American Greetings

Has anyone worked for AG? Looking for any pros or cons and what to look out for or tricks of the trade for this field! Whatever you are comfortable sharing, please. I don't expect anyone to tell me anything that they are not comfortable with! Thanks. I could not find any previous threads on the merch opportunity!

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I have been working for AG as a merchandiser for about 6.5 years now and love them. CONS: The work is physically hard, lifting many boxes of heavy cards some days; not enough hours at times and too many hours at other times; working the week/day before a "card holiday" and the week/day after holiday also...occasionally we also get calls in large stores on holidays like Valentines and Mom's Day; not all TSM (our bosses title) are good but mine is great now; no real opportunity for advancement. PRO: Most of the time you can make your own schedule, except having to work every day when changing holiday cards; great second or retirement job; most of the store managers are good and glad you are there so they don't have to do the cards; we are getting tablets to use instead of antiquated scanners. I'm in the south Alabama area. Message me if you have any questions; I'll be glad to answer if I can.
I never worked for them, but am on their list. The pay is very low and the heavy lifting- I am not a fan. Merchandising is very low paying per hour, but if you have free time its extra money.
I negotiated decent pay and hours that work for me. I have a lot of experience in sales and marketing, along with all levels of merchandising except actually doing it. If you would not mind me asking, what pay were you offered in your area? You can PM me to keep it private. I am just curious what average starting pay is being offered.

There is not really a lot of lifting. Just moving boxes on to a cart from a pallet. You don't have to carry it but about a foot actually. The majority of the boxes are reasonable. Displays are very light. So it balances out.

The hours are really flexible and the work is not hard. It does take creativity to set up displays and fill cards to work in product as product sells out. There is a portion of your time that is spent doing very light work such as organizing the displays or putting away cards that isn't worth a lot of money and doesn't cause you to do much hard work. You just need focus and use your brain power more than anything, I have found so far.

You can always take on more work by substituting at other locations. The people are super supportive and nice at all levels of management that I have worked with so far. I prefer it to mystery shopping at this point because I have total control over my work hours and for the most part days. Now I have not done a Christmas season yet and I hear that it gets very demanding then. I can still take on my regular shops each month that were always my base. But no more chasing payments or tracking multiple pay dates. I am an employee and get a check direct deposited on a schedule. Taxes are paid as you go.

I guess it has its pros and cons. Every person has their own preferences and needs. If you are on their list (IDK what that means) maybe give them a try. I got tired of bouncing pay dates and had started chasing payments! I needed a change. Been shopping since 2003.

But PLEASE tell me more. Anyone. I am only a few months in to this.
I was offered a job with them in FL. It was for 22-26 hrs a week & I had to split those hours with someone else, that they hadn't hired yet. Plus, I'd have to arrange my schedule with the other person. Nope they didn't want 1 person to get the 22-26 hrs. Pay was 8.25 hr but they could add for experience @ .25 a yr and only up to 3 yrs. You had to wait until after being hired to find out if they would approve the extra pay.
It is not like that in my territory. I have a great manager and support from AG is always available. We just got tablets which will make some in-store work easier! I've been with them for 6 years. I started with just 6 smaller stores and now have 14 stores, including a Target.
So, Leslie, what is the pay they offered you? They never offer over $10, but info-for-info would be fair.
@spicy1 wrote:

So, Leslie, what is the pay they offered you? They never offer over $10, but info-for-info would be fair.

never say never...but I'm under contract not to disclose my wages. winking smiley
@spicy1 wrote:

Just so you know, that is against federal law.

no non-disclosures are common in my field.
A company cannot, by federal law, require that you not discuss your salary. However, they can require you not to work for their competitors, now and for a period of time after your termination. I am a merchandiser also, working for Acosta currently so I know about retail non-disclosures. I can't imagine AG field merchandisers, or even their supervisors or even THEIR supervisors being subject to any kind of non-disclosure agreements that have any meaning. Are you a designer for the cards or a high-level manager? Even so, they cannot require you not to discuss your salary!
Here's a story by NPR.
[www.npr.org]

I just don't want anyone that reads this, especially greeting card merchandisers because they are on the lowest pay scale in this industry, to think that they cannot discuss with anyone they want what their salary or hourly wage is. That is the very reason that the greeting card industry can get away with that kind of pay in the first place!
And if you've made some kind of special deal, you should tell others, your fellow workers, what it is and how you did it! Instead, you choose to ask someone what their pay is, they tell you and you don't reciprocate so you're obviously using that information to make yourself feel good about whatever deal it is you got and let the other poor suckers continue getting the same crappy scale.........oh well, just as long as you feel good about it.
@spicy1 wrote:

Here's a story by NPR.
[www.npr.org]

I just don't want anyone that reads this, especially greeting card merchandisers because they are on the lowest pay scale in this industry, to think that they cannot discuss with anyone they want what their salary or hourly wage is. That is the very reason that the greeting card industry can get away with that kind of pay in the first place!

"Obama also signed an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees who talk about their salaries or other compensation information." This does not apply to all employers only governmental suppliers right now. Non-disclosure agreements are a common part of an employment contract. For which can be at any level in the organization, not just a designer or executive management level.

The point here is that I AGREED to the non-disclosure so my plan was to keep it. I've already shared more than I was comfortable with on other posts this morning. So I am done talking about anyones pay.
@spicy1 wrote:

A company cannot, by federal law, require that you not discuss your salary. However, they can require you not to work for their competitors, now and for a period of time after your termination. I am a merchandiser also, working for Acosta currently so I know about retail non-disclosures. I can't imagine AG field merchandisers, or even their supervisors or even THEIR supervisors being subject to any kind of non-disclosure agreements that have any meaning. Are you a designer for the cards or a high-level manager? Even so, they cannot require you not to discuss your salary!

Actually, you can dispute and win to have non-compete contracts set aside, if you can prove that is how you make your money to support yourself. A company cannot prevent you from your livelihood. I personally know people that have fought this and won. I even did this when I was in the computer networking business for 5 years. I went to 2 different competitors, one even sold the same brand. I had a non-compete contract for 2 years after working there but they didn't hold me to it as I was prepared to go to the labor board. I never shared any specific information with my new employers.

Just an FYI.
@dakoto70 wrote:

I don't think any one needs to know what any one else makes.

Well, I had asked just a general question about what is the starting wages out there for this type of work. Which turned into me being lectured how I was ruining the merchandising world by not telling people my wages and how I achieved them. It was pretty unnecessary in my opinion. I agree with you. It's hard to share without coming across that you are bragging or ragging on what someone else makes. When I NEVER intended anything like that. And the people that answered don't even work for a card merchandiser they were just speaking on what they had come across. Long story short I was accused of lying about my wages and have been jabbed on multiple feeds. I tried to explain myself but I am sure that will be met with disdain. I just think it is no one's business what other people make unless you work for a company where wages are negotiated based on seniority. That is not true in the MSC or merchandising world. Everything is fluid in these industries!
It seems there are some very basic misunderstandings of merchandising and mystery shopping. Of course wages are based on seniority as well as experience, but more importantly your negotiating skills and what we are willing to forego. You are on the side of the business where $11.50 is a good wage, I didn't know that, and I'm sorry, both for my not knowing and for the circumstances. Having tried to help by explaining that the company you are working for keeps their employees on the bottom of the rung in this industry has done nothing but make you upset; not with what you have accepted but with someone who is trying to help you. I worked for American Greetings and for Hallmark, back when I was 16 years old, as well as the seed companies. Those companies do not pay a living wage for an adult. I would think with all of the background you say you have, in Sales and Marketing especially, but also Computer Networking, I wouldn't think that you would think that $11 is good money. Anyone can see the ads that the greeting card industry has on indeed and those ads are for minimum wage, no phone or internet allowance and 1/2 the costs - first/last store for mileage.

And, you asked what people are making and you are saying that you don't want to disclose what you are making and that's not fair and is the problem with this thread and with people in merchandising who never get anywhere. But what you are saying is that you are sure that you negotiated a great wage, well above your co'ish-workers in this industry, and on this thread and you want to not tell them anything about that but you want them to tell you all about their experience.

And a non-compete agreement doesn't have anything to do with discussing wages, btw, fyi
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