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How The Pandemic is Affecting Commission Workers in Retail

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How has the pandemic changed you? We asked our Wellspent community to share some stories about their spending habits, adjustments to their financials, and mindset in the past few months.


Kamal, Toronto, Ontario

How has your spending changed in the past few months?

I've worked in Toronto’s high-end fashion industry for at least 10 years. Anybody who works in this industry will know that your bread and butter is commission. The commissions I earned factored into my weekly and monthly finances; paying for needs like rent and food but also into wants like keeping up appearances, entertaining friends, and clients.

Staying on top of the latest trends and fashion has landed me in financial trouble more than I’d like to admit, however, my justifications would align with my sales. The more I sold, the more commission I made, and the more justifications I created.

However, my spending opportunities have decreased since the pandemic began, which prompted several self-realizations.

Prior to COVID-19, my daily spending consisted of transportation, coffee, lunch and frivolous (but no regrets) spending on Toronto’s Mink Mile: Bloor Street. Fast forward to COVID-19. I work from home but many of my clients have disappeared. They are not spending, they are afraid for their savings, their families, and all the common uncertainties we are all facing. But here’s the kicker: no clients mean no commission. That is my reality, so I started reflecting on my purchases and realized that my recent decrease in spending had lifted a weight off my shoulders I never knew I carried.

Before Wellsepent, I have always believed I was an impulse buyer but with few regrets.

What surprised you most about your spending pre-pandemic vs. now?

In the last few months, I had to move to a new apartment and realized my current building has yet to construct a mail room area, let alone a concierge to accept parcels. So how can I actually shop online with no one to receive my purchases? The commonality between boredom and spending has also proved itself to me. 

Knowing that bigger expenses would be on the horizon, but also knowing the fashion industry would take a big hit, I had to restructure my spending habits and relied on the Wellspent application for better understanding.

Upon reflecting and reviewing my recent purchases, my spending is beginning to decrease.

Learn more about how Wellspent can help you reflect on your spending

Tell us about your most Wellspent day during the past month. This could be related to time Wellspent, a purchase Wellspent or anything really that brought you joy.

Upon reflecting and reviewing my recent purchases, my spending is beginning to decrease.

Overall, in the last 7 days working from home, I have spent $470 less with only 4% of my purchases being not well spent!

Read more about how to save money using Wellspent

What new thing did you learn/are you learning during the past few months?

Whether we work in luxury fashion, interior design, banks and restaurants, we are all facing the same challenges with COVID-19. Spending habits are changing and we as humans are evolving whether or not we are really paying attention. Ultimately, our common goal is saving and surviving.

I am grateful for Wellspent for providing me with an important lesson: value my spending. I am certain my perspective with spending will be a lot more conscious than before.


This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.