Pros: you get to pre-street movies and games for free (see them before they come out on dvd), automatically half off rentals for employees & free if earned, excellent and mostly competent coworkers, amazing regular customers, saying hello to people upon entrance
Cons: no breaks at all unless you're a smoker, counterintuitive mit program, high turnover rate, impersonal dms, no regular raise discussions, some people are not held responsible, can go on for awhile unless addressed
I've been at Family Video for 2 1/2 years.
To work here, you must first pass an initial interview with the manager. Then you must take a (difficult) timed test with math, story problems, etc. The passing grade for this test has been lowered recently but still way more people fail than pass. Finally, you interview with the DM and if he/she likes you, – more... then you are hired. It is possible to pass the first two parts of the rigorous hire-in process but fail the DM interview EVEN THOUGH the candidate may be more than qualified to work here. If you are shy or your personality isn't 'up-to-par,' they will turn you away. This process is good because you will likely get amazing coworkers but it is not perfect.
They throw you in as a new hire CSR (customer sales representative) and pretty much expect you to swim the best way that you can. It is a great way to learn any type of job. It really is. At first the job is amazing. The outdated linux computer system they have set up is scary at first, but after a month or two, it becomes much easier. The place is upbeat and customers are generally always nice and friendly since this is an entertainment environment. Customers come into the store after work to have FUN, they are not generally in FV store for a business matter.
Everyone is pretty much their own boss here. As long as everything gets done, it is laid back. Some of the people you work with will become your best friends. You can make generally $25-$100 extra a month based on commissions. You can make more, as much as I would say $150, but that is not at all typical. The commission game of getting sales is exciting at first, and if you are doing your job properly you will hit good numbers, but the amount you get for selling a customer a half-off card is miniscule compared to the commission you could get at other jobs.
You will be hired in at $7.90 (unless you somehow weaseled your way in at a higher rate, which is unfortunate because these people are likely the incompetent ones while the other employees have earned it) and can expect a $0.50 raise after 30 days or whenever you can convince your DM to give you your 30-day review. You may be told that you will get a raise every 6 months but this is false. Unless YOU take the initiative and press your DM for one, you will not receive a raise.
Expect to go through different management all the time. Managers don't stay here long because they work long hours and are underpaid - they can make **UP to** $30k a year and you expect more than 44+ hours a week. It is less than $30k and more than 44 hours a week. Sometimes managers are also divided between two stores. An assistant manager typically makes only $11 an hour and will find themselves working off the clock as much as the manager. As an employee, you will have to prove yourself over and over to every new manager and district manager you have. This is why Family Video is "always hiring." People get sick of it and move on. FV has lost many wonderful, amazing, brilliant, beautiful employees because they have failed to recognize and reward them. New people will get hired in and promoted over them. This is a job with a very high turnover rate.
You, as an employee, must know when enough is enough and voice that when necessary. On more than one occasion, I have worked 9am-1am the next day. People from other stores will call you to ask you to take their shifts. If you are ill and no one will come in for you, you simply have to deal with it or you will be fired. You cannot leave the store unattended. If it is your day off or you are on vacation, you can expect calls from other employees within the district asking you something or wanting to know if you can work for them. Upper management may move you to another store out of the way without asking you. Saying yes or no determines your hours and how "serious" you are about the job.
You never get breaks. You are not allowed to sit down - you are on your feet all day.
The schedule is sometimes created or updated at the VERY end of the week and any changes are not reported to the employees. You must always check the schedule.
Part time employees can do the same tasks and have the same responsibility as the manager. The MIT program is completely backwards. They will hire in someone who has no idea how to the job and the current employees will have to teach this new hire how to do the basic job on top of manage it. They do not promote from within unless you have been there for about 4-5+ years. The pay for both employees and management is low, but is it a video store and they are paying for what the job entails and not the diligence and competence of the individual employees.
Promises of promotion are made and not kept.
DMs have greater control over the store than the manager does.
The DM will ask your fellow employees what they think of you and will ask you in your 30 day review who is 1 employee you like working with and who is 1 employee you don't particularly like and why. Unethical? Yes. Yes definitely.
You will have to close the store by yourself. It used to be mandatory in my district to have 2 people closing for safety issues but now it is 1 person closing due to money issues. If you are a female and your coworker isn't nice or selfless enough to stay and close with you, bring a weapon or wait til a customer drops off a movie to leave so you are not alone. Some FV stores are in bad areas. The cops will routinely patrol by the store at night. You typically get out of work at 12:30am. Protect yourself accordingly.
When you first begin, if you have not mastered time management/priorities, you may be there until 1am finishing everything that needs to get done. There are multiples times when you do the "clopen." Clopen = close/open. They are good about working around your schedule but if you become too available, you will get taken advantage of.
We have "on call" shifts which means you must call an hour before you work to check if you work. You must treat it as if you are going to work, but it is a pain to wait all day to see if you are needed.
You are not guaranteed hours when hired. There have been CSRs who only had one 4-hour "on call" shift for the entire WEEK (those employees were only on staff for the free rentals but still this is applicable to any part time employee.)
The video cases are extremely dirty and it is not a priority to wipe them down.
The computer system will not recognize multiple "deals."
In the spring/summer., there are no hours to work because DVD releases are nearly nonexistent.
Customers who had a "Miss you" call will come up to you that probably isn't from your store (home office does not mark which FV store has sent you the coupon since all FV stores are "separate"). Some promotional material sent out to customers will advertise a dollar drop (All New Releases $1, Blu-Rays $2) which is most likely not from your store, but stores nearby.
Family Video's CEO's private jet is funded entirely from the quarters from the gumball machine.
FV does not have gay p o r n because they are a "family friendly establishment." That's right. There is a p o r n room. There is lesbian p o r n. But there is no "gay" p o r n because that is somehow not okay? We have had to pull titles that had threesomes with 2 guys and a girl because it was not FV acceptable.
Sometimes you will wonder why people pay for p o r n. It is free on the internet.
The candy is extremely overpriced. $1.89 here (sometimes more) and $1 at the dollar store, so the "2 for $3" deal ain't really a deal if you're getting 3 for $3 at Dollar General. I sometimes feel like I'm cheating customers when they buy it but then I realize if they think about it, they are cheating themselves.
Netflix is $8/month. If you don't mind waiting 28 days to see a brand new movie on DVD, there is no point to coming here except for the atmosphere and the physicality of being able to pick up and read the back of a DVD case and look at it. But our half off card alone is $9.95. Redbox is $1 and Netflix is $8 a month. The main reason you would be a customer here is for the atmosphere and the fact that you have to get up and go somewhere (to the video store.)
While many people may have had amazing experiences working here and it is many people's favorite job, rental chains are a dying industry and they will not be around for long, even with picking up Blockbuster's old customers. – less