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Thursday, August 4, 2016


Dear Readers,

Today I interviewed my manager to ask him what he considered retail problems. I did this to get a better perspective but also because he has more experience. The interview went like this:

Me: Hi Lucas (my manager), thank you for agreeing to my interview
Lucas: no problem Janelle

Me: okay so what would you say is the worst retail problem you have dealt with during your time in retail?
Lucas: First I would say angry customers. That's always the worst. Especially as a manager you are being closely observed and you have to handle the situation with professionalism in order to set an example.

Me: can you describe a specific situation , if that is okay?
Lucas: Sure. It was my first week as manager and I had a very angry woman attempting to return a bag which of course she had lost the receipt for. It is our policy you must provide a receipt in order to return merchandise but she insisted to speak with the manager. I was already warned by my associate that she was angry and so I was not surprised that she yelled at me to return the bag. It was like I was her servant she was ordering me to do this. Sure I could've gotten upset and asserted myself but I tried to find a solution instead. Luckily she had bought the bag with a credit card and so we were able to find the transaction in the system. After helping her of course she apologized for her behavior and I insisted it was no problem.

Me: wow I'm not sure I could've handled it so well.
Lucas: The key is not to make it personal. You have to take a step back and take your feelings out of the equation.
Me:  That is pretty good . what is the best advice you would give to other retailers?
Lucas: other than that I would say just take it one day at a time and always try to stay positive.

Me: okay well thank you for agreeing to my interview and helping to share some knowledge with my readers.
Lucas: anytime

Appearance vs. Reality

Dear Readers,

Have you ever gone into a store and really glanced at the appearance of the store ? When I say this I mean looked beyond the merchandise to see if the store is clean or messy? I feel like after working in retail I developed somewhat of a sixth sense. I don't just look at the clothes on the rack. Now when I enter a store I look at the clothes on the floor and the clothes off the hangers.

This brings a mixture of emotions. Sometimes I feel bad for the employees especially if it's really messy. I wonder to myself if people know the employees have to fix that entire mess before going home. On other occasions I find myself subconsciously fixing clothes back on the hangers until I snap back to life and remind myself that I don't work there.

To my fellow retail employees, I'm not sure if you too have developed this sense. But I must apologize for the oblivious customer I was before. Now I do not go into a store with any intention of messing it up. I am more conscious of how I shop meaning I clean up after myself. If I drop a shirt I pick it up.

I feel like this should be a rule or something. Not to be too drastic, but i mean that all shoppers should become more conscious of how they shop. It is completely unnecessary to shop and leave a mess especially after a busy day. If people more aware of the mess they leave , then it would be a much better shopping experience for all.

Time Management

Random post:

Dear Readers,

Normally I focus on retail problems hence the title of the blog but today I decided to look at a different type of problem , time management. This is something we all experience and some still have yet to master. For some reason time always seems to run out and as a procrastinator you may tend to put things off and find yourself out of time.

It is hard enough to learn how to manage your time but imagine having to work while trying to master this art. Work is a set time and so it is up to you to use the time outside of work wisely. Especially if you also have to go to school. Now the load is twice as hard. On top of trying to manage your time you have to work, and go to school at set times plus find the time to do homework and stay on top of studying. It sounds like a lot and most definitely is.

I am aware of this first hand. I worked retail late nights and went to school during the day while trying to find the time to study and do homework. Sure I understand there are people who are doing way more and still manage their time better, but don't dismiss the fact that working and going to school is hard.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Customer Service 101

Hello Readers, 

Today lets talk about how to provide good customer service. This is like a survival manual on how to survive retail. 

First: Always remember to have a smile on your face

-This is key for customer service because that smile welcomes the customer, it is like greeting the customer with a big warm hug.

Second: Always remember to greet the customer

-Sure sometimes the customer may walk up to the register without saying anything but it is your responsibility to greet the customer. A simple hello or How are you might lighten up the mood and help the customer to have a much better experience

Third: If you so happen to not be in the register, but instead you are walking the floor, always remember to assist customers

-If you see a customer in need of help, maybe he or she may not want to ask for assistance, but it is up to you as the associate to reach out to the customer to see what is it that he or she may need. This leads to a much satisfactory experience for the customer. 

Loss Prevention Continued

In a prior post I had taken a deeper look into Loss Prevention, a destructive problem in retail because the store has to figure out how to compensate for those loss of merchandise. 

According to Wikipedia , 
Retail loss prevention is a set of practices employed by retail companies to preserve profit. Profit preservation is any business activity specifically designed to reduce preventable losses. A preventable loss is any business cost caused by deliberate or inadvertent human actions, colloquially known as "shrinkage”.

I had disagreed with this description in a sense and added my own interpretation so that the quote would state,

Since retail loss prevention is geared towards the elimination of preventable loss[2] and the bulk of preventable loss in retail is caused by deliberate human activity, traditional approaches to retail loss prevention have been through visible security measures matched with technology such as CCTV and electronic sensor barriers. Most companies take this traditional approach by either having their own in-house loss prevention team or using external security agencies. Companies have also developed newer and more efficient ways to prevent loss of their merchandise. In some cases the loss prevention officers will walk the floor dressed like a regular shopper in order to observe those who may seem suspicious. This new method gives the loss prevention team the opportunity to catch the thief red handed. it offers the element of surprise. 

I believed the quote needed more embellishment because it was lacking in certain areas such as the fact that there are plain clothes loss prevention officers actually walking the floor. Instead of walking the floor with a badge like 

This fact is unknown to the regular shopper and the common thief. I actually went back and visited the Wikipedia page which I edited and to my surprise my changes were gone. Maybe there is a Wiki team which works to remove the edits of the regular reader like myself.

Saturdays or Mondays?

Today i decided to revisit a previous post, Retail problem #2 popped in my head which is working on Saturdays. My first posting described the horrible emotion which comes along with waking up on a Saturday because I mean who wants to work on a Saturday? 

But i started to look at this from another side and decided to comment on it. There are other jobs outside of retail such as the corporate world which provides the luxury of having weekends off. From the outside this seems spectacular especially to a retail worker, but in all reality this may not be the better option. The grass may not be greener on the other side. I mean would you rather work all week and have two days off or have a rest in between those working days?

I guess this is up to your own preference, to each their own. But looking at the other side, I’m thinking that maybe having a Monday or Wednesday off might be a nice luxury as well. Saturdays are still horrible in retail just because of how packed the store becomes and the amount of the stress that arises as the lines get longer. 

So what is the solution to all this? If i had to make a choice, in a perfect world I would be able to have Mondays and Saturdays off but this is not a perfect world. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Minimum Wage?

  Wages have become another problem in retail but it is the big elephant in the room. Not many like to talk about it and if they do it is in hushed words. Those that do talk about it more aggressively are normally the bolder workers who have been with the company for an extended period of time. 

 The problem with wages in retail is that workers do not seem to be paid well.
Especially since they are expected to work hard just like another job. This problem  is not unique to retail though. Other institutions also struggle with under paid workers. Lately though there have been an increase in wages among retail outlets. For instance Target has been recorded to have recently increased the wages for its workers. 

 According to the article,Target Increases Minimum Wage , it has been reported that Target increased the wages of its workers to $10 an hour. The article also states that Target chose to make this decision after the Fight for Fifteen movement was gaining traction among retail workers. This movement demands the minimum wage to be increased to $15 an hour. Clearly this was too expensive of an increase for Target and they settled with just an extra $1 an hour. 

 I think shame on you Target and shame on you retail stores who are still underpaying their workers despite the fact that these businesses are successful and can afford to pay their workers much better.