Saturday, October 17, 2009

I'm just retail-iating

Before getting married and having babies I had a job.  In fact I had a few jobs, I worked The Pharm.  No I didn't ride a tractor or shovel cow pies, I carried boxes, stocked shelves and caught theives.  I also handed out tissues and used copious amounts of hand sanitizer.  Have you guess it yet?  That's right I worked in retail, more specifically I worked for Pharmasave.

I spent 8 years working and slaving, loving and hating my "career".  My first few years were spent stocking shelves and running a till.  Then I graduated to couting inventory and taking care of security (ohhh I loved that part, both the counting and the catching.).  Then I moved to the interior and it wasn't long and I was helping to open and organize stores.  And finally I wound up doing what I'd dreamed of from a young age, managing my own store.  Not that I owned it but I felt I did.  I did the ordering, I was "the boss", I still got to run a till (oh how I love that part.  As a young girl I actually saved my money and bought a real life till to play with.  It was sweet, until it caught fire) and stock shelves but now I didn't have to clean up puke every 20 minutes (just as I typed that Audrey puked all over the floor.  Thanks Murphey).  It was bliss and had life not taken me in the direction it did I think I'd probably still be there, working my way through medical school.  But that's not what this post is about.

See, back in the day I learned somethings.  I learned what it means to sham your products, I know what front facing is and I know that the best deals are always on the top and bottom shelves.  I know that front page flyer items are called loss leaders because most of the time those super deals are cheaper than the store's cost and quite often a company is paying for the flyer space.  I know that The Pharm has a motto about those loss leaders when you complain, it's to get "bums in the door".  Classy guys, those Pharmasave exces. (In all seriousness it's a great chain).

And as useless as those skills are now, it has instilled in me a greater expectation of a retail business.  I know what is and it's possible and what there is no excuse to let slack.  It's made me uber picky about certain things and has at times lead to the loss of a temper over the condition of a store.   It's also given me a reason to write a list.  What? A list? you say, yes. a list (can I get a high five for "the list").  A list of things that drive me absolutely mental (no comment, thankyouverymuch) when it comes to going shopping/the condition of a store:

- There is no reason to leave merchandising paraphanelia on the floor. (eg. signs, labels, stools)
- Aisles should always be clear, if you have to take a break please don't leave your boxes or pallets in the middle of the road!  You wouldn't park your car there.
- If I ask you where something is please show me where it is and leave.  Don't point and please don't stand there and stare at me while I decide between Always or Kotex.
- To further the above, if you don't know where it is don't pick your nose, wipe it on your pants, scratch your head all while staring off into space.  Tell me you don't know and get someone who does!

- If the sale is over - TAKE DOWN THE SIGN!  It is misleading and in most cases against "the law" to have an item incorrectly priced.  Also, if your business is part of the The Scanner Price Accuracy Voluntary Code  (you have to sign a contract to participate) which many, many BC businesses are (Pharmasave, Superstore, Canadian Tire to name a few) and something comes up at the wrong price you are obligated to give it to me for FREE if it's under $10 and reduce the price by $10 if it's over that.  Giving it to me at the incorrect price is not acceptable.  In most cases I will call you on this.  Get with the program and then you won't have to worry. 
- Personal hygeine is a must!  If your hair looks like an oil slick - shower, if you smell like BO - shower then apply deordorant (see aisle 5) and if you must drink coffee or smoke (another issue altogether) - brush your teeth or get a mint, do not chew gum.  If I wanted to see a cow chew it's cud I'd have gone to a farm.
- Smile, your face won't crack I promise!
- Position your merchandise and racks so that people in wheelchairs or with strollers can maneuver around your store.  This is especially important in the children's clothing section, where in most businesses my girls spend half their time with a shirt sleeve or pant leg in their face.  There has also been the odd occassion I have rearranged things to get through.
- If you have a difficult customer (which I do my best not to be, opinionated when I need to be yes, difficult I hope not.  I don't want to make your frown any longer.) don't call them stupid, shrug your shoulders or roll your eyes.  It doesn't help, trust me.  I had one employee that, that was her M.O.
- And remember, the customer is NOT always right.  Sometimes we're just plain annoying (not me of course) do your best to survive, smile and nod (something like your husband does when you're talking housework and laundry while the hockey game is on) and when all else fails repeat the following:
"Wow!  I'm so sorry you've had a bad experience/that this has happened to you.  I know we need to figure out how to make it better, hang on a second, I'll call my manager."  Then smile, count to 10 and give yourself a mental pat on the back for passing the buck!

1 comment:

Kimmies said...

That was very informative writing.
We to like to reminisce over things we have accomplished.
We love the pictures, worth a thousand words. Love your writings, you do have a God given gift.

Love John & Mom