Saturday, July 29, 2006

You just know it's Christmas

...when you get yelled at by angry customers. And sales, when it suddenly gets a whole lot busier and a whole lot more stressful. I would like to think that I am getting a lot more able at dealing with angry, almost child-like temper tantrums. Hissy fits thrown by adults.

Story of the day*:

Today, a lady, Angry, had 2 pairs of shoes on hold for her. She had asked one of the other staff from another store to call us and put them aside for her, but problem is, when she came in, they were the wrong style. Oops. It happens occasionally. Either the staff at the other store, one of the guys, gave the wrong code (unlikely, as she insists he took the shoe to the phone while calling us for the check) or the staff at our store (couldn't recognise the handwriting) got the wrong shoes. We think it was a mistake on our end, presumably by one of the new trainees.

So, I brought out the shoes for Angry and boy, was she peed... Veins popping and blood pressure soaring.

"They're the wrong ones" she cried out indignantly. I looked at both pairs, same style 8 and 8.5. "It's the other style" We only had the one pair left. Wrong size. Sold out. Oops.

"I can't believe they got the wrong ones. The guy at Howlong took the shoe with him as he called you for them" she exclaims, veins popping, taking the shoe and showing me.

"Oh. Perhaps they gave us the wrong code, or maybe the mistake was on our end and they put the wrong ones aside."

"I can't believe this. I've driven all the way from Howlong and you've put the wrong shoes aside" she cries accusingly.

"Unfortunately, we've sold out of the other style completely. We do have some more boxes we haven't transferred in yet (like 20 footwear and clothing boxes), but we don't know for sure. They may or may not be there. Most of the other stores have sold out too. If you like I can try and find them from another store" I respond in my most contrite voice.

"Well, that's not my problem. This is disgraceful, blah blah blah" ... She goes on for a bit, I just watch the show and think of Waiter, and how calm he is. I was mildly amused by how worked up she was getting over a pair of $39.95 shoes. It's not uncommon though.

I manage to locate the shoes at another store, about 20 mins away from my store, probably about 30-40 mins from her place? I don't know.

"They have the 8.5 at Poowong" I offer. "Unfortunately, we don't transfer stock between stores during promotions.

"Well, why should I drive all the way to Poowong to get the shoes when you made the mistake... blah blah blah...."

While calling Poowong, I was contemplating whether I really wanted to bend the rules for Angry. Hmm, do I really want to get them transferred? Not really. She's pretty rude. I could just not offer any help just to spite her... Like I proffered to Andie earlier, "Gees, I'm a bit of a bitch sometimes, huh"

Well, after returning to Angry, who was by no means any calmer than when I left her, I thought about it for a while and, bugger it. It is bad publicity for the company, it was our mistake, I'd be peed if I were her... oh well.

"Ok, we can try and get them transferred from Poowong. But just note that the sale is only until the Xth Aug. I can't guarantee that by the time you get them, the shoes will still be on sale"

"WHAT?! Why not? Why should I have to pay for your mistake? I should be able to get them for the sale price, blah blah (me: WTF?)"

I attempt to explain: "I can try to get Poowong to send them on Monday, hopefully it'll only take a few days to receive them, but I just can't guarantee that we'll get them by the end of the sale. We don't control the prices of the stock, they automatically go back up to full price after the Xth August. They're reduced now, but I don't know for sure how long they'll take to get to our store and for you to come in again and pick them up, so I can't say that they'll definitely still be reduced."

Indignant, nostrils flaring, "Why not, we're talking about, what, 11 days until the end of the sale. You mean to say your internal transfers take so long?!" she demands, incredulous.

"Look, (if you'll just let me explain!) sometimes things go wrong. Some things are out of our control, sometimes the company we use to transfer our stock may take longer than a few days, so I just can't guarantee that you'll get them in 3 days or so. I'll get them to send them on Monday, but I can't say for sure when we'll receive them, hopefully on Wednesday" I offer. "I'll take down your details and we'll send you a postcard when they arrive. We can give you a call (oooh, breaking Company Policy here) if you like, that may be quicker. But just don't wait too long to pick them up, they'll go back up to full price!" (Secret: sometimes transfers take so long because people forget to send them, forget to put them out the back and then sell them to someone else, or they get engulfed by the abyss that is the back room of some stores, send us one shoe, odd shoes, wrong shoes, send them to the wrong store, etc)

There's nothing else I can do, she seems satisfied that at least she'll still be able to get them. Hey, at least they still exist. It was a massive stroke of luck that Poowong was the first store I called and they picked up the phone and they had the shoes. I didn't think I had much chance of finding them anywhere. Sale stock is hard to find.

I was trying very hard to be nicer to her the more angry she got. That'll make her feel nice and bad! It's not that the anger in people brings out the compassion in me, it just makes my black heart churn with glee.

"So we'll get Poowong to send the shoes here and we'll let you know. Or would you rather they be sent to Howlong instead? Is that closer for you?" I'm using my nice voice and attitude, obsequious and subservient.

This surprises her and completely throws her off guard.

"oh, yes, that would be closer."

Great, so it's settled. "Ok, so if I can just grab your details..." I start to walk back to the counter, but wait, there's more...!

"Oh, I want to try on some jeans as well" she interrupts. Crap. This isn't over.

So, as she proceeds to try on more boots, jeans, etc, I continue to be extremely polite and helpful. I serve other customers as well, and check up on her to see how she's going. She seems to have calmed down significantly. Good.

Well, it gets quite busy, and when she is eventually done, she decides to buy the other pair of shoes (similar style) as I said that she can get that pair first and exchange them if she's not happy with them once she gets to Howlong. She seems happy with this. She also purchases the jeans. I put through the sale for her, and she thanks me for my help. She is genuinely grateful for me tracking down the shoes for her and organising it all.

Yay. That makes me happy inside. I averted a nasty situation and dealt with her anger professionally and courteously. I changed an angry customer into a nice, happy one! Hopefully Poowong and Howlong don't screw up and she gets her stupid shoes.

I like to think that after 2 years, I am strong of character enough to deal with angry customers like Andie. She's been working in retail full time for about 4 years. Crap, she's one of the most patient, tolerant people I know. I told her so and she laughed! She always seems to get all the loons though, I tell ya, so she probably has plenty of experience.

I understand that people get angry at seemingly small, insignificant things. "People are dying in wars" I whispered under my breath to Andie. "Yeah, tell me about it"

Maybe she was having a bad day, and the smallest thing ticked her off. She lets it out on us becuase someone has to take the flack. We're easy targets. There's always karma. She wasn't completely unreasonable though. I've dealt with worse, and heard of colleagues lucky enough to suffer worse experiences.

You've just got to shake it off. Water off a duck's back. Nothing personal. Who cares, won't see them after this experience anyway. Like Waiter said (I think I may have learned a lot from this guy! He's got some insight and wisdom!) they'll be gone in a few mins and The Company will still be here. So no matter how little I care for the person/Company, I still have to care for my job and reputation, cos snitchers cause us major grief from Upstairs.

*Names of people and places have been changed.

But you know what would be really funny to say to a customer, "Calm down, you'll give yourself a heart attack" Hahahah! Thanks again Waiter!

Like Rose on Titanic, "Calm down mother, you'll have a nosebleed".

oh, so spiteful but so caring. There's always karma. There's always karma.

Friday, July 28, 2006

As if there wasn't more

And you know what else? I'm sick of being rostered willy-nilly at stores not on my availability and further than 30mins away. Driving past 2-3 other stores to get to the one I'm covering is no fun. Especially given the price of petrol now. Grr, at least they used to have the courtesy to ask if I'd do it at first. That was funny. But I guess now that I've done a few shifts at those stores, they realise how much I really will let them get away with, and just roster me on there anyway, knowing I won't say no. Remember the book, Who Sank the Boat, anyone? Yeah, one day I'll snap. Again. Hahahah! No crazy customers when I am doing people favours, thanks. Yeah, thanks for the heads up.

Actually, despite all my bitching, most of the time, I quite like my job and enjoy the responsibility and opportunities that we are afforded. I do like the people I work with (on the off chance that I actually get to work with someone during a shift) and my current AM is great. Managers are great too. It could be worse, a lot worse. I'd know, last Christmas was a killer, and I'm ashamed to say that it broke my spirit. After 1.5yrs, my spirit had been crushed like a aluminium can. The time did pass, after much frustration, rage and stress. All this from a casual job. Why should I get so cut up? Because I care, and I just can't help that. I try because I care. But the better days made me appreciate the learning experience, and how good things can really be. How they should be. Don't get me wrong, things aren't always hunky dory, but most of the time, I think I come out on top. Or at least I come out. It's a start.

Yes, my job in retail, with customers and policies and situations as frustrating as they get, has made me a different person. I'm not sure yet if it's made me a better person, but I can say I can smile and lie through my teeth when someone is being a butthead while I am serving them. That's an important life skill if ever there was one. I'm probably a little more bitter than when I started, but it's shown me a side of people that has given me more than a year's worth of therapy can erase. You just can't learn these things from books! I wish I had the same ascerbic humour, sangfroid and quick wittedness as Waiter. Man, that guy's vocabulary too! He obviously reads voraciously. I am ashamed to admit that I haven't read a book for leisure since high school. Seriously. And to think that I used to be such a bookworm and loved English and Literature. Disgraceful.

I suppose seeing as I'll probably be in this job, Company and field for a while yet, I should just bite my tongue and smile that fake service smile and do as I'm told.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Oh well.

Oops. So crazy uncle that was calling for the "brogues", well turns out it wasn't a style name, but a style of shoe! They're the hideous type of shoes I had in year 7. Shudder. Well, we did in fact have a kind of brogue-style dress shoe, but not the highly detailed ones we had in the past. So, were he indeed to come in my store that day and "create all hell" then, I sure would've denied any accountability. And you'd be sure I'd give it straight back. I had never heard of the word til today, when another kindly customer (who had said brogue, highly detailed shoes) pointed out the 'brogue detail' on the sides of the newer styles. Hmmm... so oops. "Crap!" So I googled it, as all good academics do, and saw some pics. And then it clicked. Oops, he must've seen them from an old catalogue. We never received any stocks of them anyway, despite them being advertised (long story, rant later). Ha ha. Good on ya uncle crazy.

That's another one to add to my repository. Oxford style, derby style, brogues... you never stop learning.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Here's a tip

ALWAYS be polite and courteous to your service staff.

Being a butthead immediately gets you on our bad side. We have bad days, and sometimes, the customers just have to pay (cos The Company sure doesn't). So, don't expect any special favours from us if you are being even slightly annoying when we are having an off day/week/month. Granted, you probably can't tell when we are having said angry attack, but if you can tell we are annoyed, and you need us to do you a favour, it's probably best to come back later or go to another store. And if you're coming into our store specifically to be a butthole, then you can expect it straight back, buddy.

And also, we don't have to give you refunds/exchanges, even if you do have your receipt (unless the item is faulty, not fit for purpose, etc). It is all completely up to our discretion. So while The Company policies are quite lenient and forgiving, if we don't like you, or if we just don't feel like it, we don't really have to do anything for you. So make sure you're extra nice and grateful too.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I hate not being able to go to the toilet whenever I want. Especially hate it when I can't go when I need to, realllly need to go. Cos there are ppl in my store, and how do you kick em out to go take a dump/leak? Really now. Well, lucky for The Company and the customers, I have a bladder of steel. Hahahah! That was quite funny how I chucked up at work and the guy didn't even notice. Man, I'm good.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Things I hate about my work:

This is just a quick one, since I'm in such a sooky mood.
  1. Not getting paid to cash up. No, it doesn't take 5mins. Anyone who's ever had to cash up knows that.
  2. Having the threat of reductions constantly over our heads - for being busted not wearing head to toe company gear. 25% isn't a lot when you're a poor student with debts to pay. Hey, what do you think we are working for, anyway? Money, not clothes. Give us the clothes. Then we'd all gladly wear em. At least L undercharged me when I did an exchange. Haha. Suck on that.
  3. Reductions for bad secret shopper reports. Come on, some of those ppl are just plain psycho liars, and so why should we be formally interviewed. Sure our AMs may agree with us, but I feel if they are psycho liars, that kind of process shouldn't have to take place so that we have a blemish on our records. I'm sure mine is gleaming, naturally.
  4. Reductions for not being anally retentive. Come on, just let me get on with my job already. Policy schomlicy. I have lots of damaged stock. It is taking over my tiny back room in my tiny store. I want to get rid of it. SO JUST LET ME. Well, normally, I would've just sent it off, but seeing as I just got a $50 bonus (professional secret shopper! Hey, I deserved better than $50!) I didn't really want to lose it straight away at a store I don't normally work at. For the sake of a manager I don't care too much for. GRRR A. She is such a hypocrite. And selfish. And so annoying. I want my ladder back, stealer. I hope she DOES get annoyed at me rearranging her store, I hope she does feel like I am trying to undermine her by cleaning out the back room and putting things in order. Get over yourself. What do you expect me to do when I have to run your store while you go on hols with your stupid boyfriend? I take the initiative, I am hardworking, and I do follow 'orders'/instructions (if I think they are sensible) so get stuffed A. Yeah, I was kinda aggro that day and maybe looking for a fight. Like that crazy guy that called pretending to be my uncle, I thought he was manager A's uncle. Crazy loser. Was just about to hang up on him and he asked me for Brogues or something. That's the style apparently. Well, I sure would've LIKED for him to come in and 'create all hell' as I would've given it straight back to him. No, we don't have those. No, I've never heard of them in all the time I've worked here. NO, I DON'T (I really didn't want to, but could've pretended to) want to look for them, cos I KNOW we don't have them and to my knowledge, they don't exist. So, come on in and kick up a big stink, cos we don't have em, never have in the past 2yrs at LEAST, so bring it on, biatch. hahahahah! No, I would never use that language with a customer. But I would also not take that kind of crap either. So take that A, take that uncle psychopath. This chick doesn't take crap from psycho customers, managers OR Area Managers. Yeah, take that H.
Well, 6PM now, better leave it at that for the moment. Should get to studying now. More rage later, so stay tuned!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Things not to do in my store:

Here is a random list of things that annoy us and thus, things never to do in our stores:

  1. Walk in eating and/or drinking
  2. Continue eating and/or drinking in my store
  3. Expect any sort of service while eating an ice cream and 'looking' (touching) my products
  4. Come in as I'm about to close.
  5. Come in as I'm closing and want to try on shoes. Several styles. In several different sizes, cos of course, you don't know what size you are either. COME ON! We do NOT appreciate being held up at 9PM on Friday nights, or at 5PM on Sunday nights. If you really do desperately need the shoes, shirt, whatever, you'd better be nice, apologetic, grateful, know what you're looking for and be fast and buy it!!
  6. Never, EVER open or try to pull open our roller doors when we have already obviously closed the store and are cashing up. EVER. Don't even try, because we'll call security. If you ever do have the gall to try and enter our store after we close, you have no recourse against all the abuse we throw at you. Physical and/or verbal. One girl had such a pleasant experience at one of our stores, with this same brave customer that would come in every week at closing time and hold her up, and then one time even opened up the door (cos of course they don't lock from the inside for our safety). Boy did M let her have it. Needless to say, crazy lady didn't come back.
  7. Never try to pull open the door before 9AM on Mon-Sat or 10AM on Sundays. I don't care if it's 5 past or whatever, I have to count my money and we don't get paid to come in any earlier. SO BACK OFF. And banging on the door or trying to peer in WHILE we count doesn't win you any favours either.
  8. Like F said today, which I think is terrible and pointlessly cruel, go along tapping in and messing up our perfectly aligned shoe boxes. Kids in particular, this is you. Be prepared to be told off. Some of us aren't so polite either.
  9. Aimlessly pull apart folded shirts with no intention of buying. Or even trying them on. At least pretend to look interested. "Oh, look at this nice pile of shirts that she's just folded, or is still folding. I wonder what this looks like (pick up top shirt, usually smallest size, pull it open to look at it) Hmm... not bad, I wonder what it looks like in pink... (repeat) Oh, how about the blue, in a size 12." The customer then proceeds to reach down to the size 12, messing up seemingly every other shirt below and on top of it. Yes, that kind of selfishness takes some skill. "No, I don't like it anymore" Dump the lot and move on huffily. Sure, it's our job to pick up after you and fold stuff and put stuff back. That's what we're there for, that's what we're paid to do. But really, would you rather us help you find those shoes, or help you track down that jacket from another store, or angrily ignore you, shoot daggers into the back of your skull and fold stupid shirts all day? The more considerate you are, you'd be surprised how exponentially our level of service improves as well.
  10. Demand a refund on shoes you have already worn. No, I don't care if they rubbed the wrong way, or were a bit too small/big after you walked around the shopping centre in them for 2 hours, TOUGH LUCK. Would YOU buy a pair of shoes someone has gone who knows where in and done who knows what in? No, don't think so. So don't expect any sympathy from me.
  11. Don't try it with clothing, either. And don't even try to wash it and re-tag it, cos we know, so get out of my store, you filthy, cheating liar.
  12. Expect a refund without a receipt. No, a bank statement is not sufficient proof of purchase.
  13. Expect a refund on an item bought last season. Say, on a summer polo shirt when it's now in the middle of winter. I once had a lady try and exchange a shirt bought TWO YEARS AGO. Really, 'I just didn't have time to come in after his birthday' after TWO YEARS is just lame. Sure, it's within my discretion to exchange stuff, but I have to draw the line somewhere. And sometimes, it just depends on my mood... hahah!
  14. Expect a refund or exchange on anything bought from a clearance store. No, I don't care if we have the exact same item you want, unless you're willing to pay the difference, beat it.
  15. Mess up my shoes. Ok, I can now accept that "browsing" sometimes involves touching as WELL as looking (although, to browse, in the strict definition, only involves looking), don't pull out random boxes looking for a style/size and pull out the shoes all over the place, leaving stuffing everywhere so the boxes don't close properly, then the boxes don't line up properly, then don't go and put them back back to front and in the wrong spot. THAT IS WHY WE ASK IF WE CAN FIND A SIZE FOR YOU. So you don't mess up our shoes and then face our wrath. Cos really, no one wants to see that at 10AM. So, in response to our offer of help, if you're going to say "no thanks, I'm just browsing" then browse neatly and preferably without touching anything.
  16. Let your kids run amok and mess up our mirrors. Sure, some kids are cute, and it's funny how they're fascinated by our little mirrors, but no juicy/snotty/ice-cream hands thanks.
  17. Don't even try to get a refund/exchange on undies. No. "But I just tried them on, and they were too big/small" You should be ashamed of yourself. Answer will always be no. Don't CARE how much you yell and create a scene and embarrass yourself, say how evil our company is and how you'll never shop here again, and tell all your friends/family (if you have any, FREAK) likewise, answer will still be NO. Get out.

Hmmm that's it for now. Today was not altogether a bad day. I haven't been as moody and impatient as I can be. And have been. Let's wait til next week when I have to work at a different store say 40-45mins away. Great. I'm sure I'll have lots to add then.


I'm a regular ol' retail slave (full time student) and given the lack of appreciation of my whinging and complaining at work about work, I thought I'd vent on the internet, for all who care to read.