceiling (i was almost electrocuted once) The ceiling had massive leaks (the ceiling collapsed 2 times) I was given the run around by the maintenece department and told that i had to get in touch with the landlord of the building. Well the landlord lived in CA ( i was in AZ ) and he always sent a disgusting smelling repairman who came for one day to do a rush juob on the roof mixing roofing materials with horse manure (i saw the bag). When I told the DM about this she ignored me. I could never get the smell that lingered in that store out. The company provides no basic supplies (staplers, tape, pens, white out, cleaning products, etc..) you have to go to the nearest wal mart to purchase these items and they only approve 25 dollars a month which isn't enough when youre trying to cover the overwhelming smell of mildew. I even had my husband in the store at times doing repairs because you couldn't get any response from store maintenece in corporate. Whenever visuals are done there are rules you have to follow, but they never tell you what they are. They just give you a paper with colored dots (you really can't quite tell what colors they are) and expect you to reset your visuals to standard. The only way you would know if you were doing any thing wrong is when the DM would do the audit, only to have her turn around and tell you that youre doing it wrong when the regoingal manger is there to save her ass. Shelves are either too long or too short causing accidents and injuries to associates and customers along with the bars being too short or too long. the company expects the shelves and bars to be set to specific mesurements, which is impossible if you don't have a metal cutter in town and even then when you reset the visual setups the bars and shelves you just had cut fit nowhere else and cannot be used again in a different set up. Ever since the store was opened in 2003 the carpet and floor has only been cleaned and shampooed once and contacting maintenece for that was a pain in the ass too. Shipment was never dependable and the boxes always came smashed and dirty. Most of the home decor that was in these boxes was broken and most of the shoeboxes could not be dispalayed because they were so badly damaged. They expected you to sensor all merchandise even the delicate fabrics that were in most cases damaged by the pins and god forbid you put the sensors in the wrong place...you knew you were going to hell if that happened. The man who delivered the shipment was crude and always inappropriate saying that all our shipments were full of underwear and soliciting his friends out to the girls to give his friends a date. When I reported this i was giggled at.
Besides the job itself, I had several of my regular customers stop shopping there due to the fact that the prices were always going up and the merchandise was always the same ( same cuts, styles and materials ) as the previous years, but they were just in different colors. The customers that came in were usually rude to you thinking that you were their slave. they would throw merchandise on the floor and step on it causing the customers that wanted to purchase it later to complain because it was dirty. I had children vomit in my store and customers defecate on my bathroom floor and leave it. They would complain and make a scene when we were following policies reguarding our returns and price adjustments. I even had someone complain because i took a moment to sit down when i had twisted my ankle on a ladder while changing a light bulb. SHE ACTUALLY FILED A FORMAL COMPLAINT WITH CORPORATE!! Are you cusomers out there that stuck up and self absorbed??? If you are I would want you to work a week in that store or any retail position for that matterand deal with the BS we deal with daily. Dont get me wrong I enjoy retail when the people are pleasant, however when youre not pleasant to us don't expect rainbows and sunshine were only human too. If you get in our face about things we'll be civil until it gets out of hand. Oh yeah...If you're going to complain about the merchandise in a store or the prices in a store...don't shop there. There are plenty of others out there who like that place of business just fine.
As for Cato, the merchandise is alright, but working there was hell. In the end I was terminated because the people I worked with (and I quote) "didn't like me anymore" and i took a smoke break in a 12 hour shift. Oh well...