Posts Tagged ‘folding’

Inner Beauty, Ugly Folding

October 31, 2010

As I watch people shop, I get an idea or a glimpse of who they are inside. There are some people with perhaps compassion or sympathy, understanding or wisdom, whatever it may be, it affects how they shop in a retail store. Some customers browse throwing everything up into the air, destroying neatly folded piles, acting like clothing grenades. There are other people who carefully lift piles to find their size, and they attempt to put back the clothes the same way they found it–even if they don’t do it perfectly, they do try.

The beautiful folders may have worked in retail, often saying they used to and they totally understand how frustrating it is, and how chaotic it can be, especially with customers. Then there are those people who have no idea. Either they were born with a total disregard for the world of retail. Some people use shopping as an outlet for their irritation and stress. Some people see it as revenge for their time working in retail–now they don’t need to be the one folding. Others see it as the benefit of modern day slavery–these people are here to serve you, even if you buy nothing, so you might as well belittle them and use them to the extent of your money’s worth, you don’t need to give a damn.

This shows the depth of one’s inner beauty, which is often reflected in so many other places and ways. We watch all those television programs with people who try to look beautiful but in the end, you pity them, you hate them, you wish no good to them–they are jokes, because they don’t even know they are. As I walk around the store, and I watch the people throwing clothes around mercilessly, as if they were giants on a battlefield of gnomes, I kind of pity them for their lack of understanding–being able to see outside that one-foot shell that surrounds their ‘reality’. There is no guarantee those kinds of customers will buy more or less. Just as much as there is no guarantee a customer who is kind and nice will buy more. Yet, one customer will be far more enjoyable to work with, because you already know on the inside if they’re beautiful or not. The ugly ones are rarely the nicest people you’ll meet. The ugly ones really show how ugly they can be, once you start to help them.

One time, I left a fitting room with clothes I didn’t want, and the salesperson was amazed, saying, “Wow, you even folded it perfectly!” Yes, because maybe I’m beautiful on the inside. Or maybe I’m not some selfish moron who adds ever so slightly to the chagrin and nastiness, the bitterness and irritation of the world. Every one of us, every moment, has an opportunity or a chance to stop negativity, even in the smallest of ways. Very few of us realize this.

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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.

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.

Shoplifter: Backpacker

May 8, 2010

One day, as is usual, I start working and I find a shoplifter hard at work filling a bag with our clothes. Of course, no one is around and no one even sees them. Seriously, they act a certain way, and sadly, they look a certain way, it is kind of lame. These women before me are dressed like sloppy sluts, but weighing about a hundred pounds more–their string camisole is two sizes too small, allowing you to see the bra-strap underneath, with their stomach and sides showing; they wear tight, tight denim shorts and flip-flops (slippers) and even walk kind of like a duck and kind of like an orangutan. They seriously look like they’ve had too much to eat and too much to drink for several years in a row. To me,they stand out as much as a gothic trying to hide in the snow. Either way, while the shoplifter has her large, bulky, yet extra-small tank-topped body turned away from me, I sneak behind her. Yes, I can be a ninja, too! Beware as I glide silently wearing my Italian heeled-boots! Whoosh! I duck behind the whale-sized ninja.

I find her bag in a corner, which is actually one of our backpacks. She has almost completely filled it with pants and shirts. She’s folded them quite nicely, and has a pile of hangars nearby. She’s quite a packer, she must travel a lot, eh? Obviously, she’s been filling the bag for a while, and yet again, I sigh in disappointment with my coworkers–she must have been doing this for several minutes already. Can they at least look around? Look up from the cash-registers, come out, and walk around a little; don’t hide behind the wall of protection! Anyhow, I grab the bag and hide behind a pillar as she walks back to her hot spot. I glide away in a cloud of smoke. Poof, I am gone.

I leave the backpack at the counter, quickly walking back to her, to see how much the thief enjoys being stolen from. I ask how she’s doing. She mumbles something, and starts to leave. I tell her, “I have your bag at the counter if you need it.” When she doesn’t reply, and keeps walking, I say, “I’ll keep it on hold for you. I’ll remember you. Don’t you worry!”

One point for sales-ninja! Zero for the gaijin mochi-ball in a tank-top. *Sad face for you*

A Model Mustard

May 5, 2010

I was standing in the Men’s department when a ‘beautiful’ man came up to me asking about tank tops; he was one of those 6’2″, 190 pound, long, wavy blond haired, type men with blue eyes, etc. He then went on to explain he was here for a photo shoot, because he would be modeling in the new Neutrogena ad campaign. I didn’t ask about any of this information, but he seemed happy enough to tell me–and honestly, people who look like this rarely walk into the store, so it made perfect sense.

He just needed something that fit nicely, since Hawaii is so hot and he gets sweaty. So I help him find a good ‘wife beater’ (I never understood that term), and he tried it on, and it fit good, since he was obviously in shape, right? Then he does one of my least favorite things, he asks for a new one that he didn’t try on–why, is it filthy now? Because it was pretty clean until you tried it on. Anyhow, these tank tops are in packages, so I had to get him several new packages, and he gave me back the tried-on pair. I take him to the front and hand him to one of my all-too-happy-to-help gay cashiers, whom thanked me later.

I go back to fold the tank top and try to get it to fit back into the package, but they never fit the same again; always ending up rumpled and stuffed looking. Then I realize there is a smell. It’s on my hands! It’s also on the tank top–the distinct smell of mustard. Just great, the model sweat all over the tank top. Either he doesn’t have great hygiene or any good cologne. Needless to say, I had to damage it out, and I suddenly understood why he would need so many new ones–I’d probably throw them out after one use, too.

 

Customer Types: Lowered Expectations

Don’t Fold With Your Face! B.O. may be there…

April 28, 2010

Body Odor: sweat, the liquid waste that comes from our pores to cool our body. Some people sweat just trying on clothes, believe me they do; they do it a lot. So when I see a co-worker folding with their chin, I get grossed out. When a customer gives me a shirt or pants inside out, I refuse to¬† touch near any ‘sensitive’ spots, nor armpits, nor even neck-holes while turning it right-side out; and don’t get me started with inside out pants. When someone gives me balled up panties, I wash my hands right after. Seriously, even if they are wearing something else, they’re sweating, rubbing, and some places stink when they sweat.

People! Don’t fold with anything more than your hands. Can you imagine folding with your chin and your face is right next to where greasy hair once was and a sweaty forehead rubbed against? We’ve seen the make-up from Piggies, some stains are definitely invisible. The unseen odor being spread while your hands slide over the inside of someone’s still-warm, once-worn clothes. Nasty and grotesque. Come on, people, at least give back clothes right, so we don’t need to touch ‘everything’ it touched… But then, that’s a world where people consider each other and not just themselves, right?

The true purpose of this piece is about B.O. (Body Odor), which I’ve witnessed time and time again as people walk around without a care in the world, not even a nuance of understanding how they, *shudders*, hurt those around them with just their smell. They damage clothing, seriously. They clear out areas. They make it really, really hard to concentrate.

I started to write down different B.O. types, and I realize I have stories for most of them–some I’ve already jotted down previously. I can present them now in order of pleasant to tear-jerking to vomit-worthy.

Woodsy: A subtle, light smell that reminds one of walking in the forest. It rarely offends, and actually can be quite soothing. Wish you end up to sleep next to someone like this for the rest of your life. If you haven’t met someone with this scent, you have to travel more.

Musky: this is a stronger, more concentrated smell, yet still pleasant. Like a splash to wake you up in the morning, this scent has more going for it, and may just be too much for some to handle. I’ve definitely run into some pleasant and unpleasant musk.
Entry: Estrogen Overload at Starbucks

Ozone: There is a smell, just before the rain, you can sense it like electricity in the air. There is a smell, after the rain, when the sun comes out and dries the rain. There is a smell, on people who sweat, that smells like this, like oxygen, almost floral, yet overpowering and strong.
Entry: What Are You Wearing?

Moth Balls: One of the first steps into the bad-zone. You know the smell, like some old lady’s house. It’s a weird closet smell, which makes you think they’ve stayed inside for too long and they’re covered with dust.

Box of Crayons: Some people make you think you’ve opened a box of crayons that have been left out on the playground to melt in the sun all day. But this smell is not soothing or comforting like real crayons might be, it’s overwhelmingly strong, like you’ve been placed in the box with the crayons, and your face is melting. This smell lingers.
Entry: A Cart, like a Donkey

Mustard: This is one of the two basic B.O. smells. Although it doesn’t burn your nostrils as much, it has the smell of just opened mustard. That flat, tart-sour smell that just doesn’t sit well and makes you want to avoid hot dogs for a while.
Entry: A Model Mustard

Onions: This is one of the two basic B.O. smells. This one can make you cry, and definitely can make you gag if you breathe it in. The onion is basically a strong, pungent smell that overwhelms the senses. Need a tissue? I don’t understand why people don’t tell them, “Hey, you smell, buddy, get some deodorant, give us a break!” I do whenever I can–but only to friends.
Entry: *Sweats* I’m Tired

Toe Jams: Wow, this is almost vomit-worthy. This one lingers, this one spreads out and fills the area. Some have compared it to the smell of crap. This one can make people look around, hoping it isn’t them. But the worst part is, most people that smell like this don’t even seem to realize it–maybe the world they live in smells like this!
Entry: The Cast

Sour Milk: This goes over the top. It’s a mix of onions and mustard, but aged perfectly, but this isn’t cheese. This is harsh, wall-paper peeling. You definitely need to get away from this one.

Urination: I’m sorry, but there are some people that do smell homeless, and some actually are. I have met homeless people that know how to and do shower before coming into a closed space, like a store. Inside my head and my nose, I thank them for this. This aroma makes people leave as they cover their face to stop the smell from coming in and their lunch from coming out. You can turn anyplace into a bathroom with this smell.
Entry: Stinky Jeans