Posts Tagged ‘wisdom’

When can I Return a Non-Returnable?

July 11, 2011

A woman comes to the cash register carrying three tops, all of which are on sale.
“Can I return sale items?”
This is a popular question and rather reasonable. So I look through her three shirts, and one says, “Final Sale.” I tell her, “This one is final sale, so you can’t return it.”
“I know that!” She snaps at me, “I’m talking about the other shirts!” She states this in a tone of my ignorance and the fact I obviously don’t grasp her firm understanding of logic.

Let me pose this question, “If a final sale item is not returnable, and a regular sale item is not returnable, what differentiates the two items?” Because this is the ridiculousness of her question, if she ‘knows’ final sale is final. So I ask you, “What does she think non-final-sale sale items are?” Perhaps they are non-returnable sale, unlike final sale, which are also non-returnable. Wait, that doesn’t make any sense!

I lift the two normal ‘sale’ items, and say, “You can return these.” I wanted to say, “I’m sorry, you can’t return sale items, but you can never, ever return final sale items.”

Customer Types: Don’t Kill the Messenger, The Dumb, Rhetorical, The Riddler

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Sales Report Gone Blonde?

August 16, 2010

At the top of the hour, the manager usually prints a report of the hourly sales, tracking, etc. I’m in the middle of the transaction with two blonds, not fake bleached, but real, and not smart, but real. (Okay, that made me laugh a little.) So, they’re having this conversation, showing the depth of their grammatical comprehension, “Like, I told my friend, you know, like, don’t do that, that’s so stupid, you know.” It’s just empty banter threatening to make my eyeballs collapse into the back of my head.

I hear the manager ask me to print out the sales report on a nearby register, which I do, while still scanning in the items the girls are buying. The slip is hanging from the register, as I continue to scan in the last items. One of the blond girls reaches over, ripping the sales report out, and stands there reading it.

Of course, this makes all my coworkers gasp, and even telling them the story, they all gasp. Yet, I decide with great understanding and clarity, that this girl wouldn’t even know what she’s looking at. After several seconds, I tell her, “Oh, thank you for grabbing that for me.” And she hands it to me as if she’s doing me a favor. Yeah, thanks a lot. You’re FAB! Muah, darling!

Customer Type: Capitalist, The Dumb, Lowered Expectations

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 Lighting Lies!

April 29, 2010

Today, another one of ‘those’ customers came–the kind that are snotty, rude, arrogant, and ironically, they think they’re smart. (I’m not an astrophysicist, but I have an IQ of 150, so I’m not dumb by any account.) I don’t understand how and why a customer can walk into a retail store, thinking they suddenly know more about the product, the availability, and the details of clothing than the people actually working there. I laugh, I laugh loudly; even though I am prone to act like I know nothing when I deal with these rude people. The customer is always right, right? I don’t want to prove them wrong, even when they are wrong, right? Right. I mean, they walk into stores hoping the people working there are more stupid than they are, right?

A man finds me in the fitting room, in the back of the store, because obviously all my co-workers are at the cash-registers, so he’s already moody and rude, “I couldn’t find anyone on the sales floor! Come with me.” And as usual, I am also to blame for this. Thanks a lot co-workers.

So we go to the front, and first, he asks if the shorts are on sale–because, you know, there are signs on all of the shorts saying that all shorts are on sale. I tell him they are all on sale. When a sign says, “All shorts,” it’s generally all shorts.
Then, he shows me cargo-shorts, saying, “I can’t find that color!”–as he points all the way up to khaki shorts near the track-lighting.
“Oh,” I tell him, “The light is just tinted yellow, it is this color here. The lighting makes it look different.” I show him the khaki shorts, near the green, the blue, the gray–you know, all the colors here are totally different.
“It doesn’t look like that color. It’s not the same.”
“Trust me, the light is tinted, we only have these colors,” and I show him double-exposures–where we place the same color twice, “Because we have so many. It is this khaki one here.” Again I show him the khaki that’s hanging up on the wall.
“No, it isn’t!”
I try to get on my tippy-toes, and reach up, placing the short next to it–and even I can see it changes to that color.
“No, it isn’t the same!” So he’s down to yelling at me, because obviously, he knows what colors we have available, and I don’t know anything; because as a customer, you suddenly have a far vaster and knowledgeable pool of wisdom and experience. Just because people work retail, they aren’t idiots–even if some of my coworkers go to college and have advanced Biochemistry classes, but act like they they’re totally brainless children at work, that doesn’t mean they don’t know anything. It just means they don’t care, which is just as bad.
His wife cuts in, “Yes, I can see, it’s the same short. It’s the same color.” Finally, some sanity in a world of stubborn, idiotic ¬†jerks.
So I shrug and say, “Well, you don’t need to believe me if you don’t want to.” Placing the khaki back, I turn to walk away.
He yells at the back of my head, “So they are on sale, right?”
“Yes.” I hiss, but continue to walk, not turning around.

Customer Types: The Blind, Don’t Kill the Messanger, the Dumb, Guessing Game

Buy one, get one… what?

September 8, 2009

Buy one, get one free. In case customers decided to return one of the items, we wanted to make sure customers get some money in return. So we divided the discount evenly between the two items–thus 50% off both items, which is equal to 100% off a single item. Got it? If you don’t, then we have a problem.

So I’m ringing up a customer, and telling her how the discount works, so she knows she won’t return an item for 100%-off, getting $0.00 back. She looks at me, calmly stating, “Yes, I understand.” So I divide several pairs of items, 50/50, 50/50.

When I hand her the receipt, she looks at it, standing there for a moment. Then she looks at me, pushing it at me, “What is this? What did you do? I thought one item was free?”

“I explained it, and you said you understood. I guess you didn’t.”

Customer types: Liar, Deaf

P.S.
If you need a detailed explanation: you buy two items $40 and $40. I give you $40-off, splitting it $20 for one item and $20 for the other. Thus you pay $20 and $20 or $40 total. If you need to return one of these items, you still get $20 back. Buy one, get one free in value.