Posts Tagged ‘mannequin’

What? Are YOU Doing Okay?

June 4, 2010

There is a man sitting on a mannequin box, which is meant for mannequins and isn’t supposed to support his kind of weight for a long time. (Once, I had the utter joy watching someone sit on the exact center of one box, before we could stop him, and that guy took out an entire display. He offered to pay for it, but we don’t work that way. Too bad. I would have said $300! Haha.) Today, this man looks like an idiot and totally acts like one–don’t you love those people? So he’s sitting there, with his legs spread as wide open as possible so people have to literally walk around his feet, with his arms crossed as he glares at people, looking them up and down with his bloodshot eyes. You already know he’s an image of godly beauty, right? Sure, yeah right. And when you’re kicked by a horse, it doesn’t hurt. Actually, he looked like a mugger you’d find in a dirty alley right before they attack you. Obviously, people were trying to avoid him.

He was not supposed to be sitting there, but I was still new at the time, I didn’t have the gusto I have now. I just asked if he was doing okay. In return, he just glared at me, saying nothing. I’m actually supposed to say, “You can’t sit here. Please, you need to get up and move. Thanks a bunch!” These days I’d probably just say, “Hey, that box can’t handle your weight, can you get up before it breaks and you have to pay for it? Thank you.”

Either way, he’s sitting there for a long time, and I mean a long time, so I am left to assume either he’s homeless and wants to sleep in the box later or his wife is somewhere taking her sweet time shopping, she might not even be in the store anymore–and with a husband like that, I’d want time away from him, too. As much as possible. So again, I ask if he’s still doing okay, since I’ve walked by him about ten times already–as these mannequins are placed in high-traffic areas; his feet and his staring at customers is getting quite annoying. He’s creating a person traffic-jam, as if he cares.

Twenty-minutes later, he’s still sitting there, and obviously no one else has said anything to him. It’s a busy day, so everyone seems to be at the registers. A final time, I ask if he’s still okay, trying to give the hint that he needs to move on–go squat in a cardboard box in the alley or something, you’re wasting retail space, and making it look rather unattractive.

He turns and yells at me, “Why? You doing okay? Huh? You doing okay? What, you still doing okay?” He says some expletives including f-words, ‘f-you’ and gets aggressive with me. This is one of the first times I felt my insides explode, where I wanted to tell him off–not out of fear, but if I needed to, he’d have an entire mannequin swinging at his forehead. I was still not used to the obnoxiously low intelligence of the customers we deal with daily, and their utter lack of social skills. Later, I find out from supervisors in such situations I am empowered to act, and if I am not able to speak up, a manager would have asked him to leave the premises and not return. Their money isn’t good here anymore.

Of course, I go to find a manager since I’m flabbergasted, and of course, by the time I return with one, he’s already gone. This is one reason I take things into my own hands. Too many customers tend to forget everyone is a human being, even if we work in retail store and customer service–the customer and the salesperson is still human, not master and slave. We also forget these are rules we created.  “Once the customer crosses a line, they aren’t customers anymore”–this too is only a perception and belief because of social norms. The roles can always reverse.

Customer Type: The Dumb, Don’t Kill the Messenger, Lowered Expectations, Piggies

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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.

Someone’s Helping Me

May 23, 2010

I’m walking by a woman, while I’m holding a pile of clothes. She stands twenty-feet away and she’s staring at me. I stop. Usually people who give this look need help, but she doesn’t say anything, she just stands there–holding onto a cardigan on a mannequin, which also says she wants the item or wants to know where it is. Yet, she doesn’t say anything. She looks away, and as I start to walk away, she turns and stares at me again.
“Do you need help with something?”
She’s still tugging on the cardigan on the mannequin, and I think, “Just great, she can’t speak English.”
So I approach her, “Are you doing okay?”
She continues to stare at me.
“Can I find something for you?”
Finally she says, “Someone’s helping me.”
Well thanks you for getting to the point so quickly. Even worse, I end up at the cash register, and there she is as my next customer. Believe me, she was just as straight-to-the-point and irritating at the register as she was on the sales floor–and she speaks English.

They really need a test to give people cards which say they are legal to shop in public. Really.

Customer Types: The Dumb

Penny for Your Thoughts?

April 3, 2010

We have four people that come in, you can call them the Four Horsemen if you wish. In general, we try to avoid them, and I enjoy throwing unsuspecting co-workers into their clutches. Today, they requested every single pair of a size of pant to try on–they’re all the same size, amazingly enough. They were all-too-happy when I gave them seven pairs. This was after they rammed into mannequins knocking off legs and arms in the store, without a care. Most amusing was when they came earlier–because they came several times in one day.

At the start of the day, they found a hoodie, which was once on promotion, but has since gone on sale. They wanted their money back, a price-adjustment, but it was beyond the date of a price adjustment. They also admitted to washing and wearing the items–of which, they bought two hoodies. Yet, they were adamant in getting the difference they paid versus the current selling price. So one manager gave, “The benefit of the doubt”, which in some cases has somehow meant “You are fat” in one customer’s eyes. Either way, he said, “If you bring in the hoodies, you can return it and buy it back, but only this once.”

In truth, we didn’t think they would return, but a couple hours later they did. Again, they encountered the same confusion in their price-adjustment, with people asking me, telling me it’s old, washed, and worn. Then, they asked for the manager from earlier, who was just returning from his break. Of course, he remembered them, and after a long transaction, which I was too far away to overhear, the four horsemen walk away from the counter and continue to shop–knocking legs off mannequins.

Once they were gone, he stated for everyone to hear, “Okay, our net-loss was two cents.” Why? Because the items in question were one-cent cheaper marked on sale than they were on promotion. Yes, one hoodie, one cent; two hoodies, two cents. That my friends, is how you save a penny–at the cost of driving home, finding the item, driving back, and going through all that trouble. Totally worth it.

Don’t ask me. I don’t make these people up.