• English
  • 5 Worst Things About Working at Aritzia

    Samantha Stanway, trashpenguins, aritzia.com

    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.”

    Language barrier/advantage:

    “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.”

    Long hours:

    “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?

    Words by | Catarina Haber
    Editor | Samantha Stanway

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    • stephania

      I AGREEEEEE. i worked there for two weeks and quit. it was so shitty.

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    • Cake

      You know, I really don’t understand Aritzia even more now after reading this article. She pretty much disclosed 5 MAJOR things that drive me away from that store, even more now.

      I can’t even fathom how the normal girls who probably have anywhere from a minimum wage job to…maybe that 20$ government student that you just started can afford anything from that store. I can understand splurging on maybe ONE item (probably a jacket since that’s what most girls I see have from that store), and probably never shopping there again for another 8 months just to save on one more item. I will NEVER justify working like 5, 8-9 hrs shift there, just to buy ONE damn item. There are better things in life to buy…

      And I’m not trying to hate on you girls that shop there, and please don’t call me out on being poor or whatever, lol. But seriously, their clothing “style” can be pretty much bought somewhere else by a huge fraction of the price. With the same quality too might I add. Seriously, the girls that have items there from head to toe, what’s your income? You gotta be making at least 70,000+ a year…o_o

      I’m probably not familiar with my high fashion brands like some of you there, but from what I can see, Aritzia clothing is very casual and not really dressy. Something you’d wear when you’re hanging out friends, or going to class…not necessarily to an office environment. Their clothing is obviously targeted to the age group of 18-25…and girls within this age group are generally in school still with school loans on top of them. And economy isn’t really that great at the moment…

      HOW, how can you afford these clothes?! Really, I just want to know and my curiosity is at peak.

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    • Cake

      Wow that’s horrible…like why hire someone when you’re not even going to provide proper training? Employees should not be feeling that way after coming home from work.

      If I were you, I would definitely complain. Write a letter to the store owner. That is not acceptable.

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    • Emily Liu

      I got a callback for an interview and was left waiting in the store for almost an hour for the hiring manager to come and greet me after she said that she would be with me in a minute. She never did and one of the employees interviewed me, needless to say because of the competition (and probably by the way I was dressed, I dressed in only Aritzia clothes) I did not get the job.
      Their corporate office is much better actually. I was aware of how catty and difficult working at Aritzia could be from friends beforehand, so I filed a complaint straight to head office about the hiring manager. The manager no longer works at the location I went to, so it’s nice to know that corporate DOES do something in these situations.

    • bonsai

      I’ve been with Aritzia for almost 4 years, I’m a senior sales person and yes, there are quite some instances where you have poor customers, unfriendly coworkers or managers that don’t understand where you’re coming from. This article was posted last year, and since then a lot has changed. The company is very generous as an employer, and although i can relate to what AG has been through, I would also say experience varies from store or store. Everyone is different, it depends on how you handle things.

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    • P.

      I worked at Aritzia for one month before I went insane. I quit just before American Thanksgiving. It was the most stressful job ever. I came home crying so many times. And for what? A minimum wage and a 30% discount on some clothing? That’s all? There was no dignity in my situation.

      Honestly, working at Aritzia is not meant for certain types of personalities, even if you do have experience in customer service/sales. Working without commission was also ridiculous because the quotas were so high and everyone was so competitive. If your co-workers are pulling out each other’s hair for cheap clothing, then they need a reality check on what’s important in life. I have no idea how I got in — I guess because I had a friend who worked there and I seemed intelligent. Well, clearly I was too smart to continue wrecking my mental health by working there.

      I was guided by the wrong principles in life and I didn’t follow my intuition. If you do those very same things, you’ll end up in a job you hate, too. I still love nice clothing and I do go into the store every now and then (in Toronto). Sometimes I end up purchasing something, but it’s usually on sale, or I get it online. I feel like their customer service is a lot less hyper now that they’ve opened an online store. They have really annoying sales associates. I can’t believe I was one of them! I’m so glad to be out.

      Fortunately I did meet a few nice girls working there. I’d never say all their employees are terrible and rude to one another. And honestly if you have a full-time job and work there once a month on the weekend just for the discount, maybe it isn’t so bad after a while. But I can think of other places within the same price range and quality of clothing that seem less hellish, like J. Crew or Club Monaco.

    • ellymay

      That sounds like 80% of retail jobs. Based on what I’ve seen the girls that work there look down on you. I’m a 5ft 1 130 pound girl that was convinced to buy a size large in the jackets because they ” run slim sweety you’ll be better off with a large, don’t bother with the medium” . I felt like shit and completely embarrassed as she said this in front of other customers. I liked the jacket and was in desperate need of one with winter approaching so i bought it. $300, 3 months and 6 pounds later and all I have is and oversized jacket. I mean this thing is HUGE now, I was not warned that they stretch out either! I am never shopping there again! I regret reselling my Canada Goose jacket from the previous year,

      • Ama Bradley

        that’s dumb, I was told they stretch! Clearly that girl did NOT care

    • Seran

      I’m not the most fashionable person, I’m not always wearing the “it” clothing. But my sister shops at Aritzia and says there are good and bad days. I skipped all that and just called in an order. The girl was super helpful on the phone, didn’t push too bad for extra items but did make a few suggestions. I ended up buying the sweater I wanted and a reasonably priced tank from the sale items. If you hate the stores try online or calling in.

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