Big Lots Celebrates Employees, Raises Money for Pandemic Relief

The retailer is among others offering more worker pay
Food retail workers are attracting more praise.

In one of the latest pandemic responses by food retailers, Big Lots Inc. has combined praise for its employees with a push to direct more money to healthcare workers who are treating COVID-19 patients and trying to stem the spread of the virus.

The deep-discount retailer this week announced a new TV ad campaign tied to pandemic relief and the essential and often exhausting work being done by its retail workforce. Called “Big Responsibility,” the 30-second ad is designed to celebrate the work of Big Lot associates and highlight the retailer’s important role during this time of social distancing and public health concerns by, the company said, showing “how associates are doing little things, like frequently cleaning surfaces, using register shields and keeping shelves stocked, so communities can get back to the big things.”

A cover version of the 1969 Jackie DeShannon chart topper “Put a Little Love in your Heart” serves as the soundtrack for the advertisement. The track used in the new Big Lots ad comes from singer-songwriter duo Dominique & Redah, and 25% of the income they earn from the use of this recording will be donated to COVID-19 healthcare workers.

Like Albertsons, Meijer and other food retailers, Big Lots has offered new employees rewards during this pandemic. “Our associates have also been working tirelessly to keep our shelves stocked with must-have items like non-perishable food, over-the-counter medicine, cleaning supplies, toiletries, water and more,” said  Becky Ziegler, VP of marketing-creative for Big Lots. “They have evolved so quickly to help meet consumer needs during this time such as introducing curbside pickup in a matter of days, implementing more and more rigorous cleaning protocols and enforcing social distancing in stores.”

Big Lots has bumped up pay for employees during the pandemic, which has created acute labor shortages for grocers and other businesses, to say nothing of concerns about the safety of those workers as they come into contact with dozens or hundreds of other people during each shift. Big Lots has increased store associate pay by $2 per hour and has also offered bonuses and store discounts to employees. “In addition, our senior executive team is donating a portion of their salaries over 90 days to our Employee Assistance Fund designed to help any of our associates who are in need,” Ziegler said.

That’s not the only move that Big Lots has made to help ease the pains of the outbreak. Ziegler said the retailer offers 15% discounts to first responders, medicals professions, military members and veterans.

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