Showing posts with label surprises. Show all posts
Showing posts with label surprises. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Welcome To The Warehouse... Hope You Survive!

Since my last post, I’ve been relocated into our store’s warehouse and I must say that it is FANTASTIC!  I don’t know why I never tried to apply for a spot there sooner.  I have seen the light and it is warehouse, ladies and gentlemen!
It all began when I went into work one day to work in my old department but before I could even punch in to start, I was pulled aside by one of my store’s managers.  He asked if I had picked a department to switch into and after telling him I preferred the warehouse, that department’s supervisor approached me and told me to ignore the following week’s schedule that was already made.  I was quite surprised since this was on a Thursday and the new schedule was to start on Sunday.  Not a whole lot of time to get myself into the mindset that this was the end.  My coworker, Victor, who had been working with me for years in that same department and who had also gotten the assistant supervisor spot, was standing next to me at the time and we both were left somewhat speechless.  We figured we had at least another week to work together.
My new supervisor came back and handed me a new schedule and ran down a list of things I was going to be doing the first week.  It was all becoming real, really quickly.  That Thursday was also the last day Victor and I were going to work together in the same department.  At the end of his shift we said some rushed ‘good luck’s and that was that.  An end of an era in our department.  It was odd.  I’ll still see Victor around the store since he was relocated to a different department, too, but it won’t be the same.
Then, on my last day in my department, I was hit with nearly every possible issue and every possible grumpy customer.  Do you ever have one of those days?  It’s like everyone just waits for that one particular day to bitch and moan.  It’s amazing.  You can go days without running into problems and then BAM – it hits you all at once.  The day when the world says, “Sucks to be you,” and laughs.  When I came in to work that day I had been a bit bummed out that I was going to be leaving for the warehouse but by the end of my shift, I couldn’t have been happier.  I was reminded about all the perks that went along with getting off the sale’s floor, which is, mainly dealing with assholes.
I was a bit disappointed, however, that my last day wasn’t greeted with a bit more fanfare from my coworkers.  I have to admit, I figured that since I had been in the same department for several years and had outlasted most of our employees and managers I would’ve had a free lunch or something.  Not that I deserve one because I’m awesome or anything, but my work rewards people for just showing up and doing their job.  Oh well.
Then Sunday rolls around and it’s my first day in the warehouse.  And holy shit is it a sweet gig.  Granted, nothing in retail is rocket science but warehouse is so laidback and fun thanks to the relative freedom you have back there.  There are no customers to really deal with and most management won’t bother me unless they need something done around the store, so right off the bat it already rocks.  Plus, I was out early that first shift and had the rest of the day to enjoy while most of my coworkers were just showing up.
Since there are more people working in warehouse than my old department, a lot of the work was also divided up a lot more than it would’ve been.  I’m also enjoying the fact that I can now give the salespeople shit just because I can.
For example, if somebody comes into the warehouse for no apparent reason, I now typically say something like, “Hey, who said you could come into my warehouse?”  To which a warehouse associate would normally go, “YOU’RE warehouse?  You’ve been here for less than a week!”
Apparently, being a dick suits me.
I also don’t go into work dreading what possible issues I might have to face.  That was always the worst.  The work isn’t hard but when you have people who complicate it with issues and complaints for no real reason, it’s the pits.  There’s nothing like that – so far – in the warehouse.
Now, I’m sure that the warehouse will have its drawbacks.  It’s retail.  However, all I’m going to do is remind myself of that very last day in my old department and all of the bullshit I had to deal with and I’ll know that I’ll have it so much easier than I ever had.
I’ll go into the changes in-depth in a later entry.  I just thought I’d update on the change and my initial reactions.
More soon from the frontlines...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

"Training - HUH! What Is It Good For? Absolutely NOTHING, Say It Again!"

My apologies to Edwin Starr for that terrible rip-off of ‘War’ in the subject line.  Now that that’s out of the way, onto the entry!
It is always nice when your job can manage to surprise you.  It’s very easy to become skeptical when you’ve been with the same company for several years or so, and sometimes this leads you to think that you’ve seen and heard it all when it comes to your company or, at the very least, your position within the company.  This is especially true for me when it comes to all the trainings I have been apart of with my current job.
Let me begin by saying that I appreciate a job that’ll train their employees so they know what they’re talking about.  There are places where you go in and you feel like you might as well just look up the info on your smartphone instead of ask the employees for help.  That’s not the fault of the employees, but the employers.  So, it is cool that my job decides to actually try to train us in the stuff we’re selling.
However, there’s a fine line between being well trained and training harder than a surgeon would be trained.  Sometimes my job goes a bit overboard with all the trainings.  Between the computer-based training, the one-on-one trainings with managers, the department trainings every other month, the larger corporate trainings we get sent to, and the one-on-one vendor trainings, it’s all a bit much and it often feels like everyone’s tripping over each other’s feet.  You get all the information drilled into your head again and again and it’s hard to resist the urge to just tell the trainer, “I GOT IT THE FIRST TEN TIMES I WAS TAUGHT THIS!”
I mean, really, it’s not like we’re training to go deep undercover to infiltrate the mafia.
Everything becomes very repetitive and it’s amazing how certain trainings might change ever so slightly, but the managers – who must be used to working with some truly dumb as hell people – feel the need to go over the same things again and again in excruciating detail.  They always have this worried look on their face like, “Oh, dear lord, I hope this is sinking in for him.  He looks so lost as I’m explaining this to him!”  When, in reality, I’m not lost – just amused at their ridiculous repetition.  I’m not the world’s smartest guy but I can grasp simple facts and instructions.  If I don’t have a sarcastic smile on my face when somebody tries to ‘train’ me on something, then in my mind I’m going into autopilot and I only hear a “wah-wah-wah-wah” sound.
That’s why, when I get sent to a training and I’m not bored and the trainer is cool, funny, and laidback, I’m genuinely pleasantly surprised.  This was the case earlier in the year when I was sent to one such training for a week.  I’ve been to one or two similar trainings and it’s always torture.  The only bright spot is that I get away from customers for a few days.  This training, however, was fast-paced and totally laidback.  The trainer still seemed to spout the company line and praised everything our company did, which I somehow refrained from rolling my eyes, but she was easy-going and funny.  Sure, I didn’t learn anything new, per say, during the entire week that I hadn’t already known, but it was still enjoyable.
Not since when I was first hired was I as impressed with anything this company had to show me in the way of training.  I just hope we don’t go backward and revert to the old style of training within a year.
So, nameless trainer, thank you!  You’ll never know how much you alleviated my apprehension about that week.  If I had to be stuck relearning everything I already knew, I’m glad it was with your class.
More soon from the frontlines...

Friday, September 2, 2011


     There are times when customers can really surprise you and for the better.  It’s rare, to be sure, but it happens.  I’m used to the customer that flips out on me for a problem that isn’t even related to something I’ve done.  I’m used to the customer saying or doing something stupid because they can’t read something or find something that’s easy enough for them to find.  But a customer who actually goes out of their way to do something nice for you?  How many of us has that happened to?
     A few months ago I was assisting a couple that came in looking to buy several products.  In the course of assisting them, we talked and joked around about every random thing under the sun.  A more relaxed couple I have not met.  It was one of those interactions you almost wished wouldn’t end because you knew the type of customers you might have to deal with (assholes) after such a pleasant transaction.  The husband was even showing me several pictures of the house he was redoing and even the people who were helping him.  I thought they were going to adopt me at the end of the interaction – that’s how friendly they seemed.
     And w/ the money they were dropping, I almost wouldn’t have minded another family to celebrate my birthday with.
     But time passed and I eventually put the couple out of my mind.  Not that I wouldn’t have recognized the pair but it’s not like I went around feeling nostalgic about the interaction we had.  It was a sale and they went on their way.  I know our business promotes the friendly salespeople they have and how it’s because of us that they end up buying from our store and not some other store, but it always felt like a lot of bullshit.  I mean, I’ve found people to only care about one thing and one thing only: price.  I can’t blame them, of course.  I’ve had people come back to the store looking specifically for me but that’s generally because they knew my store would bend over and take whatever price the customer wanted to pay for a product.  I was just the salesperson to facilitate the transaction.
     So, it was kind of surprising when the husband came back into the store a few months later and talked to me about what brought them in and other random things.  He wasn’t sure if I remembered him but it was kind of hard to forget this guy if you had seen him.  He said he had to finish up in another part of the store but that he had something for me.  I wasn’t sure if I had heard him correctly and thought he had some sort of issue with his purchase.  I wasn’t in the mood to deal with an issue, even an issue from a customer who had a happy-go-lucky attitude.
     Several minutes go by and he returns carrying a plastic bag that looked pretty heavy.  I thought his wife and him had brought me some fruit that they had picked or something.  That enough was enough to surprise me and want to thank the guy for the touching thought.
     He came up to me and said how it was just a “little something” that they had seen while on vacation and they just had to get it for me.  They even remembered my name!
     I thanked him and shook his hand as he walked away, leaving me to open the bag by myself.  I gently placed the bag on a table and looked inside to find a gift from Europe they picked up that had my name inscribed in it.  My eyes nearly popped out of their sockets as I lifted it up out of the bag.  It was easily the coolest thing I’ve ever gotten while working in retail because it came from a customer who didn’t have to do that at all.  I was just some shmuck who sold them some electronics.  But to remember my name and pay money to get some salesperson a gift while you were on vacation?  I should be so lucky to receive such kindness from relative strangers in the future!
     It was something that won’t be forgotten about any time soon.  It was quite an amazing thing to experience in a life where you’re used to being treated like a servant.  I suppose being nice and helpful really does make a difference for some customers.  A very select few recognize the good you do for a shitty pay.
     I hope all of you out there get to experience something like that with a customer you’ve helped.  Whether it’s something that cost them a dollar or a hundred dollars, a gift is a gift, and we retail employees should appreciate anything we’re given.  I hope those of you who’ve had someone who has gone out of their way to do something nice to make your shopping experience a bit better will remember that.  Sure, there might be an incentive for them to get you back into the store down the line (I mean, how else will we get paid?) but that incentive isn’t that great.  If I could tell 90% of the people I run into at my jobs to bugger off, I would - repeat business be damned!  If I’m nice to you it’s because I was raised to be nice and to treat you with respect.  It’s not because my job did a great job in convincing me that I should be nice because they haven’t.  So show those hard workers some respect and maybe show your gratitude in some way.  Corporations may say it’s not good to accept something from a customer but how can one say no to a personally inscribed gift?
More soon from the frontlines...