Posts Tagged ‘stock’

Two-Week-Old Cardigan

July 17, 2011

A customer enters the store, she has a crumpled up bag with our name on it. You know what that means. Yes, it’s a return and/or exchange. Excitement! Generally, these people ignore my existence when I greet them, as if they were superstars or the ultra-wealthy, as they walk straight to the register.

I greet her, and she looks at me with a blank, careless expression and opens the bag. She pulls out a cardigan. I instantly know it’s sold out, also it’s old, and that it is on such a reduced clearance, I highly doubt anyone in existence has any–I mean, we were selling it for that cheap. I hold my breath waiting for the inevitable.
“I’m looking for a smaller size in this,” she states flatly, a mix of a command, an order, and well, just plain rudeness.
So I tell her, we used to carry it, but we’re absolutely, totally sold out. It has been weeks since I’ve seen it in our store.

“I know,” she replies. Well that’s a relief, right? At least she’s omniscient. “But your other store called here two weeks ago, and they said you have it.”
Really, two weeks ago? Only two weeks? Now she’s a time-traveler, too. Well, two weeks is just seconds ago to a tree, too bad we aren’t trees. Two weeks in a retail store is two sales cycles, thousands of customers, enough time to put out an entirely new line of clothing, and I can tell you, two weeks ago, we had a huge holiday sale–which we sold those cardigans like ice cream cones on a hot and sunny day. I assure her we don’t have it now, but we did have it two weeks ago when they called.

“Just look for it,” she commands, this time more sternly, as if I’m supposed to shudder in her might and grandeur. Let me tell you, she was fat, middle-aged, and roughly a foot shorter than me. She was approximately as scary as a toad after a rainstorm just before it’s run over by in-coming traffic–and I’m the one in the car. I tell her there is none, and suggested maybe she should have come in two weeks ago when the other store called and confirmed we had it–because we actually had it. We are only a few miles away, it doesn’t even take two weeks to walk here. I see no point in coming in two weeks later looking for a super-duper sale item, demanding people find it. So I go with Plan B–the treasure-hunter.

I take her around the store to confirm, with her own beady, little eyes that we are indeed out of this cardigan. I offer her a plethora of different cardigans, many in the same color–which is an odd mint-chocolate ice cream shade. Either way, she’s resolute in the fact she wants the cardigan she has, but in a smaller size. No other cardigan will equal the greatness and beauty of her super-sale cardigan, the one she wants so badly that she was unwilling to come in two weeks earlier to pick it up when she knew we had it. Bravo, little lady, you are an exclamation point in the evolution of reasonable, logical thought. Well, actually more like a period. After a thorough journey through the store, with every cardigan being rejected, I am left to give up and move along–as she said she’ll look for herself now.

Eventually, she asks another coworker to find a sweater for her. She asks if they are on sale, to which my coworker tells her, “No, it’s still new.” They are actually on promotion for half-price, but since the woman ‘asked so rudely’, my coworker declined to inform her of this. Of course, my coworker didn’t yet know this woman annoyed me earlier, we later found out together.

It seems for rude people what goes around comes around. Sadly, I had to see her leave with her two sons carrying large boxes of pizza. At least they shall feast like kings tonight! Even if she won’t get to wear her magical cardigan while doing so.

Customer Types: Micromanagement

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I Want Darker!

January 17, 2011

I realize I let most of the minor irritations slip through, because there are so many every day things which people do that fall into the category of rude, absent-minded, and ridiculous. I’ve been thinking about them, when one of ‘those’ customers whom always find me came yelling.

“I want a darker color!”
I look at a pair of tights he’s holding, and they’re dark gray. So obviously, I ask, “You want a darker gray?” This would basically be black.
“No! I want darker!”
I stand and stare at him. “So you want black?”
“No! Darker! I want darker!”
First, I don’t know why he’s yelling at me, but I did find out later he was a tourist from China. If you’ve been to the restaurants, you learn when they yell, they’re actually just talking.
“Darker! I want darker!”
“If you don’t want black what do you want? A color, name a color.”
“Darker!”
“Brown, navy blue, black…”
“Darker! Black! I want black!”
My eyes roll into my head, as I take the tights he handed to me and toss them aside as a sign I’m not taking his crap when I return. So I go into the back, to look for the tights, and someone tells me we have none. So after letting out a long shriek on the walkie-talkies, I come back out to find if there are any lost on the sales floor. Of course, I find one. Of course, I give it to him in the side he wants. And of course, what does he do?
“I want softer! Do you have softer! Softer!”
I’m no longer in the mood to be yelled at with no reason, or being yelled at with a good reason. “No, no softer. None. Only one.” And I walk away.

Customer Types: Capitalist, Learn the Language

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

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:

Eighth-of-an-Inch

June 17, 2010

At the rear entrance of our store, there is a carpet which has been worn away slowly over time. The carpet was built into the floor, so now there is a ridge roughly 1/8″ (an eighth of an inch) at the edge. The ridge is no larger than a normal street crack, but one day I had to find out how terrifying this is.

I hear a lot of commotion on the walkie-talkie. “Oh my, someone just fell!” “There’s an old lady on the ground?” “Where is she?” “At the back door, someone is on the ground?” “Is she okay? Is she moving?” “Do we need to call an ambulance?” I arrived, to find an ancient woman shrunken by time, with a beanie on her head. Her youthful daughter looked to be about sixty-years old, which would make her mother anywhere between seventy-five and one-thousand. Along with our stock supervisor, they helped to get her up, and had a seat placed for her to recover. There the old, old woman sat staring out the back-door entrance–so each customer coming in had to be greeted by that. So she sat, hunched and unmoving, people walking around her like a statue, as the daughter yelled at the supervisor.

“What is wrong with you people? That’s dangerous!” She points at the ridge.
“I am so sorry,” my supervisor states, doing all the things he’s trained ‘not to say’, “It is our fault. I’m so sorry, what can we do to help her? What does she need? Should be call an ambulance?”
“No,” the daughter continues, “That’s not needed, she just needs to rest. You need to get that fixed! Now! She could have died!”

They continue this ridiculous banter, as I chuckle nearby behind a pillar. Seriously, when you’re that old, and you can’t even lift your foot off the ground, you need a wheelchair, or better yet, don’t leave the house to visit the hectic mall. Remember the good old days, when you used to be able to walk miles to school over rock, gravel and shards of glass while hailstones flew at your head? Well those days are long over. I’d hate to watch you tripping over cracks in the ground, because that’s far more dangerous out there. I’m surprised she didn’t explode into a pile of dust when she hit the floor. Seriously? Leave her at home.

Thirty-minutes later, the old woman gets up with her obviously useful cane, and begins to walk away. Her feet don’t even leave the ground, they just slide across the floor. She must be very good at cleaning dust off the floors, like that video I’ve seen of a dog used as a mop. I actually don’t know how she even walks on the sidewalk. It takes a while for her to leave the store, as she slides one foot six-inches, then the other six-inches more. Yes, definitely, leave her at home next time.

Customer Type: Big Baby, The Complainer, Don’t Kill the Messenger, Lowered Expectations

The Scavenger Hunter

June 14, 2010

When a woman or a man comes to me saying they’re looking for some clothes for certain weather, they want certain details, colors, etc. and possibly several outfits to mix-and-match with–I am more than glad to help. This is called Building a Sale. We can walk around and discuss what colors they already have, and what will add to or expand their collection. We can talk about the places they’re visiting and where they are from, to get an idea of what is versatile and has long-lasting use. It is my pleasure to find them some of the coolest items we have, some of the most interesting choices and color palettes.

When someone comes to me with a random shirt out of the sale area which has been out for weeks, asking me to find another color or size–I am less than glad to help. Especially, when they follow me around. Especially, especially, when they pick up more items and then ask for that, because they have developed the mutant power to find the last one of every item as long as it isn’t in their size. Really? Maybe you need a mutant seeing-eye-dog who can smell sizes for you instead? I have customers that actually want to buy something.

There is an old woman who comes with her daughter and without missing a beat, they will send me on more scavenger hunts than a pirate holding a map with one-thousand giant, red ‘X’s written on it.
“I want that scarf, where is it? Do you have more?” When I can’t find it, noting they are two on mannequins, I go and pull one down. “I want the other one, too.” She needs both of them to compare, but will eventually give one back so I can climb back up and put it on the mannequin again. I walk away, and a minute later, “These sandals, do you have them in a size-8?” There is only one left in the store, and it’s the wrong size, so I tell her. “So you don’t have any in a size-8?” She asks me rudely and exasperated, as if she’s been looking hard–but instead, she had someone else looking for something for her while I looked for the shoes. I snort silently, as I tell her it’s probably on a mannequin. So I go around, lifting our twenty pound mannequins in front of her, crouching on the dirty floor, trying hard not to drop them as I check their feet; she follows me around, watching. They are all size-9. By the time I make it to the front of the store and have checked nearly a dozen mannequins, she says, “Oh you poor boy, nevermind already.” After asking me to find a pair of shorts, a belt, and a bag, she pulls me yet again and points at a display way up on top, “I think I know where the sandals are.” My face is blank, but I get the sandals, and amazingly, they are the only size-8’s left in the store, used as display pieces. They needed to put pins in the sandals for this display, and I take them out, handing them to her, and she starts to ask, “Is this okay…” As I walk away. I really don’t care, if you don’t want them, just throw them somewhere. I already destroyed five visual displays for you. I look around at all the other customers who are actually buying things, and actually need real help, but instead I’m stuck with this old woman.

I go into the fitting room saying I can’t handle this woman anymore. All I’m doing is scavenger hunts, for nearly an hour, and the place is busy. So I trade places with the person in the fitting room and they go to the sales floor to find the woman. “Where is she?” “Trust me, she’ll find you.” Of course, you already know whats going to happen. While I’m hiding in the fitting room, she arrives with her daughter to try on everything I had to pull off, pull down, and pull out for her. I clench my fists and bite my lip as I give them their room. “I can’t find them,” my coworker comes back. “Yes, because obviously, she had to come and try it while I’m in here.”

So we switch again, and I run to the front of the store to hide. Gosh, guess what, she comes looking for me in the front of the store to find something else for her. My eyes roll into my head…

The very next day, I’m working, and seriously, she’s there again. She greets me with a look of disdain, “Oh, it’s you again!” Wow, I was thinking the exact same thing! We must be soul-mates. She automatically asks me to find some shorts she can’t find, thankfully they’re too big to be on a mannequin. I search everywhere and find nothing, saying maybe a shoplifter stole it. And then, I look in the same pile she’s standing by, and it’s right there. Wow, now she’s being a pain-in-the-butt and a waste of my time. I run away to hide for a while, and as expected, when I appear on the sales floor she’s standing there and says, “There you are, I need you to find something…”

Why? Seriously, why? I hate being reduced to a retail slave.

Customer Type: Capitalist, Micromanagement, Scavenger Hunter

Under Denim Pants

June 2, 2010

I’m at the cash register and a woman is doing the ‘help-me dance’ right behind another customer–which is generally rapid back and forth movements right behind someone else, while ignoring the line and staring at me, waiting for eye-contact. So I lean forward and ask, “Do you need help?”

“Yes. I put something on hold.”
So I call over a coworker, while asking her, “What name is it under?”
“Denim pants.”
The guy comes up to me, and I tell him there is a hold, so he asks, “What name?”
“Denim pants.” The guy looks at me skeptically, so I turn toward the woman, and ask again, “Right? That’s the name it’s under?”
“Yes, denim pants.”
“Yes, denim pants,” I reply, “Go look.” I hear other co-workers nearby snickering, as I ask again, “Did you find it under Denim Pants?”

Eventually, he just finds her denim pants for her, and I tell him, “See, I don’t make this stuff up.”

Customer Types: The Deaf, The Dumb

My Nightmare- The Little Person

April 30, 2010

Dreams say a lot.

So a little person came up to me in my dream, asking for this item. I scan the item, and it says we might have one available. I’m searching, and the little person appears again, yelling, “Did you find it yet?” And I say I’m still looking. So he/she/it, I don’t know what gender this person was, decides to follow me. The person points here, “Did you look over there?” The little person looks there, “Did you check here?” And I try to search, but before I can even start, he’s telling me to look somewhere else. I’m getting overwhelmed by his chattering, so I try to hide in the stock room, but he’s there, too, chasing after me. He won’t stop. He just keeps asking if I found it, and when I say I have not, he keeps telling me to look in different places, demanding me to do it because he’s a customer. At this point, I’m just trying to hide, hoping he walks by without seeing me, but he always spots me. No matter what I do, he pops up and appears, “Where were you? Did you find it yet? Keep looking!” By this point, I’m running, turning corners, looking over my shoulder, slamming doors, but he keeps coming, he won’t stop. He just keeps going on and on, “Why don’t you check over there? Why can’t you find it? Keep looking!” By now, I’m running down a tunnel that doesn’t end. I see windows that look into offices, but I don’t see any doors. I turn corners, but realize I’m just running in a big circle and the little person is right there behind me, he won’t leave me alone. I can’t escape. I can’t escape…

I wake up sweating and tired, turning off my alarm. I am half-thankful my alarm saved me from the little person, but I am also sad, I have to eat and get ready, because I work today.

Dreams say a lot. I know the customers are small people in many ways, but dream of themselves as big, important people. You are greater than others, until you think you are. These people demand, they order, they act like they are bosses; they treat you like a slave, acting like you’re less than human because you are ‘there to serve them’–because society has taught them customer service is modern-day slavery; or I should say post-modern slavery. No matter what I do, they are there, squeezing through little holes, searching for me, so they can belittle me, make themselves feel bigger, and just enjoy the fact they ‘think’ they can tell me what to do, because they have something called money.

The Teddy Bear

April 24, 2010

Today I was helping a family looking at polo shirts and sweaters for their friends and family as gifts. I come back to tell them I don’t have a size, and their baby son looks up at me, lifting his teddy bear trying to give it to me. I smile down at him and say, “Oh thank you, but it’s okay, you can keep your bear.”

So instead, he runs up to me and hugs my leg. His mother has to come pry him off, so I can check for another size in another sweater.

One of the rare occasions when working retail isn’t so bad.

Call me Ishmael, the Stock Checker.

April 19, 2010

Call me Ishmael. Some hours ago- really, it doesn’t matter how long- having little to no time on my hands, and marking items down and not paying attention to selling, a woman approached me seeking a great white shirt of XL size. Sent me on a journey through and around the store. In the stock room, I hid, driving off my mouth and trying to calm myself. “We are sold out and another store might have one left, so she said, rudely, ‘Just call them, I don’t want to drive all the way over there for nothing!'” Whenever I find myself growling mad all over my face; whenever a fat woman, she’ll be called A-hag, follows me everywhere I go; whenever I keep trying to find a line to call out, but none work, with only the phone in the rear of the store away from her breathing and glares; and especially whenever I am forced to make a call for a fat woman looking for a fat white shirt when I am not even supposed to be on the sales floor doing this sort of thing- then, I really, really need to hide in the stockroom and vent my frustrations about the fat woman in the white jacket, A-hag. This is my substitute for getting fired in rage…

I find the item, placing it on hold. Returning to A-hag, to say I found it, I found the great white XL shirt; it is the only one left of it’s kind, so rare and unique a top. Her companion gasps in surprise, “You called them?”–obviously she knows we don’t call other stores for these sort of things anymore, and I provided quite an profusion of kindness in exchange for her harshness and blatant rudeness. Not even a thank you.

Yet, I find A-hag with another cashier, asking her to call once again, to be assured that I was not lying, that I did not mislead her, that I did truly find that great white XL shirt; obviously with her positive radiance, people often lie to her, so that she may drive to the other store only to find out she was deceived, for there would be no XL white shirt waiting for her; since, she adds to her obesity by not even lifting a finger to call the store herself, even sweating at the thought of going to the other store, walking, gasping, reaching the store on her last breath; oh, the fifty calories she would burn. Of course, they tell her the item is indeed on hold for her, that I did not lie. I doubt she said thank you this time either.

All the while she insulted and disgraced our stock procedures, “That’s so cheap, that’s so cheap,” that our machines said we did have one left, which sold this same day, but our computers only update this information at the end of the night to say we have zero, “That’s so cheap.”

You, A-hag, make us cheap, wasting our time and energy for your XL white shirt. If you are so ardently searching for this item, this quest and journey of utter importance, it is your own, alone. “I give you the benefit of the doubt.” Go, find your great white XL shirt, I’m sure it will look smashing upon your spherical body, shamed only by your shimmering nay-say attitude. I give you the benefit of the doubt.

Customer Types: Capitalist, Don’t Kill the Messenger, Micromanagement, Modern-Day Slave-Owner, The Riddler