I’m willing to bet that every woman reading this has at least one item from Aritzia in her closet. Trendy decor, fresh beats playing, beautiful employees that leave you wondering how they can afford those clothes and not starve… It isn’t surprising that the Vancouver-spawned clothing chain has women dropping paycheques on their threads. I don’t think I have walked into the place once without saying “I need this!” only to be dragged out by my boyfriend moments later (thank God for that, or I couldn’t afford rent).
But there is a mysterious side to Aritzia. Do they pay employees in clothes? How can they charge 50.00 for a pair of tights? Why are their sales girls so freaking pushy? While pondering my love-hate relationship with this store, I decided it was time to get some things cleared up about this company.
I sought out one of Aritzia’s employees, who was only too eager to share her side of things. Although this Aritzia Girl (AG) has asked to remain anonymous so she can keep her job (and not lose her discount) she has shared the following…
…5 Worst Things About Working At Aritzia (From an Aritzia Girl)
High Sales Quotas:
“When I started at Aritzia, I honestly thought it was going to be easy. Then they handed me a Sales Per Hour quota of $500. I have to sell $500 an hour, regardless of if my shift was one during a busy day or a slow night. You need to maintain this quota to gain better shifts and excel in the company. Also, we don’t make commission, so if you think we are harassing you to gain commission, we aren’t. We’re just trying to keep our jobs. I have noticed that by displaying sales stats where the rest of the girls can see, you automatically create a competitive atmosphere.
Smart move on Aritzia’s part though, because it increases sales. So when you’re looking at that Marc Jacobs bag, that’s why you feel like you’re being circled by piranhas. You’re their target and it’s just a matter of who gets to you first.”
Cliqueness/ Cattiness/ Fakeness:
“To understand the real emotions running through every Sales Associate that works at Aritzia, picture that scene in Mean Girls where the girls start attacking each other like animals. It’s like a fucking war zone.
Sales associates that hold high sales status need to maintain that status to get better discounts. You’re basically working to wear their clothes, so they will let you work more. The fakeness between coworkers can be exhausting. I leave work more often than not hating everything and everyone. New employees have left mid-shift on more than one occasion, so yeah, this isn’t for everyone.”
“Most people from Vancouver have been to Metrotown, and most of you avoid it at all costs because it’s always such a fucking zoo. At one point I was working at the Metrotown location, and I quickly scampered back to my home store. It was one of the hardest stores to sell in. Given the high volume of customers that speak Mandarin and Cantonese, and the amount of employees that can speak these languages, it is SO easy to lose sales.
Most of the time these customers won’t even acknowledge you, let you help them or let you start them a room. Often, they just walk right to the employees that can speak these languages. Of course this is understandable if they don’t know English and feel more comfortable speaking in their native tongue, but it is completely frustrating when you hear them speaking English while the girl on the till rings them up.”
Discounts/ Wardrobe Expectations:
“I still love Aritzia clothes, but I can barely even afford them. People assume that Aritzia girls get free clothes or some huge discount, but I can promise we don’t. Normal sales associates get paid a pretty low wage, while Super Sales get paid a pretty good one. Super Sales also get a lot more discounts and clothing benefits than regular ones, hence why they always have on head-to-toe Aritzia clothes. The difficult thing about starting in the company is always being expected to wear up-to-date and in season items from Aritzia on every shift. Meaning: you’re in competition with your co-workers about who has better style and nicer clothes. The managers put so much pressure on us to look good and represent Aritzia, but it’s nearly impossible to do that and still be able to afford anything else in life.”
“You know that mess you make when you are in Aritzia? When you decide to throw your items carelessly down? Tear through a pile of perfectly folded clothes? Yeah well, we all hate you for it. We have to clean that mess you make and it is nearly impossible to keep up with. Closing shifts can take up to 3 hours past the time the store closes. On boxing day it is required to work, and most of the time it is upwards of 14 hours without a break (they provide food for you to eat while on the floor). Every Aritzia girl’s nightmare: Clopen shifts, closing and then opening the next day.”
After going over AG’s list, I was torn between feeling bad for the employees or just being mad at the company as a whole. Why do the employees stick around if it’s THIS bad?
Despite the insight, I won’t be boycotting Aritzia anytime soon, the accessibility to basics and must-haves is too great. However, I will keep a watchful eye out for zoo animal-like behaviour and cat fights between employees. If I’m paying THAT much for a pair of pants, I should get some entertainment too. Right?
PHOTOGRAPHY | Samantha Stanway, trashpenguins, aritzia.com