Posts Tagged ‘cash’

Can You Speak Slower?

July 12, 2011

A customer approaches the cash register. He’s holding a large pile of clothes, and I ask, simply, “Ready?” Sometimes I can’t tell if people speak English, and he looked quite iffy. He didn’t look at me and walked by my register, then stopped and turned back to face me. “Are you ready?” What comes from his mouth in the next few seconds bewilders me.

He replies, slightly confused and slightly irritated, “Can you speak slower?”
Okay, so I tell myself, he’s just visiting and doesn’t speak English–although normally, people who don’t speak English can’t say, “Can you speak slower,” usually they say, “I don’t understand,” or “No English.”
So I repeat myself, this time, much, much slower, “You ready?”
He casually places his pile down, and replies, “Yes, my wife is still shopping. I’m going to pay now, and wait for her outside.”

Wait, what? Yes, what just happened? So he doesn’t understand, “Are you ready?”, but can spit out an entire on-going sentence about himself and his wife? Yes. So where did he need me to slow down? Was it the are, the you, or the ready?

Some people make no sense at all.

Customer Types: The Deaf, The Dumb, Learn the Language

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English 101: All versus One

November 11, 2010

Hello students, today’s lesson is an easy one, if you can read English. Are you ready? All is everything, all is everyone, all is basically all. One is singular, one is by itself, thus one stands alone. Got that? Good.

A customer comes with an older coupon, which is still good, giving her 25%-off one regular-priced item. I go through the transaction, and she’s buying three items, two are regular-priced and one is sale. We always give the discount for the most expensive regular-priced item. I tell her we actually have a special for today only–40%-off instead of 25%-off. She seems okay with this, but of course, you can never tell with these kinds of people. So I go through the transaction, and she stops me.

“Wait! That’s not right! That’s the same discount I’d get for 25%-off!”
“What?”
“You aren’t giving me any savings, it’s better with 25%-off!”
I blink, and wonder why I”m faced with such utter brilliance on a daily basis. I explain to her there is no way 25% is greater than 40%-off.
“No, it’s not a better discount!”
So I go back and I show her the discount, and I even pull out a calculator to show her the price of 25%-off and 40%-off. Obviously, in any world except for advanced mathematics, you can argue the 40% discount is far better. She’s still yelling at me, getting angry at me.
So I say flatly, “Fine, I’ll do what you want, okay? I was trying to be nice, but I’ll give you the discount you want. 25%-off.”
So I change it, watching the total increase as I showed her several times with the calculator. Then she yells stop again.
“What are you doing?!? Isn’t this for all items?”
I roll my eyes without rolling them. I point at the coupon, I want to say, “It’s printed in English.” At the very top, the first line, “25%-off one regular-priced item.”
“Oh, I thought it said all items.” She gets violent with the credit card machine, swiping it. I tell her to stop, because we have to get back to that screen, as I say, “So I guess the 40%-off is better.” There is silence. “Now you can swipe.” NO apology, just like there was no thank you I even offered to give her a better deal. This was my first customer of the day. Oh, be sure, be quite sure, she helped make the rest of the day FANTASTIC! Utterly fabulous, thanks lady.

Customer Type: The Blind, The Dumb, Learn the Language, Unapologetic

I’m Waiting!

October 25, 2010

No, this definitely is not a restaurant story. Yet, this is a short story. I was standing folding, right next to the register, and from behind me, I hear a woman yell rudely and angrily, “I’m waiting!”

I turn. I feel as if I’ve made someone wait needlessly, since five seconds ago, I didn’t even see a customer. Now, I see a very. very heavy-set woman,  she looks disheveled (read this as her hair as a mess, her make-up bad, and her outfit looking very, very last-minute), and  she has a disappointed face. She’s walking near the registers. In actuality, she hasn’t even reached the register, and she’s still carrying a huge pile of clothes, all jumbled together in a disastrous ball. I assume she was there for about 2 seconds before she screamed oh-so-loudly. By the time I reach the register, she’s just putting her clothes down.

All I can say is, “Wow, you didn’t wait very long before you yelled, did you?” She just looks at me.

Of course, to make this bittersweet, she decides one item is two-dollars ($2) too expensive, so she wants to put it back and get another of a cheaper top. Thus I say to her friend, as she walks away, “Now, she’s making other people wait.” I roll my eyes, watching her walk very, very slowly away.

Customer Type: The Dumb, Lowered Expectations

How a Store Stays Open

October 19, 2010

This might be redundant, but that’s okay, I don’t mind. I, the salesperson, have recently been relegated to the cash registers for most of my shifts. I, in turn, go to sleep and wake up with a sore back and tense irritation. I, now, have to stand tied to the registers, because I can only go so far before I have to run back, saying, “I’ll be right there.” I have to watch my coworkers either selling or not selling, while stuck at my most disliked place in the store.

This is okay on days when I have a strong seller to replace my presence on the sales floor. There are some people who can make massive sales, beyond even my capacity–people who understand how a store stays open. How? Well, we can consider the other people I must watch from my perch. These people are folding, making the store pretty, maintaining sizes, etc. (Sometimes, it’s okay, when the store manager orders it, because whose to disagree with the store manager?) Yet, tied to the register, I try to help people, try to send them to the fitting rooms, try to see how they’re doing. While I hear the folders say, “Yeah, take any room,” while standing by their pile barely giving notice to the customers.

How does a store stay open? Is it because you make everything pretty, does that make people want to buy your merchandise? If you say yes, then never, ever open your own retail store. Ever. It is the act of selling, finding what someone is looking for–even if they don’t know they’re looking for it. It is the act of placing clothes in their hand, being a sales person–what do you think that means? A salesperson is a folder? Yeah, right. I think not. Even if you spend all your time making the store as beautiful and folded as possible, that does nothing.

Customers are here to shop, the purpose of a salesperson is to move the merchandise so you don’t need to fold it anymore. If it’s sold, it can’t be folded. If it’s sold, that’s money in the bank. The longer it remains unsold, the longer we have to keep folding it, and the more money is wasted on rent, pay, etc. I mean seriously, beautiful folding isn’t going to pay a single bill.

What makes it harder for me is the fact I know each sale contributes not only to the store, but to the hours each coworker has to work, each paycheck they get back. And I look at people who are ignoring customers, who have the freedom to speak to every customer, to offer them help, and instead, I see them touching clothes. When I am on the floor, I greet every single customer–rude or not–and you understand why I get so many horrible people, because I actually do talk to everyone. I want everyone to find something, even if they only spend $10, that’s far more than nothing.

I have tension and irritation, because I don’t know what I’m surrounded by anymore. I don’t know if it’s colleagues or competitors, because some people are working real hard to make sure other people have no hours, so the store makes no money, and helps people lose jobs, especially when the economy is already so bad.

Guess Racism Never Dies…

July 25, 2010

It started with an old, white lady walking by me. As I greet her, she suddenly turns and looks away from me; I’m standing barely a foot away. Her husband does likewise. I shake my head, thinking, “More of these people?” I decide to test it out, so I call another Caucasian coworker to go greet the old lady. My coworker is several feet away from the woman and before she can even finish saying hello, and the woman turns towards her, “Oh, hello, I have some questions for you!” The old woman rushes up to her and asks her questions for a few minutes.

Afterward, I go to the girl saying, “I knew that would happen. What is wrong with these people? Am I supposed to be mowing their lawn or cleaning their pool? Am I supposed to be their manual labor around the house?” She tries to argue, as she does, that the woman has questions just for females, which makes so much sense why she tried so hard to ignore me.

I’m walking away and I see the old woman in the fitting room waving at her husband who is nearby. I decide to be a nice person, and I try to tell him, “Your wife is…
Cutting me off, he puts his hand in my face, saying, “Yes, yes! I already know!”
No, you don’t know, you old pile of garbage. What am I, offering you some discounts? “Excuse me? Your wife is trying to get your attention.”
He doesn’t even say more than, “Oh,” and turns and walks away from me. As you can suspect, I no longer exist.

I tell the same coworker what just happened, and her reply is, “Really? Wow.” Yeah, really, some people’s money shouldn’t be added to my paychecks, it’s an insult. Needless to say, when they arrived at the registers, as I was the only cashier, I was nowhere to be found. So someone else had to appear to help them. I really didn’t want to touch their money, it would disgust me far too much.

Customer Types: Capitalist, The Hand, Modern Slave-Owner, The Racist, Sexual Discriminator, Unapologetic

Socratic Retail Method

July 11, 2010

Introduction
Mentor: Tell me, when you work in retail, where do your paychecks come from?
Pupil: Your employer?
Mentor: Yes, but where do they get the money to pay you?
Pupil: Hmm. They get money from money they make?
Mentor: Very good. How do they make this money?
Pupil: By selling the product they carry.
Mentor: What if they do not make money selling goods?
Pupil: Then they have no money to pay their employees. But if they make a lot of money, where does that go?
Mentor: Ah, you are getting ahead of yourself, my pupil. It is true, if they make more money, one thing they can do is hire more workers.
Pupil: Why?
Mentor: The more money they make generally means they need more help to produce–more people to unpack and replenish clothing, more salespeople to sell, and more cashiers to take the money.
Pupil: Oh, I see.
Mentor: Although each aspect is important, what part do you think is more critical? The replenishment, the salespeople, or the cashiers?

Cashiers
Pupil: The cashiers.
Mentor: Truly?
Pupil: No?
Mentor: What do cashiers do?
Pupil: They take money from the customers, and this money is used to pay the workers.
Mentor: What influence do cashiers have upon the customers?
Pupil: They take the money.
Mentor: Do they help customers find products or fill their needs? Do they help build the sales?
Pupil: No, I do not think so.
Mentor: Although there are very skilled cashiers who can add-on to sales, and generally, they do not directly interact with more than one customer at a time. They cannot multitask multiple customers at once.
Pupil: This is true. Do they not also offer discounts and coupons which also decrease the amount of money made?
Mentor: Very good, you have kept up with your studies. Cashiers have the duty and responsibility to lower the amount customers spend, thus lowering the total profits. This done multiple times, through many transactions can have an overwhelming effect on total profits–imagine if they gave 15% off all transactions. Cashiers have an important role at the end of the process, because without them, we could not complete transactions, but they are not most critical to the success of selling.

Stock
Pupil: What of the stock-people, they are the beginning of the story, without them the product cannot even be found.
Mentor: Yes, they are important. They unpack the clothing, preparing it for the floor. They replenish the clothing when it gets low. Without them, supplies run low. But how do they directly influence the customers?
Pupil: I do not know.
Mentor: Even with a fully stocked table, that does not directly entice a customer to buy anything. It is like a piece of art in a museum to look at, but you need someone there to guide you through the painting, to understand what you are looking at.

Salespeople
Pupil: So the salespeople are important?
Mentor: In retail, which people often receive commission as a part of their job: the salespeople, the stock-people or the cashiers?
Pupil: The salespeople.
Mentor: Why?
Pupil: Because they directly interact with the customers, helping them to find product they are interested in, building outfits and adding-on product before the customer gets to the cashier. And many salespeople are skilled at multitasking multiple customers at one time.
Mentor: Very good. Customers have already made a majority of their buying decisions before they even reach the cashiers. And with discounts, coupons, and other additions, which subtract from the total sale, cashiers have less impact on increasing sales compared to salespeople.
Pupil: And salespeople can ask stock-people to help find product that is missing on the sales floor.
Mentor: Yes.
Pupil: Do salespeople receive credit for these actions?
Mentor: In some businesses, they do receive commission. Or they receive acknowledgment for their sales above and beyond the normal. The salespeople work hard get to know customers, to add-on sales, to bring profits directly into the store so the cashiers, the stock people and other salespeople can be paid for their labor. They can directly influence a customer that is ‘just looking’ into someone who ‘spent more than they expected’. They directly help customers that don’t know what they are looking for. They help customers find the perfect gift for a loved one, and something extra for the customer, too. They bring additional value to each customer that makes a purchase.

Query 1
Pupil: But is there not businesses that only recognize cashiers for giving discounts to customers? They receive acknowledgment for lowering the store’s profits. Why don’t the salespeople get acknowledgment for building the sale which got the customer to the cashier?
Mentor: If you were a salesperson who worked hard, building up a sale, getting to know a customer and making sure they left happy, how would you feel if you were dismissed and forgotten, and a cashier is recognized for signing someone up for a credit card and giving them a discount off of your hard work?
Pupil: I would be saddened and demoralized. I would feel like my work isn’t worth anything. Why do cashiers get recognition for every credit card they get, but salespeople do not get recognized for every single sale they make? They are the ones helping fill people’s paychecks and keeping them employed!
Mentor: Calm yourself, my pupil.
Pupil: I am calm. It just doesn’t make sense. It is illogical.

Query 2
Mentor: What happens when a cashier is processing a card or giving additional discounts that take a long time to process?
Pupil: Salespeople are asked to cashier? They must back-up the registers.
Mentor: Yes, and what happens to the customers that are ‘still looking’ or need help finding products?
Pupil: They are left ignored and forgotten? So the sales floor is left empty, while everyone is at the cash registers, customers are left with no one to help them…
Mentor: Yes, go on. What happens?
Pupil: So the remaining customers will buy less?
Mentor: And many may leave because they did not receive ‘customer service’, all the while this happens, all the additional manpower is taken to the cash registers for the sake of giving an additional discount.
Pupil: And the ripple of one discount means less money for the store… And by the time the line of buying customers is gone, there are no customers left in the store who need help, because they are not going to wait for a salesperson that isn’t there when they needed help.
Mentor: Yes. But if people are only given credit and recognition for giving discounts, and signing up credit cards, and no recognition is given for making sales, would not all the effort go towards the cashiers? And effort towards selling would diminish.
Pupil: Why would any business do this? They would be choking the life out of their own sales. It would be like Ouroboros, the dragon who swallows his own tail. A business like that cannot hope to be successful.
Mentor: What business would be successful?
Pupil: One that prioritizes selling. One that emphasizes and recognizes salespeople as critical and crucial to the life of the store. A business that knows and understands selling and the skill of adding to sales is more important than giving discounts.
Mentor: Very good. That is why we went through this exercise. Hopefully you understand a little more about selling now.

Mentor:
Pupil:

You Don’t Work Here!

July 5, 2010

In my ears, I hear young people, teenagers, they are laughing. One of them audibly shouts, “You don’t work here!” They start laughing. I turn a corner to find them at a table of clothes, turning it upside down, and literally tossing it and flipping them around, while laughing. “It doesn’t matter, you don’t work here! You don’t need to clean it up.” All three of them are laughing. One of them, the one without his back turned towards me, looks at me and sees my gaze; it was more of a glare I use to melt ice in the winter. It is enough to stop his laughter and make him turn away suddenly. I walk away, and the laughter has ended by the time I walk by a second time.

One of them ends up in the fitting room, and I make sure to recite the story loudly in front of her room. My coworker gasps, insulted and hurt, saying who would say such a thing? What kind of people are like this? I tell her that’s just how society is raised, to insult and degrade each other whenever they can. People have no respect for each other and treat each other like dirt whenever they can. A vast majority are unevolved, and perpetuate this form of society, degrading people whenever they can.

Soon after, the girl came out of the fitting room, and bought everything she tried on. I made sure to pass the register and give her friend the same look he saw earlier.

Customer Types: Capitalist, The Dumb, Modern-Slave Owner, Unapologetic

Shoplifter: They Got Away

June 13, 2010

Yes, last night, they got away. It was one of the rare times I wasn’t patrolling the front, like a hawk scavenging for food. I rarely see these shoplifters come in. I’ve seen them in the mall, but I usually just stand there with my hands on my hips and they turn around.

This night, I was checking the cash register, since I was in the back, and I have often been relegated to back-up the register. Then, I see one of them. They have the entire look of a shoplifter, so I walk towards her. The moment she sees me, she clutches her large bag tightly under her arm, and I duck behind a pillar–noticing she tries to hide the fact she’s seen me. In the Fountainhead, Dominique says Roark, “When you first meet someone, you reveal everything about yourself by your reaction. In turn, the other reveals everything by their reaction to your reaction.” (Or something like that, I haven’t read the book for a decade.) Thus, I always use a shoplifter’s first reaction to give away if they are or aren’t one. It’s like of like being shocked by static, even if you try hard, most people give it away.

So I hide behind the pillar, and I watch her looking for me–I disappeared into thin air. She is obviously not trained in ‘the mirror’ arts. But, I know there is another somewhere, and as I’m looking, I see the other appear near the mirror–because our boxers are arranged there. I swear at myself knowing they already stole from us. Yet, I’m still unseen. I just know the first woman gave the signal that someone was coming, so the second left. Amusingly, the last one, a man, stuck around at our scents–probably interested in stealing some cologne.

As I walk by him, I make sure he can hear my walkie-talkie conversation, “One of them is right here, so if you can watch, I’ll take a look if there is another.” As I say that, a co-worker tells me, “No, he just left out the front door.” So I walk up to the door, and I see him looking around with the “where did they go?” face. Obviously, I know where they went, so I yell out to him, “They went towards the chocolate store!” Sadly, he did not thank me for my help. But, now he knows I know. I’ll have something interesting planned next time.

I still want to do the 3-point fade-away shot with a sensor in their bag, so they can beep everywhere.

Under Denim Pants

June 2, 2010

I’m at the cash register and a woman is doing the ‘help-me dance’ right behind another customer–which is generally rapid back and forth movements right behind someone else, while ignoring the line and staring at me, waiting for eye-contact. So I lean forward and ask, “Do you need help?”

“Yes. I put something on hold.”
So I call over a coworker, while asking her, “What name is it under?”
“Denim pants.”
The guy comes up to me, and I tell him there is a hold, so he asks, “What name?”
“Denim pants.” The guy looks at me skeptically, so I turn toward the woman, and ask again, “Right? That’s the name it’s under?”
“Yes, denim pants.”
“Yes, denim pants,” I reply, “Go look.” I hear other co-workers nearby snickering, as I ask again, “Did you find it under Denim Pants?”

Eventually, he just finds her denim pants for her, and I tell him, “See, I don’t make this stuff up.”

Customer Types: The Deaf, The Dumb

The Art of War in Retail: The Opposition

May 28, 2010

Chapter 5
The Generals- The primary opposition is other Generals who lead their armies–cold cash, credit cards, and debit cards–into battle against your armies of clothes. It is critical that you use all your tactics and your terrain to your advantage. Your troops must be well folded, sized, and prepared for battle. Some Generals are easier to defeat, but some will cut up and defeat entire battalions of Soldiers–it is up to you to distract and move these Generals into new battlefields against Soldiers who can take more damage. Your primary goal is to take as few losses as possible before you capture their army of money–thus the greatest sales Generals engage in direct contact.

The Champions- These are key Generals, ones you can automatically notice as they walk into the battlefield. Some of these Champions have huge armies, with a fat wallet lined with designer accessories–they will buy up handfuls of clothes. Some of these Champions used the dirtiest tactics to defeat as many of your soldiers as they can, with as little damage to their armies as possible–these people search for super sales. Champions are often seen on the same battlefield many times, and many sales Generals can point them out in battle. The very worst Champions are the ones who come the most, and bring devastation in their wake, time and time again. These bad Champions confuse multiple sales Generals, destroy entire battlefields, and wreak havoc on the self-esteem and psyche of all who challenge them.

Siege or Parlay? Yet, even in this, there are some Generals and Champions that only come for parlay, they wish no siege, no prolonged wars. Some Generals will come with organized battle in mind–often called a shopping list–willing to trade equally in their army with your army. They are like Valkyries of Valhalla, taking your Soldiers to a better place, with the honorable death of battle on their breath.

The Opposition must be known and understood. Often, the best advice is to put yourself in their shoes, even if they rarely ever place themselves in your shoes. If you understand the Opposition, you can understand your place in the battlefield even better.