Skip to content

5 Warnings to Shoppers From Ex-Big Lots Employees

You'll want to avoid shopping at this time and prepare if you're buying from this department.

The product recommendations in this post are recommendations by the writer and/or expert(s) interviewed and do not contain affiliate links. Meaning: If you use these links to buy something, we will not earn a commission.

Big Lots Stores (also known as Big Lots!) is famous for its affordable offerings on everything from food to furniture. The company, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, started in 1967 and has been expanding ever since. The inexpensive chain now boasts more than 1,400 stores in 47 states, so it's likely you've shopped at one before, whether for a mattress or a new pair of shoes. But the next time you're at the wholesale store, you'll want to keep these tips handy. Read on to discover the most important warnings from former Big Lots employees, from why you'll need a little patience if you're picking up big furniture to the reason you don't want to be there right before closing.

READ THIS NEXT: 6 Secrets Sam's Club Doesn't Want You To Know.

Don't shop right before closing.

inside big lots store
Alex Millauer / Shutterstock

If you're considering popping into Big Lots right before the store closes, you'll probably be overwhelmed. According to multiple former employees, that's one of the busiest times, and there's a lack of staff on hand to help.

In a Reddit thread where current and former employees aired their gripes, one poster with the username ReidenLightman wrote that "a couple years ago, there seemed to always be a way to make sure the store had plenty of employees to handle customers, usually one manager with 2+ associates."

But now, they've found that stores in their area don't have enough employees because of budgetary constraints, noting that a manager will have to close the store with just one associate. "The last hour is usually swamped with last minute shoppers. And on top of that, they're demanding everyone be out by 9:30 instead of 9:45, no exceptions."

Be patient when you're buying furniture.

big lots store furniture
Retail Photographer / Shutterstock

If you're heading to Big Lots to make a big furniture purchase, you'll want to avoid going right before closing, and you'll want to be patient because many current and former employees complain online that there aren't enough people working in that department.

"They want u to sale [sic] furniture with no team, and being the only manager in the store & also load it up with little to no help cause customers dnt wanna pay for delivery," said ex-employee Toussaint42 on Reddit.

If you don't want to pay for delivery, make sure there's a team in place to help you load your vehicle, or perhaps bring a friend with you to make sure the process is easy.

And remember that your patience will pay off: Big Lots offers major markdowns on expensive pieces. A former employee revealed on Reddit that when he worked at Big Lots, "they'd get shipments from pier 1 and mark it down eventually to like 80% off."

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Warnings to Shoppers From Ex-Lowe's Employees.

The stores can be difficult to navigate.

big lots parking lot
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock

If you're a frequent Big Lots shopper but occasionally have a hard time finding what you're looking for, you're not alone.

"Ever go into Big Lots and feel like everything is moved around? It's because it is. There are certain sections (about half the store) that managers and leads are told to rearrange pretty much every week," ReidenLightman explained on Reddit.

Another issue is that much of the merchandise isn't on the floor. "There is sooooooooo much product in the backroom and no place to put it, as sales are down so much," according to another ex-employee on Reddit. "There's pallets all over the floor of unworked product, cuz they can't fit it all in the warehouse." If you spotted something online, you might want to call ahead to make sure it's actually in the store you're visiting.

Double-check prices to make sure you're getting the lowest one.

big lots storefront
JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock

Have you ever asked a Big Lots employee how much something costs, only to find them confused? It's because the prices of items change constantly, making it difficult for them to keep up.

"Prices are changing so often that we learn about the changes from customers, not corporate," an ex-employee noted on Reddit.

Unfortunately, this means it can be difficult to shop, as managers and employees are constantly trying to keep up. "This leads to managers wasting time to go to the POS and match the price to the price it says on the shelf/sticker. THEN someone gets assigned to fix the price tags," ReidenLightman adds on Reddit. You'll want to check the price online to make sure you're getting the absolute best bargain.

For more shopping advice delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Don't feel pressured to enroll in the rewards program.

big lots store sign
Kristi Blokhin / Shutterstock

Don't feel pressured to enroll in the rewards program when a store associate asks you. And also don't get annoyed if you get the question frequently; employees are just doing their job.

"The managers only want you to sign customers up for rewards to give them the bonus in their checks, they only motivated you if it was going to be beneficial for them, I could get customers to donate money all the time but if I didn't get the rewards then I'd get less hours," shared an anonymous former sales associate in Florida on the job board Indeed.

A previous customer service representative wrote on Indeed that the company's "primary goal is to get people to signup to their reward program," and that their store had "a requirement of 30+ if not higher." Employees can "lose whole days off their schedules due to not reaching their quota."

In fact, signing people up for rewards was so difficult that some current employees made up fake emails so it looked like they were reaching their quota.

Filed Under