You Can Now Bother Underpaid Kohl's Workers With Your Amazon Regrets

Illustration for article titled You Can Now Bother Underpaid Kohl's Workers With Your Amazon Regrets
Screenshot: YouTube

Kohl’s announced this morning that it will start accepting Amazon returns at all 1,150 of its stores starting in July. There’s no extra charge for the service.


Kohl’s and Amazon started experimenting with a collaboration on brick-and-mortar returns back in 2017, allowing customers to take back items purchased on Amazon even if those items were already out of their Amazon shipping boxes. But that trial was limited to roughly 100 stores in the Los Angeles, Chicago, and Milwaukee areas. By this summer, every Kohl’s will accept Amazon returns.

Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass explained in a press release that the partnership with Amazon, called Amazon Returns, is “delivering innovation,” and perhaps more importantly, driving traffic to Kohl’s stores.

“We are thrilled to bring Amazon Returns at Kohl’s to all of our stores across the country,” Gass said. “Amazon and Kohl’s have a shared passion in providing outstanding customer service, and this unique partnership combines Kohl’s strong nationwide store footprint and omnichannel capabilities with Amazon’s reach and customer loyalty.”

The announcement from Kohl’s is careful to note that the company will only accept “eligible” returns, which means that you can’t return things you bought on Amazon from a third-party. If your item was sent from an Amazon warehouse, you’re probably safe to return it, but you have to double-check by heading to the Amazon Returns Center online, a Kohl’s spokesperson told Gizmodo over email. Gizmodo has reached out to Amazon for further clarification but did not immediately get a response.

Kohl’s started carrying Amazon products in over 200 stores last month, including the Amazon Fire tablet, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, the Echo Dot, and the Echo Show. That trial has not been expanded.

Kohl’s introduced some special reserved parking spots for Amazon Returns customers who wanted to drop off their items quickly, but it’s not clear whether Kohl’s will introduce that feature to all of its stores.


But Kohl’s and Amazon seem like a match made in heaven. Aside from underpaying their workers, both companies are also fighting unionization efforts at every turn. The average Kohl’s cashier makes just under $9 per hour, hardly enough to live on. The average Amazon warehouse employee is making $13 an hour [Update: Amazon says it’s $15 per hour], and while that’s better than Kohl’s, it’s not a living wage.

The lesson: If you’re going to use Amazon’s return service at Kohl’s, don’t be a dick about it. Workers are already underpaid and will now be taking on more work to make your life easier. It’s a good rule of thumb to not be an asshole to workers in general, but we can all use a reminder sometimes.


Update, 1:47pm ET: An Amazon spokesperson emailed Gizmodo to dispute that the average Amazon worker makes $13 per hour. That figure is from Glassdoor, but Amazon insists that the average warehouse worker makes over $15, with some caveats. You can read the full statement from Amazon below.

The average hourly wage for a full-time associate in our U.S. fulfillment centers, including cash, stock, and incentive bonuses, is over $15 an hour. In addition to great pay, both full and part-time jobs at Amazon offer a comprehensive benefits package with various options for employees. Full-time employees receive a full benefits package, starting on day one, that includes health, vision and dental insurance, retirement, stock, generous parental leave, and skills training for in-demand jobs through our Career Choice program, which has over 16,000 participants. We encourage anyone to compare Amazon’s pay and benefits to other retailers. We provide safe and positive working conditions, and encourage anyone to come see for themselves by taking a tour at one of our fulfillment centers.


Matt Novak is a senior writer at Gizmodo and founder of He's writing a book about the movies U.S. presidents watched at the White House, Camp David, and on Air Force One.


Beats By Ray

I absolutely cannot wait to see how largely management fucks up communicating this with us Customer Service Associates. I don’t have a problem with the policy, fuck it, we all work for Amazon now anyway. But I cannot WAIT to tell somebody their purchase doesn’t qualify and have them lose their shit on me.