Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Impatient Customers

LAG screwed up. She closed the store by herself for the first time, but she obviously wasn't ready. Not only did she not close her cash register correctly, but she also did not close the credit card machines.....AT ALL. She's semi-management and can't handle a single cash register?! And the credits--managers get in trouble if it's not done EVERY day, WITHOUT FAIL. Semi-managers don't get in trouble, not really. Does she care that she screwed up? No. Does she apologize for making the managers look bad and costing us money? No.

And's been so busy lately and they're so impatient. If all the sales employees are busy, they'll come to the cashiers to ask where something is or for help getting a heavy item. The cashiers can't do anything! They have to stay at their posts to take care of you AFTER you collect the stuff you're going to buy. If you want to be shown to a specific item, you'll have to WAIT until someone is available to help you! Don't complain about the cashier "refusing to help" you! They'll be glad to help you....AFTER you get your stuff. Further, by taking me away from what I was doing so that you could complain, you in essence made the wait longer for everyone.

Only 24 shopping days left....can I survive?

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Repeating, repeating, repeating, repeating, repeating....

So back to work.

Busy, busy, busy.

I'm so tired of repeating myself! Why are people so stupid?!

My cashiers got backed up so I had to open a register. The idiots flocked to my line. A woman asked me the same question TEN TIMES and then got mad at me when I got short with her. I'm serious......TEN TIMES.....the same question, the same answer. A line of people. Who wouldn't have lost patience? She gave me a lecture on how I'm there to help her and answer her questions. Of course I am. But not the SAME QUESTION AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN when there are other people waiting to check out!

Another woman asked a cashier if we were accepting donations for a local cause. The NEW cashier (been with us perhaps two weeks) wasn't familiar with the program so she asked me. I said yes only to get an earful from the lady that I should let my employees know because that's a very important cause and customers shouldn't have to ask about donating to it. I agree, that's why there's a sign at EVERY SINGLE REGISTER promoting the program.

A newish employee didn't show up for work and didn't call either. Usually that would mean an automatic termination, but he's friends with the SM's nephew so he got off without even a lecture. No way. That is not going to work for me. If it happens again I will protest. Strongly. Because if we let him get away with it then we have to let everyone do it and we can't run a store like that.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Today I am thankful.....

....that I don't have to work tomorrow!

....that my store is still closed on Thanksgiving, one of the few holidays that we do close.

....that my store doesn't have any crazy sales like the one at Best Buy. I passed by there on the way home and 10~15 people were waiting in line for the 5 AM opening. This was at 5 PM!!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

What do you want?

I called Friendly to ask about a product that we're currently out of. In the course of our conversation the possible employee transfer came up. Again. She said that the regional manager was going to talk with my SM about it. I told her that she might want to talk with the SM herself. She really didn't want to, not knowing the SM or anything, but she called back later and they discussed it. The SM repeated what I said….it's OK if Friendly takes the employee, but not right away. After their conversation the SM asked me if I had told Friendly to talk to her. Well……….yeah, so? The SM was even MORE upset. Mostly with Friendly, but I think a little with me, too. Sometimes I just can't figure her out.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Being "Childish"

I mentioned Friendly's Request to the store manager. The SM agreed that we needed a little time before we could let the employee transfer stores, but she wasn't happy about how Friendly is doing things. The SM had already heard about the employee being fired (a story in and of itself) from another SM but had heard that the regional manager told Friendly to look OUTSIDE the company for a replacement. Interesting. {Yes, there's a lot of talking in my company. Since the office doesn't tell us much, we have to hear stuff from other stores. Knowing stuff before the office tells us is absolutely necessary, since they don't tell us stuff until too late to do much about it.}

Further, the SM thinks Friendly is being "childish" by calling to talk to me about it instead of the SM. I don't understand why the SM is upset. Besides the SM being off yesterday when Friendly called, Friendly knows and has worked with ME, not the store manager. She wasn't calling to officially ask for the employee; she was calling to inquire about the possibility of a transfer in the future. I didn't see it as childish. I could understand the SM being upset if Friendly was asking me in an official way or if we were trying to keep it a secret from the SM. But it was just an inquiry! Then again, we are quite a bit younger than the SM. Perhaps she's seeing something that we aren't. Anyone out there in internet land understand SM's perspective and care to explain it to me?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Friendly's Request

My friend the manager at a nearby store called today. Let's call her "Friendly." Friendly just fired one of her top people for misconduct and needs a replacement. Surprise, she was inquiring about the possibility of getting one of my employees. It would be a promotion for the employee and a significant pay increase as well. But we don't want to lose her!

We talked for quite a while. I made sure Friendly knew the employee's strengths and weaknesses so she knew what she was getting into and what kind of hassles to expect. The employee is good, but occasionally there are some interpersonal issues that need management intervention.

I told her I guess she can have my employee if she really needs her, but we need 2~4 weeks to train the replacement since we're down a person at that level anyway. Normal employees are one thing; semi-management employees are quite another.

Nothing's firm yet so I haven't told the employee involved. The last thing I want to happen is for it to fall through and the employee to be disappointed. Friendly doesn't know if her boss will make her get an outside person or if she can do a staff transfer. It would be lots easier on her to have my fully-trained and quite competent employee. We'll have to see how it plays out.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Mental Issues

We have one regular customer with severe mental issues. I'm not just using that as an expression for someone I intensely dislike; she is really messed up.

On numerous occasions she's bought up to $300 worth of merchandise at a time. A few weeks/months later her husband returns it all, most opened, some partially used, but almost all of it a total loss. We can't resell it, but have to take it back anyway.

I had heard about the customer numerous times and recorded her returns as losses numerous times, but only met her recently. Not that you actually meet her, because she won't talk to anyone. She wears gloves (to protect her hands from germs??) yet still gingerly picks up items, holding them far away from her body. She always spends at least an hour in the store. She doesn't just shop or look around, she scrutinizes everything. Her husband stands nearby, saying nothing, only watching.

As I was cleaning up that evening, I came to a secluded area where she had spent a lot of time. There were several neat stacks of merchandise on the floor. She had pulled ALL of the items of that type off the shelf/peg where they were sitting/hanging to choose which one she wanted (when they're all the same anyway). The last thing I wanted to do when getting ready to close was put ALL of the items back on the shelf.

So the lady has a problem. That's too bad. But why doesn't she stay at home/get help for the problem? Why does she come into my store, make a mess, then return merchandise that we can't do anything with? It makes extra work for us and makes higher prices for other customers. I have to deal with enough "the customer is always right" types to have to deal with people with genuine psychological disorders, too. I feel bad for her husband, I really do. But how is letting her shop/buy a lot of stuff that he later has to return helping either of them? I just don't get it.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


It was a SLOW day. Did we make enough money to even pay our employees?? The last 45 minutes we didn't have a single customer. Then at 3 minutes 'til close a couple came in and spent TWENTY minutes in the store. We were extremely attentive, but they were "just looking." We turned off half the lights, but they continued to look. We asked what they were paying with, and they acted like we weren't doing our jobs right. Whatever. We're closed. NOW LEAVE. Earlier in the evening I thought that I'd get to go home early. Guess not.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

No More Babysitting!

I've got this new employee. Not like that by itself is an unusual thing, but anyway. She was very enthusiastic and talkative in the interview so I hired her despite her youth and lack of experience. Usually the high school students, once we've trained them, work out fairly well because they don't mind the low pay and we offer flexible hours. They learn quickly, show appropriate respect to the older customers, and don't mind working weekends.

However, this employee acts like she's TWELVE. She's careless on register, is very flighty, and I have to tell her multiple times to do something. She has NO SENSE of time management. There's a list of closing tasks that must be started EARLY in order for us to leave at a decent hour. I should not have to continually remind her about these duties! And non-routine tasks, too: you've got to be constantly on her back for her to finish. She'll start something but then get distracted and never go back to the original task. (She reminds me of this former employee.)

On top of all that, when she's working the sales floor she can't do anything on her own. She must "assist" someone else. Talking, flirting, doing anything but working. It's driving everyone (managers and employees alike) crazy. We'll give her a little time to get her act together; otherwise she's out the door. I have a business to run. I don't have time for babysitting.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Power of a Compliment

The day started out fairly badly. I had a lot to do but I kept getting interrupted. There were a couple of difficult customers, employees had questions and issues, unexpected shipments arrived, I was very behind for the day. I had just gotten a good start on what I needed to do when I was called to do a return. Great.

I must have looked like I was having a bad day, or perhaps the older lady just likes being nice, but she really made my day. As I processed the return, she made small talk and then the shocker, "You have an AWESOME store!" Why thank you! Perhaps all of my hard work produces something!

After that my mood changed. I suddenly wasn't as tired, had more patience with stupid people, and didn't hate being at work. That woman probably has no idea how she improved my day.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Phone Calls

{These are examples, I don't want to reveal the specialty area of my store.}

First phone caller: "Do you carry {computer viruses}?"

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Just because we're a {computer} store we're going to carry {computer viruses}?!

Second caller: "Do you have {computers}?

......... Yes.

Directionally impaired caller: "Where are you located?" (They think phrasing it like that makes them sound so intelligent.)

Our address is {123 Any Street}, which is just east of the intersection of {Major Highway A} and {Major Highway B}.

"Where's {Major Highway A}?

Where are you coming from?

{City 20+ miles away.}

Oh. (Why are you coming all the way to my store? I know we have a good reputation, but that's a long way to drive!) Well, how do you usually get to {my city}, because I have no idea where {your city} is. Any map of the area has {Highway A} on it.