I recently began working at The Brick Warehouse Corporation (AKA "The Brick") several months ago and it's about time it got some recognition.

What: The Brick is a large chain of furniture and appliance stores that stretch across the provinces of Canada. As of January 2003, the following stores existed (from East to West): The Brick, in my lowly estimation, probably makes the most of its money from the sale of Mattresses and Appliances, though they also have quite the selection of Televisions, Upholstery and Leather Furniture, Dining Rooms, Tables, Plants, Art, and pretty much anything else you'd need to deck out a new home.

Anyone in Canada with a TV has most likely seen a Brick advertisement. They are very cheaply made, and there's usually at least 3 seperate advertisements playing heavily each week.

History: The Brick is Canadian owned and operated, and opened its first store in Edmonton, Alberta on September 1, 1971. The first location was 4500 square feet and had four employees. Unfortunately, The Brick and their respective websites (www.thebrick.com) do not have much historical background and all I can really say is "through a variety of smart moves and careful planning, as well as a special devotion to low prices and customer satisfaction, The Brick launched itself across Canada in a very successful campaign of Canadian domination." I think that's a run-on sentance.

The Brick was, though I may be mistaken, originally named "The Rock." It may have just briefly changed its name to "The Rock" for a period in the 1980's, but I am definitely sure it was named such for quite some time.

The Brick also won a spot on "Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies" in 2003, a very prestegious award for those economic types that actually pay attention to those things.

Employment: My time at The Brick has taught me that being a salesperson is a very rewarding job... I hestiate to say career. But this is a topic for a completely seperate node.

Appling for a job at The Brick is simple. Go to any local branch and obtain an application form. Return with a resume and pray.

Entry level jobs are (in order of importance):
  • Janitorial (usually sub-contracted and may not apply)
  • Warehouse (part-time and minimum-wage)
  • Office (part-time and slightly above minimum-wage)
  • Sales (full-time, unlimited wage)
It is immediately obvious to all that are not blind the most lucrative entry-level position. Janitorial has almost no promotional prospects.

Warehousers can either move up into a delivery-driver or swamper status (unionized and well paid) or to a Merchandiser (the person who sets up the store displays). These two positions eventually lead to Operations Supervisor.

Office staff generally has the highest turnover. Part-time women are usually first hired to answer phones... This position eventually turns into a Customer Service representative. This then leads to an Office Supervisor position.

Sales staff are either hired for Electronics/Appliances or Furniture/Mattresses. The first promotion is to Senior Sales (selling all four product groups), but this position is usually limited to 2-4 people per store. Senior sales usually become Commercial Sales at some point, selling things to other businesses and generally retreating from the sales floor proper. Senior and Commercial Salesmen then become Sales Supervisors.

Sales, Office, and Operations Supervisors are sometimes combined or handled by 1-4 different people depending on the size of the store, the funds available, and the experience of the employees. In any case, these positions lead to Store Manager.

Store Manager then leads to Regional positions and then to Head Office positions, making all the big important decisions.

Because it is a long way up the ladder, and most jobs but the entry level jobs are good careers to have, the only way to advance is "Dead Man's Boots:" Taking the place of a person who has passed away, retired, or promoted. This can take many, many years for an impatient young one like myself.

Sales in Brief: For reference's sake, minimum wage in British Columbia is currently $8/hour. Salespersons can make a decent living (likely around $30/hour) and indeed, some make this entry-level job their career choice and decide not to move up with promotions. There are usually more salespersons in a store than any other type of employee.

The Brick pays strictly on a commission basis for salespeople - that is to say, that every item on the floor has a certain percentage affixed to it. If you sell that item, you get that percentage put towards your paycheque. If, at the end of the month, your paycheque does not meet minimum wage... The company is forced (by law) to increase your cheque to minimum wage. Do this a few times in a row and you're fired. You'd have to be a pretty lousy salesperson for that to happen, however. You can make minimum wage by standing there and looking happy. Half the customers just say "Take my money."

All in all, The Brick is one of the best employers I've ever had. The management, the co-workers, the atmosphere, the "team" environment... It's all very nice and friendly... And the perks benefits rule. At least... If you're a salesperson.

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