Thursday, March 30, 2006


I am sooooooooooo tired. We've been getting ready for inventory all month. This week we did more inventory prep, PLUS normal stuff. Then the actual inventory, which involved staying up nearly all night, after working a full day. It wasn't too bad, but it wasn't great either. The inventory service that we used has an ok reputation, but some of their employees were extremely slow. We double-checked some of their numbers and they weren't the most accurate, either.

Anyway, it's done for now. In a week or two the office will send a list of stuff for us to recount. If the variance of what we have vs. what we should have is too far off of the company average then…………..we get to do the whole thing over again! Cross your fingers that THAT doesn't happen!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Sob Stories

The neighborhood I'm in, I hear sob stories almost every day. I have NO SYMPATHY for people who buy unnecessary stuff that they can't afford. It's called responsibility and self-control. I'm cynical and don't believe any of the people asking for money, either. Here are just a few of the stories I hear:

There are the obvious cons from walk-ins who would never buy anything:

  • the man with a gas can who needs just a few more dollars to get gas so he can walk back to his stranded wife and daughter and drive them to safety;
  • the ex-drug addict who needs money to stay in his outpatient program;
  • the woman who just escaped from her husband who beat her and she needs money to bring her 12 kids to live with her;
  • the guy who needs money for bus fare to get to his job or they'll fire him.

Then there are the "customers" who are trying to get money out of us:

  • the woman who left her wallet at home and wants us to extend credit for her *large* purchase since she has no way of getting to our store for another month;
  • the "short-change artists" who work to confuse the cashier so they get back more change than they're supposed to;
  • the shoplifter who never got a receipt for the item they need a REFUND for! NOW! Or I'll call your corporate office!

Then there are the sometimes legitimate customers who drive me crazy trying to save a buck:

  • Do you have a senior citizen discount? Why not?
  • Don't you have coupons for that?
  • If I buy 10 of these, can I get a discount?
  • It rang up $11.99. The shelf said $4.99. (That's for the SMALL size.)
  • The total is too much. How much was this? This? That? This? (Don't forget the tax.) Oh, I guess that's right.
  • I spent a lot today; can't you throw in a little something extra? (No.) Oh, come on, no one would ever know....(Are you asking me to give you free merchandise? That's illegal.) Oh, never mind.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Buy it yourself

Today I was helping a WEIRD, WEIRD woman. She collected many items in her cart and I was with her a long time. When it was time for her to pay it had gotten busy so I was the one to ring her up.

When I told her the total, she looked shocked. Then she explained that she didn't have a job right now and she had a lot of bills to pay and she had been sick so the total was a lot for her. Then she just looked at me, expectantly.

What?! I'm not paying for it! No discount, no free product. Ninety percent of the stuff was not at all necessary, especially for someone without a job. Her total was not small, but not huge, either. Perhaps ten or twenty percent of customers have a higher total than her. Do you want the stuff, or not?

I, of course, said nothing. I do a lot of thinking stuff I wish I could say, though.

She sighed and got out her checkbook. I inwardly groaned, looking at the line of people waiting. I suspected that the check would be declined, but surprise….approved. What are the chances she returns the items within a week?

The neighborhood I'm in, I hear sob stories almost every day. I have NO SYMPATHY for people who buy unnecessary stuff that they can't afford. It's called responsibility and self-control. I'm cynical and don't believe any of the people asking for money, either. Tomorrow I'll talk about just a few of the stories I hear.

Monday, March 20, 2006


The weirdest people come in on the weekends. Or maybe there are just so many people, PERIOD, that the little things build up until I can't stand it anymore!

A family was asking about an item. According to them, they were in last week and the item was $60 and now it's $120. Why is that, they wanted to know.

First off, prices DO go up......minimum wage increases, fuel surcharges, ridiculous electric and water increases, etc. But items don't go up THAT much THAT fast, or we'd all be in serious trouble.

"It must have been a different item that was $60, ma'am."

"Oh, no, it was THAT EXACT ITEM."

"That item comes in several different sizes and varieties. One of those varieties is $60. The one you're looking at is $120."

Whey they FINALLY realized they couldn't get me to mistakenly sell them the more expensive item at the cheaper price, they moved on.

"Do you have any [of the item] in boxes?"

"No, we only sell them put together." (Since most NORMAL people want them pre-assembled and would break them trying to put them together themselves.)

"Well do we get a discount since it's the floor model?"

"No," (while gritting teeth and taking deep breaths), "this is how we sell them. Put together. We don't sell them in boxes. This is it."

"So there's no discount?"

"No." (What, am I not speaking English?!)

They went over to the next aisle and started looking at other items so I went to the front to do some returns. A few minutes later they came to the front and asked for a box so they could **take the item apart and put the pieces in the box.** (It wouldn't fit in their small car put together.) I told them we don't have boxes that big. (My store has way too many items crammed in already. We don't have room for spare boxes on the off chance that someone will want to take apart the item that an employee put together just a few days ago.)

They hemmed and hawed and the woman asked me, AGAIN, "Are you SURE you don't have a box?"

Remember that this was on a SATURDAY. The day that we do more than TWICE as much business as on a normal weekday. There were lots of other people who needed help with NORMAL stuff.

"Yes, I'm sure."

As the family left, the woman shouted, "I guess you don't want the sale then, do you?"

I wouldn't mind making the sale TO REASONABLE PEOPLE.

(I sold the item the next day. Put together. Without a discount. Or a spare box.)

Friday, March 17, 2006

You were a WHAT?!

I was called to the front this evening to open another register because a single customer was taking FOREVER to tell her life story to the cashier, ask the total a dozen times, finally finish writing her check, etc.

What I heard of the life story: she was forced to retire last year from her job because of severe depression that left her unable to work. It's so hard for her to get out of bed some days that she nearly runs out of supplies before she makes it to the store..............there was a lot more to her story, but I was trying to get through the line of people before a riot began. I checked out at least 6 people while my cashier took care of her and only her.

When she left, the cashier and I just looked at each other. She retired only LAST year? How long was she this messed up before that??

So, what was her job, you may be wondering. Someone's secretary, maybe a musician, what kind of job would FORCE her to retire?

She was a **public defender** up to one year ago. There are probably poor innocent people in jail because of her. The cashier and I both decided then and there that if we ever need a lawyer, we'll do everything possible to make sure we don't get a public defender!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Refund Policy

I was doing a return this weekend and saw that I wouldn't be able to give a refund in the store. It's a controversial but essential part of our return policy, to protect against employee theft: for large purchases made in certain tenders, the head office must issue the refund, not the store.

When I told the customer this, she did a 180 and turned from a well-spoken lady into a cursing devil. "I just bought these 2 hours ago! I changed my mind! You WILL refund my money NOW!" I backed away from her, startled and scared.

I explained the policy again, pointed out the policy hanging next to the register and the policy printed on the receipt, wondering if I should call someone. It's a Saturday night.......the office is closed, and like the store manager/regional manager want to be bothered with something like this. I'm just following store policy. Is there a way to get around the policy to satisfy this woman and get her OUT OF HERE?

But the woman didn't give me a chance to call anyone, look into alternatives, or even THINK. All she could do was curse and order me around. I was close to telling her to leave without doing anything for her, but she kept it PG-13 rated as she demanded a partial refund and our main office number.

The partial refund is within our rules, with the full refund coming from the office. As for the office number, them. They'll be glad to hear I'm following the policies that THEY set to protect the COMPANY.

So the woman left. And apparently first thing this morning, called the office. Because by 11 AM we were being faxed a customer complaint with a note from the regional manager for the store manager to call her. So from 8 AM (when the office opened) to 11 the customer called the office, they emailed the regional manager, and she faxed the complaint to us.

Guess what? The customer left off some VERY IMPORTANT details in her complaint. She didn't lie, but she certainly didn't mention the high dollar amount of the return. She made it sound like it was $10 or something, instead of $100. When the store manager told the regional manager the amount and the woman's behavior, the regional manager had no problem with how I handled it. It also helped that I had an employee who witnessed the whole thing and another employee who saw the latter (loud) part of it.

Another day. Another irate customer causing headaches. Oh well.

Friday, March 10, 2006

What's your problem?

Today a woman asked me for help. She didn't ask particularly politely, but it's my job to help her regardless of whether she passed the "please and thank you" part of kindergarten. So I tried to help her. But I couldn't quite tell what she wanted because she was asking for help for her FRIEND's problem. The friend hadn't asked her for help, so the woman didn't know ANYTHING about her friend's problem. So how was I supposed to help her?! I couldn't help her. AT ALL.

Pretend my store is a shoe store. The woman wanted shoe inserts to correct her friend's foot problem, yet didn't know the friend's shoe size or what her specific problem was. Further, it's a PERSONAL thing that if the friend wanted the help, the FRIEND would have gone shopping and ASKED for help. What a busybody.

So the woman was all pissed off because I couldn't show her anything to help her friend's problem even though she didn't really know what the friend's problem was. Yep, all my fault. I'm a terrible employee. NOW LEAVE AND LET ME HELP OTHER PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT THEIR PROBLEM IS!!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


On a personal note, may I remind everyone that little quirks about people will only get worse as they get older. If it's slightly annoying now, in 20 years it will drive you CRAZY!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Creepy Guy

What is it about retail that makes some men think they can say/do anything they want to female clerks??

I think I actually prefer the not-funny jokes of a sexual nature from the older guy (which stopped after I spoke with him) than the general creepiness of today's guy. He commented on various things without really asking for my help but whenever I tried to go somewhere else, he'd follow me. He also didn't get the concept of (or didn't care about) personal space and STAYING AWAY FROM ME so I took a break far away from the sales floor until he left.

After he checked out, the cashier asked if he needed help out with his large but manageable purchases (WHY DID SHE ASK HIM THAT?). He said yes and requested me. I got halfway to the front and saw that it was him requesting assistance. I asked a male employee to carry the items for him. When the customer saw the male employee, he refused the help. Then he came and found me before he left to get in some more creepiness. Nothing specific that I can point to as "sexual harassment," but he made me uncomfortable in a way that he wouldn't have done to a guy.

I know, there were other people in the parking lot, but he had a foot and hundred pounds on me..........I wasn't going anywhere NEAR his car!

Now occasionally we'll have only women working. Usually not, but sometimes. What would I have done in that case? Told the guy I wasn't able to help him? Had two women walk out with him? Hmmm..........

Friday, March 03, 2006


I came into work this morning to find a blanket near the front door. We have to clean up beer bottles, fast food trash, and even diapers out of the parking lot on a regular basis. But a blanket is something new.

My first thought was someone had spent the night sheltered against our building. But when I got closer, the had a strong smell of oil or gasoline.......did someone do a late-night oil change in our parking lot? Why?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Waste of Time

First phone call of the day:

"Do you carry product X?"


"How much is it?"

Price range.

"Who makes it?"

Company ABC.

"Oh, because I tried doing an internet search and I couldn't find product X. I live 10 miles away and didn't want to drive all the way to your store......" At that point I stopped listening. That's great! The person's so lazy/stupid that they can't do a proper internet search, so instead they call and pretend to be a potential customer just to get info so they can turn around and buy the product online?! What a waste of my time!