Local employees view WJ students in a disturbing light

Charlie Landis

More stories from Charlie Landis

Matthew Ashman

More stories from Matthew Ashman

It’s 11:20 a.m. at Giant. Groups of teenagers with backpacks crowd the store. The checkout lines are extending into the isles and employees are trying their hardest to keep up with everyone. There are similar scenes at Chipotle, Subway, Flippin’ Pizza and other close businesses. The recent announcement regarding student behavior at Giant compels the question: what kind of effect do WJ students have on the employees of businesses in our immediate area and how are they perceived?

Table display of incidents and average rating by store.

A survey was conducted of 22 current employees at businesses surrounding WJ including Giant, Subway, Flippin Pizza, Chipotle, GongCha/Poki DC, Designer Shoe Warehouse, Balduccis, Fish Taco and Starbucks.
Thirty percent of the employees have only worked for one year or less while 30% worked for over 10 years, the longest being Joanne who has worked at Giant for 35 years. On average though, Georgetown Square employees have worked for a total of 2¼ years. This creates a massive disparity in most of the local workforce between the majority of workers who have been working for only a few years and the minority who have been working for more than five years. This difference in demographic ended up affecting the final data in the rankings of students.

Graph showing the ratings of students versus their length of employment

Another question was about the quantity of students that the employees saw each day. Most establishments recalled seeing about 40 students at lunch each day, while multiple Giant workers said they could’ve seen up to 150. An employee from Giant shared that he goes upstairs during the lunch rush with the intention to get away from students. Another Giant employee mentioned that the number of students in the isles has the potential to be a fire hazard.
The last set of questions sought to show how the employees viewed students. On a scale of one to 10, how would you rate WJ students? At first, some were skeptical of the question and asked if the rating was for the group as a whole or individual people. The reaction was the same: it depends. The majority of responses we received were 5s and 6s which is likely because the employees witness both politeness and rudeness on a daily basis.

The students who shoplift, start fights, or just act rudely to the employees are the ones most often heard about.

[A student] ate half of a donut and left it on the ground in front of him.”

— Giant employee Craig

Angelina, a Starbucks employee, mentioned issues involving students such as keying the bathroom dryer, stealing mobile orders and “just being loud and making people uncomfortable.”
In spite of this, most employees made a point to say that the majority of students are just fine and most employees interviewed didn’t have any real incidents to report.
“Kids will always be kids,” said Abel M, another Giant employee. “And there’s nothing wrong with that.”

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