Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
If you've ever been a student or a clotheshorse or just preferred a schedule that lets you start at noon or later, then you've probably done some time working a retail job. But was it worth it? Brokelyn took a good, hard look at the starting wages (and employee discounts) of six major retailers—American Apparel, Victoria's Secret, Anthropologie, Abercrombie & Fitch, Brooklyn Industries, and Trader Joe's—to see what kind of cash these sales associates are actually pulling in.
The golden number appears to be $9. According to the post, American Apparel staffers start out at $9 to $10/hr, with a possibility to make an extra $100 a week in commission. Victoria's Secret workers and Abercrombie & Fitch "models" begin at minimum wage, and Anthropologie's employees start at around $9 to $11/hr. Brooklyn Industries also starts you at $9, as does Trader Joe's, but that can fluxuate up to $12 an hour. They also seem to have the best raise structure, since employees can get an extra two bucks hourly, per year (with a cap-off, of course).
The discount structure is all over the place once you factor in all of the different incentives, but the gist of it is this: American Apparel and Brooklyn Industries employees get 50% off—but Victoria's Secret is only 20% to 30% (that's about ten bucks off a bra). Anthropologie offers 40% on clothes and 25% on housewares, and, if you're full-time at Abercrombie, you can get 40% (part-timers get 30%). And Trader Joe's? All the organic veggies your heart could desire for 10% off.
Since there's no commission in any of these gigs (except American Apparel), if you're looking to make a little more money doing retail—or hey, even a career—higher-end stores are the way to go. For example, a stint at, say, Barneys, has a little more to offer. For Co-op employees (Madison Avenue is different) you start at $9.50 as a sales associate, which is pocket money compared to the commission rate of 3% tacked onto everything you sell. Find yourself a few big spenders, and you might never want to leave.
· Retail jobs: Starting Pay and Employee Discounts Revealed! [Brokelyn]