Reddit is a very interesting place, with communities where you can learn a lot and share about specific hobbies and interests, or waste a whole lot of time. They’ve got subreddits on all kinds of topics, from Apple products to Pareidolia.
Somewhere between all that, they have quite a few subreddits, or topic communities, about tools, including one focused on all things related to Lowe’s.
I discovered the Lowe’s subreddit recently, and while it’s not specific to customer or employee-related topics, there are a lot of different threads started by past and present employees.
And, just about every single one of those Lowe’s employee posts is very upsetting.
I understand that the Lowe’s associates on the Reddit board represent a small fraction of all the very many associates they have around the country, and that people tend to be more vocal when they’re displeased about something, there are still quite a few unhappy workers.
One of the biggest frustrations right now seems to be that stores seem to be very understaffed, and it’s affecting everyone.
A lot of retailers and other types of businesses are going through labor shortages right now, and so this isn’t a situation unique to Lowe’s. Still, it’s one thing to read about labor shortages, and another to read stories from workers that are miserable because of it.
There are other types of posts that also color in parts of the same picture. In one recent post, a new worker expressed surprise that they were being paid considerably better than existing workers at the same store. Others have also complained about raise rejections and an increased awareness about salary discrepancies.
It makes sense that there would be pay incentives right now, as Lowe’s tries to improving staffing levels at their stores.
In some of the other posts, a lot of Lowe’s workers seem unhappy about a lot of very different things, such as an emphasis on self-checkout at their store.
Shown here is what one of the hand tool bays looked like at my local Lowe’s store last week, with a sloppy mess of tools just sitting on the floor. Other parts of the store felt like this too.
I’ve walked out of my Lowe’s store before, before the pandemic closures and current labor shortage, when I stopped in briefly to pick up a particular brand of air filter. They had one register open, and I didn’t have time to wait in line behind what seemed like more than dozen other people.
I have also walked out empty-handed a few other times, because products the website reported as being in-stock were nowhere to be found.
Some Lowe’s stores have are very well-run, and others not so much. Unfortunately, my favorite Lowe’s store is more than 45 minutes away, and I typically only go there once a year to scout out the holiday season deals that none of my local stores ever seem to put out on display.
While working in retail is rarely a cakewalk, many of the stories I’ve been reading have alerted me to many associates’ current realities.
Is there anything we can do about it? Probably not. But if associates are miserable with some even quitting due to stores being understaffed, customers are going to notice as it impacts their shopping experience.
When a customer takes a tool from one display and places it in another, it’ll remain there until an associate can reset things. But placing overflow on the floor is not a customer action, it’s an associate action.
I don’t know what’s going on at my store, but maybe it’s as understaffed as the stores being talked about on Reddit, with workers tasked with much more beyond their regular responsibilities.
If that’s the case, this is not a good situation for anyone.
I’m hoping that the discontent I’ve read on the Lowe’s subreddit does not fairly represent too many of their associates’ current sentiments and experiences.
But at the same time, maybe my local Lowe’s store is also understaffed, for product overflow to be be dumped on the floor like that. Most of the other parts of the tool department were fairly tidy.
I really hope that conditions at Lowe’s stores aren’t as difficult as the stories on Reddit suggest.