I gained experience, but it wasn't necessarily good.
Pros: it taught me to dive in and be the best despite circumstances
Cons: poor training, few opportunities to advance, little to no raises in money, no real implementation of authority by management
I'm not sure that I would condemn anyone working for Albertson's, but I certainly wouldn't praise someone for picking this company as a career choice. From the moment I began working until the moment I was laid off four years later, I was told on a daily basis to not get comfortable because the store would be closing soon.
My first night on the job I was brought into the department and told where the lights were for the cold bar (that's what we called the area behind glass where we kept our salads), I was shown where food was in the freezer, and I was told where the supplies for cleaning dishes were located. The supervisor then told me she was going home and left me alone in the department. I thought I was going to have someone come in and train me on the machines or how to cook food, but no. I was left alone to run that department and close it down, and I had to get my feet wet by being pushed in, not by jumping in.
I managed to make things work. I read the labels on the containers and packages until I could convince myself and customers that I knew what I was doing. I unfortunately had to turn away several people, but I did make some sales. And those customers came back the next day, and the next, and so on for four years. I became an expert at my job and was up for promotion when the store finally was put into real danger of closing. The owner had died and his sons inherited the Albertson's company - at least that's what we were told - and were auctioning it off to the highest bidder.
At the time Albertson's also had a small gas station that was unused for several years – more... and the new store manager asked us to revamp it. I was asked in a meeting what I thought would be a good way to get people interested and I suggested that we sell our leftover foods from the deli and bakery at the pumps.I was laughed at at first, but I was told I could try it out one night and see what happened. I made $85 the first hour and sold all of our chicken. By the end of the night I had made over $200. The program became a regular event, but I was the only one who ever made money because I took the time to actually talk to the customers.
Near the end of my job I was coming in to open the department, I was training new team members, I was cooking all the food, I was selling the food and packing up food that didn't sell, I was selling the remaining packed up food at the gas pumps, and then I was closing down the department. I worked twelve hour shifts more than a few times and rarely saw the employees I was actually training. I was never up for promotion and I barely made more than $8.00 an hour.
The biggest problem I had with Albertson's was that their employees had no real training. I worked with a man who would turn off the lights and yell at people that we were closed because he felt like going home early. There was no implementation of punishment for doing poorly in your job. Some of the people there would take two or three hour lunches and never clock out, and none of the managers would even shrug their shoulders when informed. It doesn't surprise me that the store was always threatened in closing.
By June of 2008 I had started to look for another job. The rumors about the store closing were getting worse and people were leaving left and right. I received a letter in the mail from the company headquarters with a check that said, "Termination due effect immediately." I went to my store manager and he said he knew nothing about it. I was still on the schedule to come in for the next week. My boss called corporate and was told that I had been laid off as one of many cuts to the store as it neared its swan song.
The store closed shortly after and many employees were not lucky enough to get a check in the mail for their services.
Overall I learned several skills from my first real job, but the biggest one I learned is not to give up. You can't let people drag you down; when someone shoves you in a department with no training and leaves you to your own devices, you can either start reading labels and trying to work, or you can sit on your thumbs and blame it on poor managers. I left my job at Albertson's as a senior member of my department and one of the top sales people in the entire store because I didn't wait on other people to train me and tell me how to do my job. I figured it out and I took the initiative. – less