I'm annoyed by these two kinds of reviews: Menards is a cheery wonderland to work at and if you think it has flaws you're a deadbeat who just doesn't like to work, and Menards is literally the worst company on the face of the earth and if you don't want to dismantle the bourgeois you're a brainwashed wageslave. I hope to provide an accurate and balanced review.
I worked at a Menards in central Indiana for about a year to help pay for college. Let me tell you, general managers and department managers either make or break your experience. I'm going to break this down into a few sections: 1. corporate problems, 2. my store's positives, and 3. my store's negatives.
1. Corporate policies are completely out of touch with actual human beings. Meetings are unimportant at best and managers having to travel to Wisconsin for seminars is ridiculous. I worked part time, which in a larger department like building materials, means at least 40 hours a week. I didn't mind the hours or the overtime, but what I did mind was having ZERO vacation having worked a full year. I hate the plan o grams: they give you tasks like move all the shelves in an aisle a few inches up, find a place for this new product that we know you don't have room for, or place items on a shelf 8 feet high where even me being 6'2" can't even reach. The displays are also a huge pain: I built a brick water fountain outside in February (having never laid brick or anything of the sort apart from LEGOs) and the plans were utter garbage, cutting, measurements, overall design. Retaining walls showing off colors with no discernible color scheme. Other displays are just terrible if you follow the """instructions""" made by some corporate goon at a desk. The wood cutting policy is also ***. Boards tend to bow and twist as they dry and when you have 3,000 boards on the sales floor at any given moment one does a ton of cutting. We weren't allowed to recycle any garbage wood and the result is often hundreds of pieces of wood 2 feet long that need pulled, cut, counted, stamped, stocked, and organized faster than they can be sold. It was an enormous waste of time. Speaking of wasting time, holy *** the surveillance cameras everywhere. I understand the exits, but do I really need one in front of and behind my desk looking down at me?
2. As I said, I worked in building materials, and the manager there was a decent guy. I'd never had issues with having to clock out before going to the restroom, but then again I never abused it. We were allowed to have drinks at the desk. I started out knowing very little on home building and ended pretty much knowing the materials and know how to build an entire barn or house. I cannot stress that fact enough: that you can go in with zero knowledge on a trade, work and learn for several months and then walk out with far more knowledge than a layman and put it down on your resume, if you want to join a trade afterwards, that is.. The managers aren't above of doing labor alongside you. Almost all of the sales team were kind and helpful. If there was something I didn't know there were plenty of resources and coworkers to turn to. The customers were nice or just business friendly most all the time. And I got in pretty good shape from the several miles walked every day and the heavy lifting in my department. The GM and two Assistant GMs never just stood around and were never too good to help a guest find something, or load up a sheet of plywood, or have conversation during a slow moment. Pay for sales starts at $9, weekend pay is an extra $2.50 an hour, and driving a forklift is an extra $1 an hour (though for most departments, only managers are allowed to). $11.50 an hour and $13 on the weekends wasn't bad for a first job with less than a year on.
3. Scheduling sucks, plain and simple. For example: I almost always worked 1 pm to 10 pm or very close to that bloc. On the day before our monthly meeting, I was asked to go home that night after 10 pm then turn around and come in at 6:30 am (which they're not supposed to do) until 6:30 pm. I would have to go home and then come back for the meeting at 9 pm. So, I went in 6 hours early, worked a twelve hour shift, went home for a few hours, passed out on the couch while eating dinner, and missed the meeting entirely. When informed by my GM the next day that I was written up for five of the ten points to get fired and questioned me as to why. To which I replied, "Because I'm a human being that gets tired after 5 hours of sleep and a twelve hour shift.
The sales managers were great to work with, the front end manager was a total ***. He was the guy that never let cashiers go to the restroom because a few of them abused it (spent every minute on their phones). Him getting snippy was an almost constant, and the turnover rate showed almost every two weeks someone left. There were a number of morning stock crew and receiving/outside yard guys who were just worthless. Put *** in the wrong space without even trying to look for where it goes, did everything half-assed, didn't count or label stock correctly, or stood around talking when there were other people working around them.
On customers, every day or so, you'll have that one bad experience that just makes you want to burst. Some contractors choose that line of career because they have to be the boss all the time, they're alcoholics, or just straight up ***. -- My favorite experience: It's 8 p.m., it's just me and my manager covering vast building materials department, he was designing an entire barn for someone and I was helping a very old woman and her husband (eighties probably) load bags of mulch on a cart, push it to the registers, and load it in their SUV. I walk past the board rack and there's a guy maybe in his late 20s says out of nowhere "You guys are the laziest motherf***ers." After a surprised "excuse me" he tells me that he had asked for help loading something like 60 boards and no one came. I told him who I had been busy with earlier and he said, "Not my problem. I don't care. I'm never shopping here again." I waved and walked on. --
The GMs have a habit of micromanaging. One of them absolutely must have everything immaculate at all times. We keep thin paper bags filled with 60 lbs. of dust, stacked on pallets consisting of splinters and nails. The floors are not going to be perfect every minute of the day. They also expect you to be doing something at all times, even when you're waiting for people to order stuff at the desk, you need to find any excuse for busywork
For all the ladies who complain about Menards being a boys club, when was the last time someone had you load a furniture shipment into the mezz? Stock cases of water? Return cartloads of drywall? Spend three hours cutting boards at a saw table in the middle of summer? Restack a busted pallet of block, concrete bags, or joint compound? Because the two women in my department never could/did.
TL;DR: It's not a horrible place to work at as far as retail sales. Scheduling sucks. Learn the products you sell and use that knowledge as a homeowner. It's good exercise.