Store-level layoffs hit J.C. Penney

Store-level layoffs hit J.C. Penney

There are 127 comments on the Pegasus News story from May 7, 2012, titled Store-level layoffs hit J.C. Penney. In it, Pegasus News reports that:

The latest round of layoffs to hit J.C. Penney came last Wednesday, when the retail giant announced store-level layoffs.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Pegasus News.

JCP Fan

West Lafayette, IN

#81 Oct 2, 2012
I think the reason I have not been as affected emotionally as those who have been "demoted" is because the only way to demote me is to fire me. I have never held a leadership position at this particular store. I have seen the same changes to people who have been in the "leadership" positions at my store I work at. My jcp job has always been my "second" job I did for fun, not as one to climb the ladder of management. I have been content with what I have been asked to do for the few hours I have worked through the years. If I had the pressure to stay on because I thought it would be difficult to find another job, then I am sure I would be more concerned. I would be disappointed because I actually enjoy working at jcp and get personal satisfaction for my work. I don't do it for the money or the prestige of saying "I am a manager". I just like working with customers and I love to organize messes like we see on racks and tables. I call it my OCD tendencies when I seek order in my environment. It's a good combination for an associate right now at jcp. I like the thought that there is not going to be such a gap between management and the workers. I like the idea that everyone will be closer to the same playing field. I like that they are working towards a cooperative type of working environment. It might not be what most of us are used to, but I have to admit I like it. I like the feeling of knowing that when I do my best it is for the betterment of my co workers, not just to better myself. Maybe I will get the axe someday for making too much $, but I would look at it as their loss and move on. I have worked straight commission in other careers. I have been a business owner. I have worked in my "true" profession for decades. However, working at jcp continues to meet my personal needs in a way that the others did not. I will stay and do my job as long as they will keep me. I am sorry for all of those who have had to fall already along the way. I saw that happen in banking a long time ago when they did the same thing - dropping long time loyal employees as the changes went through. It's tough. However, it is the way things are in our society right now. Loyalty to any company just is not a factor in keeping employees on board in this time and place in the USA.
JCPFan

AOL

#82 Oct 2, 2012
It's nice to see another "JC Penney Fan" on these forums, using a similar name. Although, I have been a loyal customer over the past several years, it is nice to hear the perspective from a local store employee. I have posted many times in support of JCP and hope to see the chain do well. JCP, over the years, has done a tremendous job in making shopping easy, enjoyable, and fun. Color-coding much of the merchandise made it easy to mix and match, i.e. separates, shoes, dresses, accessories, etc. You can't beat JCP Brands when it comes to style, quality, value, and price. We do miss the coupons and discounts, though. I, too, find myself "straightening up" clothes at the store, picking items off of the floor, or placing where it belongs - even the customers take pride in our favorite department store.
god bless

Mount Vernon, OH

#84 Oct 8, 2012
laid-off wrote:
<quoted text>I feel exactly the same way very down and depressed. but there has to be life after jcp.it just may take a while for us to get over this. god bless!
GOD BLESS YOU when one door closes GOD will open another. What we do in this life, we must answer for sometime!
God BLess

Mount Vernon, OH

#85 Oct 8, 2012
The former associates are far better off that they are no loger working there. When one door closes God will open a window. WeEverone will answer for everything they do in their lifetime. Pray for R.J. he really needs it! GOD BLESS EVERYONE
Ann

Muskego, WI

#86 Oct 8, 2012
Time to say good-bye to JCP. Their prices ARE NOT fair and square as they say. I will go elsewhere from now on.
Observer

Los Angeles, CA

#87 Oct 18, 2012
Looks like Mr CEO laid off the wrong people! Maybe there's something to be gained from experience and maturity that Johnson thinks he can get from lower paid, younger, and newer management. He may have saved salary and benefits costs but the people that originally built up the company had the skills to make his transformation succeed; they'd already succeeded against greater obstacles than Ron. Instead he chose to retain young, inexperienced, untested managers. Ron, you goofed. You got what you paid for. Maybe you should call up those laid off and beg them to come back.
Frustrated

Concord, NH

#88 Dec 10, 2012
I have never been so disillusioned with any company before. All the talk about Customer Service is just that talk. Disgruntled employees who never know if they will hae a job from one dayto the next. Obviously Customer Service does not extend to Internal Customer Service....One cannot perform or give good Customer Service to external cusomers when the internal customer service is nonexistent. JCP should be branded to the Titanic. Fair and Square does not exist for the employee.
Soon to be laid off

Stamford, CT

#89 Dec 17, 2012
GeorgeMason wrote:
<quoted text>
Funny how you overlooked the stupidity of the JCP clerk to attack someone for lack of time management skills. You must be a loyal JCP employee or Ron Johnson lover.
I have been a J C Penney employee since 2004. Up until May, I was in a commissioned position. Let me tell all of you who have no idea (and only give credit to those whose comments recognize the specialty of the catalog department and lament the fact that there is no longer a catalog desk disservices the public) what it has been like. Name-calling is unnecessary. You simply received the wrong salesperson and you even noted it in your comment when you said that person was sloppily dressed. You should have stopped yourself and questioned in that moment if you should find another associate to help you handle your business. I would have. Let's get to that associate. Maybe that person had no idea how to handle a catalog transaction because they were not trained on those specific procedures that are keen to that position. Now, as I said I was never a catalog associate. I was ONLY trained in the window coverings department, but when Ron Johnson removed the catalog department and made them mobile throughout the store, he put the entire staff of the store in a bad position. Not only was my position devalued, I have to perform the job duties of 2 positions without getting paid for the 2nd. That is a problem to me--especially in a department where my job is terribly understaffed because of being taken off commission and switched to an hourly rate resulting in loss of hours and not only weekly pay but annual as well. Luckily, I had an idea of how to perform a catalog pick up and a return before all of this happened; however, there are moments where even I have to call a specialist from the catalog (or Findmore as they now call it) to help me assist the customer. Also, they are the only ones that call you to tell you that your order has come into the store and if they had to send an item you ordered back to the warehouse because you failed to pick it up in ten days time they are the only ones who have access to the paperwork that has your return receipt in it (from when they credited your account). But the new associates don't have that training. Catalog specialists understand that specific database better than associates in any other part of the store because they are the people always in it day in and day out on the job. So before you go and start calling people morons, you should understand that. You can blame yourself as well. Also, let me point out that you had said you were turned off from all the changes before you made your "last purchase [a catalog purchase] from JCP." So why did you go back? And to be clear, you are not the only person in the history of JCP to feel this way, especially recently. It is your fault. Essentially, you chose that salesperson when it was clear from jump that you should have moved on to avoid any mishaps. Also, you should have left yourself more time to handle your business. Don't blame the associate for not being trained on catalog procedures. Blame the management who should have properly trained the associates on catalog. By the way, only the manager that has moved up in the company from a catalog associate position or a manager that managed the catalog desk when it existed understands how the catalog functions work. Also, there are things that can only be handled by catalog specialists in remote areas like Wisconsin and Ohio where JCP catalog call centers are. So, understand that and accept responsibility for your own actions as well as failure on the part of Ron Johnson in removing the catalog desk because without it, things like this occur all too often now.
Soon to be laid off

Stamford, CT

#90 Dec 17, 2012
JCP Fan wrote:
<quoted text>
I too have been an associate there for about the same length of time. My hours have actually have tripled recently once I increased my availability. I have embraced the changes so far and am excited about the total picture when all this happens. I find that most of the long term associate, even the good ones, have not had that same positive attitude. Change is difficult and I have found that the majority of my coworkers have been anxious and look at the changes as a negative. Many left on their own accord and many that were forced to leave, well there was often a legit reason. The company has struggled in recent years and a definite change was in order. A lot of the criticisms being made like going more high tech is being incorporated by other retail companies, Yet, only JCP gets hate comments on all the web sites. I look atJCP as a leader in changes that HAVE to be made to be survivors in the biz These guys did their homework on what worked and what didn't. They made a few mistakes along the way, but they are listening to constructive comments from consumers and associates. I am willing to hang in there for the long haul as have faith in the direction the company is going.
For a lot of employees, they feel that way. Those that say morale is in the dumpster aren't lying. They are telling the truth about how these changes have affected them. Yes, for the lucky few, hours have increased. I know mine have to where they used to be pre-Ron Johnson. That's only because all of the changes have forced cuts in hours and two of my former coworkers to move on from either JCP or change JCP locations where they can once again be valued. My department had the hours because it and we as the commissioned, specially trained associates handled the customers like they were something to be respected and we were rewarded accordingly for it. Customers aren't buying it and if the past few weeks haven't proved it, they had been starving for the coupons they got and the sales the store had from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. I mean. Come on. Now, I dread going to work because of loss of pay. My job is not interesting anymore. I go to work because it's a paycheck, because despite having searched and searched since May, I could not find another job (even though I am only 32 and have a bachelors degree) because there are none (even in NY) and I'm getting paid less. Now, we have to deal with telling customers no they can't get curtains or blinds in time for the holiday. This after spending 45 minutes to an hour helping them select curtains for their house. They have to wait another month or 2 to get them because its on backorder as far into the future as February 26, 2013. That is unacceptable. Customers are receiving catalogs with CLEARANCE merchandise that is no longer in stock in the warehouse nor the store because there is no backstock anymore. We have gotten the brunt of the frustration that Ron Johnson should be getting. I no longer get paid to deal with the nonsense I do on a daily basis. The only discount customers can get is opening up a new account and thats 20% EXCEPT for fine jewelry, watches and the home department. What the hell is that?? And when you tell them it's only 10% for those exceptions, we get a no thanks. That's what goes on in my dept. And the hours are tied to how many instant JCP applications you get. Imagine how unbalanced it can get. RJ might have been a genius as Apple, but he's a twink at JCP. He knows ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT WHAT IT IS TO BE A SALES ASSOCIATE. He's got James Cash Penney and his former boss, Steve Jobs rolling over in their graves @ how he's running his company into the ground. Top talent is running away from JCP. Soon, it will be in the ground because of ignorant salespeople they have replaced all the good employees with. You know, what goes around comes around and I hope he gets his 4 times over for ruining as many lives.
JCP Fan

Westfield, IN

#91 Dec 17, 2012
Why do you feel that you will soon be laid off? It sounds more like you are actively seeking a new job at a different company.

I worked in custom decorating in the same jcp that I work at now for nine months in the mid 1970's. Even then a very long waiting period was common for people to receive their draperies. Our store used to make the draperies in our own workroom in the store back then. I remember when they consolidated and had all the district stores have the draperies made at a place an hour away. That is when the customer service plummetted. I was the one who had to deal with all the irate customers when the fabric was backordered, which was common or discontinued. What is happening now with things like draperies not arriving fast enough is not anything new. Of course, it sounds like you are working in the ready made part so maybe that was a different story.

I am assuming that those catalogs went to press long before they realized the stock would be gone. Why else would those be advertised? I know when I worked in a retail store, we had to ok an ad long before it actually came out.

It must be your department that is struggling with customers lamenting the lack of discounts being offered. My department used to be commission but they dropped that before RJ became CEO. I think draperies, shoes and fine jewelry were the only ones left on commission when he became CEO. In our area, I often have customers ask me if something they are considering is "on sale". I don't say no, I just read the price on the tag and more often then not, the customer says, "oh, that's not bad" and purchases the item/s.

Our store has been hiring many new associates, but they needed more for the holidays and to be considered for future employment there. I started as holiday help and they asked me to stay 16 years ago. I can tell already which one will be asked to stay in our neighborhood. He will be a fantastic addition to the store. I can't believe, well, I can, some of the lack of work ethic of some of the younger team members. However, there are also some excellent new ones who are doing extremely well in the weeks they have been there. Our trainer is doing a great job training new team members. The store will need new folks when they weed out the last of the long time employees who really are struggling with the new approach. There are many of us who are not struggling and are supportive of the changes.

On another forum there has been frequent dialogue from another team member at another jcp. Her comments reflect yours. There seems to be a very distinct difference between the attitudes and store leadership between her store and the one I work at. A world of difference actually.

I am sorry that you feel like your job is in jeopardy. I hope you can find a placement in a company that you feel better about being a part of. Good luck!
yeah

Sacramento, CA

#92 Dec 28, 2012
The changes at Penney's are a waste of time money and effort! Now with coming uniforms I guess we are being put back into the box. We could avoid store closings and get back on track if we got rid of both Johnson and Ackman, both of whom have no retail experience and driving this company with their constant changes into radio shack investment prices! The people at the top OBVIOUSLY have idea what the hell they are doing or what direction they want to go in! Every store that I know of the moral is down, there is no product so there is no sales gain. There is no product so there are NO HAPPY CUSTOMERS! JC Penney's is now currently known as the worst online retailer around! If you want to turn things around get some actual merchandise in the god damn stores and do sales and stop changing your policies every SINGLE DAY! Johnson may have had a good idea but the execution was wrong and the timing of leaving the stores empty at christmas was just plain stupid!
JCP Fan

Westfield, IN

#93 Dec 28, 2012
Yeah, your comments are very timely for me. On my break tonight, I found the several pages of the lists of comments customers have been making on their customer service at our particular store this past month. To be honest, I was really taken aback by the positive and very complimentary comments made by almost every one of the customers who took the time to comment. What I was reading was totally opposite from what you just wrote.(and what I read elsewhere on different sites) They liked the selections, they especially made note of the very good service they got and even liked the new open look of the store. I think I read one really negative one and it was on the buttom promotion and that one was really offbase in reasoning. However, rather then reading post after post of horrible comments, it was exactly the opposite. I know our team members are good, really good, in several of our departments and I give the store manager and many of the mods credit for the leadership. Maybe in these other stores where morale is so low, people need to find other types of employment. It just isn't in every store in the jcp company that is having the nasty reports and attacks. The way we look at it. It's our job and if that is what they are asking of us, we do it. I have been working there enough years to have lived through all sorts of major changes. This time is the best change yet when it comes to getting rid of all that wasteful activity for employees. When I look back at all the busy work we used to have to do, it certainly makes one wonder why some companies still insist on the employees doing that busy work. Huh, about leaving the stores empty at Christmas? I think it is awesome that we are not clearancing hundreds of sweaters we didn't sell before the holidays at those cut rate prices with coupons like last year.
bob haller

Pittsburgh, PA

#94 Dec 29, 2012
JCP fan, store management likely removed most of the negative comments to avoid demorlizing workers futher.

In addition theres the real possiblity penneys, the entire company will get liquidated so ackman and friends can make a quick buck from real estate, fixtures, and remaining inventory. heck they might try selling off the 700 or so smaller stores to another operator. That would likely be a good thing for the remaining workers.
GeorgeMason

Escondido, CA

#95 Dec 29, 2012
LOL! Obviously JCP fan doesn't read the facebook comments, they are about 99% negative.
Ex-jcpPlanoHQass ociate

Saint Peters, MO

#96 Dec 29, 2012
While I absolutely despise moRon Johnson and think he's the biggest idiot ever (regardless of his genius at Target OVER A DECADE AGO and how he was not a leader but really a task doer for Steve Jobs at Apple). I can tell you that the feedback comments that they get in the stores via the Customer Satisfaction Survey are managed by a third party service who score the quantitative and qualitative data. At Bob Haller: Get a life. You appear to spend all day, everyday trolling this board. You're mad about gay people in the catalog: deal with it. They are people too. And even under moRon Johnson's predecessor, Myron "Mike" Ullman JCPenney had many buyers, designers, and product development associates who are gay and lesbian. These very people designed and selected products that you likely bought. Get over it.
bob haller

Pittsburgh, PA

#97 Dec 29, 2012
I honestly DONT CARE if anyone is gay, what anyone does in the privacy of their bedroom is only their business! But companies shouldnt push any agenda, like RJ did with the gay couples on catalots...

What really bugs me is gutting of customer service, and the 3rd highest paid CEO in the country destroying a company while the board of directors stand by useless...
bob haller

Pittsburgh, PA

#98 Dec 29, 2012
I spend time here because I once worked for a company that had a falling down drunk as president, and the board of directors didnt do anything. eventually we all lost our jobs, the president got paid for a couple years after we all were out of work, till he died of cirosis of the liver.....
JCP Fan

Westfield, IN

#99 Dec 29, 2012
GeorgeMason wrote:
LOL! Obviously JCP fan doesn't read the facebook comments, they are about 99% negative.
GeorgeM: I did read the FB site recently. That was why I was surprised to read all the positive comments on the local store. They never took out the negative comments out before over the last couple years they have gotten on line comments from the customer service survey. I have also read where other stores are doing great when it comes to the customer service quality on the FB site, so I know this store is not the lone store in the company. I knew I was hearing a lot more positive comments from customers at our store, but I was happy to see that many are putting it in writing. That FB site looks like a dumping ground for all the people who have had bad experiences at jcp. It just shows that there are too many stores whose employees still don't "get it" when it comes to very good customer service. I would guess that if any individual stores get closed, I know which ones would be getting the axe first.(or new management who knows how to inspire employees) I did get a kick at how many people seem to complain over and over again. Why keep going back if they were treated so shabbily? If I had been treated the way some are saying, there is no way I would keep going back like they are over months time. Some people who are complaining about the changes haven't even been in a jcp store in several months yet they feel they know all there is about the company. Sorry, guys, I have said it before. I know that not everyone is unhappy with the changes. It depends on the individual store, the attitude and work ethic of the employees and the leadership at that store.
bob haller

Pittsburgh, PA

#100 Dec 29, 2012
JCP Fan wrote:
<quoted text>
GeorgeM: I did read the FB site recently. That was why I was surprised to read all the positive comments on the local store. They never took out the negative comments out before over the last couple years they have gotten on line comments from the customer service survey. I have also read where other stores are doing great when it comes to the customer service quality on the FB site, so I know this store is not the lone store in the company. I knew I was hearing a lot more positive comments from customers at our store, but I was happy to see that many are putting it in writing. That FB site looks like a dumping ground for all the people who have had bad experiences at jcp. It just shows that there are too many stores whose employees still don't "get it" when it comes to very good customer service. I would guess that if any individual stores get closed, I know which ones would be getting the axe first.(or new management who knows how to inspire employees) I did get a kick at how many people seem to complain over and over again. Why keep going back if they were treated so shabbily? If I had been treated the way some are saying, there is no way I would keep going back like they are over months time. Some people who are complaining about the changes haven't even been in a jcp store in several months yet they feel they know all there is about the company. Sorry, guys, I have said it before. I know that not everyone is unhappy with the changes. It depends on the individual store, the attitude and work ethic of the employees and the leadership at that store.
Potential customers who walk out without buying anything due to lack of color, size, merchandise they like, or irritated with lack of knowledgable helpful customer service, or even unable or unwilling to find someone to check out, plus catalog shoppers who find everything sold out are not counted in surveys. no purchase no survey, plus on average only 10% of unhappy people complain, most just never shop there again.......
JCP Fan

Westfield, IN

#101 Dec 30, 2012
Bob, I don't disagree with the problem with the jcp.com orders although I personally had no problems whatsoever with my own orders this holiday season. I have been aware of the itmes not being available and I can't explain those. I am not in the loop.

What I am saying and what our surveys are saying, many customers are beginning to say in writing that they ARE getting that elusive customer service that many on FB are saying does not exist. I am sure there must have been some less then perfect experiences with some of the new holiday help but those have not shown up yet. What you are saying is the opposite of what George is saying - that most people don't complain. He says 99% of the customers are unhappy. So which is it? Do the complainers not complain in public, or do they want their complaints known?

You also have to remember that the surveys I was reading were coming in at our particular store, not those from around the country. I used to read our surveys all the time, and there were often several negative posts made. Our manager reads these (and the survey respondent can write down the team members name and number right off the receipt) and you better believe that there has been a continuous effort to improve customer service in a BIG WAY. That has been the number one emphasis for a long time, and I think we are seeing the results of our efforts. We might not have that selection of color, size, etc you are talking about, but the difference is, we make the effort to FIND something else that might work to give the customer options. For example, yesterday some guy was bringing in his two mock turtleneck shirts he got as gifts that he didn't care for. He said what it was he really would have liked style wise. I lead him directly to another brand and he liked them so much he exchanged his two clearanced $8 shirts for three $20 shirts that he didn't even know were in the store. In the stores that you describe, either the customer would just have returned and left empty handed or left angry that he or she couldn't find anyone to help him or her. It doesn't have to be that way at jcp stores and it definitely shouldn't be. we have a lot of personal connections with most of our customers in that short time we are with them. It makes our job fun and interesting and it definitely makes the experience enjoyable for the customer. Even if we don't have that particular item they want, they can still leave knowing we did our best to serve them to the best of our ability.(most of us. everyone has their own way of interacting)

What are your constructive suggestions for improving your own local store? I am sure there are a lot of wonderful people in your area who are friendly, courteous, helpful and willing to become knowledgeable about the merchandise. What can your particular store do to make the transition to a fun store to shop in? That store has the same merchandise selection that ours does so the problems can't be totally blamed on that. I will have to exclude the on line problem because I agree that is one thing I can't do much about because most of those problems are out of the store.

I just think that readers on these boards, especially those trying to make financial decisions for investments, should consider the fact that although the boards seem to be shouting out all bad news about the stores, there are other stores out there who do not fit the description written about doing everything wrong. I have no idea how many are out there, but many people do no proclaim their satisfaction on public media as much as people love to shout about any bad stuff that might have happened. That is why I was so surprised to read so many positive comments from customers, because if I had only been reading the media boards, I would have thought I was imagining the positive changes I have been observing at our store.

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