empty mall caption 'Welcome to the deadest mall in America' (l) woman speaking hand out (c) mall sign caption 'Due to being short staffed we will be closing today at 4:30pm and reopening tomorrow at 12pm. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.' 'Where stores can't stay open because they have no one to work!' (r)

@jessiemaymarie/TikTok @whatsnextkicks/TikTok

‘I am waiting for the decline of retail’: TikToker calls out retail stores’ treatment of employees

'Retail employees need to walk out in masses!'


Braden Bjella


Posted on Aug 20, 2022   Updated on Aug 20, 2022, 10:34 am CDT

A user on TikTok has gone viral after calling out the poor working conditions of many retail stores.

In a video with over 78,000 views, user Jessie May (@jessiemaymarie) stitches with a video of a desolate mall to document the many issues with retail work today.

“I am waiting for the decline of retail,” she says at the beginning of the video.

@jessiemaymarie #stitch with @WhatsNextKicks If they were giving hours and better pay folks would work. Just saying. #fyp #fypシ #viral #retail #thegreatresignation #livablewage ♬ original sound – JessieMay

As the video progresses, Jessie May lays out the details of how and why retail needs to change.

“They only offer you part-time positions, they don’t go by your actual schedule, the pay is terrible,” she says. “They only give you 10 to 15 hours, and you’re always on call just in case someone wants to call off.”

Furthermore, she says that when employees are actually working, their work is frequently too much to handle for the allotted time.

“They give you four hours to do all these tasks, and then get mad at you if you couldn’t complete these tasks,” she claims. “It’s like they want to exploit people, and because of the fact that a lot of us have caught on their game [during] the pandemic, now they are begging people to work. But they’re still not giving what we are deserved.”

“I don’t care what you say. Retail, fast food—everybody deserves better pay, no matter what,” she concludes.

In 2020, CNN Business writer Nathaniel Meyersohn documented the phenomenon of  “involuntary part-time workers,” a designation created by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The article defines “involuntary part-time workers” as “workers who wanted to work full-time but couldn’t either because their hours were cut back or they could not find a full-time job.”

At the article’s time of writing, there were “more than 700,000 retail workers who were classified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as ‘involuntary part-time workers.’”

This can have consequences outside of lower pay, Meyersohn says.

“In addition to fewer hours, the difference between part-time and full-time employment status at some retailers can also mean qualifying for health care; access to more paid time off days, parental and sick leave; and steadier schedules,” Meyersohn writes.

The article goes on to cite examples from different companies that hire part-time workers. Walmart, for example, says that “40% of employees work part-time.” This is despite the fact that “around 69% of part-time Walmart workers said they would prefer to work full-time, according to employees surveyed in 2018 by worker advocacy groups the Center for Popular Democracy and United for Respect.”

As far as pay is concerned, the median hourly wage for a retail worker in the United States is now $14.03 per hour, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This falls well below the median hourly wage across the United States, which hit $19.33 in 2019, per the Economic Policy Institute.

On TikTok, commenters supported Jessie May’s message.

“Retail employees need to walk out in masses! I’ll never do retail again!” one user wrote.

“I called the mall to see if they were hiring and the pay was single digit,” a second claimed.

“We stayed opened and told us that we were ‘ESSENTIAL,’” a third recalled.

The Daily Dot reached out to Jessie May via Instagram DM.

Today’s top stories

‘Fill her up’: Bartender gives woman a glass of water when the man she’s with orders tequila shot
‘I don’t think my store has even sold one’: Whataburger employees take picture with first customer who bought a burger box
‘It was a template used by anyone in the company’: Travel agent’s ‘condescending’ out-of-office email reply sparks debate
Sign up to receive the Daily Dot’s Internet Insider newsletter for urgent news from the frontline of online.
Share this article
*First Published: Aug 20, 2022, 10:33 am CDT