What's the company culture at Club Demonstration Services?

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Every business has it's own style. What is the office environment and culture like at Club Demonstration Services?

Are people dressed in business casual, jeans and t-shirts, or full-on suits? Do folks get together for Friday happy hours and friendly get-togethers?

What is a typical day in the life of an employee at Club Demonstration Services?

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Kya Phoenix in San Antonio, Texas

59 months ago

I agree.
Very high turnover rate.
Very abusive environment.
Often required to stand in bone-chilling cold for 6 hours.
Workers are ordered not to talk to each other even while washing up at the end of the day. Workers are told "no talking - do your work and get out".
If one complains, one is invited in for fewer days of work.

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DaPhillip in Anywhere

58 months ago

There are some customers you'll see on a regular basis that you can have a good rapport with, but these are far and few between. The work environment can be pretty bad (esp. on weekends & holidays!). The customers are largely hostile and ungrateful, ignoring the fact there is a human being working diligently so they can eat. There's never an "excuse me," "please," or "thank you." When you are attempting to do your sales pitch about a particular product, which varies day-to-day, most of them are oblivious to you and just grab the food and run. You'll also deal with kids, who are not supposed to be unsupervised to begin with due to safety/allergy issues.

Also beware of the dreaded "mystery shopper." They are no better than the real customers; occasionally they try to get to you in some way so they can write a bad report on you from their shopping experience so it goes back to your supervisor so you can get reprimanded (or written up!) for said offense. Thanks, but I do NOT need someone else to tell me how to to do my job. I work in a way where I feel comfortable, and as long as I'm getting customers interested and buying, that's what matters at the end of the day. I did have a run-in with a mystery shopper and knew it because the woman seemed a little different than the conventional rude shopper. If she was expecting me to jump through hoops or was trying to bait and goad me into reacting, I was not going to play along. So naturally, she put in a bad word for me, but so be it!

Also, a lot of Costco members are just full of themselves, thinking that their $50+ membership entitles them to the world, so expect to be treated as you were at the bottom of the food chain. These members almost always report YOU to a Costco supervisor any time they take things personally or assume you are out of line or doing procedure that they do not agree with. The Costco supervisor will then inform your supervisor, who in turn gives you grief for no reason at all.

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Allen Swinney in Dallas, Texas

57 months ago

I hate those stupid gloves, they make us wear! It is like working with trash bags on your hands .What is the deal with that.

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DaPhillip in Anywhere

45 months ago

After being with the company another year, I'll throw in these additional observations. Your mileage will vary, but at the Costco I work in, the quality of the work environment has hit an all time low. The hostility level from the BAD Costco members has reached an unbearable level, based on the incidents my co-workers and I have experienced this year. We've reported everything to both our supervisor and the higher-ups at Costco. We've been cursed at by members, called ethnic slurs (we have a big melting pot with our staff), and have had food samples thrown back at us. And on more than a few occasions, some of the female staff have been harassed. In each every instance, it was the member that initiated the issue by getting overtly greedy in getting samples, cutting in line, and just generally being rude and nasty. No small amount of trying to nicely police them or politely asking them to curtail their excessive sampling does any good. It almost always results in some kind of retaliatory outburst, violent or otherwise.

We have absolutely no recourse of action, no safety net. All we're told is to grin and bear it, walk away for awhile, and just to let it slide because "the customer is always right!" Costco management is absolutely of no help because they don't even like the fact CDS has to operate on their property. They ALWAYS side with the customers no matter what, thinking they're more important (and the money they spend) than the well-being of the "lowly" CDS employee. We've had a few ugly incidents in which the Costco general manager refused to take action or at least try to be supportive. He pretty much brushed it off as a normal everyday occurrence, due to the nature of the job and didn't consider it an issue. While there is a hot-line to call (or you can call the regional CDS supervisor) for work related grievances, don't expect much to happen. It's a good way to get something off your chest, but that's as far as it will go.

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DaPhillip in Anywhere

45 months ago

A few other things... We can't even talking freely on our break time, and it's like we're not even entitled to have a bad day! Members still like reporting us to Costco. But they always twist things around to make it look like THEY'RE the victim. Here are a few of incidents that happened:

During a break, a couple of my coworkers were jokingly comparing how their work day was going. One of them glibly replied that she managed to get more "thank yous" a particular hour than she did the previous one. This was like an inside joke; we really get ignored more than we do get a thank you. It wasn't meant as an affront to anyone specific, this was a matter-of-fact observation we deal with daily. Of course, one of the members caught wind of that and reported that, citing that this coworker was being rude to the customers by complaining none were saying thank you.

Another coworker (on her break), having given out more samples than making sales one busy Saturday, remarked to another that the members "were sure eating a lot today." A member heard this and claimed to Costco that this coworker said to members, "Stop eating and start buying!" It's ALWAYS our word against the members -- and we always lose. When the Costco management goes after the CDS supervisor for these infractions, we're always reminded of our place in the company and our function in Costco. It's always a losing cause.

A third coworker happened to be talking politics, rather loosely and objectively, and made passing references to major some incidents that happened years ago. One member came by at the wrong moment, and heard the whole conversation out of context. Apparently it sounded like he was in support of extremist movement, and he was reported for that, probably in the interest of national security. Huh?

While it's understandable members are loyal to Costco, some really need to mind their own business when WHEN WE'RE ON OUR BREAKS and stop trying to avenge them like this.

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DaPhillip in Anywhere

45 months ago

Incidentally, it seems that Daymon (the parent company of CDS) also owns SASSIE (www.sassieshop.com), the company that does the mystery shopper services. As long as you do your job, going through the SITGA (Smile, Invite, Talk, Give, Ask) sales routine you're first taught with this job, you shouldn't have much to worry. HOWEVER... the mystery shopper only approaches the task from the customer's perspective, and does not empathize with the what the sales adviser has to go through.

Somehow, someway, the mystery shopper appears at the most inopportune moment when your defenses are down. It's like you're expected to be in the SITGA mode 24/7, no matter how bad and trying the work day is. And after some point, if the day is not going well, it's hard to stay focused and motivated. As a result, you'll most likely get a failing grade by the mystery shopper. That's the problem: If you're not in your full sales mode when the mystery shopper approaches you, you get a fairly low rating. Thus, the mystery shopper makes the assumption you haven't been doing your job AT ALL based on this singular experience with you and makes notes of that. This is really unfair since it's an inaccurate assessment. Why doesn't the mystery shopper appear the other 99% of the time when we're in full swing and at least trying to do our job to the best of our abilities? I feel that most mystery shoppers have absolutely NO IDEA what it's like to work in sales and the pressures that go along with it (the hostile customers).

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The Caterer in Denver, Colorado

44 months ago

I absolutely agree with the previous comments. Club Demonstration Services is an abhorrent company. The Managers are asinine and rarely have a clue as to what is going on, nor do they care about how their sales advisors may be doing. Turnover is extremely high. We are forced to keep "Help Wanted" signs on our stations even though we have a surplus of workers. They cut you from the schedule when you cannot achieve sales lifts, which sometimes require you to sell hundreds of menial items such as dog food and dish soap. People do play politics, and befriend the leads in order to get out of working hard. A lot of my coworkers "disappear" during cleanup time.

The Sales Floor is horrendous as well. Members are incredibly rude, and sometimes say things so abhorrent it makes you so unhappy it affects your performance. Sales Advisors are there not to inform people of products, but rather to feed the pompous members their lunches.

If at all possible, avoid any position under Club Demonstration Services, you will thank yourself in the long-run.

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ya_gotta_do_what_ya_gotta_do in central, Texas

41 months ago

The "company culture" is an interesting one. I suggest developing a thick skin if you don't already have one.
On-the-job comradery is highly discouraged, though they obviously have no say after hours, on your own time. Of course you can form friendships, I did.

CDS is a company within a company, with Costco being the "big cheese". I kind of call it the "Pinocchio syndrome" meaning you find yourself wandering about saying, "I wish I was a REAL Costco employee!" (Haha, not really.)
Most of the Costco managers (though not all) and supervisors, and even the Costco entry-level grunts will deem you no higher than wallpaper. They will go to great lengths to greet each other from across the store, but if you manage to get a "hello" or even a nod from them, consider yourself "highly favored". lol
Of course, not all of them are like this, thankfully, but too many of them are.
You find yourself wanting to remind them that they themselves are warehouse workers, and seriously in need of some real-life perspective.
But in all fairness, there are some really cool Costco employees, too, so you just learn which ones they are, and be glad that the invisible Costco-fumes haven't infiltrated their sense of self-importance.

As for members...unlike most retail experience, there is something about free food and being a customer (who has paid for club membership) that creates an entitlement mentality.
Many automatically think they become instant royalty, and your job is to serve them and occasionally double as a whipping boy for their Costco complaints.
There are some really rude members, too, so be on the alert for them
The good news is, there are some truly lovely members, too. Good folk, with manners and class. If it weren't for them, I probably would give up on hope for the human race. Because as a CDS demo person, you really see how people are. There are no pretenses, they show you how it is.
So yes, there is a balance. ~whew!~
Pros and cons! :

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E.C. in Grants Pass, Oregon

34 months ago

DaPhillip in Anywhere said: We have absolutely no recourse of action, no safety net. All we're told is to grin and bear it, walk away for awhile, and just to let it slide because "the customer is always right!" Costco management is absolutely of no help because they don't even like the fact CDS has to operate on their property. They ALWAYS side with the customers no matter what, thinking they're more important (and the money they spend) than the well-being of the "lowly" CDS employee. We've had a few ugly incidents in which the Costco general manager refused to take action or at least try to be supportive. He pretty much brushed it off as a normal everyday occurrence, due to the nature of the job and didn't consider it an issue. While there is a hot-line to call (or you can call the regional CDS supervisor) for work related grievances, don't expect much to happen. It's a good way to get something off your chest, but that's as far as it will go.

Here in WDS land someone is being stalked by a customer. Who do you think is the more valuable person in this equation?

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Jackie in Tucson, Arizona

32 months ago

I once worked for this organization a few years ago and cannot say anything good about it, other than the fellow CDS ladies and gentlemen were nice to work with and caring. The Supervisor was a blow-hard who had her morning rant sessions and telling everyone they had to beware of the Mystery Shopper and she would carry on if the store got a low rating. They make you hustle to get out on the floor and then at the end of the day, you have to hustle to get everything done with little time, because you are not paid an ounce of overtime. I personally could not stand the majority of the Costco customers who went around about five times to get the same thing over and over and never buying anything, expecting you to be a server when you are supposed to sell so much and make goals and quotas. You were to encourage them that they couldn't go home without purchasing your product. Right..... It was the most disgusting job I have ever had for the way they treat you like you are at the bottom of the food chain as a worker. It isn't worth $11.00 an hour.

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Caring On from Nowhere land in Tucson, Arizona

31 months ago

Having bad feelings after working for this bad outfit. They are the most inconsiderate employer one can have. Always wanting 300 percent and they give you crappy products that don't sell. If you are a favorite of the supervisor, then you don't have to worry about promoting a good product. Otherwise, you get what is left to try to make a sale, and I mean make a sale. You have a quota or goal to make, and you get three chances and you are out. The supervisors are bullies and their supervisors are worse from headquarters.

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Michele in Sydney, Australia

31 months ago

Kya Phoenix in San Antonio, Texas said: I agree.
Very high turnover rate.
Very abusive environment.
Often required to stand in bone-chilling cold for 6 hours.
Workers are ordered not to talk to each other even while washing up at the end of the day. Workers are told "no talking - do your work and get out".
If one complains, one is invited in for fewer days of work.

Very well said Kya, I get told to wash up and wipe don't look for your next days work

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Truly Yours in South Plainfield, New Jersey

23 months ago

By in far one of the worst companies to work for.. They will give you instructions on the demo you are doing for the day.. Tell you that you can add more to each sample.. Then write you up for doing what you were told to do.. This is not a JOKE.. It happened to my girl friend just a couple of weeks ago.. And also one of the most wasteful companies EVER.. If the demo is pasta.. and you get the three boxes of pasta and you only open one box for the demo.. the other two brand new boxes of patsa go in the trash.. No employee is allowed to take anything.. Even if its being thrown out... How disgusting is that in a time where children are going to bed hungry... They must throw away 1000's of pounds of unused food every year.. The event manager will throw you under the bus any chance they get so that they themselves will look good.. and one last thing.. Dont expect to get any more than 21 hours a week.. If you even get that.. CDS . Gives managers incentives to hire more people and not give more hours to employiees already working..

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F K Hoff in Orlando, Florida

22 months ago

Truly Yours in South Plainfield, New Jersey said: By in far one of the worst companies to work for.. They will give you instructions on the demo you are doing for the day.. Tell you that you can add more to each sample.. Then write you up for doing what you were told to do.. This is not a JOKE.. It happened to my girl friend just a couple of weeks ago.. And also one of the most wasteful companies EVER.. If the demo is pasta.. and you get the three boxes of pasta and you only open one box for the demo.. the other two brand new boxes of patsa go in the trash.. No employee is allowed to take anything.. Even if its being thrown out... How disgusting is that in a time where children are going to bed hungry... They must throw away 1000's of pounds of unused food every year.. The event manager will throw you under the bus any chance they get so that they themselves will look good.. and one last thing.. Dont expect to get any more than 21 hours a week.. If you even get that.. CDS . Gives managers incentives to hire more people and not give more hours to employiees already working..

I agree. After being in the top sales for 5 months and getting a 100% from secret shopper, I was given 5 days work, 2 were regular 6 hour shifts and 3 were 3 hour breaker shifts. Equaling 21 hours for 5 days. While others who were NOT in the top 5 in sales were getting 5 regular 6 hour shifts. And the event manager said... "I am trying to be fair." Fair my ass. Work as hard as you can to get the hours only to find that you don't get them while others do???

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F K Hoff in Orlando, Florida

22 months ago

It is a shame to have to dispose of unused foods. As our regional mgr says, you don't pay for it. Which is true. But it still goes against most of our moral upbringings to throw away food that is good. MY advice is to give ample samples. That way you will use up what you have been given. Judge what you have used in the first 2 hours. If you have a lot left still, give more. Just make sure that you get the 2 bites that are mandatory to give. When I break, I find that many will take the spork, scoop out one bite and put it in the cupcake liner. I have learned that it is better to give more than not enough. You make more sales and remember... you don't pay for what they have to buy more of. At least you are giving the customers a sample and not disposing the unused product.

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DaPhillip in Anywhere

22 months ago

On the subject of wasted food, this is a common sticking point for anyone that works (or has worked) for the company. I was told early on that there are legal reasons why CDS doesn't give away unused product. If the product is somehow tainted, spoiled, etc., they'd be on the receiving end of a lawsuit should anything happen to those who consume it. Usually CDS has to return the unused/unopened product for a refund. Other times, for non-perishable items or dried goods with longer shelf life, they're kept to be used for the next demonstration, usually within a few days or so.

FK also made some valid points. Giving out too little of a sample, and the member feels gypped and not as motivated to buy. Give out too much, and they get their fix, and with the same result. Give out just the right amount, and boom -- you whet their appetite, and they're more inclined to buy ("Let's get this for dinner tonight!").

Pacing is the key to avoid having excessive (unused) leftovers. Some demonstrators aren't particularly good at gauging how much or how little to give out, depending on the pacing of the day. It always fluctuates. Those that are good can give out all their samples with little or no waste by the end of the 6 hour day, others stick to the "ample sample" (or less) credo, and will have too much unused product at the end. Some follow the DPIS (Demostration Product Information Sheet) that explains preparation and serving size *suggestion*, almost too stubbornly to a fault.

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Being Used in Orlando, Florida

19 months ago

Kya Phoenix in San Antonio, Texas said: I agree.
Very high turnover rate.
Very abusive environment.
Often required to stand in bone-chilling cold for 6 hours.
Workers are ordered not to talk to each other even while washing up at the end of the day. Workers are told "no talking - do your work and get out".
If one complains, one is invited in for fewer days of work.

Precisely! They punish you for a lot of things. If they call you and ask you to work one day and you can't, they will almost 100% call you the next day you are to work and cancel you. Vengeance is a big roll in their management.

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Being Used in Orlando, Florida

19 months ago

Allen Swinney in Dallas, Texas said: I hate those stupid gloves, they make us wear! It is like working with trash bags on your hands .What is the deal with that.

CDS is cheap, that's what the deal with that is.

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Being Used in Orlando, Florida

17 months ago

It IS common to go to work and discover that you were on the schedule only to get there, ready to work and find out that they cancelled you without letting you know.

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Former Employee in Frisco, Texas

10 months ago

STAY AWAY FROM THIS COMPANY! COSTCO IS NOT MUCH BETTER.
CDS is the worst place I have ever worked. Managers are inept and could care less about you. It is survival at all costs! High turnover rate. Very abusive environment. Managers will stab you in the back to protect themselves. Illegal business practices occur daily here. Checks come late and are often wrong. NO breaks. HARRASSMENT and INTIMIDATION are common by CDS Managers and Costco employees. Managers change the schedule at will. You come in to work and find out your demo was canceled and not even told.

ABOUT COSTCO....I have lost all respect for this company. The managers are idiots at best. The members are not much better. Members are incredibly rude and say things so abhorrent you wonder what country your in. They get free food/samples and they still complain. Costco will give anyone a membership. The members are dropping in quality to say the least. Members fight over samples/free food. Especially a round the holidays. I would rather volunteer at a Food Kitchen to help the homeless. AT LEAST THEY SAY THANKYOU. Not like some of the fat cows you see eating lunch and dinner at COSTCO.

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Another Former Employee in Frisco, Texas

10 months ago

Cristy is the event manager at CDS/Costco warehouse. SHE IS TERRIBLE! WORST MANAGER EVER. Adina at the CDS/Costco warehouse in East Plano, Texas is not much better. They yell and intimidate employees. Everything and everyday there is an emergency. They are low level grunts with no education. Very rude to employees. Treat them like dirt. WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO WORK FOR THIS COMPANY?

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