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Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock @spicyspamburrito/TikTok (Licensed)

‘Ma’am, I don’t even have health insurance’: Former Ulta manager says district managers’ requests are ‘delusional’

'If you’re a district manager, I hate you.'


Eric Webb


Posted on Sep 16, 2023

If you’ve worked retail before, you know that a visit from the district manager is not taken lightly. A viral TikTok video discusses how maddening those experiences can be.

Creator Amber (@spicyspamburrito) recently posted the video, recounting their time previously working at an Ulta Beauty location. It’s a stitch of a video by creator @dalecsander, who says about their time at Starbucks: “If you’re a district manager, I hate you.”

Amber’s video has almost 503,000 views and 86,000 likes.

@spicyspamburrito #stitch with @DAleCsander like its CRAZY #ulta #ultabeauty ♬ original sound – amber 😼

“It is so comforting to know that district managers across all bases, be it food service, be it retail, are f*cking delusional,” Amber says to the camera. “Because this is a group of people that’s been distant from actual customer service for so long, working a salary job where they don’t actually do anything. Their mind has crumbled.”

Amber describes their time working at Ulta. They were a manager (really a “glorified keyholder,” they explain) and would get to the store at 6pm six days a week to be the closing manager on duty.

District managers would do surprise visits on random weeknights, Amber says. They would walk through the store and “ask me why it looked the way it did, would point to a f*cking gondola of Urban Decay makeup and be like, ‘Why does it look like this? It should be so much cleaner than this. You should take pride in your work. You should be proud of every item on the floor,’” the creator recalls.

“Ma’am, I don’t even have health insurance,” Amber says in the video about such demands.

The comments section was a group therapy session for folks who have had similar interactions at work.

“I had a district manager ask my coworkers if i was faking illness meanwhile i was being emergently operated on with appendicitis,” one person commented. Amber made a new TikTok in response, recounting the time they called in sick for abdominal pain and their general manager told them it was probably a bug and to come in—but it turned out to be a medical emergency involving a hospital stay.

Another commenter wrote: “District manager: ‘Why are we low on product?’ Me: ‘Because people bought it?’”

“No because SOME district managers claim they started off as a regular employee like if that’s the case YOU SHOULD KNOW HOW IT IS?!?” a viewer chimed in.

A comment read, “They never know what they’re ACTUALLY asking us to do. because it’s always unreasonable/too much.”

Another person commented, “We had a surprise visit on DECEMBER 23rd then got reprimanded about how messy and wild the store was.”

In an interview with the Daily Dot via TikTok direct message, Amber said they were surprised at the viral response to the video and that it’s the most positive response they’ve ever received.

“I’ve had several videos pop off like this in the past, and usually you get a mix of people positively interacting and then those people who want to troll and insult you for no reason, but out of the [hundreds] of comments on that video I only recall one single negative comment disagreeing with me, which is so unheard of,” they said.

Amber added that most commenters seemed to be people with experience working in retail, food and customer service industries, “agreeing on what is a universal experience.”

“Working on your feet all day, with berating customers, little pay and usually no benefits is already a struggle but being ambushed by a District Manager and berated by them in addition to everything else is a jarring experience,” they said.

Amber added that several comments from viewers supported the idea that district managers, who are supposed to be experts in their companies, are often “clueless about operations in actual stores and often does more harm than good for the flow of work and production of the staff when they’re there.”

They think that’s why the video resonated so much with viewers: “Being antagonized by somebody who doesn’t even understand the job yet fancies themselves as a better and a harder worker than you is a lot to deal with,” Amber said.

The Daily Dot reached out to Ulta Beauty via email.

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*First Published: Sep 16, 2023, 7:59 pm CDT