• Eva Favreau

Testimonial #4: West Coast Mismanagement

The following story comes to us from an anonymous worker

Management and West Coast Issues

I have worked at all the Good Vibrations Bay Area store locations with the exception of Palo Alto and Santa Cruz. Below are just a few examples to draw attention to the fact that safety, staffing, and management concerns at Good Vibrations are not just an East Coast isolation but indicative of company-wide issues on the West Coast too.

There are so many more and worse examples than those below that I do not feel safe or comfortable enough to share publicly at this time, because the details are much more specific and I do not have any faith that HR will have my or other employees’ backs. There is only 1 HR person for 15 stores, 1 corporate office, and 1 customer service department, across 2 coasts. Communication with HR has repeatedly included the senior retail manager on phone calls and emails, leaving me with no faith in confidentiality.

Lack of concern for well-being of employees and customers

- It is hypocritical that Good Vibrations claims to care about police brutality in their BLM statements, yet they called the police on their own employees peacefully and legally picketing outside, and routinely call or encourage/require that their employees call the police in store for/during incidents that can be de-escalated without police. There has been pressure to watch people for stealing; profiling is encouraged; anti-Blackness witnessed and practiced; all of which leave me feeling very uncomfortable and is one of the worst aspects of working the sales floor.

- When asked multiple times at different points about contingency plans for a potential uptick in cases in the Bay Area/re-closure due to ongoing pandemic, the answer from (executive) management has been a dissatisfactory, unknown “we’ll do the best we can and go slowly.”

- One day I was ill and called before my shift to let my manager know but was told that another co-worker had already called out sick so I couldn’t (pre-COVID).

Lack of communication

- I was told by the store manager to “pay careful attention to the local news” regarding re-opening. West Coast employees also found out via Instagram posts that the stores were being re-opened after the shelter-in-place, not from any communication from management.

- Many instances of being re-scheduled at the last minute without being asked - being thanked for our flexibility with no check-in as to whether the last-minute schedule change is even doable.

Not enough staff - Understaffing of HR is in line with GV’s history of understaffing stores and departments.

- Not hiring enough staff to cover responsibilities and duties has been an ongoing trend even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. High turnover - I have seen so many talented, hardworking, amazing people leave (due to toxic company culture and practices, low pay, etc) or be let go. Staff have over the years been stretched so thin, given responsibilities that are duties of those in management positions, yet not compensated with commensurate pay or title changes.

- Employee reviews and subsequent raises have been delayed during busy periods, with no backpay.

Additional examples of mismanagement

- There have been examples of favoritism by management - some employees would be talked to/reprimanded for being late or not meeting dress code, and others wouldn’t.

- Refusing to respect availability changes.

- Often scheduling an employee for a closing shift followed by an opening shift the next day (pre-COVID).

Working for Good Vibrations had been a dream of mine. At this point, I cannot with good conscience recommend GV as a place to work. I have been disillusioned, disheartened, and angered by GV's hypocritical mistreatment of and disregard for their employees. Barnaby Ltd (Good Vibrations, Babeland, Camouflauge) needs to do better.

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