Thursday, May 19, 2005


Having spent most of my working life in retail in one form or another, I have a theory that I am confident would rid the world of rude, impatient and unreasonable customers. Here's how it would work.

Between the ages of 18 and 21 everyone would be required by law to work one fourth-quarter and one first-quarter in a retail capacity. Concurrently of course. There would be no point in working during the holidays if one didn't work during the merchandise return season. Most people who've never worked retail just don't understand it.

Sales quotas, scheduling, returns... with and without a receipt, ugh... stupid managers and executives who hand down rules without ever setting foot on the sales floor. It's a world all it's own.

Most shoppers don't understand that the clerk standing there ringing up their sale doesn't make the rules. That's key to understanding retail. To tell that person how stupid you think the store policy is makes no sense. IF she/he had control over store policy they wouldn't be waiting on you at 7 AM on a holiday weekend! HELLO!

Yes, we know your mother always shops for the highest quality merchandise and never buys on sale. The fact remains, Sak's won't take back a blouse with a Jacqueline Smith label from Kmart. No receipt for those Vera bulletproof, double knit pants ~ no problem ~ BUT, you will only get refunded the lowest sale price of $ 2.80. Yes, we know it originally sold for $40, but without a receipt... store policy you know. One of my all time favorites... when returning a coffee maker you're going to claim you never used, throw out the used grounds and wash it first.

Telling the dumbest cashier in the store how stupid they are won't exactly make them an expert simply because you pointed out their short comings now will it? I've managed, opened, closed, inventoried and scheduled. Managing presents a special set of obstacles. It mostly boils down to the theory a warm body is a warm body. One hears many creative excuses ... most are lies naturally, but you make the best of it. It also helps if you stoop to a lower level and talk badly about the absent employee you know thinks you totally bought their excuse. The next time the employee reports for work, you put on your most concerned face and ask how the abortion went. (Honest to God, I had an employee who used that one!)

We encountered the worst cashier in the history of the world last weekend at Comp USA. No details are required, if you've ever worked retail you know that the REAL dummy is the manager who scheduled this poorly trained woman to man one of only two cash registers open on a Sunday with a major ad in that day's paper. DUH! But, a warm body is a warm body.


At 10:08 AM, Anonymous red quilt maker said...

have you considered "connie's million dollar miracle makeover for retail management"? it is a needed niche, one you could fill and make money at the same time. AND i know a couple guys, one on fl, one in tx who have great/vast experience in the miracle makeover biz just waiting for the right "project" to get back in the swing of miracles.

At 9:13 AM, Blogger ConnieJane said...

What a marvelous idea! We'd be a team to contend with for sure. Sort of a "Queer Eye for retail" concept! Wouldn't that be fun?

I had occasion to be in Macy's yesterday. It was a Burdines when I worked there twenty years ago but part of Federated nonetheless. They have shopping carts available now... harder to find a shopping bag though. The areas around the short/chubby clothing department was being remodeled... again. The individual departments don't have their own staff any more, the "customer service" areas are more centrally located now. Kind of in the aisle ways. I finally located a dressing room only to discover the individual doors all locked. Why? I will never understand locking an empty dressing room. If management is so worried about what goes in and out of there, post an employee to count and give out numbered tags like they do at Wal-Mart! I considered just putting my things down and leaving but instead went on a mission to find a salesperson to unlock the door. While I was trying on the few blouses I took inside, no fewer than three employees came to see if I was being helped by anyone. Well of course I was! How else would I have gotten in the damn room???

I bought nothing.

At 12:06 PM, Blogger sttropezbutler said...

Queer Eye for Straigt Retail. I like it, I like it. Then again, Target may have beat us!


Post a Comment

<< Home