Hot Topic Workers Leave Note for Customers After Walkout: 'Cannot Do This'

Employees at a Hot Topic store in Minnesota have gone viral online after leaving a blunt note explaining that the store would be closed following a complete staff walkout.

The note placed on the closed "pop culture inspired" teen store in Apache Mall in Rochester was shared to Facebook on November 5. The image quickly spread across social media over the weekend, gaining over 62,000 votes on Reddit and over 349,000 likes on Twitter.

"Closed. Almost all of our staff walked out due to the inability of the Hot Topic company to support and give a living wage. We cannot support ourselves and our families. We have worked so hard and cannot do this any longer. You cannot pay your workers in passion. Sorry for the inconvenience," read the note.

According to KROC News, the note was replaced soon after with another one simply reading: "Temporarily closed. We apologize for the inconvenience."

Despite being replaced, the original note gained attention of many online, as workers spoke about the walkout to the media.

"We're getting just an outpour, an insane outpour of international support. It's all across the world, basically it's insane. And we really appreciate it, it means the absolute world to us, especially those of us who had an especially hard time," current employee Sarah Sailors and former employee Elle Driskell Felts, who quit before the walkout, told ABC 6 News.

Workers issued a statement to ABC 6 reading: "Hot Topic on the outside looks like a progressive and well-put-together career for employees like us. The pandemic opened our eyes to how clearly horrible the conditions were for our staff. For those struggling to get food on the table and working yourself to the bone to be able to have a home to come back to, now is our chance to fight for respect and the right to a living wage."

The note comes at a time when the retail industry is struggling to retain employees in the midst of a national staff shortage. According to data, people in customer-facing roles are quitting at far higher rates than in other industries. Recent labor department data showed hotel, food service and retail jobs quit at a higher rate than the record national rate in August, when 4.3 million people quit their jobs. Retail workers made up 721,000 of those who quit.

According to research by Black Box Intelligence and Snagajob, restaurant employees cited low wages, child care, mental health and opportunities in other industries as the main reasons for quitting.

Companies across the U.S. have been raising wages, offering bonuses and other perks to their employees in bids to hire and keep their staff.

Newsweek has contacted Hot Topic and Apache Mall for comment.

Mall in Virginia suburb
Shoppers packed into Tysons Corner Center, a mall in suburban Washington, D.C, on Christmas Eve on December 24, 2008 in McLean, Virginia. Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images