Posts Tagged ‘clothes’

Whereabouts Are These?

July 8, 2010

I greet a woman, telling her about our sales and promotions. She bends over to look at a pile of denim. She picks up one of these denim, from this pile. She stands there and looks at it for a moment, considering who knows what. Then, she turns to me, showing me the denim, and asks, “Whereabouts are these?”
I look at her curiously, thinking she’s asking me a trick question. But I sense no comedy in her tone, so I tell her, “Uh, it’s right here, you’re looking at them right now.” I pat the pile of denim ‘whereabouts’ she lifted it from.
She looks at me, expressionless, putting the pants down, and walks away.
What just happened?

Customer Type: The Blind, Capitalist, The Dumb, Guessing Game

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Not Sale

July 7, 2010

One day, during a major Holiday sale. We were overwhelmed by the sheer number of sale-mongers that came out of their anti-social chamber-caves to shop. The entire store was turned upside-down, shook around, and left a disaster. I work quickly and efficiently to try and maintain order; I consider it a game. Can I put clothes out faster than customers can try it on and destroy it? On days like this, I have no chance.

So I’m holding a large pile of folded clothes, and I have to put some away. The only open space is this huge table which was once full of clothes, which are now in nasty piles, falling on the floor. I place the pile down quickly, assuming I have about five seconds time to put the sale items on this table; the rest of the clothes is full-priced waiting for relatively untouched homes.

Immediately, two or three hands reach out and start to fumble through my beautifully folded pile. I yell, “There aren’t sale items, they are full-priced!” In a matter of moments, the hands disappear, the clothes falls back down, and the monsters disappear, looking for weaker, cheaper prey to devour. Moments like these teach you something about sale-mongers, and how to control them better.

Customer Types: Capitalist, Lowered Expectations, Piggies

Trying Hard to Be Mad

July 6, 2010

I’m folding, while nearby an angry, red-faced wife is trying to control her young son and daughter, who are jumping around, yelling and screaming. Her husband and mother (or mother-in-law) comes up to her saying what great deals they just got.
The husband comes up showing her a bag full of clothes, “Wow, honey, we had such a great deal!” He lifts up his son, and the daughter runs to the grandmother.
“Well, how much did you spend?” The wife asks flatly, unimpressed.
“It was under $40 for the whole lot,” the older woman replies.
The wife looks perturbed, “Well what did you get?”
“Those shirts we showed you, they were only five bucks! We got several of them in all.”
“Yeah, it was unbelievable, you have to check it out!” He tries to point out some clothes to her.
She sighs, asking angrily, “Did you even get a good color? You didn’t get a good color, did you?”
He shows her some of the colors. She looks at them and just shakes her head.
Again, unimpressed, she says, “They didn’t even have black or gray in your size?”
“Yes, they did,” he pulls them out to show her, “All of them were under $5.”
She rolls her eyes, “Oh, whatever, let’s just go.”
The husband tries to show her some of the good deals, and she turns around leaving the store.
“Honey! Where are you going?”
“We’re leaving, now!”

Gosh, she’s so lovable, I can see why he fell for her.

Customer Types: Big Baby, Guessing Game, Lowered Expectations, Unapologetic

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

Making a Boner

June 24, 2010

Each Christmas season I’ve worked at my store, I’ve seen some rather interesting characters pop-up out of the shadows of the retail dungeon. From guys with their butt-cracks showing to turtle-turtle boys, but there was one guy who comes to mind recently, becauseĀ  of all the language barriers I’ve seen.

Mind you, he was recommended by a coworker who probably rues the day he did any such thing as bring this guy to work with us. He was a very strange man. When standing in the fitting room, and people would enter with a handful of clothes, he’d welcome them saying, “Can I help you with anything?” Not, “Do you need a room,” or “I have a perfect room for you.” He’d often get the reply, “Um, I need a room?”

He had a particular smell about him, like unwashed body odor. One moment I remember best is when he was sweaty, very sweaty, and he was also holding a pile of clothes. Do you think he put the clothes down to wipe his face? Oh, no, no, perish forbid the thought! He just plopped his face down into the shirts and rubbed his face in them. Refreshed, he was able to continue putting out his clothes. Wonderful!

Of all the weird, absentminded things he did, not including having a loud, verbal political argument about our current President in the middle of the sales floor with customers; there was a time customers from Tahiti came in. Yes, they are known as a part of French Polynesia, where French colonizers washed over and left many of them with the national language of French. They entered the store, greeted by him, and he asks where they are visiting from, “Tahiti.” Oh, they would also rue the day they revealed that fact. “Ah, bon jour, bon jour,” he started to pull out his French vocabulary, which sounded mostly like things you pick up watching French movies and listening to a certain song including, “Couche avec moi?”

As he followed them around, mostly unwillingly on the customers part, he kept speaking in this version of French, and they would routinely yell at him, “We don’t speak French! Leave us alone!” This continued, until the women said, “Okay, this is enough, let’s just leave.” As they left, he went right up to the doors, waving and yelling at them, “Au revoir! Au revoir!” And I could hear the women screaming at him, “You asshole, we don’t speak French!”

Shoplifter: Too Good To Be A Shoplifter

June 10, 2010

There is one guy who always comes in, no one suspects him to be a shoplifter. He actually dresses nicely, is clean-cut, and acts politely–if you consider ‘ignoring salespeople who trying to help you’ as polite. Yet, he has many of the traits of a shoplifter.

He comes in with a large, empty shopping bag from other prominent retail stores–I walk by and glance inside just after he passes me. I also use mirrors to my advantage, never underestimate mirrors–shoplifters watch you and you can watch them. As much as he tries not to, he pays too much attention to the salespeople. Simple glances say too much, when glances usually mean you need help–as I said, he ignores people who try to help him; so obviously he isn’t looking to us for help. Then, he goes to corners where no one can see him, and stands there. He never shops out in the open. Everyone says he doesn’t look like a shoplifter, but once you know how they act–you know he acts like a shoplifter.

One day, I was watching him casually grabbing clothes making a pretty large stack. I usually look away as he turns toward me, because if you are a good shoplifter you don’t get caught watching salespeople–that’s a freebie for you shoplifters! If he ever caught me watching, he wouldn’t try to steal–and that’s half the fun, right? He casually places the clothes at the base of a mannequin, which no one notices. I even ask a coworker to get the clothes, and they walk right by it. Eventually, I point it out to her when he isn’t looking, and she grabs it, asking loudly, “Is this anyone’s clothes? Anyone? If it is, I’m putting it at the cash register for you on hold, okay?” He’s standing right there, walking in a circle around the mannequin, but he says nothing. He just puts down the clothes he’s holding, and casually walks out.

From that point on, I have never taken my eyes off of him. I am disappointed whenever he comes in wearing our clothes like a trophy, because I have never seen him buy anything, nor has anyone else in my store. Of course, I can’t work 24/7. He never, ever leaves with clothing when I’m at work. What worries me more is the fact I see him sitting with other guys at a coffee shop in the mall. Are they part of a shoplifter’s guild?

Shoplifter: You Can Just Close The Doors

June 7, 2010

I’m learning the code-words of my coworkers who don’t use the general terms. Normally I hear, “Do you need back-up?” which means, “Do you need help at the register?” Recently, I’ve heard, “Do you need help?” The first time I heard this, I ignored it, but later found out it was one coworker’s way of saying, “There are shoplifters!” Normally, we say something like, “Our friends are back!” Tonight, I heard the same statement, “Do you need help up there?” At first, I ignored it, then I realize this might be a signal.

I step out into the front, and there I see the two drag-queens and two coworkers standing there watching the shoplifters rifling through piles of clothes. I actually don’t know what’s going on, since my coworkers aren’t doing anything–I later found out they froze and didn’t know what to do. Plus, they said they haven’t been that close or seen how scary these drag-queens are. I’ve seen the big one dressed as a man, and trust me, the drag version is far less scary.

I came in whispering to one coworker, “Yay, this is going to be fun! I haven’t seen them in a while!” And I shout to the other coworker, “You know, you can just close the doors!”

The larger drag-queen stands up and looks at me, turning to the other one, “Let’s go!” They both get up and leave. I’m a little surprised I have that influence, since I know they were there a while already. I actually do have more enjoyment playing mind-games with the professionals. Games like “Peek-a-boo, I see you!” and “Hide-and-Go-Seek!” are so much fun. I actually want to throw a sensor in their bags when I pass by them for my amusement. And I cannot wait to cover my eyes and say, “Okay, go! I can’t see you!” Then open my eyes, “Oh, I can see you now!” while laughing like a madman.

The Art of War in Retail: Tactics- Good, Better, Best

May 30, 2010

Chapter 6
As with any battle, you can make decisions and choices which have an impact on your plan of attack–we can call it good, better, and best. A good attack is taking the Opposition by surprise. A better tactic is to do so under the cover of night. The best strategy would be doing so from higher ground.

Salesfloor- I say, on the battlefield, bad tactics involve ignoring the Opposition, allowing them to devastate your battlefield and your troops without mercy. A good General will at least meet the Opposition in honorable greeting as they enter the battlefield, so they know who you are. Better Generals will offer a parlay, using their skills to lower the cost of battle, and ensuring as much of a victory as possible; you do this by offering suggestions, using techniques and distractions to keep devastation to a minimum. Some of the best Generals directly engage the Opposition, cutting their loses extraordinarily, giving great customer service, building sales, putting clothes directly into the Opposition’s hands–by doing so, you pick your battles, and limit excess waste.

Fitting Room- The fitting room is often where one-on-one battles take place against Opposition Generals. It is like a battle in a valley full of caves. Many times, there are many casualties, and these casualties are often damaged beyond repair, never again to see the battlefield. Bad actions in the fitting room include ignoring the Opposition as they creep in, ignored, and they rape your Soldiers, leaving them battered, a wreck. Good is just acknowledging the Opposition as they enter the valley, and then pointing at an available cave–without seeing what the Opposition is carrying with them, or ways to win. Better is taking the Opposition and leading them to a particular cave and noting the Troops who are about to enter battle–by seeing what clothes they are carrying, you have an idea how to help them, what they are looking for, and other options that may be available to them; knowing what size they have is also an advantage to give you greater control over the situation. The best General will do this, and notice the troops, supplying reinforcements and other troops to enter the battle in order that you survive and win the battle–these people engage heavily, finding out as much as they can. Such wars may leave many Soldiers defeated, yet also helps to ensure that the Opposition doesn’t walk away empty-handed for their troubles. By finding out what you can about the Opposition, you find their weaknesses, how to defeat them, and triumph over their armies of cash and credit.

Any good General will observe closely the Opposition Generals as they enter the battlefield. This includes what they are wearing, how they dress, what they look at. This can also include direct engagement finding out what they are looking for, whom they are fighting-shopping for, and any other pertinent information, especially sizes. Such information is crucial and important as a way to outmaneuver and win successfully with as few losses as possible.

The Art of War: Tactics- Good, Better, Best

Chapter 6
Salesfloor- I say, on the battlefield, bad tactics involve ignoring the

Opposition, allowing them to devastate your battlefield and your troops

without mercy. A good General will at least meet the Opposition in

honorable greeting as they enter the battlefield. Better Generals will

offer a parlay, using their skills to lower the cost of battle, and

ensuring as much of a victory as possible. Some of the best Generals can

face the Opposition and have complete control over the battle, cutting

their loses extraordinarily, giving great customer service, and even

hand-picking which Soldiers must battle.

Fitting Room- The fitting room is often where one-on-one battles take

place against Opposition Generals. Many times, there are many casualties,

and these casualties are often damaged beyond repair, never again to see

the battlefield. Bad actions in the fitting room include ignoring the

Opposition as they essentially rape your soldiers and leave them battered,

a wreck. Good is just acknowledging the Opposition and pointing at the

battlefields that are available. Better is taking the Opposition and

leading them to a particular battlefield and noting the troops who are

about to enter battle. The best General will do this, and notice the

troops, supplying reinforcements and other troops to enter the battle in

order that you survive and win the battle. Such wars may leave many

Soldiers defeated, yet also helps to ensure that the Opposition doensn’t

walk away empty handed for their troubles. We too can attack their green

army.

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.

Art of War: Retail

May 24, 2010

Chapter 1
For some of my trainees who wanted something more entertaining, more in-depth and dynamic–something to stop them from yawning during their first days, I developed the Art of War for Retail. I used to love the Art of War as a book, and how so many different people used it in business, management, and even love. It wasn’t very hard to translate it into the retail world, since it is so similar to a battlefield. Just imagine, at the end of the day, all the slain clothing laid in heaps, tired and exhausted salespeople, and the customer marching away in semi-triumph. Yet, we still win if they are leaving with something from our store, right?

As an introduction, you must consider the salespeople as Generals on a battlefield–which is the store. Their armies are the large array of clothing lined up and ready for the Opposition–customers. Each piece of clothing is a Soldier. The better trained your armies are, the better off you’ll be at the end of the day–this means having piles folded nicely, organized so they are sized properly, and enough of them to take hits all day long. The better warriors will take less hits before they are bought and carried off the battlefield. Once the customer makes it past the clothes and attacks you–you know you don’t have their size, or your product they want isn’t easy to find–thus you engage in hand-to-hand selling. You end up in parlay or under direct siege. You run for reinforcements, bringing out piles of soldiers to litter the battlefield. You may distract and disorient the Opposition, sending them in different directions against different armies you have at hand. As the battle rages, more and more casualties are piled up, wounded bodies are lying around, waiting for your gentle ministrations to bandage their cuts and get them back into the war. You are the recruiter, and many times, you pile and fold your own wins and losses. You may regret forgetting an insignificant pile if it ends up being your critical weak-point.

Now that you know the battlefield, and the units, you must understand the tactics that are needed to ensure victory every day! You must not only survive, but succeed! Welcome, to the Art of War: Retail.