Posts Tagged ‘cashier’

That Makes Scents.

February 23, 2012

I answer the phone, and a male voice asks about our fragrances we have available.
“Yes, we do have that scent in stock,” I tell the customer.
“Well, how much do you have?” Their tone is already coming our rude and unkind.
“We currently have a lot in…” I’m cut off.
The customer yells at  me, with a cocky tone, “No. I want to know exactly how many you have!”
“Okay, hold on, I’ll go count.”
“Yes, you do that.”
I wonder why people feel the need to be so rude. I understand the status of anonymity, and the whole trolling around the internet and being jerks thing, but it seems logical that people should learn manners sometimes in their life, right? Anyway, I go and count the mini-size and the full-size bottles we carry, writing everything down just in case I get questioned about fluid ounces, and packaging. As I’m about the lift the phone, the line dies. I know from the tone of the customer, I’m already going to have a call-back.
So I wait patiently by the phone.
No need to be patient. The phone rings within ten seconds.
I answer, and the same rude voice starts to say, “Excuse me, I was cut off!”
I cut the person off, yet again, “We have exactly six of the mini, and twenty-two of the full-sized scent.”
“Good! I’m going to clean you out!” And he hangs up on me. I’m not even slightly bemused by this, as I recite the story, guessing the person will be about 5’7″ and weigh about 180 to 220 pounds from the sound of his voice and the way he talked. We all wait, holding our breath, “Did the scent customer come yet?”

So we wait. We wait for a long time, and I end up at the register and see someone packing the scents on top of the display. I’m in disbelief, it’s an older woman, but otherwise my calculations were correct. Roughly 5’8″ and over 200 pounds. She speaks, and she sounds like a man. “I spoke to you on the phone.” Her tone is no less rude and insulting in person. She asks if the scents are on sale.
My manager is nearby and says, “No, they don’t ever go on sale.”
“Oh, don’t give me that bullshit! I know they go on sale, with that bogo (buy-one-get-one). I’ve bought them for ten years from you guys! Don’t you lie to me, and tell me they don’t go on sale!” She goes on to recite how the other store would always call her and tell her when they were on sale and she’d buy all of their scents.

Later, the manager comes and tells me, “That’s promotion, that’s not sale, they don’t go on sale,” to justify herself.

Customer Types: The Capitalist, Micromanagement

I Only Play a Blond On TV

November 3, 2010

So there were two women, one who very brusquely came to the register digging through the counter saying, “Where are your coupons. I want a coupon. Where are they?” Thankfully, being wise as I am, I already pulled the daily special away and put them in my pocket. I decided it would be incentive to give to customers who aren’t sure they want to buy, and for customers who are kind, nice, and courteous–I mean, good customers really should be thanked. A customer like this would never have gotten a coupon willingly, but I decided, “Hey, she’s blond, acting rude and demanding, maybe she’ll spend some good money.” Not. Anything is farther from the truth.

I tried to help them several times, and finally, after finding their cheapest items possible, one of the blonds arrives at the register without her friend.
“Oh, where is your friend?”
“Are you talking to me?”
I think, “No, I’m just staring directly at you speaking.” I say, “Yes.”
“Oh, I thought you were talking to that thing on your ear.”
I think, “Yes, I ask my coworkers where their friends are all the time, it makes perfect sense.” I say, “I need to press this button here to use it, I can’t just randomly start speaking on it.”
She has no response, perhaps because she can’t process my vocabulary. I mean, I only have a degree in English.
“I was asking where your friend went.”
“Who? What? I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Your friend was just standing outside your fitting room door waiting for you, like two minutes ago.”
“Who are you talking about? What friend?”
I think, “Seriously? You two came in together. She brusquely asked for coupons, and I know more about her than you do?” I say, “You came in together.” Did you look up the word ‘brusquely’ yet?
“Oh, her. I don’t know,” she states flatly, with a rude tone.
At the same time, her friend comes around the corner. I roll my eyes without rolling my eyes. I finish the transaction using the smallest words I could possibly think of, even then, it was a rough transaction. Next, I deal with her friend, which is no picnic. Neither of them were very exciting, but surely, sales, discounts, and promotions bring out the very best customers imaginable. These people make retail exciting, and society move backwards.

Customer Types: Capitalist, The Dumb, Lowered Expectations

Please Swipe Your Card

October 30, 2010

Credit card machines have evolved quickly over the years. Currently, everyone has their version of the swiping machine with a digital pad so you can view your items and total, eventually signing on the same screen. I consider the most advanced being the machines which allows you to swipe whenever you please–there are not a lot of these, as most people ask you to wait before you swipe. Our business uses the one where you wait. Let me compress a single-day’s worth of, “Please swipe your card,” into a single transaction.

I greet the customer. They swipe their card–come on, I haven’t even logged into the system nor taken your clothes yet, calm down! So I tell them it’s not ready yet, I prepare to scan an item, they swipe again! “It’s not ready yet,” I repeat again. They stand there staring at the machine, as if it’s a race–can they swipe it right when they need to? Can they swipe it at the exact second it says to, “Go!” Because, you know, if they are able to do this, their world is full of greatness. Yeah, right, and I”m the Retail Fairy. By this time, they’ve often swiped several times, sighing in some ridiculous relief as if they did it right, and put away their credit cards.

I finally scan in all the items, and I need to select the option for Credit or Debit cards. They’re swiping away, two or three times, as I say, “It’s not… ready yet. It will… tell you when it’s… ready.” Each pause is generally one swipe from the customer, thinking that by swiping it multiple times, the transaction will go by faster. It is like people at a stoplight pressing the button constantly as if that will alert the system, “Oh my, someone is in a hurry! We must change the light faster! Hurry, there must be a life and death emergency!” Actually, it’s people with low intellect stimulating themselves. Anyhow, sometimes I even try to outrace the customer. Can I scan in all the items and press credit, before they can find their card and swipe it? Can I? Can I really? Most of the time I do this, they say, “I didn’t even see the total.” Yes, it’s always lose-lose when you deal with the lost.

Finally, the screen appears, “Please Swipe Your Card.” And they stand there, with their credit card. And what do they ask? What could the possibly ask to make them look any smarter as human beings?

“Do I swipe now?” Seriously? Who in the world taught you to act like a chimpanzee? Most times I just sigh and nod.

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.

Shoplifter: The Legitimate Thief

September 2, 2010

Stealing is stealing. I’m sorry. Yet, some boldfaced people use legitimacy, and some lying, to bend the rules and steal in wholly different ways. As many people know, I don’t like cashiering because I believe cashiers only work to take money away from the store–in the form of discounts–and do not do much to add to the sales, or amount people buy. They are like used-car salesmen trying to sell people what they didn’t know they needed–discounts and credit cards.

A customer comes up, she’s a regular, and up until now, I always thought she was a reasonable shopper. In recent days, I’ve been trapped as a cashier against my will, because people aren’t available to work. She comes up with a leather bag. This is the same leather bag she bought only seven days ago with a huge discount coupon. How do I know? Because I sold her this expensive item thinking, “Wow, she spends money easily.” Well I was wrong.

She was returning the bag, saying she lost the receipt. I looked at her skeptically. I told her we can look up the transaction with the credit card we used, because I was the cashier who helped her and gave her the discount. I told her we needed to be fair. She couldn’t remember what credit card she used. I remembered. This, I pulled up the transaction, and she had saved over fifty-dollars ($50).

What she had ‘attempted’ to do was return the item without a receipt, hoping to get a merchandise credit for the full amount, since the item was still new. She was trying to cheat the system by saying she lost the receipt with the discount, just so she could get $50 more to spend. This, my friends, is a liar and a thief. She just doesn’t think she is. The worse part, if she runs into a novice or unaware cashier, they would have given her the merchandise credit, and she could just say, “The cashier did it, I didn’t do anything wrong!” I also hear she comes in trying this scam all the time. In this case, a cashier did save money for the store. No discounts for you lady, sell crazy someplace else!

Fake Japanese?

August 17, 2010

I have just finished helping a Japanese couple, speaking with the sparse Japanese I do know and understand. I greet the next customer. He’s a 6’3″, 225 pound man who has the look and accent of someone from the Mid-Western United States of America. He says, loudly, “Aye-Ree-Gah-Toe!” I instantly look away, thinking, “Are you serious. Why do I have to deal with these kinds of people?”

I quickly try to do my transaction, as he says random Japanese words he’s heard and can’t pronounce correctly. I speak to him in English, since I’m quite aware I look like a Japanese tourist and can act like a Japanese tourist. I tell him the total, and he proceeds to count, “Nii, San… Nii, San…” Or perhaps it’s, “Nissan, Nissan.” I much prefer the homophone, “Ichi, Nii” which sounds like, “Itchy knee.” Either way, I’m standing there rolling my eyes, since he can’t keep track of counting his counts, while saying “Nii, San.” I’m all but too happy to see him go. Really, why do I get the weirdos?

Customer Type: The Dumb, Lowered Expectations, The Racist,

Sales Report Gone Blonde?

August 16, 2010

At the top of the hour, the manager usually prints a report of the hourly sales, tracking, etc. I’m in the middle of the transaction with two blonds, not fake bleached, but real, and not smart, but real. (Okay, that made me laugh a little.) So, they’re having this conversation, showing the depth of their grammatical comprehension, “Like, I told my friend, you know, like, don’t do that, that’s so stupid, you know.” It’s just empty banter threatening to make my eyeballs collapse into the back of my head.

I hear the manager ask me to print out the sales report on a nearby register, which I do, while still scanning in the items the girls are buying. The slip is hanging from the register, as I continue to scan in the last items. One of the blond girls reaches over, ripping the sales report out, and stands there reading it.

Of course, this makes all my coworkers gasp, and even telling them the story, they all gasp. Yet, I decide with great understanding and clarity, that this girl wouldn’t even know what she’s looking at. After several seconds, I tell her, “Oh, thank you for grabbing that for me.” And she hands it to me as if she’s doing me a favor. Yeah, thanks a lot. You’re FAB! Muah, darling!

Customer Type: Capitalist, The Dumb, Lowered Expectations

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: