Monday, October 29, 2012

FASHION over FUNCTION

Today I told one my employees that I like her glasses and I asked if they were real.

She told me, "Yes they are, I never wear them because when I picked them out I had a different outfit on and I matched them to that, but they don't match everything so I don't wear them all the time, but I need to cause my head is starting to hurt because I can't see."

Typical purchase due to fashion and not function of life. I know not everyone does this type of thing and am envious of the people that have the power to control those sudden urges just to buy something new.  However, I am doing much better, thanks. They claim that when you go shopping that your body releases endorphins that make you happy, but after the purchase is made, experts also say, that happy feeling quickly goes away. I beg to differ from the experts. Besides, I am the one that people will believe because I actually live this and the "experts" do not. I say that the feeling of buying something new does not go away until you have taken the tags off of a new shirt actually put the new item with that perfect outfit that it has been bought for and then worn all day. Oh, but then, I find something else that also is perfect with that new shirt and I can change it to a completely different look. See that is what is exciting to me. The art of changing one thing into another.

SO.....

My clothing is my art, and when hasn't art been functional AND fashionable?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I'm not your MOM

So when you walk by a rack of clothes and you accidentally touch some clothing and it falls to the ground, what do you do? The correct answer is to pick it up and try to fix it. so many times someone will do this, then look at me, and then continue shopping. Just please respectful of the people that are working to not make their jobs harder. I once had a lady do this that looked at me and then kicked the item that she had just dropped. REALLY? She was a mom that had 15 year old daughter. All I can say is THANKS for the EXAMPLE to the future generation lady. Oh yeah her daughter also went to WEB...

Please also understand that when you ask an employee if the store has a bathroom, it in fact does, but you cannot use it. It would be the same thing if you had to pee and stopped in a random neighborhood at a random house and knocked on the door and asked to use their bathroom. No one does that. Store bathrooms are for stores employees only, not random shoppers that are in fact a security threat. It may seem silly, but in fact you can learn a lot about a stores back room in a short amount of time if you are smart. I cannot tell you what is in back rooms, but merchandise appears from somewhere right? There is always a public restroom close by.

Lastly, drinks in stores. It is OK and I would like to thank everyone that has taken it upon themselves to ask an employee if they could throw their drink away. So much better than leaving it randomly throughout the store. Leaving this liquid with a greater chance of being spilled and splattered everywhere. Not fun to clean up and also a severe safety hazard to employees and customers, which could lead to a law suit. Also please do not throw your cups with ice into one of our trash bins. What happens to ice when it melts? Oh yeah it becomes water, and leaks every where. Not to mention this mystery water is always brown and usually leaks on a new outfit when the shift has just started. Thanks for ruining a perfect day and outfit you MYSTERY WATER MAKERS.

So in closing try to treat the spaces you are in like you would if you were at home. After all everywhere you go you are essentially a guest so behave like one.


Monday, October 8, 2012

TRAINING

Retail not just getting paid to stand around and look pretty, you have to work hard and look fashionable doing it.

It seems to me that people are now getting their first jobs at an older and older age. I acquired my first job when I was 14 working at  Karns pool in the concession stand. Let me just tell everyone that I have not stopped working since. My mom always told me that if I had a choice to go to work or hang our with friends I would need to make the decision to go to work instead. This has helped me in my career because I have worked hard to reach the goals I wanted. This way that I grew up is apparently unknown to people ages 18 to 22, and sometimes even people my age surprise me with their decisions about work, and their lack of drive to be the best they can be every minute of the day. Just like professors I have heard every excuse in the book to get out of of work, but managers and professors alike, we all know when something doesn't seem quiet right.

When people are in college and they have part time jobs that they don't care about that much, but for some that job will turn into that person's career on accident. That is exactly how I began my retail career. I was hired as a seasonal sales associate at Lane Bryant in 2000, and I have not left the mall since. Looking back I was very lucky to have been able to keep that job. I was an untrained innocent girl. I was very dorky and lacked self confidence. My hair was cut about 2 inches short all the way around and I had a quircky style that was not cute, not cute, not cute. I went to orientation and the lady doing my orientation was almost snickering at me, I did not feel comfortable at all. They didn't even let me work for like 3 weeks after I was hired. So I finally worked my first night and did ok, and then my second day I out sold everyone on the floor. Let just say the rest was history and I was promoted to Part-time Assistant Manager just over a year later.  I made great friendships within these 3 years of working for Lane Bryant. I also let my hair grow and was taught about what I should wear. I worked for LB again in Florida thanks to my good networks.

To me being a good manager is important not only for business but because we as managers can have an impact on employees behaviors down the road in their lives, and hoefully one day help them be successful. I have had terrible and extraordinary influnces and I have to been a bit of both.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sundays

I have many fond memories of working in the West Town Mall. Not all are bad, in fact most have been fun and have helped mold me into the person I am today. Over the many years of working in retail I have made many forever friends and forever customers. Bosses that have truly taught me what being a good manager is all about, and some that have taught me how not to manage. 

The store that I work at currently is crazy busy and could always be stressful, but it is not.  We have a great team of people working toward a common goal. That common goal may not always be the right one, making money, but usually to get the store straight and all the clothes that have been tried on put back into the proper place. Working toward a common goal with people helps moral and everything get accomplished quicker, however, it can also be inspiring and build good relationships with people. The networking alone I have gained from working in retail has shown to be invaluable. Besides any good manager knows that the good people you want to keep usually don't stay around for that long because it is easier for them to get promoted and go on to bigger and better things. The point is that my work in and of itself is not always so terrible, it is just situations that happen can be terrible and annoying.

For example, it is annoying when people try to come to the mall at 5:55 on a Sunday. Come on everyone. I know for a fact that the mall has always closed at 6:00 on Sundays so I don't feel like this should be a surprise for anyone. I also should not get dirty looks when I tell someone that is trying to come in at 6:05 that we are closing. I mean hello it is Sunday after all. I like to have family day on Sundays too, and if I could be ruler of mall hours the mall would be closed on Sundays just so everyone could have a day off in the week. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Inconsiderate!!!

At work!!! Asked a lady 3 times if I could help her out, standing 2 feet away from her. I asked 3 times if she needed help with jeans she was looking at, every time she ignored what I saying until the 3rd time her mom said we are just looking! As she continued to tornado through the jeans and talking about what size she would wear because she didn't know the conversion in our store. I still offered and told her what size she would wear, she then told me that I was incorrect. Questionable!!! I work here you don't! Did no one ever teach you that ignoring people is RUDE!!! Also if you are not spoken to and ignored then we are then we are accused of bad service! How does that make sense? Just to let people in the nonretail world that we do have people come in that are secret shoppers and we are graded on the experience that they have. Of our scores are bad the whole store gets a write up! Also it does do something to ones self esteem when they are ignored. The most frustrating things when people enter a store and ignore the greeter! We are just welcoming you to our home of work , not trying to sell you something off the bat! Clearly customers need time to shop before they have questions! So anytime, in a store or not, of someone says something to you reply back!!!

What will be coming this week???

Please anyone feel free to comment and leave stories as well! Even of you are a customer! It always helps to have a different opinion!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

more than PLAY

This week was a reminder of how many things that retail workers have to do that people do not see to keep a store successful. We always have new and improved crazy stories, and a days routines will never be repeated the same way another day. A plan is always in a managers heads on how the day will go, but the unexpected always happens, I guess we could say unexpected is routine.

I received my schedule from work with one shift being from 8:00 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. Why, you ask. Well see there are these things called floor sets or planograms. This is where everything in the store is moved around to reflect current fashions, climates, and trends. They are planned for the same dates for every store in the company and is an important system put in place too set the store apart from others. In some stores it can take up to 4 days for one to be complete and is hard on our bodies to back to a normal routine. We love this time because we see the new product and it is a time where there are no customers so everyone working can socialize freely. Just know this is hard work. We often are girls lifting boxes that weigh up to 50 lbs, moving and climbing ladders, and measuring where to put the face out for proper height. Sometimes we are treated like we do not know anything but play in clothing, but trust me an average person would not even begin to understand how to read the floor set. So just for the record we do a lot more than play in cute clothes all day. May I also note that anyone that works with clothing usually finds it hard to laundry because we feel like we do it all day any way, folding, hanging sizing , straightening, we don't have the will power to do it when we get home.

I also had the opportunity to clean up turquoise sparkle nail polish that broke and sprayed everywhere. The girls were so apologetic and offered to help and because they were so nice I said do not worry about it we are getting paid to clean it up. However, if they had an attitude I would have still cleaned it up, but I would be putting those girls on blast instead of saying they were super nice. The nail polish is obviously not the first thing that has been spilled in 12 years and I was reminded of the baby that pooped on our floor. See you wonder how this happens, right? Well there were two ladies shopping, one of which had about a six month old child. They were shopping for something to wear out that night so they could "get lost" as one said. Before they ran out one of the ladies informed one of the associates that her baby had "boo booed" on the floor. The associate came to tell me and she also explained then  the baby didn't have a diaper on. Really, really??? Shopping for clothes to wear out with a baby that doesn't have a diaper on. I cleaned it up and it was terrible.

We aren't teachers that deserve to make way more money. What we do deserve is more respect from customers that think we are there just to look pretty. We clean and do things that no one ever sees so that you, the customers can have the best shopping experience possible. This includes disciplining associates and sometimes firing them because they are affecting your shopping experience. Which is the least fun part of our job, even over cleaning poop.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Uncontrollable

I work in a retail store, this also means that their are many things that customers think we who work in retail control, but in reality we do not. Our corporate offices are usually somewhere on the West Coast. Our closest connection to our corporate office is most likely,  a DM who doesn't even talk to corporate, that District Manager talks to the Regional Manager who then can call up corporate any time. My point is there are somethings that retail associates can not control no matter how much we wish we could. The cruel reality and truth is all we as associates can really control are our smiles, customer service, and product knowledge. Anything beyond that, more than likely, is not left up to any of the managers of the store, but only corporate and they will make the decision for all stores not just one. If you as a customer had paid attention in college you would know that... Uncontrolled circumstances and corporate policies are not anyone's fault that works at the store, try not to take it out on us.

THE LINE TO CHECKOUT

So my dears, you came to the mall on a Saturday at 2:00 and mad there is a line to wait in for 10 minutes.? You are the grown up that made the decision to come shopping during a peak hour on Saturday when everyone else is at the mall. Try to remember that this is no one's mistake but your own. If all of the registers are being used to ring customers it should be clear we are doing all we can to take your money. An irate customer telling us how our line is to long also usually ends up with some register catastrpphe. This is when our INTRANET goes down and will not take credit or debit transactions or when an associates receipts stop printing. Anything that can go wrong with the registers will when 20 people are waiting line to purchase their items.  There will be a manager up there in no time troubleshooting to fix the POS problems, and we already feel anxious like their is an elephant on our chest. We know that this computer malfunction can cost us money and impatience from the customers, this makes our heart rate go up and when this happens it is almost certain the manager on duty will have to take a break to recover. Please try to smile and be patient and remember a time when you felt like that. I promise you will be much more understanding, and a smile always helps. Computers are great when they are working, a pain when the mess up. Patience is a virtue, next time this happens please be patient. We do everything we can to make it right.

TIP: Do not go to the mall when you are in a hurry


STORE POLICY:FINAL SALE

for everyone who is not aware the definition of the word final is defined as followed:

Adjective; Coming to an end of a series.

Also means no refunds, exchanges, store credits, or suck it up you are stuck with it after that receipt prints. This is why we as associates make sure you are informed by telling you at the cash wrap, printing on the receipts, posting it on our website, and posting it on the SALE marketing. This information aids you to make a decision to buy or not. Please understand we have done everything we can, and please do not be upset that you made a bad decision which you simply cannot live with it. It's just a shirt or something, a material thing that really in the long run means nothing.  Please do not cause a scene and take it out on a retail worker because you, a customer, made a bad decision for yourself. I have tried and tried to figure out how a customer should be right in a situation like this, I cant seem to.

Stayed tuned for next weeks, it is sure to get CRAZY!










Sunday, September 2, 2012

RETAIL - What would you change?

  I have worked in retail for 12 years coming November, and I have loved every minute of it, even the bad ones because every bad one taught me something valuable. My blog will be written about what it is like to work in retail, specifically in a ladies clothing store. To regular customers that have never worked in a shop selling ladies fashions this may not sound exciting for you to waste time reading and could upset regular mall shopppers. To anyone that has shared the experience of sorority girls shopping for thirsty thursday outfits or moms literally going ballistic on you because we don't have her daughter's size in the only shirt she seems to want out the other 1,000 shirts carried in the store. YOU WILL LOVE THIS!! Stories of any sort I welcome and I am sure others do too. So for the beginning of this blog I took a casual survey of my coworkers and friends and asked, 

"If there was one thing you could change about working in retail what would it be?"


We want to ba able to talk to customers how we want.

Though we understand that this is never possible because we would no longer have jobs, it would be nice t be able to treat customers the way they treat us. We all know we could never do that because it would lead to failing business among many other things, so if you are reading this and your are a bad customer do not fear we will still be nice.  Question this, why is it ok for customers to have no manners and we still have to smile and be polite even though a customer may have hurt your feelings so bad that you want to run and cry, but all you do is smile and say have a nice day. I once had a lady come into the plus size clothing store I was working in and buy some items I helped her pick out. As I checked her out she asked me, "Do you ever get tired of being that fat? I mean I just feel its disgusting." Really??? I replied no I am great, I have always been this way and I feel good about myself. Thanks, have a nice day... Then I walked to the bathroom to calm down because what I would have said, "Your mouth is disgusting, sorry you hate yourself. Thank you, have a nice day."

We want a better discount.

  Really anything less that 30% is just a smack in the face. Just like other jobs, managers of retail stores, we spend more time there than we do with our families. We are all expected to be fashionable and look the part, and be up on the next new thing. This would be so much better if we could just have more discount and would boost morale so much! Not to mention make more money for the store.

Black FRIDAY and HOURS

  Do we really need to be open 24 hours for BLACK FRIDAY??? What about our holidays?? All corporate employees are off throughout the holidays. I am not saying we shouldn't be open, but maybe be open 8a.m. to 11p.m. instead of 12a.m. to 11p.m.? Really???? 
  We could also go on and on about how the mall managers make us tromp through the most dangerous conditions to come to work and just stand there because no on is out shopping, they are all home and safe. What a waste of money for everyone. Just to let everyone know that when a store doesn't open on time that store gets a fine. The fine is determined if the mall is open the stores should be too. So someone has to go in when the roads are iced over to open risking their life and their cars life to make it there so the store doesn't get a fine and so no one gets in trouble with corporate for not opening.
THE BEST IDEA: Opening at 12 on weekdays would save a substaintial amount of money for companies and the malls. That is still 70 good shopping hours compared to 82. If you can't do your shopping in 70 hours I recommend a thing called the internet because we don't want your crazy butt at the mall anyway.

The truth is that there is never a dull moment in retail, and I am very excited about this blog. I wonder what will happen this week at work.....