Not just a store, a livelihood
America’s malls have taken a hit within the past fear years with the rise in online sales. Muncie Mall is no exception. Stores have been closing with only one anchor store surviving within the mall’s walls. It’s always the mall that is talked about but never the employees who work upwards to 50 hours a week in order to make a living. Without them, there would be no mall or stores. There would be no product to touch and see to determine if that is the right color or material you want to wear.
Many people know about seasonal employees during the holidays or more hours for retail workers, but no one talks about the drastic decrease in sales and hours given once the holidays are over. Employees across the country are working full time. Their hours are being cut without notice because the drastic sales decrease right after the holidays. Some employees get only a few hours cut like Casandra Bush. She is an assistant manager at Christopher and Banks at Muncie Mall. She was working more than 40 hours a week or more during the holiday season but was only cut to around 35 hours.
“I got lucky, I only have about one shift cut a week. I know many other people within the Mall have had their hours cut drastically and I am thankful that I work for a good company that values my employment as an assistant,” Bush said.
Cuts in hours and less traffic inside the mall can affect the livelihood of these full-time employees. Many have to find other full-time jobs or another part-time job to help with bills in these slower months. David Harvert, an assistant manager at Lids in Muncie Mall, has to start another job because he is not getting the full-time hours he thought he would continue to get after the holidays.
“Forty-five hours turned into 21 hours. I needed to find a new job especially since I commute 30 minutes every day I work,” Harvert said.
The Muncie Mall is struggling to generate traffic according to Havert and Bush, but by the lack of support within the next few months, it could be detrimental to whether the mall stays in business.
With the closure of Macy’s, the third anchor store to leave Muncie Mall, customers seem to be anticipating the mall to close. Talk about the mall closing has been at the forefront of every employee and customer in the Muncie Mall.
“Just because Macy’s is closing doesn’t mean we all are, people ask me constantly if we are going out of business too and that is what’s most frustrating is that people assume everything is closing and that isn’t the case,” Bush said