Posts Tagged ‘society’

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.

Advertisements

Please Swipe Your Card

October 30, 2010

Credit card machines have evolved quickly over the years. Currently, everyone has their version of the swiping machine with a digital pad so you can view your items and total, eventually signing on the same screen. I consider the most advanced being the machines which allows you to swipe whenever you please–there are not a lot of these, as most people ask you to wait before you swipe. Our business uses the one where you wait. Let me compress a single-day’s worth of, “Please swipe your card,” into a single transaction.

I greet the customer. They swipe their card–come on, I haven’t even logged into the system nor taken your clothes yet, calm down! So I tell them it’s not ready yet, I prepare to scan an item, they swipe again! “It’s not ready yet,” I repeat again. They stand there staring at the machine, as if it’s a race–can they swipe it right when they need to? Can they swipe it at the exact second it says to, “Go!” Because, you know, if they are able to do this, their world is full of greatness. Yeah, right, and I”m the Retail Fairy. By this time, they’ve often swiped several times, sighing in some ridiculous relief as if they did it right, and put away their credit cards.

I finally scan in all the items, and I need to select the option for Credit or Debit cards. They’re swiping away, two or three times, as I say, “It’s not… ready yet. It will… tell you when it’s… ready.” Each pause is generally one swipe from the customer, thinking that by swiping it multiple times, the transaction will go by faster. It is like people at a stoplight pressing the button constantly as if that will alert the system, “Oh my, someone is in a hurry! We must change the light faster! Hurry, there must be a life and death emergency!” Actually, it’s people with low intellect stimulating themselves. Anyhow, sometimes I even try to outrace the customer. Can I scan in all the items and press credit, before they can find their card and swipe it? Can I? Can I really? Most of the time I do this, they say, “I didn’t even see the total.” Yes, it’s always lose-lose when you deal with the lost.

Finally, the screen appears, “Please Swipe Your Card.” And they stand there, with their credit card. And what do they ask? What could the possibly ask to make them look any smarter as human beings?

“Do I swipe now?” Seriously? Who in the world taught you to act like a chimpanzee? Most times I just sigh and nod.

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.

Coupon Literacy

October 28, 2010

I’m at the register, the bane of my existence, and we have special coupons, which give a pretty good discount on regular priced merchandise (You can read this as full-priced, non-sale items, etc. Yet, knowing society, people will choose the dumb options on how to interpret clear English. Because you know, they ask, “How long will this be on sale for?” And they could mean marked-down product–which never return to full price–or they could mean promotional items, which return to regular price eventually.) I got side-tracked, where was I? Oh yes.

A woman comes up with a bundle of items on promotion–read this as items on sale, because they aren’t regular priced if they’re not full-priced, right? (I mean today, I had to deal with cheap people who wanted me to mark items back to regular price, since they were on sale, in order to get the coupon savings, which amounted to roughly $1 savings. Congratulations for you! Big saver! Bring out a banner! I just love how special promotions bring out the sale-mongers who decide their I.Q. has dropped twenty points in order to shop.) Either way, I ring up the woman’s items, and I tell her, the register will remove the promotional price–thus the item becomes full-priced/regular priced; this is actually automatic–and then she’ll get the discount off the regular price. (This comes out to about $2 savings, lucky lady!) To which, the woman angrily yells at me, “How can you do that? Where does it say that? I want to read it!” (There really should be a test for people to be allowed to shop in person, with so many people lacking social skills. One question should be repeated twice, “Can you clearly read and understand your native language?” “Are you sure you can read English/native language?”) I point at the coupon, of all things, it isn’t even in the fine print, it says on the very top, ” Regular Priced Merchandise.” To which she complains, mumbling to me saying, “You should have made it clearer! I wouldn’t have even come in if that were the case. I wouldn’t have even bought this!” I love when it’s my fault.

If that is a threat, I don’t know if I care. Does it look like I have a thousand ripples of pleasure having to deal with your stupidity and lack of literacy where you can’t even read English? Do I really care if you’re trying to make me responsible for not only your greed and lack of intelligence, but also you pointing your finger at me as if it’s my fault? I didn’t teach you to read, nor did I teach you to use this lack of logic, nor did I make you come trying to money grub super-discounts and getting items for free. Some people actually do have to pay for their rent and feed themselves in this world, woman.

Of course, all I said was, “Please swipe your card.”

Customer Types: Big Baby, The Blind, Capitalist, The Dumb

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

Credit Card Signature

October 26, 2010

This is definitely a short, but weird story. Obviously, by now, many people have seen the credit card machines where you sign on the digital pad. It never quite looks like your signature, kind of like a liquid version of the original. Either way, a woman swipes her card, and before anything else can happen, she starts to rub the corner of her credit card on the digital screen. I don’t know exactly what she’s doing, because it looks like she was rubbing off crap from her credit card onto our pad. The signature capture screen appears, and she then grabs her card and starts to rub hard against the screen. I finally realize what she’s doing, she’s trying to sign the screen with her credit card. It makes a loud, irritating sound like nails on a chalkboard–I can definitely tell she must be a very irritating person to live with. After trying this for several seconds, I stop her–leaning over and giving her the pen which is actually made to sign on these digital pads. I don’t know where she’s from, or the kind of pads she’s used to signing, but I have yet to see one that you use your credit card to actually sign.

Customer Types: The Dumb

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: 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!”

Negative Nancy

September 21, 2010

We are all familiar with this sort of person. They speak negatively, pessimistically about everything, and approach situations from a position of doubt, disbelief, or any of the many emotions which make others feel down.

“Excuse me, I don’t want to be a pain, but can you help me with these pants, I can’t understand a thing.”
So I go to her, and I explain the sizing. She seems to be under the impression the larger the size, the longer they are, and I point to the length indicator, telling her each pant is the same length.
We go to look at our denim. And again, she remarks on how the larger sizes are going to be longer than the smaller sizes. And again, I remind her, there are clear indicators saying the length on each pant, so the smallest and the largest are the same length. She waves me off in disbelief, saying they are longer. Perhaps it would help if you grabbed the correct sizes, Nancy? I should have grabbed a super-long small, and a super-short large size, and said, “Oh, this is a defect, we should take this away. No slim people are this tall.” At least not in her reality.

All during this time, she keeps yelling her daughter’s name, we’ll say it’s, “Margaret.” Her daughter has remained in the same spot the entire time I’m helping her, mind you.
“I don’t understand the sizing of these.”
“Well, the first number…”
“Excuse me, Margaret! Oh, please continue.”
“The first number is the waist size, and the second is the length.”
“Margaret! Come here. But the larger sizes are longer, I don’t see the point in putting lengths, it serves no purpose.”
“Each sizes has different lengths…”
“Margaret! Stay close to mommy!” Then she turns to me and say, “We’re visiting from Japan, and over there you don’t need to worry. Now, we’re in the United States, so someone could just come up and snatch her away when I’m not looking. It’s not as safe here, I always need to keep an eye on her. Margaret! Or else, someone will just come and steal her.”
I laugh, and I tell her it’s generally safe.
“Maybe because you live on an island. Margaret!”
So I decide to take her to a fitting room.

A few minutes later, I ask how she’s doing.
“I hate everything! But it’s not your fault, so don’t worry.”
I’m not. I’m more worried how your child will grow up, since you’re a strange Caucasian woman from Japan.

Customer Type: The Deaf, The Racist, The Rambler

Any Color is Certain Colors

September 9, 2010

I greet a woman looking for help, and she tells me, “I’m looking for a basic crew-neck short-sleeved shirt and a long-sleeved crew-neck shirt. I need them in medium-size.” She’s reading from her phone a short shopping list.
I lead her nearby telling her, “We only have a few colors…”
“It doesn’t matter what the color is, I don’t care, I’m just picking it up for my sister. She wanted me to pick some up for her.”
“Okay,” so I hand her a gray short-sleeved shirt and a black long-sleeved shirt.
She rubs the collar, looking at me, “Is this what crew-neck is? Just a regular neck?”
“Yes.”
Opening the gray shirt, she looks at the wall, “I don’t want this color, do you have a black one?”
“Yes.” I hand her the black medium, taking the gray shirt away.
“Do you have a white one?” She shakes the long-sleeved, black shirt at me.
“Yes.” I hand her the white shirt, taking the long-sleeved shirt back. I’m so glad she didn’t care what colors we had, or we might have had a problem. I laugh a little to myself, and go back to my day.

Customer Type: The Liar, Micromanagement