stacked shipping boxes in a department store (l) dollar general logo (c) even more stacked shipping boxes in a department store (r)

@chasnmydreamz/Tiktok

‘The CEO’s salary is $16 million’: Crowded Dollar General—with one employee—sparks debate

'He was helping someone and had the line backed up at the register.'

 

Braden Bjella

IRL

Posted on May 18, 2022   Updated on May 18, 2022, 2:20 pm CDT

A TikTok couponer has gone viral after posting a video showing a messy Dollar General store, which she attributes to the store only having a single worker. 

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The video was posted under the hashtag #PutInATicket, a movement started by former Dollar General employee Mary Gundel, per the New York Times. Gundel began the campaign in response to the many issues she faced while managing a store, creating the hashtag as an ironic ode to the advice higher-ups would give her when she complained: just “put in a ticket.”

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In this new video posted by @chasnmydreamz, the TikToker shows an unorganized Dollar General location. She says that within 30 minutes of her home there are over 30 additional dollar stores. According to her, “they all look like this.”

@chasnmydreamz’s video currently has over 141,000 views.

@chasnmydreamz #putinaticket #dollargeneral #messy #support #LIKEABOMBSHELL #strike ♬ original sound – user545595619953
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“This particular location where I was in today only had one worker,” she explains in the video. “He was helping someone and had the line backed up at the register because he was helping someone find something in this store.”

Understaffing is a common complaint for both Dollar General employees and customers.

Last month, a Dollar General location went viral after a user on TikTok remarked upon the disarray in the aisles, which commenters attributed to the store’s notorious staffing issues. 

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A similar issue was observed in another viral video posted in March showing stock overwhelming shelves and floor space.

Staffing issues was one of the reasons Gundel started the #PutInATicket movement. 

Per the New York Times, hours were cut across the staff at Gundel’s store. Because of this, “Gundel often had to operate the store on her own for long stretches, typically working six days and up to 60 hours a week with no overtime pay.”

The result of this understaffing, commenters theorize, is that stores become overloaded with merchandise and do not have the staff to unload it. Consequently, stores become packed, and aisles are frequently blocked with unsold goods.

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@chasnmydreamz recently posted another video showing this in practice.

In the video, @chasnmydreamz shares how it is impossible to navigate the aisles given the amount of unsold goods. 

“I can’t get down any of the aisles without going all the way to the front,” she says.

As many commenters noted, seeing understaffing issues is strange given the CEO’s salary.

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“The ceo salary is 16M. The employee[s] are still paid $7.25,” stated a user.

The U.S. federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. According to the website PayScale, Dollar General cashiers and sales associates can expect to earn anywhere from $7 to $12 per hour, with the national average being $9 per hour for both positions. For context, a report from MIT calculates that an American living wage is $16.54 per hour as of 2020.

In contrast, Dollar General CEO Todd J. Vasos makes just under $16.5 million dollars annually, nearly a thousand times more than the average employee at his company. In 2020, he also sold almost 200,000 stock options, giving him an additional $20 million. 

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In an interview with the Wall Street Journal in 2017, Vasos stated that his business thrives during times of economic downturn.

“The economy is continuing to create more of our core customer,” he told the Wall Street Journal while detailing plans to build stores in places that, as WSJ puts it, “have otherwise shown few signs of the U.S. economic recovery.” WSJ also notes that “Dollar General’s target shoppers come from households earning $40,000 or less.”

Vasos isn’t the only high earner at Dollar General. COO Jeffery C. Owen makes over $5.5 million annually; Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer John W. Garratt makes over $4 million, while Rhonda M. Taylor, Executive Vice President & General Counsel, brings in just over $3.5 million annually.

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In 2020, the Government Accountability Office discovered that a significant number of Dollar General employees required federal assistance to make ends meet, with the company frequently ranking alongside businesses like McDonald’s and Walmart as having the most employees on federal assistance.

These facts upset commenters on TikTok.

As one user shared, “Eventually the company will collapse. That is not a sustainable business model.”

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We’ve reached out to @chasnmydreamz via TikTok comment and Dollar General via email.

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*First Published: May 18, 2022, 9:13 am CDT