How a Dollar General Employee Went Viral on TikTok

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Dollar General Employee Sparks #PutInATicket Movement After Viral TikTok Exposes Harsh Working Conditions

Mary Gundel, a former Dollar General store manager, found herself at the center of a workplace revolution after her honest TikTok videos brought to light the grueling working conditions and understaffing plaguing the discount retail chain. Gundel, lauded by Dollar General as a top performer and awarded a "DG: Top 5%" lapel pin, took to the platform to expose the realities of her role, which she described as being "fast-paced, unpredictable, and even exciting" but ultimately unsustainable. Her videos, which went viral, garnered millions of views and resonated with countless retail workers across the United States.

Key Takeaways:

  • Gundel’s TikTok videos sparked a wave of employee activism, culminating in her firing but inspiring countless other Dollar General employees to share their own stories. Despite the company claiming to offer avenues for employee feedback, Gundel’s experience suggests a disconnect between their stated policies and actual practices.
  • The #PutInATicket movement highlights the struggles of retail workers in the post-pandemic world, facing understaffing, excessive workloads, and lack of support from corporate. While Gundel’s videos focused on Dollar General, the issues she raised resonate with many working in the retail sector.
  • Social media platforms like TikTok have become a powerful tool for workers to raise awareness, mobilize, and connect with each other, bypassing traditional channels of communication and fostering solidarity. Gundel, mirroring the rise of other worker activists like Christian Smalls, demonstrates the potential of social media as a vehicle for worker empowerment and collective action.

From Top Performer to Whistleblower:

Gundel’s story began with pride. She was recognized by Dollar General for her hard work, given a coveted "DG: Top 5%" pin, and even enjoyed the "excitement" of her high-pressure job. However, the excitement was often overshadowed by the challenges inherent in managing a chronically understaffed store. Delivery trucks arrived unannounced, leaving boxes in the aisles, and Gundel frequently found herself managing the store alone for long stretches. Despite working up to 60 hours per week, she was not eligible for overtime pay, a common issue for many retail workers.

Gundel, feeling overwhelmed and unappreciated, decided to share her story on TikTok, hoping to shed light on the realities faced by Dollar General employees. Her candid and relatable videos quickly gained viral attention, with one post accruing over 1.8 million views.

The #PutInATicket Movement Grows:

Gundel’s videos sparked a movement among fellow Dollar General employees. Countless employees, many of them women working in less affluent areas, took to TikTok to share their own experiences, many revealing their fear of losing their jobs for speaking out. They described being overworked, understaffed, and unsupported by the company, often working in challenging conditions.

Gundel’s powerful critique, her use of the hashtag #PutInATicket (a common response from Dollar General management for employee requests and concerns), and her willingness to speak out despite the potential consequences, resonated deeply with other retail workers. The hashtag became a symbol of solidarity and a rallying cry for change.

Dollar General Responds:

Dollar General, in a statement, acknowledged the concerns expressed by employees and emphasized their commitment to creating a positive work environment. They maintained that they offer multiple channels for employee feedback, including open-door policies and engagement surveys. However, their response did little to appease the growing number of employees who felt unheard or unsupported.

Gundel, despite being fired for her videos, continued to use her platform to connect with other employees and push for better working conditions. She encouraged employees to organize and build a union to advocate for their rights, highlighting the potential power of collective action.

The Future of Worker Activism:

Gundel’s story highlights the transformative power of social media in shaping the modern workplace. Platforms like TikTok have empowered rank-and-file workers to bypass traditional channels and directly engage with fellow employees, customers, and the public. This shift in communication empowers individuals to become advocates and organizers, demanding respect and change.

Gundel’s case, coupled with the successful unionization of an Amazon warehouse on Staten Island, suggests a growing trend of workplace activism. While the success of Gundel’s unionizing effort remains uncertain, her story serves as a powerful reminder that worker voices, amplified by social media, can spark change and drive a larger conversation about the importance of employee rights and fair treatment. As more and more workers find their voices on these platforms, the landscape of the modern workplace is certain to be redefined.

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Megan Roberts
Megan Roberts
Megan Roberts is a career development specialist and writer. She offers valuable insights and advice on job searching, career progression, and professional skills. Megan's articles are aimed at helping individuals navigate the job market and achieve their career goals.