Posts Tagged ‘fixture’

Department-Sized Table

October 27, 2010

A customer is lost, and I approach her and her daughter. “Are you looking for something?” She tells me she’s looking for the children section. I point in the direction where it is, only twelve-feet away. There is a huge doorway, where you can obviously see children mannequins and kid’s themed items. First, she goes toward a mirror, which I find odd. I tell her, “No, it’s straight, keep going.” So she walks, stopping one-foot away from the kid’s department and looks curiously at a cabinet of adult merchandise. She has a surprised, confused look as if, “What? This doesn’t look like kid’s clothes.” I’m standing there thinking, “Yes, the entire department fits in one fixture.” She looks back at me with a face saying, “This isn’t kid’s clothes.” Then her daughter proves to be the one with the brains, pointing at the kid’s department only a foot away. “Oh!” The mother exclaims, turning back to thank me. She waves as her daughter pulls her away. I roll my eyes without rolling my eyes and tell her, “You’re welcome.” Then I go back about my business.

Customer Service: The Blind, The Dumb

I See It’s On Sale

June 4, 2010

I’m standing near a table folding, and a woman comes up to me asking, “Everything here, it’s on sale, right?”

Usually such a question is rhetorical, but here she points at a sign on a bench, then waves at a table near it. (Just so you can understand, there is a larger table where the main product is placed, and then there are lower benches near or around the table–like satellites, or moons around a planet.) One bench has a sale sign, and it’s half-hidden by the higher, larger table–so all you can see is the top of the sign, which says, “Sale”. You can see 3/4ths of the word.

I try to tell her the bench is on sale, but the table is not, otherwise a sign would be on the bench and the table. I show her what I mean by placing the sign on the table (which also says, “Sale, Select items”), saying, “This would mean the table is on sale.” Then I put it back down on the bench and say, “This means the bench is on sale. And it says select items anyway.” She keeps arguing with me, saying, “But I can see the sale sign from here! I can see the sale sign from here, that means everything is on sale.”

First, while her jaw is going ‘blah-blah-blah’, I’m thinking, “Okay, the sign is a little big, but it isn’t even on the same table. Well, actually, it’s been there for a while now, and she’s the first person to get confused in over a week, making problems, and getting weird about it. You know, some people live their lives causing this kind of trouble for themselves. They just create stupidity.”

Then, I’m thinking, “If a wall nearby says sale, it doesn’t mean everything in the area is on sale. You can’t point and say, ‘Well I can see the sale sign, that means everything is on sale.’ Who says that, other than this woman? Even when a window says sale, it doesn’t mean everything in the store is on sale.” We’re just arguing semantics, and a customer’s ability to demand stupidity. I tell her everything on top of the table is going to ring up full-price, because it is full-price, but the sale items on the bench, they’ll ring up on sale. It’s not like I can change that fact.

Yet, she goes on about being able to see the sale sign; that it’s misleading marketing; that I was trying to trick her into buying something that’s not even on sale; that now she doesn’t want to buy anything at all. I’m sorry, you caught me in my dirty tricks; I wanted you to take something to the register and think its on sale, as if you would not whine and cry when you get there saying, “I can see the sign!” I am left to assume such threats and insults work to scare someone into changing their mind, saying everything is on sale? I just shrug and say, “Okay, but if you change your mind all this stuff on the back bench is REALLY cheap.”

I remember telling my boss about the dumb, fat woman, saying she’s a size-12 and she wanted a new pair of denim on sale, because she could see the top of a sign nearby. My manager replies, “She’s not that fat!”
“Well, because she’s so dumb,” I tell her, “That makes her fat-ter.”

Customer Types: Big Baby, The Blind, Capitalist, Don’t Kill the Messenger, The Dumb

The Art of War in Retail: Terrain

May 25, 2010

Chapter 2
As the Opposition–customers–enter the battlefield, the terrain greatly affects the destination, the movements, and the actions of the Opposition. Understanding terrain, you have direct control of these movements. You can force the Opposition in a certain direction, you can choose where they go and what they do.

Mountains- Firstly, these are large, built structures, generally known as walls–they cannot move, thus the Opposition must move with or around them. In a sense, it traps them, because they cannot go around it. The Opposition cannot avoid you when next to Mountains. Secondly, these large landmasses are hard to climb and maneuver through–product is placed high, easily visible, but often attractive items are placed on these walls. Because of the sheer size of these masses, they are also effective at being seen from a distance–which is good for advertising and marketing. All traffic slows down at mountains, as some of the flashier and more amazing Soldiers–clothing–are displayed here. Very popular pieces of clothing are always placed on Mountains for this very reason.

Hills- Firstly, these are smaller structures–tables and other smaller, movable structures–thus easier to pass by the Opposition. Because of the size, the Opposition will go around these, and even move to avoid you when possible. Generally, high-selling product will be placed on the first Hills as you enter the store to take the initial bombardment–but Mountains will garner the main attention after this. Similar themed items will be placed on Hills. Hills can be totally engulfed by Opposition forces, as all parts are accessible. Because of the smaller size, the amount of Soldiers–clothing–present is much smaller. Yet, the devastation can be titanic, since Hills have only folded clothing and no hanging clothing.

Fields and Forests- Areas of light coverage, not as well suited for soldiers in a retail battlefield, these are racks and small tables able to take losses and keep on coming back–because they are less popular, or forgotten items, even ones that have a really high-price point. In a sense it is like a forest, because the Soldiers are well-hidden, and almost invisible. The Opposition must ‘want’ these items, thus they aren’t the hottest sellers–they aren’t items you’ll buy ‘just because’..

Streams- The course and movement of traffic will flow depending on how you set up the Mountains and Hills. This movement is Streams. You can diagram it as–the Opposition enters, they approach the initial Hill, then they face the Mountain, do they go to the next Mountain or another Hill? You can watch the ebb-and-flow understanding what is a popular destination and what is just forgotten. Once you get an idea of the flow of these streams, you will know where to position yourself, as General, to take care of your troops. You may also move Soldiers around: if one Hill is never attacked, you may move it closer to a Stream so the Opposition will pass by it; i.e. a Hill between two Mountains cannot be avoided. By moving very popular clothing to more remote locations, you know the Opposition will still search for it–because they want it. In this way, you have altered a Stream.

Using these tactics, you can appropriately prepare Mountains and Hills for battle. By watching Streams, you can choose what is best where. How will you develop your tactic? It depends on what it important to you. As a General and a Champion, you also learn where you want to be–in the back, watching your troops in battle, where no Opposition goes, ready to reinforce your troops or replenish them when defeated, or do you stand in the front lines battling the Opposition, helping to turn tides and moving them appropriately. Gaining skill and strategy in this area takes time, patience, and understanding. Once you do understand, you can make your entire Battlefield profitable, every Hill and every Mountain becomes a destination, and Streams will touch every shore.

Teaching the Kids

February 16, 2010

Do parent’s know their children watch them, witnessing how they interact with other people in different situations thus developing an understanding of how they will eventually interact with the world when they grow up?

When parents walk into a store, ignoring a kind hello with a cold-shoulder, their children see this and they’re learning; when a sales person offers them help, when they are obviously looking for something, and they are rudely brushed off with “I’m just looking” even though they actually do need help; when parents treat salespeople as slaves, only existing when you need them, and essentially less than human, just mobile fixtures in a store, only useful when you acknowledge them and need something only a salesperson can ‘find’ for you–your children are there watching every moment, growing and understanding that is how they should act, that is how they should treat other people, acting like this is right not wrong. Treating another human being like garbage is fine, because mommy and daddy do it all the time. Yes, you are obviously a good parent. They say parenting doesn’t come with a book, well common-sense doesn’t grow on trees either.

One day, these children will be adults, pushing their strollers through stores treating sales people in the exact same way, passing on these valuable, unconscious lessons to their offspring so that your grandchildren will be rude, unconscionable human beings. Do you not think these lessons are passed on beyond the retail world? Do you not realize you set a bar for how people can be treated? You may not be hitting or abusing them, but treating them like they’re worthless is still terrible parenting. From what I know from social teachings to religious beliefs, human beings are important, special, unique, etc. but the way we have developed our meandering society which belittles being human based on ridiculous situations based entirely on monetary value, not human value.

This is a perpetuation of a lack of respect, a rudeness which makes no sense. You wouldn’t walk into a doctor’s office acting the same way, walking into a bank treating tellers like this, yet certain sectors of the ‘service’ industry have grown and developed into an accepted avenue where mistreatment and degradation is a norm, is accepted and expected–that treating someone like they don’t exist, that they are less than human, that they only exist to serve you–this is good, this is right, and this is okay.

The customer is always right. No, I’m just looking, can I shove my hand in your face? If I meet you outside the store, then you, salesperson, are an equal, a human being, you exist and you are real, but once you clock into work, you’re worthless, insignificant, invisible, and useless, unless I need you. If I meet you outside the store, how many of your rude, disgusting humans look away or pretend you don’t recognize me, when your reaction says you do? Compare this to kind, good, respectful customers who engage with sales people, talking to them. We actually recognize each other outside the store, wave, and say hello. This is a huge difference, almost a revelation of what it would be like if everyone treated people like human beings and not modern-day slaves.

Remember that son. Remember that daughter. Look both ways before you cross the street. Don’t talk to strangers. Salespeople are modern-day slaves, you don’t need to give them any respect.

Because you know, if you did give them respect, then the entire structure of sales and retail would be worthwhile, enjoyable, and not as much of a life-draining, self-esteem crushing, pride-absorbing industry that makes you feel so shitty inside. If you actually went into a retail store and treated people as human beings, what a difference you’d make; what a difference everyone would make.

Remember, it’s so simple to just say hello when someone greets you, your children are watching.