Tag Archives: Associates

Entry 20: Closing Time

It has been A LONG time since I’ve written anything for you guys and I’m sorry for my impromptu hiatus but I’m back! Last Friday the employees of the Marshall Kmart were handed a giant “!@#$ you” and were told that in July we would all need new jobs. Alright fine our store is closing, whatever, I never planned on being a career man. The riff is that I’m not leaving on my own terms. I’m leaving because some corporate stooge decided that we “weren’t profitable ENOUGH” to continue to be employed. (Yeah, our store has had increased sales the past 2 years, but I digress) Anyways! Here we go.

My first reaction was disbelief and a general IDGAF feeling. (For those who casually view the internet IDGAF stands for I don’t give a *expletive*) As the days rolled on I realized that this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I graduate around the same time our store is set to close. Wait a minute… no job, no girlfriend, no concrete reason to anchor myself in Minnesota. Hmm… after May I will have a college degree and almost NO OBLIGATIONS. Huh… I have family all over the country, as well as friends. I… actually… wanna leave this place. At least for a little while. Once I realized this I felt a sense of freedom, a sense of adventure. I’m a 23 year old man (read child-at-heart), I don’t wanna settle down yet. I don’t want to “plant my roots.” I want to experience what the rest of the states, and maybe the world has to offer! I really don’t know where I was going with this paragraph but who cares? I’m free!! But seriously, any suggestions for a place to live for a year or two are more than welcome.

Topic 2! Customer reactions and corporate expectations. First off, the reactions about our store closing have been awesome! Even the negative ones, the ones who “saw it coming” realize that the blame can’t be entirely placed on the people within the store. Lets be honest, Kmart hasn’t updated anything in their stores since… who knows when. The supportive ones have actually made me look forward to interacting with customers. Sure their sympathies don’t help me financially or land me a new job but the fact that some people care is encouraging. Now, on to the not so nice people. To the guy who called in to confirm what he heard on the radio and read in the newspaper (the fact that our store was closing) then asked a question and THEN cut me off when I started to answer his question with “Oh wait. You don’t care, you won’t have a job come July anyways!” (Sorry mom and dad) FUCK YOU!! No one in my extensive retail career has made it more difficult for me to force a smile than you. NO ONE!! I’m serious. If I could punch someone through a phone… I would have. Don’t be a jackass just because our store is closing. Once the “shock” period was over I actually put more effort into my job on a more consistent basis than I had before. Why? I want to show all the desk jockeys that they were wrong to close us. You still want us to get a 4% enrollment rate? How about 10%? 70% on our loyalty program? Why not hit 80%? Oh wait… we’re going to give up because we’re closing… that’s right. I forgot. My. Mistake.

Alright folks it’s been a while since I’ve posted but hopefully I can start to do this on a more consistent basis. Monday and Wednesday updates for sure. Friday’s might be a bit more difficult because they take a bit more thought than my other entries. Again, mom and dad, I’m sorry for the language in this one but random punctuation marks and symbols don’t always cut it. For the dedicated, look for a Monday Mini-Rant on… something… this coming Monday. Thanks for tuning in guys.


Regular Entry 15: Philosophy and Scornful Looks

Welcome back lads and lasses! It’s been a while, like usual, but have I got something good for you. In recent weeks I’ve realized that I’ve been ignoring my greatest asset, my philosophical mind and way of thinking. Disclaimer: I’m not going to claim to have all the answers and I’m not going to bombard you with absurd “Why?” “Why not?” questions. What I’m proposing is that you interact with me on the weeks (and hopefully months) to come. Give me a question, hypothetical, political, religious, whatever you want, and I’ll try to give my best argument regarding the situation. Don’t worry, there’s going to be at least a little humor in this entry, hopefully. So let’s begin!

Philosophy. A bunch of “intellectual elites” discussing things that don’t, and never will, matter. Right? Wrong. I’ve had more than a few people scoff at the idea that I’m majoring in Philosophy. “What’s a Philosophy degree good for? Nothing!” Heard that statement more than once. While you may be entitled to your opinion, so am I. The reason I decided to pursue a degree in Philosophy is because there ARE NO FACTS. The “hard sciences” (Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, etc.) are all just the regurgitation of facts. You’re taught something, told to memorize it because that’s the way things work, and to spew it up whenever it becomes applicable. They don’t depend on your ability to innovate or discover, they depend on your ability to recall and reiterate. Philosophy majors and enthusiasts are taught to think outside the box. “But Grant, thinking outside the box doesn’t make me money, it doesn’t provide for a family.” If you are persistent enough, it does. Do you think J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, or Orson Scott Card gave up on their passion and forfeit their creativity because it wasn’t the easiest way to a pay check? What about Stan Lee or Malcolm Wheeler-Micholson? Does the name George Lucas ring any bells? They didn’t make their names household ones by holding back what their minds were capable of. Creativity isn’t worthless, it just takes more work to live on than most other characteristics.

Ok now that I’ve expressed my disgust at the immediate dismissal of Philosophers, let’s move on to something more grounded in every day life. My current retail position, Service Desk Supervisor, is a thankless one, and that’s ok with me. My thanks is the pay check I receive. What I’m not ok with is the ridiculous looks I get from people who are third in line to check out. Seriously? You’re going to give me a death glare because you have to wait 5 minutes to check out? Oh? You’re on your lunch break and trying to cram 2 errands and a meal into a half hour of spare time? My mistake. I didn’t know that your life was SO BUSY that you weren’t able to pack a lunch, (which would cost less than that combo meal you’re scarfing down in the middle of the store) go to the bank, (online banking, open 24/7/365) and get back to work on time. It’s not that I want you to have immeasurable patience with every retail person you encounter, it’s that I want you to have respect for the people who are doing their best to assist you. Don’t stare me down because there’s a person in between you and the opportunity to pay for your stuff. Calm your… jimmies… and stop thinking you’re better than everyone else. ¬†Show the person who is forced to smile and accept the “fact” that “the customer is always right” (which they aren’t by the way) some respect. They’re human, not a machine you kick and abuse to get to work. You aren’t dealing with a name tag and a dress code, you’re dealing with a human being who deserves respect.

Ok. I think I’ve found a nice groove this week. I’m a Philosopher and a scorned retail worker at heart. All jokes aside, don’t underestimate people who are willing to think outside the box and (more importantly) DON’T BE A DICK TO PEOPLE IN RETAIL. (Or to people at all) If you combine these two things, they really do go hand in hand. Thinking outside the box helps you to realize that retail positions suck and the person occupying that position is still A PERSON!! Looping back to Philosophy, my main, underlying, and prevailing “philosophy” is “don’t be a dick.” I know too many people don’t tend to operate that way but I hope they start to. Stay tuned to Philosophical Friday. There WILL be a new entry. Some of you may like it, some of you may not. Like I said in the intro, if there is any topic you’d like me to tackle, and I really do mean ANY, send me a message, a comment, a text, whatever you want. I love a challenge and I’ll tackle them as they come. Until Friday, keep on ranting, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

Regular Entry 11: Welfare and Fraud

Alright everybody welcome back! This marks the 11th anniversary of my little pet project and I’m thankful for all of the views I’ve received so far. You are all awesome for reading through these and without you I would have stopped a long time ago! This week I’m tackling two topics that seem to be a bit out of my realm of expertise but you don’t get anywhere in life by playing it safe. Now I know some of my readers are more educated on these subjects so criticism (constructive or otherwise) is more than welcome. Just please be gentle.

Welfare. The great safety net that prevents the unfortunate from remaining unfortunate. The glorious precaution that ensures that the poverty stricken have a fighting chance. Some (read “all”) political movers and shakers need to go to a psychology course. Apparently no one who has been voted for has heard of learned helplessness. You see, this occurs when someone has been beaten down and defeated so many times that they don’t care anymore. They literally give up. In theory, programs such as EBT and food stamps seem like sound ideas. Give a person a fighting chance, a little boost, and they’ll elevate themselves above their misfortunes. Let me give you a counter example. There is this customer who frequents Kmart, who pays with an EBT card, and has a job. I’ve seen this individual twice outside of Kmart. Both times at the liquor store, and they weren’t buying a 6-pack of Mike’s Hard Lemonade. I’m talking close to $50 in alcohol each time. Paid in cash. So wait… you can afford to buy alcohol with your own money but not food? NOT FOOD?!?! This is one of those times I’d be more than ok with hitting someone over the head with a tack hammer. Seriously, if you can’t afford Mac and Cheese and a Mt. Dew on your own dollar why the hell are you buying a 1.75 of hard liquor and a case of beer?! Why?!?! In short, people who know nothing but defeat and failure are ok with continuing that trend. They’ve accepted defeat and programs like this just provide a way for them to continue that way. Good job.

Now this topic has a bit of a tie in to the last one. Again, this example stems from a customer interaction and a tendency to buy Folger’s. Let me illustrate. Folger’s can be bought with EBT. Lottery tickets cannot. Customer’s can “lose” receipts which forces us to reimburse them in the form of a gift card. Gift cards cannot be used to purchase Lottery tickets either. Unless the person working behind the desk hasn’t been properly trained. Which happens a lot at Kmart unfortunately. Let me piece it together for you. Purchase coffee with EBT. “Lose” receipt. Get refund on Kmart gift card. Find new service desk associate. Purchase lottery tickets. So you just purchased scratch off tickets with government money? Really? Really?! Alright (excuse my language) asshole! I’ve seen you in here with your family; with your wife and kid. Did you really just throw away the money the government is giving you to provide for your family on (excuse my language again) FUCKING SCRATCH OFFS?!?! What. The. Hell. It’s people like this that make me lose ALL FAITH IN HUMANITY!! Get your priorities in line dude. You’ve got a kid to feed, not an addiction to feed. Another example would be the woman who perpetually comes in to Kmart (and only Kmart) to do Western Union transactions and who only shows up during MY SHIFT!! I have seen this woman multiple times and have told her that Hy-Vee does Western Union transactions and yet she only shows up when I’m working. Does she know what kinda car I drive or something?! The conclusion I’ve come to is that Hy-Vee refuses to do business with her and she thinks she can dupe me into helping her. I’m guessing, purely guessing, that she thinks that i’m dumb enough to not check her name against the restricted list but I can’t confirm this. I’m not. In conclusion, never think you’re the smartest person in the room. Always over estimate the intelligence of those you’re dealing with and finally… DON’T BE A DICK!!!! I don’t know how many times I have to say it but damn… there are way too many people who just don’t understand that.

So. If you’ve made it this far I applaud your patience. You’ve listened to me ramble on about things I’m not exactly an expert on. I am by no means an expert on anything political but ya know, we’ve all got to branch out some time. To be honest I struggled with topics this week but a 20 minute encounter with one of my roommates piqued my interest and gave me the inspiration for this entry. I’ll say it again, I appreciate any feedback, topic suggestions, or critiques you may have. Thank you for soldiering through yet another entry and I hope you are entertained by what I’ve been writing. Don’t hesitate when giving me feedback. I welcome all types.

Regular Entry 10: American Stupidity and Empathy

Welcome back everyone! My Regular Entries are now a decade old. Wait. That’s ten years. OK it’s a dime old! Wait that’s not right either. Aww whatever this is entry 10. I am glad at least some of you are reading these and I hope you continue to do so. I know I’ve been incredibly inconsistent but bear with me, that is about to change! I have two very different topics to discuss this week but I hope everyone considers them both worth reading. Alright enough small talk! Time for me to take you to dinner.

July 4th. Independence day. If I wasn’t so lazy this wouldn’t be 20+ days late. Anyways! July 4th is the day we declared our independence. Now we celebrate it with fireworks, grilling shindigs and ice cold beer. American flags fly off the shelves and bald eagles make their appearance at every gathering over 10 people. ‘Merica! All of this sounds well and good, a perfect summer day. Unfortunately, being as socially connected as I am, I checked Twitter on the 4th. I saw plenty of “USA!!!” posts but do you know what else I saw? “Happy Birthday America! 2013 years strong!!” Oh my goodness. Who the heck thinks America is 2013 years old?!?! Please, if the majority of people think this, smack me over the head with a tack hammer because I’m not sure I want to live with these people. I clicked one of the hashtags and found that this particular individual was not the only one to think that the United States of America was 2013 years old. What scares me is that people this stupid probably have driver’s licenses and jobs. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. We should have IQ tests in order for people to BREATHE!!!! Read a book people! I swear if these people are making more than minimum wage or even have jobs with this enormous lack of intelligence I’m moving to Canada. Pull your head out of your derriere and learn a little bit about the FREAKING PLACE YOU LIVE IN!!!

On to topic number 2. Being a retail associate, I deal with all types of people, and I really do mean ALL types. There are friendly customers, indifferent customers, angry customers, fast customers, slow customers, good smelling customers, bad smelling customers, OK if you don’t get it by now just stop reading. All of these types of customers have taught me one thing. DON’T BE A DOUCHE!!!! You don’t know what the people behind the counter are dealing with. One (excuse my language) bitchy customer cussing out one associate who has a little too much on their plate can end in tears. Whatever rights you think you have as a customer do not override the rights the associate has as a human being. Show some freaking respect and be patient. Jerks and (excuse my language again) assholes need to realize that a name tag does not equal a robot destined to do your bidding. Just because we have to follow a dress code in the store and you do not does not mean you can treat us like second class citizens and shout over 50 cents. Also, I hope you don’t treat your family like this because if you do I would disown myself from that particular group. Like I said earlier, whether it’s with a random stranger or a family member, don’t be a douche. People have stuff going on behind the scenes that you don’t know about. Too many people have forgotten the Golden Rule. Treat people how you’d like to be treated. So STOP BEING A DICK!!

OK, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest! It’s time to wrap this weeks post up. 1.) Don’t be a boisterous ignorant American, 2.) Don’t be a dick. Real simple rules for life, and I mean REAL SIMPLE!! As always thank you to all of my loyal readers and fans and I hope you found this worth your time reading. Questions, comments, and concerns are always welcome and if there’s something on your mind that you’d like my take on feel free to let me know. I’m open to suggestions, otherwise I’ll just wing it and run out of ideas eventually and nobody (probably everybody) wants that.

Monday Mini-Rant: Retail

For those of you who have ever worked in retail you know that there are 2 deciding factors in whether or not you hate your job. 1.) your coworkers and 2.) your customers. In order for the first factor to not make you hate your job you must assume the second factor makes you, and everyone you work with, hate their job. There’s nothing more infuriating for an associate than a coworker who goes above and beyond for a crappy/rude/angry customer and then doesn’t complain about that customers behavior after they’re out of ear shot. I know that “the customer is always right” is usually what we try to operate by but if you enjoy catering to jerk customers well… you and I aren’t going to get along. I’m not saying be a jerk, I’m saying be polite, do your job, and then realize how absurd and childish the customer was acting. Now onto the customer. If you’ve never worked in retail, PAY ATTENTION!! We are not just dress codes and name tags, we are real people with superiors and chains of command. No, we can’t override a price at the drop of a hat because someone else incorrectly signed the merchandise. Be patient, respectful, and don’t interrupt us while we’re trying to do our job. Believe me, one of the most important things in retail is customer loyalty and satisfaction. Test our patience by being rude, talking over us, or demanding to speak to our superiors and we take it personally. We don’t care anymore if you get that extra $2.00 off. Just be civil with us and treat us as humans, not as machines or faceless drones and we will do our best to satisfy your needs. In short, don’t be a dick and you’ll most likely get what you want, within reason. That is all, now you’ve been educated on proper customer etiquette. Don’t thank me, thank the next retail associate you come into contact with for doing a thankless job very few people put up with for very long.