Target employees say they are overworked and dreading the arrival of drive-up returns: ‘Somebody is going to get hurt or killed doing this.’

  • Target said last week that a new option for drive-up returns would roll out to stores nationwide this year.
  • On social media and in interviews, Target workers expressed concerns about the additional work and potential complications.
  • “Guest service and drive-up are already overloaded with work,” one employee in Illinois told Insider.

Target’s new plan to allow returns of some items from the drive-up lanes is raising concerns among store workers.

After last week’s announcement that drive-up returns would be rolling out to Target stores across the country starting this spring, workers took to social media to share their reservations about how it would work.

“This is going to blow up in Target’s face. I guarantee it,” one Reddit user commented. “Somebody is going to get hurt or killed doing this.”

Representatives from Target did not respond to Insider’s request for comment on this story.

Adam Ryan, a backroom worker in Virginia and organizer with Target Workers Unite, told Insider the move will “make the job even more difficult and tedious,” and doesn’t come with additional pay.

“We just don’t have enough staff to do these things properly,” Ryan added, pointing out that drive-up orders are given a fairly short window of time to be fulfilled.

A drive-up worker in Illinois told Insider her store is one of the top selling locations in the district, but has not yet received training or guidance about how the new returns process will unfold.

“I was confused as to how it would work,” she said. “My first thought is that drive up returns could put team members in danger and could make them more susceptible to fall victim to scams.”

She also said that her team frequently has to call for assistance from other departments, and that the lanes stay open even in cases of severe weather.

In its documentation about the program, Target says that only orders associated with a Target Circle membership will be eligible for the feature, and that certain products may still require a shopper to go inside to the service desk.

Some Reddit users who said they worked at a pilot location for the concept were less concerned, saying that drive-up returns were done relatively infrequently, were processed and pre-approved in the app, and involved no handling of cash or physical gift cards.

Target appears ready to press ahead with the initiative as it expands on its stores-as-hubs model for digital order fulfillment.

Retailers process an estimated $500 billion in returns each year, and the costs of e-commerce returns are growing as more people order online and in apps. Making it easier for customers to bring unwanted stuff back will cut the cost of returns that are shipped, a number the company says is “meaningful.”

If you are a Target worker who would like to share your perspective, please get in touch with Dominick via email.