Moving and Growing

Hey everyone!  I’m popping in for a quick update. But first, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and I want to wish all of you precious people a Happy New Year!  I had a pretty spectacular Christmas. My lovely lady friend got me a Crosley Rochester system. It’s an old school looking record player with CD player, cassette player, AM/FM radio, AND an input for portable music devices. It’s pretty rad if I do say so myself.

Of course, the CD player died the second day, so we need to exchange it. I’m a little bummed about that, but it’s okay because it will be back in rockin’ business soon.

Anyway, back to our result programming.  I have been thinking lately of shuffling my blog over to WordPress. I love Blogger, it works well, but I have some future plans for making this blog it’s own domain one day. It’s going better than I ever planned.

More or less, I wanted to let my beautiful fans know that there will be changes around here and they will all be for the good. And as usual tomorrow there will be an update of crabbiness and awesome.

The Over-Explainer

The phone calls I get the most are from people who over explain their situation to me.  They call to ask about the return policy and then proceed to tell me the story about how they thought the car seat would fit in grandma’s car, but it really won’t, so can they return it even though the box is missing now?  When I explain to them that as long as they have their receipt, and they go find one in the store that is exactly like the one they have, then yes they can return it, they feel the need to re-explain the story to me.

Please, save your breath.  I understand what you’re saying.  I don’t know how many more ways I can explain the same thing to you.  I just allowed you to return an item WITHOUT A BOX.  I’m GIVING YOU PERMISSION (this goes along with our policy change on making the guests happy no matter what –eye roll-).

Now, before I go on, I must state that I can be very bad at this, too.  I find myself over explaining things to people a lot.  Especially when I’m flustered.  I do it the most to my girlfriend or my mom when I talk to them and they either aren’t seeing my side of it, or don’t agree.  It’s like I’m trying to get them to agree when I know they won’t.  I guess I’m just not satisfied until people see my side and understand it.  And maybe that can be said the same for almost every person.  Especially those people who think they need to tell me their reason for returning several times.

I had a man the other day call to ask if he could return his coffee maker.  It worked fine the first week, but the week after, water started to leak out of the side.  He figured he must have closed it incorrectly and tried again the next day.  When that didn’t fix the problem, he realized that the coffee pot had a defect.  He explained this to me on the phone.  And I explained to him the process of how I would return or exchange it for him.  He was so very happy and came into the store about half an hour later.

Then re-explained the story to me, and even decided to give me visuals on how exactly the defect on the machine worked.

We went through this already, dude!  Come on now, I ‘ve got a line of pregnant ladies and coupon scammers behind you.  Just go fetch your new coffee maker and be on your way!  The entire service desk staff doesn’t need to know what’s wrong, nor do we care.  Okay, we care a little bit because we want you to get a product that works so that you keep shopping at our store so that we continue to get paid, but we don’t care enough to alienate the guests that are behind you by ignoring them.

Really, it’s the older guests who are the worst at it.  The guests that are 40+.   The younger people sometimes don’t even feel the need to give any explanation.  My favorite part during a return is when I ask them if there is anything wrong with the product and they flat out ignore me or pretend they don’t speak any English.

Bitch, I know you heard me.  It’s just part of my job, a simple yes or no would suffice.  Put your damn phone down and answer me.  It’s only polite.

Sometimes I wish we could put up a sign like they have a Subway.

“Please put all calls and text messaging on hold so that we can properly assist you.  I really don’t feel like getting yelled at by you because you weren’t paying attention to me.  I’m just doing my job, so please be polite and help me help you.”

A lot of women will bring back dresses or dressier clothing.  Most of the time, the reason for returning is because it didn’t fit right or look right on them.  Typical female response.  I usually frown and say something nice like “oh, it couldn’t have been that bad,” or “yeah, sometimes certain cuts just aren’t made for everyone.”  I try to make them feel better about their failed attempt to look nice.  But what gets me is when the guest starts to down themselves around me.  I hate that.  It makes me feel uncomfortable because they are being so negative about themselves.  I want to say something nice to them, but since they are a total stranger to me, it’s hard to do.  Most of the time I just smile and nod because I don’t know what to say.  Especially because a lot of my female guests will laugh while they take a dig at themselves.

I do it to myself to sometimes, but I try not to do it around strangers because that just makes things awkward.  It’s kind of like how situations aren’t really that awkward until someone points out that they are awkward.  Like, hellooo, keep your trap shut and things will run smoothly.

Listening to these stories, though, is part of my job.  Really it should be put in my job description that I also function as your therapist or journal.  By all means, please tell me that you bought that coffee pot so that your disabled husband could have coffee at home, but now it’s broken and you just need a new one because he is just so sad that he can’t have coffee.  I’m sorry that it broke on you, but you can’t take your new, working one home faster by trying to make me feel bad for you.

Why I Hate The Holidays

Okay, so I don’t actually hate the Holidays.  I do really enjoy celebrating Christmas (that’s the one I celebrate. No, I’m not trying to exclude anyone here, so don’t get your panties in a  twist).  It still excites me at 24-years-old, even if I do keep most of that excitement under lock and key.  It does bring a warm feeling to me and it makes me sad that I haven’t been able to celebrate it with my parents even though I haven’t ever really expressed much that I like it.  Nor do we really do anything special.

However, I hate what the Holidays turns most people into.  You can watch the news and see it.  You can go into stores and see it.  People are greedy, stressed, mean, and downright evil sometimes.  Black Friday is the biggest culprit of that.

I know I might press some buttons here, but it does sicken me that some people make big Black Friday preparations.  I know it’s tradition for a lot of Americans (I honestly have no clue what other countries do for the Holidays in the sense of shopping extravaganzas), but I think it’s a disgusting ritual of greed.  And a big huge waste of one’s time and money.  Hell yeah there are some GREAT deals out there.  Come on now, when else can you get a 32” Sony flat screen LSD TV complete with ear-splitting surround sound and lame-o 3D technology for only $149??

And that’s just hoping that the workers at that store didn’t drop the entire pallet of TVs in the backroom and squished them all back together to go out on the sales floor.

Yeah, you just wait and see if that TV actually works when you get it home.  You’d be surprised at how badly store employees handle the merchandise meant for Black Friday Blood Baths.

People push and shove and break out into fights not only on Black Friday but throughout the entire Holiday shopping season.  Oh hell!  You just grabbed the last Legoman Supreme Robototic Dino Deluxe Delight and my kid wanted that worse than yours!  You give that back to me now!

The Holidays aren’t about wanting to make your loved ones happy, it’s about how much you spent on them.  It’s about who you beat up for them.  It’s about want, want, want, want, want.  There’s hardly any real sincerity or love in it any more.  And that’s saddening.   But really, there’s nothing I can do about it.  I’m just one girl and society is going downhill so fast these days that I wouldn’t be surprised if we accidentally nuked ourselves in the next ten years.

Hey, maybe that’s extreme thinking.  Maybe I just don’t have much faith in people, but why don’t you try working in retail for one Holiday season.  Or maybe you should just go to the mall and people watch.  It might really change your way of thinking about what people really think the Holidays mean today.

The Confusion of Multiple Trainees

In preparation of the Holidays, we have decided to train several new people at the Service Desk.  Great!  That way we have more people available to help, and more people who, in the future, can fill in if a shift is ever open.

What’s bad is trying to train them all at once before the big day of Black Friday.  Now, I know Black Friday has already come and gone, but the stress of trying to train people once or twice a week during their normal schedule at the service desk is such a wreck.  Especially when it’s busy on the weekends and there’s so much going on that it’s hard to be there for them to answer their questions because we have a line out the door.

When something becomes my routine, it really upsets me when that routine gets screwed up.  Especially when I try my best to reflect my routine on the others I work with.  There are certain processes that I didn’t initially learn in my training, and I try to make sure others know about it, too.  But it just gets too confusing for the trainees when they are being thrust into a high-energy situation like a Saturday at the service desk.

And it’s even harder to keep calm when you come in the Monday morning after all the havoc has been wrecked.  It’s hard to just breathe and tell yourself that they are just learning and it’s not their fault at all that things are a total mess.

Then, thinking about that, it starts to make me mad that instead of trying to get people trained a month before the most stressful day of retail, they try to do it in the two weeks before.  Cramming all of this information at them at once.  Working the service desk is not hard.   However, there are certain process that we do that if not done right, we could get in a lot of trouble for.  And when we don’t give those people enough time to train and learn the proper processes, then we are putting them at risk for getting in trouble for something that they didn’t know was wrong or improper handling.

And I think that’s just not right or fair to them.

Sadly, though, it’s the way that it works in retail.  Everyone starts to get more and more stressed when Black Friday approaches.  It’s in the air when you’re at work.  People are on edge and you can read it all over the guests’ faces, too.

The stress before the Holidays just makes me angry.  It’s supposed to be a happy time of year that brings people together, but the preparation in retail work beforehand just makes people crankier.  There’s just so much going on at once that it’s hard to keep the actual joy alive.  So, here’s to those still trying to get the ropes at the service desk.  You know who you are.  And you are doing fine.  Just breathe and it will be okay.

Intimidating the Couponer

Now, I know that this is the second non-scheduled post that I’ve made today, but I wanted to share this little story before it was no longer relevant or cool.

Last night we successfully managed to run off three males trying to hit us with some serious coupon fraud.  We got the call just in time, too, from a sister store informing us of the descriptions of these men.  It would have been almost $1,000 worth of fraud had we not gotten to them in time.

It was quite thrilling, actually.  Being told and then not even a split second later seeing one of them dash into a check lane to try to get out of there as soon as possible.  I immediately went over to the check lane and stood behind my cashier.  I didn’t even try to make it look like I was doing anything other than watching what she was doing or what the man had.  When he saw me, he pulled out his phone and immediately called someone and spoke to him about how he was there and he’d be done soon.

When the cashier was done ringing up all of the items and bagging them, he took his time pulling out the coupons.  And he had them in order.  He actually got mad when she started to lay them out to look at them and make sure they were valid.

“I had those in order.”

Okay, calm down, dude.  We are doing our job and trying to make sure you don’t take us for $300 bucks in one transaction.  I had the cashier go through each and every coupon and check them against each and every item.  He did have two that were valid on some of the items he got, but the rest weren’t.

He was very clearly agitated.  He started telling the cashier and I how to do our jobs.  I looked up at him and said “I know how the process works at this store.”  And he said “Yeah, I used to work for [store].”  I just looked up at him and said, “Good for you.”

Finally, after it was clear that his buddies weren’t successful and I wasn’t going to let him get out of there with the things either, he finally demanded his coupons back then took the bags of items we’d bagged and dumped them all over the girl’s check lane.  All three of them left together so pissed off.  And both of our AP officers, the cashiers involved, myself, and my supervisor laughed and congratulated each other on a job well done.  Then we told our stories of each of the three men we dealt with.  My supervisor nearly got into a fight with the man she dealt with.

Ah, sometimes working in retail is very exciting.

Unashamed Promotion

Okay, I’d like to take a quick moment to promote the blog of one of my very talented friends, Kristine.  She’s a talented writer and artist.  You can visit her blog by clicking  here or click the link on the right hand side of the page.  Go check out her witty blog.  Not to mention her artwork.  Oh, and uhm, she’s published in a small horror anthology.  Check her out!  I promise you will not be disappointed.

Policy Changes Can Be Good and Bad

Recently we had a change in our return policy.  Electronics returns were cut from 45-day returns to 30-day returns.  Wonderful, that makes me quite happy, actually.  You have no idea how  tired I get of people trying to return the $500 Nikon they dropped in the lake 47 days after the original purchase.  Not my problem, and I can’t take it back.  Call the manufacturer and see what they will do for you.

This means, that if there are any legit, big defects in the product, they will be apparent with regular use in those first thirty days.  My biggest thing is, our protection and replacement plans are actually pretty dang awesome.  Not only that, but the high dollar items like that come with their own manufacturer’s warranty, so really, you have no reason to bring it back to the store.

Something else that changed was that Halloween costumes couldn’t be returned after the 31st of October.  THANK YOU!  No one wants your nasty, sweaty, pukey costume returned, thanks.  A lot of people were upset that they couldn’t return things on the first of November, even though it was clearly stated on their receipt under the costumes and accessories that they couldn’t be returned after Halloween.  But who reads these days?  I mean, come on, reading is such an obsolete method of communication and learning.

However, what changed to make me upset was the fact that we now have to accept undergarment returns.  And I don’t mean bras.  I mean panties.  I mean thongs.

Excuse me a second while I go puke around the corner.

We didn’t accept them as returns before because it’s a hygiene issue.  We can’t prove or disprove that you did or did not wear these for one night.  We don’t even let you try them on in the fitting room!  Why are we allowing you to return them?  To go along with our new “method” of pleasing the guests all the time, we have to accept their underwear return and then immediately defect it out.  I’m sorry, but that sounds like the store is losing money now.  We are accepting a return of something that we cannot resell that was not inherently defective (okay, it is, but it isn’t.  It’s not like a camera that won’t power on).

I shudder every time a guest brings in their undies.  I hate it.  I had a woman several weeks back come return about seven pair of thongs.  She was easily in her sixties, and no, she was not attractive for her age.  The mental images that assaulted me were enough to make me want to lose my lunch.  Maybe it makes me mean, but when they come to return things like that, I make a note to try not to touch anything but the tag so that I can scan the item.  And even then I leave them in the bag if I can.  I don’t want that crotch crap on my counter.  I’m one of the few who actually wipes that thing down daily!

We have to make sure to make our guests 100% happy now, even if that means we are losing money, losing time working on important projects, and losing dignity and respect for the store.  I’m sorry, but I can’t picture how someone can actually respect a business that lets you walk all over them.

Oh, you want me to hike all over creation to track down this one item for you because you have a stomach ache?  Sure, I wasn’t working on setting up an endcap that was due last week or anything.  No, we don’t have a visit that we’re not prepared for because we have decided to write “DOORMAT” over our store logo just for people like you.

There’s a BIG difference in going the extra mile for a guest to make them happy and just flat out letting a guest take advantage of you.  Getting them an electric cart so they don’t have to wreck their injured knee again is good.  Getting them the cart and then escorting them around the entire store and doing their shopping for them isn’t.  That’s what personal assistants and personal shoppers are for.

I’m not upset that we are encouraging our team members to be nicer and more willing to help guests, I’m just upset that they are expecting us to bend over backwards for them.  I don’t like letting people walk all over me and sometimes that’s what I feel like my bosses expect of us.
 

So, next time you pick out a pair of lacey undies at the store, you just make sure you inspect those suckers thoroughly.  And please, please, PLEASE wash your new clothes before you wear them.  You have no idea where they might have been.