Posts Tagged ‘money’

The Budget Friendly Customer

October 11, 2011

Although there are jobs with commission–with customers who have admittedly deep-pockets–and other jobs which congratulate or reward employees with huge sales, there is an underlying truth which isn’t always discussed. You see, greeting customers is a random process, not as hard as winning the lottery, but roughly the same idea. You don’t know, when you walk up to a customer if they’re going to be rude, crude, and brusque–well sometimes you actually do. In any case, you also don’t know when you walk up to a customer if they’ll be money-bags or moth-balls–well sometimes you actually do.

So what’s the point? Even if you are a great salesperson, and you get a customer to spend their entire budget–let’s use¬†percentiles–so 100% of their available budget. If the customer has $1000 to spend, than you’ve made some good money. ¬†(Of course, if you make 3% commission on a $1000 sale, that’ s just $30, so you better get on with the selling!) Yet, if a customer only has a budget of $200, then you may or may not consider them cheap compared to the $1000 customer. If their budget is less than $100, then surely you’d be silently spitting upon them, right? This is the point, you can’t gauge the budget of a customer, you don’t know how much money they actually have to spend. So when you pat yourself on the back because you were able to make the customer spend $500, is that because of your skill or because it’s well within their budget?

I think it would make more sense if you consider a customer’s total budget, and how far into that budget you’re able to hit. because you can’t get a customer to spend $500 if they only have $200. If you get a customer with a budget of $1000 to spend $500, and you get a customer with $200 to spend the entire $200–which customer have you truly capitalized upon? Although I believe acknowledging sellers who hit high numbers, I also think we need to take into consideration if they just randomly hit the jackpot, or just ran into a customer who had a lot of money, and they just barely skimmed the edge of that budget.

I bring this up because of the power of money in retail. It makes the customers look at salespeople like they’re only worth as much as money is spent, but the same can be said about salespeople towards customers. In all reality, there is some respect to be found. There are some salespeople who find out how much their customers are able to spend, and help them work through that amount. This definitely takes a great deal of skill, because can you really help a customer find an outfit for less than $100? It’s ridiculously easy if they’re willing to spend $500. So just where does your skill really lay? Does it matter you can make huge sales? Or are you just ‘lucky’?

Treating the Human Being

September 17, 2011

For my 200th entry, I want to switch gears a little, to get back to the roots of my stories, of why I tell these tales, sometimes of horror, sometimes of jocularity, because there is always some sort of rhyme to the reason–even chaos has order. One of the greatest problems I have with humans and humanity is our utter disregard for each other. It is the way we walk through the streets every day of our lives, and you know how it goes–you don’t care about the other people you walk by, drive by or pass by–they are totally anonymous until they get in your way, until you are forced to interact with them. Honestly, the most conscious I am of people is my want and need not to get in people’s way, not to disrupt the flow of their day, and to allow them to continue on without interacting with me. I digress.

I know it is how we are, how we’ve been trained, it’s been instilled into the essence of how we are–when we walk into a retail store, or any place where we make a purchase, we look at the people whom serve us and we don’t see humans. At least a majority of us act in this way. They see, they act like there is an object, something worth a monetary Capitalist value standing in front of them, something they potentially own or control. The customer is always right, right? Consumer confidence is the power that rules the economy, right? Is it really right, or like time, have we forgotten we created this concept and now we allow it to control us as if it were a spiritual conception outside realm of reality.

You see, there are many people who walk into a retail store and they automatically believe we belong to them, we are their servants. There are people who believe they can act however they wish, because we are just there to serve them, their money makes us less-than-human. They will yell and insult, they will demean and act rudely to the full extent of their abilities because they believe it is their right to do so as customers. And somewhere, somehow, someone empowered them to believe this, someone allowed this thought to emerge and become reality, as much as drinking beer and eating solves problems, as much as the belief that low self-esteem is normal. None of this is, we created it, we can control it, we can let it continue or we can make it stop. That is in our power as human beings.

So what do we do? Obviously, we can’t break people’s habits. If you grew up thinking smoking is cool, you aren’t going to suddenly stop. If you grew up watching television which gives so many wrong answers to problems, yet you believe they’re all correct, what is there to do? The only thing we can do is take a step back and remember we are dealing with human beings. During this age of dehumanization, desensitization, where we don’t even touch other human beings, let alone hear their voices in person, we have an obviously growing separation. Yet, I believe the future of our species, our people is based on learning to treat each other with respect, with dignity, by learning to treat everyone else as human beings. We’ve spent decades, centuries learning how to stop treating humans as different categories, different levels, redefining what it is to be a part of society. We’ve spent so little time focusing on being human, on seeing each other as human beings.

The future of our society is as human beings, together as human beings, treating each other as human beings. It shouldn’t be a hard fight, or a hard ideal to live for, but I can promise you the kind of people who live in this world will fight as hard as they can to not treat other people as people. Because they’ve only learned to see other people as objects, as a worth, not as human beings.

Credit Card Slap

November 7, 2010

Anyone who knows me, knows how I feel about credit cards. Personally, as a young adult, I was ‘convinced’ to sign-up for one to get a ‘free bag’, hey, “Everyone else was signing up.” Why not? Then, I lost my job, I was struggling to survive, my debt got out of hand, I didn’t know what to do–nor did they actually give you many options–eventually, they wanted it all paid. This was a bill which was a couple hundred, and compounded with their various fees into thousands of dollars. By the time I found a job, I still wasn’t making enough to meet their demands, so they started to call me and my family, demanding to know where I was at all times, and calling me everywhere–and I mean, everywhere I was. They would call the store asking for me daily, and when I wasn’t there, they’d ask for a manager demanding all of my personal information, which my manager told them was illegal and asked them not to call anymore. Asking them not to call my workplace did little good. Eventually, they started to garnish my wages so if I thought I was barely surviving before, well I was in for a new surprise! Eventually, they stopped garnishing me, my paychecks went back to normal, etc., etc. Either way, I have no personal fondness for credit cards, and believe it was created by a crude capitalist society whose only interest is keeping the rich rich and the poor poor. If they were evolving society, they would create a system which empowers people to grow instead of recreating paupers and their new version of enslavement.

All this aside, people also know I’m a good salesperson. One day, I helped build a $900 sale. The next day, alone, I made a $400 sale. In this time, I also got two people to apply for credit cards–it is a job requirement for me, and honestly, I’m always rated ‘down’ because I don’t pursue credit cards enough. Either way, I make $1300 in sales (in just two sales) and I barely get a congratulations, thank you or any sort of recognition. I get two credit cards, and they give me a $5 gift card for coffee. Yes, I got two credit cards and I got a $5 gift card. I make $1300 in sales, and I don’t even get a thank you. Should I go over it again?

I mean, of all things, this was the hugest insult anyone could give me–with my beliefs, my pride, and who I am and how I have been treated by credit cards; with my background in selling and sales management, I was slapped in the face. I went to a manager, throwing it on the ground, telling them to, “Give it to the other guy, he got two credit cards in one hour!” We’re in an economic rut, my coworkers aren’t getting enough hours to feed themselves, and I get congratulations for credit cards? Helping a new breed of people to go into debt? Thanks. Let me know when Retail is about making sales again, I’ll be sleeping.

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.

Shoplifter: The Legitimate Thief

September 2, 2010

Stealing is stealing. I’m sorry. Yet, some boldfaced people use legitimacy, and some lying, to bend the rules and steal in wholly different ways. As many people know, I don’t like cashiering because I believe cashiers only work to take money away from the store–in the form of discounts–and do not do much to add to the sales, or amount people buy. They are like used-car salesmen trying to sell people what they didn’t know they needed–discounts and credit cards.

A customer comes up, she’s a regular, and up until now, I always thought she was a reasonable shopper. In recent days, I’ve been trapped as a cashier against my will, because people aren’t available to work. She comes up with a leather bag. This is the same leather bag she bought only seven days ago with a huge discount coupon. How do I know? Because I sold her this expensive item thinking, “Wow, she spends money easily.” Well I was wrong.

She was returning the bag, saying she lost the receipt. I looked at her skeptically. I told her we can look up the transaction with the credit card we used, because I was the cashier who helped her and gave her the discount. I told her we needed to be fair. She couldn’t remember what credit card she used. I remembered. This, I pulled up the transaction, and she had saved over fifty-dollars ($50).

What she had ‘attempted’ to do was return the item without a receipt, hoping to get a merchandise credit for the full amount, since the item was still new. She was trying to cheat the system by saying she lost the receipt with the discount, just so she could get $50 more to spend. This, my friends, is a liar and a thief. She just doesn’t think she is. The worse part, if she runs into a novice or unaware cashier, they would have given her the merchandise credit, and she could just say, “The cashier did it, I didn’t do anything wrong!” I also hear she comes in trying this scam all the time. In this case, a cashier did save money for the store. No discounts for you lady, sell crazy someplace else!

Guess Racism Never Dies…

July 25, 2010

It started with an old, white lady walking by me. As I greet her, she suddenly turns and looks away from me; I’m standing barely a foot away. Her husband does likewise. I shake my head, thinking, “More of these people?” I decide to test it out, so I call another Caucasian coworker to go greet the old lady. My coworker is several feet away from the woman and before she can even finish saying hello, and the woman turns towards her, “Oh, hello, I have some questions for you!” The old woman rushes up to her and asks her questions for a few minutes.

Afterward, I go to the girl saying, “I knew that would happen. What is wrong with these people? Am I supposed to be mowing their lawn or cleaning their pool? Am I supposed to be their manual labor around the house?” She tries to argue, as she does, that the woman has questions just for females, which makes so much sense why she tried so hard to ignore me.

I’m walking away and I see the old woman in the fitting room waving at her husband who is nearby. I decide to be a nice person, and I try to tell him, “Your wife is…
Cutting me off, he puts his hand in my face, saying, “Yes, yes! I already know!”
No, you don’t know, you old pile of garbage. What am I, offering you some discounts? “Excuse me? Your wife is trying to get your attention.”
He doesn’t even say more than, “Oh,” and turns and walks away from me. As you can suspect, I no longer exist.

I tell the same coworker what just happened, and her reply is, “Really? Wow.” Yeah, really, some people’s money shouldn’t be added to my paychecks, it’s an insult. Needless to say, when they arrived at the registers, as I was the only cashier, I was nowhere to be found. So someone else had to appear to help them. I really didn’t want to touch their money, it would disgust me far too much.

Customer Types: Capitalist, The Hand, Modern Slave-Owner, The Racist, Sexual Discriminator, Unapologetic

Socratic Retail Method

July 11, 2010

Introduction
Mentor: Tell me, when you work in retail, where do your paychecks come from?
Pupil: Your employer?
Mentor: Yes, but where do they get the money to pay you?
Pupil: Hmm. They get money from money they make?
Mentor: Very good. How do they make this money?
Pupil: By selling the product they carry.
Mentor: What if they do not make money selling goods?
Pupil: Then they have no money to pay their employees. But if they make a lot of money, where does that go?
Mentor: Ah, you are getting ahead of yourself, my pupil. It is true, if they make more money, one thing they can do is hire more workers.
Pupil: Why?
Mentor: The more money they make generally means they need more help to produce–more people to unpack and replenish clothing, more salespeople to sell, and more cashiers to take the money.
Pupil: Oh, I see.
Mentor: Although each aspect is important, what part do you think is more critical? The replenishment, the salespeople, or the cashiers?

Cashiers
Pupil: The cashiers.
Mentor: Truly?
Pupil: No?
Mentor: What do cashiers do?
Pupil: They take money from the customers, and this money is used to pay the workers.
Mentor: What influence do cashiers have upon the customers?
Pupil: They take the money.
Mentor: Do they help customers find products or fill their needs? Do they help build the sales?
Pupil: No, I do not think so.
Mentor: Although there are very skilled cashiers who can add-on to sales, and generally, they do not directly interact with more than one customer at a time. They cannot multitask multiple customers at once.
Pupil: This is true. Do they not also offer discounts and coupons which also decrease the amount of money made?
Mentor: Very good, you have kept up with your studies. Cashiers have the duty and responsibility to lower the amount customers spend, thus lowering the total profits. This done multiple times, through many transactions can have an overwhelming effect on total profits–imagine if they gave 15% off all transactions. Cashiers have an important role at the end of the process, because without them, we could not complete transactions, but they are not most critical to the success of selling.

Stock
Pupil: What of the stock-people, they are the beginning of the story, without them the product cannot even be found.
Mentor: Yes, they are important. They unpack the clothing, preparing it for the floor. They replenish the clothing when it gets low. Without them, supplies run low. But how do they directly influence the customers?
Pupil: I do not know.
Mentor: Even with a fully stocked table, that does not directly entice a customer to buy anything. It is like a piece of art in a museum to look at, but you need someone there to guide you through the painting, to understand what you are looking at.

Salespeople
Pupil: So the salespeople are important?
Mentor: In retail, which people often receive commission as a part of their job: the salespeople, the stock-people or the cashiers?
Pupil: The salespeople.
Mentor: Why?
Pupil: Because they directly interact with the customers, helping them to find product they are interested in, building outfits and adding-on product before the customer gets to the cashier. And many salespeople are skilled at multitasking multiple customers at one time.
Mentor: Very good. Customers have already made a majority of their buying decisions before they even reach the cashiers. And with discounts, coupons, and other additions, which subtract from the total sale, cashiers have less impact on increasing sales compared to salespeople.
Pupil: And salespeople can ask stock-people to help find product that is missing on the sales floor.
Mentor: Yes.
Pupil: Do salespeople receive credit for these actions?
Mentor: In some businesses, they do receive commission. Or they receive acknowledgment for their sales above and beyond the normal. The salespeople work hard get to know customers, to add-on sales, to bring profits directly into the store so the cashiers, the stock people and other salespeople can be paid for their labor. They can directly influence a customer that is ‘just looking’ into someone who ‘spent more than they expected’. They directly help customers that don’t know what they are looking for. They help customers find the perfect gift for a loved one, and something extra for the customer, too. They bring additional value to each customer that makes a purchase.

Query 1
Pupil: But is there not businesses that only recognize cashiers for giving discounts to customers? They receive acknowledgment for lowering the store’s profits. Why don’t the salespeople get acknowledgment for building the sale which got the customer to the cashier?
Mentor: If you were a salesperson who worked hard, building up a sale, getting to know a customer and making sure they left happy, how would you feel if you were dismissed and forgotten, and a cashier is recognized for signing someone up for a credit card and giving them a discount off of your hard work?
Pupil: I would be saddened and demoralized. I would feel like my work isn’t worth anything. Why do cashiers get recognition for every credit card they get, but salespeople do not get recognized for every single sale they make? They are the ones helping fill people’s paychecks and keeping them employed!
Mentor: Calm yourself, my pupil.
Pupil: I am calm. It just doesn’t make sense. It is illogical.

Query 2
Mentor: What happens when a cashier is processing a card or giving additional discounts that take a long time to process?
Pupil: Salespeople are asked to cashier? They must back-up the registers.
Mentor: Yes, and what happens to the customers that are ‘still looking’ or need help finding products?
Pupil: They are left ignored and forgotten? So the sales floor is left empty, while everyone is at the cash registers, customers are left with no one to help them…
Mentor: Yes, go on. What happens?
Pupil: So the remaining customers will buy less?
Mentor: And many may leave because they did not receive ‘customer service’, all the while this happens, all the additional manpower is taken to the cash registers for the sake of giving an additional discount.
Pupil: And the ripple of one discount means less money for the store… And by the time the line of buying customers is gone, there are no customers left in the store who need help, because they are not going to wait for a salesperson that isn’t there when they needed help.
Mentor: Yes. But if people are only given credit and recognition for giving discounts, and signing up credit cards, and no recognition is given for making sales, would not all the effort go towards the cashiers? And effort towards selling would diminish.
Pupil: Why would any business do this? They would be choking the life out of their own sales. It would be like Ouroboros, the dragon who swallows his own tail. A business like that cannot hope to be successful.
Mentor: What business would be successful?
Pupil: One that prioritizes selling. One that emphasizes and recognizes salespeople as critical and crucial to the life of the store. A business that knows and understands selling and the skill of adding to sales is more important than giving discounts.
Mentor: Very good. That is why we went through this exercise. Hopefully you understand a little more about selling now.

Mentor:
Pupil:

The Art of War in Retail: Subterfuge

May 31, 2010

Chapter 7
Both side of the equation have their own sort of commandos, or ninjas, or assassins, who are specially trained to turn the tides effectively toward one side. These are often tricks of the trade, sometimes–with the Opposition–going into the real of illegal acts of war.

Opposition: Shoplifters- Some Champions are experts at waging war and devastation playing the “I want to speak to your manager!” games and “Well, they let me do it last time!”. Beyond these people are Shoplifters who are the assassins of the Opposition. Some Champions bend rules and break them thinking ‘The Customer is Always Right’, but Shoplifters always break rules and never in a way they can truly defend their actions. They can wipe out entire battalions without harming their army at the least–stealing entire tables of clothing if you don’t catch them in time. Although, a good General can generally distract and defend their armies from these assassins–most Shoplifters cannot act when facing a General, and a majority of them are powerless when they are not hidden. Weak Generals need training to be able to deal with these deadly warriors who don’t use traditional warfare in battle. Shoplifters have the ability to sneak in, under cover of anonymity, and slip out slaughtering numberless troops.

Salespeople: Jedi Techniques- The greatest Generals become Champions themselves using advanced techniques and tactics to ensure victory, even controlling the tide of battle. Some just use a force of will or coercion, sounding like Used Car Salesmen. Those of the female-gender seem to have an advantage against most genders–as females will trust the advice of other females, and males obviously prefer the attention of a female. Whereas females don’t trust the opinion of other males, and other men would rather have a female helping them. The worst of these men can take heavy, heavy losses from females trained in the Jedi arts–a movement, a glance, or a comment can force a man into a ravine, losing possibly hundreds of troops. I have trained females to use the weakness of men to their advantage–for if men wish to use women as eye-candy, ogling their bodies, then women should make men pay back. Even a prolonged look, or a look back while walking away can open a man’s pockets. Just grazing his shoulder while you help him, can leave him off-guard. I have had men tell them, “Whatever you want me to buy, I’ll get it.” That is a truly skilled warrior. Never underestimate a General with Jedi techniques, they know and understand the Art of War.

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.

The Mirror

May 9, 2010

I have read many different theories on mirrors. Some discuss how intelligent creatures can recognize themselves in a mirror, versus other less-cognizant creatures who see a reflection as a competitor, a friend, or a mate yet not recognizing it is them. There are theories which say we develop a sense of self, of being, when we first stare into a mirror–because we are no longer disembodied, but we actually see and know what we look like and in our minds we fully exist from this point on. We see, therefore we are. A mirror does much to tell us about ourselves.

The store I work at has a doorway which divides different sections of our store. I have so many people who walk by that door, look directly at it and then continue walking. They then approach me, asking, “Where is your other sections? I can’t find it.” I tell them they just walked past it, and they reply, “Oh, I thought that was a mirror.” Really? What does this say about you, oh customer?

Oh so curious that someone can look upon a doorway, mistaking it for a mirror, admitting this mistaken fact, and yet they themselves were not in their imaginary mirror–they saw no reflection. Either these people are vampire-lovers, which are in high demand these days, and they found total elation and self-completion in the idea they no longer have a reflection, or there is something significant about intelligence and the fact people can’t recognize they have no reflection in a mirror.

This would be like believing stairs only go down–so how do you get back up? Or asking how much wood can a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Does a falling tree make noise if no one is around to hear it? Money is power, time is money, yet humanity created both of these abstract concepts and allowed them to control us all. Humanity has forgotten what it has created and lost control over its creation. Ah, humanity, you make me cry. You make me weep.