Tag Archives: Retail

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.

Monday Mini-Rant: Discipline

I’ll dive right into it. I’ve long been disgusted by a lot of the ideas my field of study holds when it comes to discipline. Positive reinforcement. Time outs. Treat them like you would treat an adult. Go sit in the naughty corner. Put a dollar in the swear jar. First of all, swearing isn’t that big of a damn deal when you grow up. Studies have shown that subtle swearing actually makes speeches more persuasive and the use of swear words can reduce the amount of stress in certain situations. Swearing is not what I want to talk about though. Recently I was educated on the subject of discipline by an old school black woman who doesn’t mess around with formalities. A snotty little child cries and balls their eyes out at Kmart because mommy refused to buy a candy bar that the kid clearly didn’t need. A jump rope would have been more appropriate. “Damn kids these days, got no respect.” Alright, I’m not going to dispute that. “If that was my kid I’d lay a whoopin’ on them first chance I got.” Whoa, umm… ok. A whoopin’. Not sure I can endorse that but before I can interject “hold up though I don’t be beatin my kids I just lay the whoopin’ on them.” A thought pops into my head and someone else beats me to the question. “Now hold on, what exactly is the difference between a whoopin’ and a beatin’?” “You see a beatin’ you be hittin ’em and smackin ’em until yo arm tired and you kinda lose it but a whoopin’? You in control, you holdin back yo true feelings and it ain’t until your arm tired. You just be whoopin em and whoopin em and maybe you stop to take a smoke break or grab a sandwich then you come back and whoop on em some mo. It ain’t a beaten where you snap and hurt yo kid long term but they learn they lesson. That child ain’t goin be actin up again anytime soon, you know dat.” Wow, so there’s a lesson in either black culture or old school disciplinary techniques. And no I did not embellish the conversation, that’s how she actually talked, which makes that conversation that much more amazing. Now obviously I’ve expressed two very extreme examples of discipline. You don’t have to choose between a whoopin’ or a timeout. I’ve just given you an example of how things change. Whether or not this change is for the better or worse, well I’d have to say I haven’t been here long enough to know. Obviously I’m not going to be reaching for the belt whenever my future kids misbehave but you can be damn sure there won’t be a “naughty chair.” in my house. Thanks for reading and I hope to see you Wednesday.

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: Respect

*BEEEEP* Excuse the technical difficulties ladies and gentleman. Today I’d like to talk to you about r-e-s-p-e-c-t and you’re going to find out what it means to me. *Ba Dump Ch* Generally, it’s my belief that it means that you aren’t a dick for no reason. You know who is a dick for no reason? Customers. I’m sorry you can’t read THE FREAKING SIGN!! I’m sorry you’re paying more than 10 cents for a KOOL AID PACKET!! Yes we only have one checker open right now. Contrary to what your belief must be not everyone wants to go to KMart at 8:50 on a MONDAY NIGHT!! Wait 5 minutes and don’t be a jerk to the checker who has the misfortune of being forced to ring you up. Man you would think it’s so simple and easy to understand but dang it’s annoying at how rude people can be. I’m telling you, I should teach a class. A mandatory one because no one is willing to admit that they are complete assholes to people they don’t know.

Monday Mini-Rant: Retail Jokes

And we’re back! And by we I mean me of course. I know I said at the start of summer that I’d be posting more regularly but the world is a disappointing place. Deal with it. But never fear! I have returned. Now on to the business at hand. Retail jokes. If you’re asking yourself “Hasn’t he beat this horse to death yet?” the answer is no, I have not. People say write about what you know so that’s what I’m going to do. We can all appreciate a good laugh every now and then but some jokes you hear too much. “Hey did you hear the one about that crazy chicken and that road?” Yes. I did. No that item isn’t free just because it doesn’t have a price sticker on it. Yes that’s a lot of paper. You think you’re the first person to think of that? Uhh no. You aren’t. If I had a dollar for every time I heard that IN A DAY I’d be making more than what KMart pays me. And another thing. That $35 ink cartridge you found buried in the jeans is not $15. The sign says “Wranglers Jeans” and you’re a moron. We hear this crap all the time and we’re not amused by you’re shenanigans. Either sharpen up that “wit” of yours or stop trying to be funny.

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.