02/07/2015 02:13 EST | Updated 02/07/2015 02:59 EST

Target Employees Face Wrath Of Bargain-Hunting Shoppers

Shoppers hoping to get a sweet deal out of Target Canada's liquidation sales are metaphorically kicking employees while they're down.

Bargain hunters have been so ruthless in their pursuit of discounts that store workers have been to driven to tears and even anxiety attacks, an employee told the Ottawa Citizen.

Bill Cox told the newspaper in a letter that customers, after finding out how little they were saving, would “just dump the cart wherever they are in the store, make a few lewd, hurtful comments as toward their disgust, and walk out."

That behaviour could have something to do with the letdown that comes from weaker-than-expected discount rates, according to Robin Ritchie, associate professor of marketing at Carleton University. Store signs said customers would get discounts of up to 30 per cent off, according to the Canadian Press, but shoppers found that mostly translated to price cuts between 10 and 20 per cent.

“When we go to a Target store, when a liquidation is on, it’s not because we need something,” Ritchie told the Citizen.

“It’s because we expect a deal, we expect potentially to have to fight for that deal, and it’s a very different mindset that we go into the store with.”

But while most retail stores have plenty of staff to deal with that fighting, Target has had a high rate of no-shows, according to the CBC.

"Stores have experienced a spike in unjustified absences," states an operational update obtained by the broadcaster. It also said that employees calling in sick must bring a doctor's note "to justify their absence."

"People have been calling [in sick] because there’s really a lack of motivation. You’re losing your job in a certain amount of time and there’s no severance, there’s no taking care of you," an employee told CBC.

Staff members that do show up are being swamped with extra deliveries from warehouses, CBC reports.

"These guys are just trying to work you like a dog and sending all this freight. There’s just really nasty morale," the employee said.

More than 17,000 employees will lose their jobs as a result of Target's closure.

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