Posts Tagged ‘manager’

The Company Divorce

August 29, 2011

I was sitting with an older employee, at least one who has been with the company for far longer than I have. She was telling us about one of the worst customers she ever knew. This customer is a woman who they would always help, always give the best service to, and always ended with a smile. Then the woman would leave the store, and call the customer support line to complain about the store. She’d say how rude the employees were, how they didn’t help her, and how she felt so ridiculed and insulted by the service, and she didn’t want to ever shop there again. In response, the company would compensate her with gift cards, free purchases, or some other form of compensation for her terrible experience. Then the store would be called by the corporate-level and spoken to about how they treat their customers, get the sales training workshops, etc.

Eventually, the store manager caught onto this little game. The next time the woman came in, they gave her the absolute best service imaginable. They found everything she was searching for. They did all they could to please her. Then she left, and the store manager called the customer support line to tell them exactly what just happened, and the experience the woman had. Soon after, the woman called to complain about the service, and was caught red-handed. Because of all the ‘gifts’ she had received, she also left a paper-trail of all her ‘complaints’, which were unfounded. The company officially divorced her, and told her she was not welcome back to their stores ever again, and they would not appreciate her business any longer.

It is at least nice to know the customer isn’t always right.

Customer Types: The Complainer, Capitalist

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Legal Precedent

December 22, 2010

There is an older woman who comes in and always, always has some problem, or demands something in her favor, even if it is against our policy, and even ethically wrong. Today, it’s busy, I have customers to help, and she comes with her daughter and drags me to find things and do things. Really, there are fifty customers and only one of me. I find the belt they’re looking for, then she wants me to get sandals off a mannequin.

She wants a certain size, and I tell her, “Our mannequins only wear larger sizes, it can’t fit that size.”
“Well can you check the other mannequins?”
What, I don’t speak English? I just told you, it doesn’t fit the size you’re looking for, so it is an impossibility for any mannequin to be wearing that size. “Our mannequins only wear the larger size, it can’t fit that size.”
“Don’t you have more in the back?”
“It’s two days until Christmas, our stock is totally out. Everything is on the floor.”
I go and ask my manager for confirmation, and yes, “No mannequin wears that size. It can’t fit.” So I tell her about this customer, who is always high-maintenance and demanding.
Instead, the woman finds another manager to ask, “Can you check the mannequins if they have this size?” This manager asks the manager I just spoke to, and this woman gets two more confirmations that we don’t have her size.

Let me rewind to the last time she came to the store, and the reason why I won’t put up with her anymore. We had a special sale, during a certain time in the morning. She comes in the night before asking to speak to a manager. You need to ‘check-in’ at our store using a phone application (app) and you can qualify for the special sale.

First, she says she doesn’t have the application, so it’s unfair against her. A manager points out, you can go online, and any phone or computer–even the stores in the mall which have computers–allow you to use this application to ‘check-in’.

Then, she says, “I have a job. I have to work every day from nine-to-five. I can’t come in to this sale. I can’t make it.  This is discrimination! I work at a law firm! This is a legal precedent. I should know! I want to speak to your store manager!”

To which, the store manager is having a conference call, and she said she’ll wait. The whole time, she’s arguing with the manager of the fairness of the sale, and how it works against her. Again, threatening the company as being discriminant against her because she doesn’t have a phone application and she can’t come in because she has a job. Eventually, the store manager does arrive, and tells her the exact same thing she’s been told. And they have a ‘civilized’ argument about it, where the store manager consistently says, “No, it doesn’t work like that. If you can’t make it, find someone else. You aren’t getting the deal.” She continues to argue, saying she’s going to call the company. My store manager says she’s fine with that, and gives her the corporate number.

Fast-forward to today. She’s standing there, pointing at me, while speaking to my manager. The other manager is waving at me to hide. Later, the manager comes to me and says, “She was complaining about you. She said you were so horrible today, you must be in a terrible mood. Usually, you’re so nice and helpful. But today you weren’t helpful at all, and you were so rude.”

Well, lady, I’m not going to be nice to you anymore, you aren’t worth my time or my energy. You are a waste of the time and energy of just me, and my store. I hope your legal precedent and your law firm teaches you more, because you sure don’t know a lot about anything–other than being rude, demanding, stupid, ignorant, irritating, and frankly, I have the right to refuse service, and I refuse to be your slave again. Go panhandle your worthless crap to other people.

Finally, as ‘thanks’ to the manager who helped her, she bought her a shirt as a gift. Obviously trying to curry some favor with at least one of our managers because every single other manager knows what she’s all about. Of course, we can’t accept gifts at our store, as it is legally and ethically wrong, so my manager returned it after she left. I’ll show you legal precedent…

Customer Type: Big Baby, The Capitalist, The Complainer, Micromanagement, Tattle Tale

My Retail Explosions

October 29, 2010

Through the years, my frustrations have grown exponentially. Retail is not supposed to be a place where common-sense grows, and this doesn’t even count customers, this is entirely within the retail companies. For years, I have suggested, spoken up, and given ideas on how to improve the workplace, improve motivation, communication, output, everything, and for years, I have been met with excuses and reasons why they ‘can’t’ do something. I have seen a store manager disappear, being replaced by a new store manager. Yet, I still see the same holes and issues which existed five, six, seven years ago. What is a retail business? It is a place where you sell product. What is the focus of a retail business? Making money. When actions and reactions work at odds against this principle, yet are expounded by the company as legitimacy, you have huge problems. For the normal ‘minions’, it doesn’t matter. I’ve had to open the eyes of many coworkers, and even people who work in retail, to see and understand there are bigger pictures than just facing the floor and folding.

As selling is the primary goal of any company, I am perplexed without end when people are acknowledge, even encouraged to do things like get credit cards. What? I can make a $900 sale, but I get acknowledged for opening two credit cards? You want to slap me in the face? You already have. I even tell people, if you get credit cards, you can get away with anything, and you’re still untouchable, you’re invincible, invulnerable. Some of the great credit card champions had no sales skills, slacked off whenever they had the opportunity, and had no desirable skills other than getting someone to sign up for a credit card. We are on an island full of tourists, none of them can sign up for our credit card–why is it so important? If there was an actual focus on selling, on making sales and helping the customers, don’t you think we’d be making our budget with surplus every single month?

My professionalism was sound before. No personal information, no personal conversation. Our managers and superiors are thus, to be treated with respect, as much as they act respectable. You are only as strong as those whom follow you. In my old business organization, I had no candor, I was only seriousness, professionalism is a clean cut line between getting the job done and focusing on that aspect. I know the business models, I know the sales principles. Long ago, when people asked why I don’t get crazy, even with the rudest customers–it was because my professionalism had my eyes on the goal. Yet, surrounded by the lack thereof, how can you hope to hold onto such standards? It took a year before I’d stand around talking story with co-workers, two years before I’d talk story with a manager. I never allowed a superior to ask me about my life outside of work, nor would I have contact with them outside of work. They said I had no sense of humor. They said I was serious. But they could never say I lacked professionalism. There are always standards to be kept, and I was once tasked with keeping them.

My life outside of work hasn’t been the greatest thing with failures from career, to life, to love, I have been buckled, blows struck to my legs. There is no greater satisfaction than simplicity. Yet, within this sense, there is a lack of sense. A retail business survives by making money.

I have a vast intelligence, but I can only take so much of this. Thank you, world, I finally went to set up an appointment to see a psychiatrist. You win, world. You win.

Shoplifter: You Got Schooled, Redux

October 17, 2010

Four months ago, I had a couple come in and totally out themselves as shoplifters, because they did everything you’re not supposed to do in order to get away with it. Let us rejoin the action now.

A decently dressed young man comes in, and I know he’s from another store. He asks for a manager. I tell the manager someone is here. They want to know who needs them, etc., but I’ve already started to look around. As soon as the manager arrives, the guy says, “I’m from another store, and my manager sent me…”
I cut him off, “Where are they? I don’t see them.”
“Oh, you know?” He looks at me curiously, but I’m already walking away.
As I search the store, I see no one out of the ordinary, but I know he came to warn us about the shoplifters. I suddenly hear the manager say, “I need you in the front.” I find out they entered, and my manager tried to approach them, but they were scary, saying they don’t want any help. So she called on me to intercept.
I quickly arrive, and I’m slightly disappointed, it’s the same man from four months ago–although I thought it was only three months, even though I recently wondered why I haven’t seen them for so long. The woman was totally different, but the man, I recognized him instantly. So I rush up to him and greet him.
“Hey, it’s been a long time. I was wondering when you’d come in again!”
“What? I don’t know you.”
“Oh, come on, we talked in your favorite corner the last time. It was three months ago.” I wave at the same corner they always go to, and was informed later, that’s where the manager found them.
“I don’t know who you are.”
I wave at his female friend who is trying to be invisible, “I remember you, but you have a different woman with you this time. I definitely don’t remember her!” At this remark, she quickly darts out the front door.
As he tries to leave, I stop him, “The last time you said you have an IQ of 290. And I told you it doesn’t go that high!”
“I don’t know what my IQ is.”
“Yes, you said it was 290, that’s really bad for your IQ if you’re forgetting things. Shame, shame.” I shake my head at him. He’s taking a defensive stance, but I stand my ground, even approaching him.
He backs away, “I don’t know what you’re talking about! I don’t know you!”
“I know you, I remember you, I told you have a good memory.”
He steps outside, turning to the left, looking for his departed friend.
I yell, “I know which way she went, she went THAT way,” gesturing to the right. “Don’t worry, I”ll remember you when you come back again!”

NOT M-SIZE!

October 3, 2010

I’m trapped at the cash registers again, and there is a couple visiting from another country, as I find out, Korea.

There was a long line, and I call the next customers over, but the man is standing there staring at me. Other people behind him are staring at the back of his head. Then he starts yelling in Korean with an angry face. He’s looking at me, but I realize he’s yelling at the woman nearby, who is rummaging through a pile of shirts. He yells again, this time at her, tugging on her arm. I just stand there. Finally, she puts the shirts she was looking at, down, and they approach the register.

The woman comes, shaking a shirt, “I like this color!” But, her face is angry, mad. “I like this color!”
“Okay, that’s nice.”
“No, I like this color, but the size is wrong!”
“What size do you..”
“I like the color, but the size is wrong!”
“What size do you need?”
“It is the wrong size! I like the color!”
“Okay, what size do you…”
“I like the color, but the size is wrong! I don’t want M-size!”
“What size do you need?”
“I don’t want M-size!” She shakes the shirt at me, pointing at the Medium sticker printed on the shirt. “I like the color, but the size is wrong!”
I look at the husband, who is also yelling, but at her. I don’t understand what they’re saying, but I’m sure it makes as much sense as I’m hearing.
“This is the wrong size,” she continues, “I don’t want M-size!”
I just stand there, with my hands on my hips. “I know.”
“I don’t want M-size.”
“Yes.”
Then the husband finally cuts in, “No M-size, she needs S-size.”
“Small?”
“S-size!”
“M is medium, and S is small. She needs a smaller size?”
“Yes, she doesn’t want M-size, she wants S-size.”
So I go rummage through the pile, while asking for a stock check. I find an S-size in the same color, but it’s a crew neck, not a v-neck. I leave them behind me, so they can stop staring at me, and instead stare at the counter, or each other, or a nice wall, or whatever. I go into the stock room, restating our ‘conversation’, while a manager on break says, “Breathe!”
I just reply, “They can wait for me to come back, they want the S-size so bad.”

Customer Type: Guessing Game, Learn the Language

The New Weirdo

August 12, 2010

As a personal preference, I generally avoid weird people who aren’t shoplifters. One such weirdo used to be known as the ‘hat guy’, wearing a certain baseball hat, walking to the back by the bras and panties, generally just standing, staring at our coworkers there. To which, we receive a call for help, “There is a creepy guy back here staring at me!” “Is he wearing a baseball cap?” “Yes!”

Recently, he’s lost his baseball cap, but I still don’t bother with him. Although I have been around during his visits, pointing him out to managers, I generally keep my distance, since he doesn’t ever steal anything. I have three stories from his recent visits.

Once, I pointed him out to a manager, and a few moments after, I hear my manager said, “Hey, did you just see that?” Apparently, when my back was turned, my manager approached the guy, greeting him, asking if he’s okay, and he turned, and did a moonwalk dance, backing away from my manager across the sales floor, then left. No, I did not see it. These occurrences seem to be like UFO sightings.

Next, I show him to my store manager, who loses sight of him. She comes back saying, “I swear, I just witnessed something totally inappropriate and dirty!” She found him coming out of a fitting room, literally tugging on his wiener (sausage) through his pants as he exited the room. She’s utterly grossed out and stunned by this. We are quite thankful the fitting rooms are not near any children sections.

Finally, I point him out to yet another manager. My manager follows the guy into the bras and panties section, and they are separated by a wall. As he turns behind a wall, my manager sees him put his hand into his pants. As they meet again on the other side of the wall, the guy still has his hand in the front of his pants, and seeing my manager, quickly pulls his hand out, and walks away.

I am quite perplexed by this weirdo, but as I said, I don’t bother with him. He’s younger, and not ugly, though I’ve seen him dancing a little when he walks around. He often comes in, staring at his face up-close in our large mirrors. I think soon, I’ll want a story of my own to tell, about this strange, perverted, dancing weirdo.

Customer Type: ???

Fire Alarm Fibbers!

August 9, 2010

I’m walking through the store, and it’s a bit crowded. I see three children examining our fire alarm. The settings are in reach and public view in case of an emergency. They see me approach them and they scatter. So I walk around, and within ten seconds, we all know what they’ve done. I can hear the alarm signal, it sounds like a bio-hazard siren. My manager looks up, saying, “Is that what I think it is?” Yes, it’s the fire alarm.

I go right back to the children, finding them standing there lost and confused. I know their parents are nearby, but hiding for some reason. Some parents would smack their children–which is generally not advised, but in this situation, something would have been beneficial. I’ve run into this problem before, with curious children, doing what they are not supposed to. I quickly press the silence button, but I warn the manager, “Mall security will be here in a minute.”

My manager approaches the terminal, and asks the children, “Did you push the button?” At the same time, I say, “Those kids pushed the button,” on the walkie-talkie. My manager replies, “You mean the same children that just told me they didn’t push it?” I roll my eyes and sigh, looking at the little liars. This is a time, I wish they had parents who taught them to say the dreaded social crutch, “Sorry!” Instead, I’m forced to utter, “Wow, that’s really bad parenting.” To which my manager tells me to hush and shakes her head.

As my manager walks away, the parents, hidden in plain view, tell their kids to be quiet and quickly ushers them out of the store, as if they were invisible burdens scurrying into the night like rats.

Actually, yes, they were, just like rats.

Customer Type: Capitalist, The Liar

Policy, Say What?

July 21, 2010

I returned from a restless vacation, only for my first incident to be on the telephone…

“Hello, thank you for calling,” I say as kindly as usual–to which I’ve received compliments from people on how polite I am.
“Um, hello? Hi. Well, I have a question. I don’t know. You see, here, I bought a jacket for my daughter but it’s too small. And well, I have to see, I want to know, can I exchange it or something?”
I’m already thinking, looking around, “Oh no, I don’t want this phone call!” I calmly reply, “Of course, do you have the tag the item came with? We can check its availability.”
“Oh sure. I have it here.” Following the sound of ruffling and crunching, “Yes, here, I have it. What number do you want?”
I explain to her where the number is and she finds it. She rattles off the number like a phone number, you know, the ones where they blur it all together, so all you hear is, “Fourseveneighteightnine… Six, two.”
Closing my eyes tightly, I take a breath and ask her to repeat it, because I didn’t get the entire number. Of course, you know, she repeats it at the speed of snail. “Four… Seven…” I suddenly feel like I’m the dumb one in the conversation, which obviously she already believed to start with.
“Oh, this item is only available online currently, or in another state.”
“What does that mean? I can’t come in and pick it up from you?”
As she asks the inevitable question, and much of our conversation becomes stagnant and preemptive, I search for the price of the item, and it’s a super-cheap sale item. No wonder it’s not available anymore–we haven’t carried it in over a month.
“You can come in and exchange the item for something else.”
“No,” she raises her voice, “I want that jacket in a larger size! Where can I get it?”
“It is available online,” but I note there is less than two-dozen left, so she would need to act fast if she wants that specific size.
“So, I have to go online, and pay shipping fees to get this item?”
“Yes. If you do want that specific item.”
“No, are you saying I HAVE TO go and buy it online to get it?”
“It is only available online or in another state.”
“No, you aren’t answering my question!”
“Excuse me?”
She sighs loudly, yelling at me, “Can I speak to someone else! You don’t understand what I’m asking! I need a manager or something…”
My face turns red, and her exceedingly low-intelligence has just busted my last nerve. I tell her I am a manager, and ask her specifically what she’s asking, because she said she wants an item that isn’t available our store.
“I am asking if this is the policy!”
“The policy is that you can come into the store to return the item…”
“No! You aren’t answering my question! Is it the POLICY that I have to go online and order the item, if you don’t have it in the store?”
My eyes roll into my head. Who is this woman? Where is her mother? Because her mother needs something. It’s called a slap in the face.
“No, that is not the policy. Because we do not have the item, and you want the item, in order to buy the item you need to order it. There is no policy for that. If we don’t have the item, our policy is we can let you exchange the item for something else.”
“So how am I supposed to get the item!”
“You buy it online.”
“Oh. How much does that cost?”
For some reason, at this point she stops yelling at me and starts talking to me like a human being once again. I don’t understand at what point she suddenly became sane again. So we work through the process and eventually reach an understanding. She hangs up happily, and proceeds to call online to order the item. End of story.
Actually, no it isn’t. This woman reminded me so much of another encounter several months ago:
Angry Panties

Customer Type: Big Baby, The Deaf, Don’t Kill the Messanger, The Dumb, The Riddler

Sticks and Stones

July 13, 2010

I answer a phone call.
“Hello? Can you explain to me,” a younger-sounding male voice asks, “Why my son is being teased at school for wearing your clothing?”
There is a moment of silence. The first thoughts which come to my mind are customers blaming me for the company not making a color they like, or when the company stops making a type of clothing they like. It’s usually my fault. I mean, is it right? No, not so much. I’m also thinking if this is some prank call. Why would someone’s child be teased?
Then I hear a young boy’s voice in the background. He says what the kids have been saying. I have flashbacks of jokes I’ve heard, which I thought were long dead, but seem to still be alive and well. I wonder if each company has their foibles, the little things kids use to pick on each other. “They call me gay and proud!”
While I’m thinking there is silence, I hope the man is gone, so I ask, “Hello are you still there?”
“Yes, I’m waiting for an explanation.”
“I think you should talk to a manager, please hold.” So I put him on hold and call over the manager. I explain the situation. She wants to tell him that we are not responsible for what children say or do. She was even considering offering to call the child’s school to report this activity. I wanted to find the phone number we have, I know we have one to forward calls like this. We just can’t remember the number. Either way, the manager decides to go to the office to take the call, rather than on the sales floor. By the time she gets back there, the man has hung up.

Customer Types: The Complainer, The Dumb, The Questioner

Bad English, You Heard What?

July 3, 2010

A customer comes to the cash-register. I start to scan the items, and she stops me.
“The whole store not on sale?” She speaks some English, but it’s not precise; she has a strong Chinese accent.
I look at her, blankly, “No, only sale-items have an additional discount.”
“No, the whole store is on sale.”
I just stare blankly, saying nothing.
“He said everything on sale.”
I wait for the inevitable, holding my breath. The only ‘he’ workers are standing next to me at the cash-register. So I roll my eyes in my mind, and I ask, “Who?” I actually expected her to point at me, but she trails her hand and points at the manager standing several feet away helping some one.
I chuckle a little, telling her, “It can’t be him, he just reminded us that sales items have additional discount, not regular priced items. It’s not him.”
“No, he said. He said.”
“I’m sorry, sale items have additional discount. Full-priced items are full-priced.”
There is some banter between herself and I, with her husband standing back–even though he’s about a foot-taller and several tens of pounds heavier, he’s obviously not in charge. The hard part is that I’m supposed to believe she ‘heard correctly’ that everything is on sale, while she’s speaking in broken English. I can more easily believe she translated what was said incorrectly.

Later, I tell the manager about the woman, and how she pointed right at him. And as expected, he said he never said such a thing, and she probably heard him wrong. He asked why I didn’t call him, and I told him I’m not one of our whiny co-workers who have to call a manager for everything, “Oh, I need back-up, help me!” I can handle myself, unless I don’t feel like it, then I’ll call a manager, and then slip away into the night.

Customer Types: Learn the Language