Sales Associate (Former Employee) – BC – 1 January 2018
I worked for many years at Tom Lee. It's a very fun job, as even though it's a retail position, it's a "fun" store so you very rarely get any grouchy customers. In the years I was there, I can probably count on one hand the amount of terrible customers I had. It's a job where you'll learn a lot about the music industry (even if you think you're an expert), and make a lot of friends with your coworkers and customers.
As others have mentioned, the pay is terrible. I started on part-time hourly at $9.50 (minimum wage was $8 at the time). I eventually moved up to full-time, and things got a little weird there. Basically, they pay their full-time sales staff a mix of salary and commission, which at the time was $1000 a month salary and a small percentage of sales profits for what you sell. Minimum wage at that time would have been roughly $1650 a month, with minimum wage at $9.50 and each day having 7.5 hours of work. That means you have to "earn" about $650 a month in commission to get UP to minimum wage - obviously they couldn't legally pay less than minimum, so anytime you didn't sell enough stuff to make it they had to top you up (and at least they didn't claw any back when you had a good month). I don't remember the percentage you got for commission, given that it changes dependent on each item AND they never really tell you, but for an example there was a month I sold about $20k worth of stuff, and I made roughly $660 in commission. That's only ten bucks more than a month worth of minimum wage, which amounts to 5.8 cents an hour over minimum. That's pretty bad,more... considering it is a job that requires a lot of industry knowledge, sales and people skills, and regular networking with your clients.
Management in the store I worked at was perfectly fine. Management of the company was pretty terrible. They regularly make terrible decisions in marketing and purchasing, both of which scare away the higher-end customers. They also decided to pay as little as possible on shipping items, meaning that any special order on a product (which was pretty common) would take weeks or months to arrive, which would usually drive said customer to competitors.
Overall it's a good job for a younger person or student who might only stay a year or two, but for someone looking for a long-term career or a decent living wage it's not really worth it. Even trying to use the job as a stepping stone into something better is not worth the effort, as it doesn't really open doors into other parts of the industry, and from my experience they don't like to "promote from within" when it comes to filling management positions.
But take all that with a grain of salt; I only worked at one of the (then) nine stores, and any other store could be very different.less