Posts Tagged ‘cashiering’

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.

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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!

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: