Winners, losers, and figures CAN lie (or be ignored)

No problem taking (some) credit for a good-looking department.

The only indisputable numbers I’ve seem lately involved Yankees being spanked four straight while being dismissed in ALCS with Detroit and the plus-10 my group hung up in a captains choice outing.  After 6-7 holes we knew there wasn’t a prayer of hitting 4-iron third shots to save pars playing from the blues, so we worked from the 390 avg. yd. white tees, which seemed more fun and reasonable. Turns out Crotty won one of closest to pins even if on outermost part of dance floor, contributing to one of our two birdies on a fine tanning day.  

With all sympathies due for True Professional Derek Jeter’s fractured foot (and many in Charlotte are thrilled by semi-reflected glory he’s coming here (OrthoCare) to get checked/surgery), the most surprising numbers I’ll mention aren’t even from various polls claiming to know how far ahead or behind Obama or Romney are on ‘enthusiasm of voters’, ‘ground game’, or whatever else in those crucial swing states. For once its not about credit apps either, because I got TWO last week and first customer on Sunday asked to get one, all of which has manager practically dancing. I rewarded the customer by ‘double-dipping’ on discounts, manually pushing a 20% allowance before also using another 20% coupon she wasn’t aware was available.

No, the numbers I’m focused on seem cold and accurate enough, and with customer satisfaction tracked every day via online surveys completed (44 this month), seeing 50% under the heading ‘Availability of Assistance’ is CLEARLY an indictment regarding how many fewer associates are available to provide knowledgable customer service. When the new store manager saw an overall rating of 70% approval and declared “associates must not be smiling and greeting customers adequately,” my hand HAD to go up; otherwise I’m a liar by omission.   My journalism career came of age during Nixon’s Watergate, and I learned that sometimes you have to say ‘Bullshit!’ no matter what.  Note that last Wed. I did $2250, but only $700 of it Nautica merchandise. I felt fine about upping my sales in a major way because there wasn’t anyone in Vineyard Vines, but I also patroled a major portion of Moderates area Friday ($1666) without such significant reward.

“The numbers show customers giving ‘Friendly/Courteous Service’ a 77 for the month,” I noted calmly, “its that 50 on Availability that’s pulling survey score so low.” Now EVERYONE THERE knew I spoke the truth about those numbers, but manager says, “Well, maybe if people saw **5-6** associates gathered someplace and they weren’t getting served, maybe that’s what they meant about Availability.” I pointed out that I can smile plenty, but if I’m NOT PHYSICALLY IN THE STORE nobody is served and THAT is when people remark about lack of available sales people to take their money. Example- over the last 6 weeks or so, Jack and I have been reduced from 36 to 32 hrs./week, and Sunday has always been one guy, all day, see-if-you-can-get-a-break day. This Sun. I was 12-6, an hour off each end of schedule. 

The managers slant was blatant crapola and noticed by all; I was congratulated several times after meeting about actually verbalizing those generally undeniable facts. We’ve certainly see it allll OVER the country, about corporations pushing up productivity/profits by stiffing workers, and you can be sure this retailer chintzing on hours after already having two years of record profitability during time of major economic turmoil isn’t being ignored by the worker bees.  Ugly rumor is they’ll also decline to hire extra Christmas help to take major weight off salespeople to refold and maintain departments, which is ludicrous.

Having a job?  Its better than not, and Jack’s daughter being on his insurance is a very real piece of luck. While that arithmetic I previously mentioned says Jack and I need $8500 this week to make bonus again for October, that $2k on last day in Sept. means I’ll keep pushing for the extra rewards.  Despite how store manager tried to make numbers lie, my last hour (5:19 – 6:29 checkout which includes :29 over schedule) produced $716 in sales vs. $183 necessary to pay commish vs. hourly rate.  From another, far less kindly POV, wouldn’t that prove they scheduled right, getting damn fine production without extra compensation?  Only if you’re someone who also argues for giving a $5 trillion tax cut in a situation where there’s already massive national debt.  Fact is, that huge marginal sales rate wouldn’t have happened if my smiling face wasn’t present an extra half hour. 

Turns out there’s *another* corporate survey in progress, one where several co-workers indicate they will select ‘1- Completely Disagree’ on Qs 3-6 (of 6).  Let’s see anyone spin THAT level of collective dissonance!

Glenn Shorkey

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How/Why do they do it? (as in Holy Crap! Stupid)

Let’s start with what seems like the easiest of three situations to apply ‘How/Why?’ question to.  Why, after years of getting kicked around, would the Washington Nationals deny themselves an honest-to-goodness shot at a World Series by not putting Steven Strasberg on their postseason roster? My answer is he’s on the roster even if you don’t use him, but if he’s been throwing despite not playing, you stick him in the Cards ear, even if you keep your fingers crossed a little.

Strasberg, he of the 100 mph+ heater and knee-buckling curve, was 15-6 with 197 Ks in 159.1 innings in this season after reconstructive surgery on his valuable right arm when GM Mike Rizzo said he’d reached the limit they’d set for him. Nats lead baseball with 98 wins despite his shelving with 3 1/2 weeks to go, but after leading St. Louis 2-0 in games and then 6-0 in the deciding Game 5, just how much (or positive) of a “learning tool/experience” will sitting home during the Series be for the team?  Will players or fans ever stop wondering if Strasberg getting the ball in Game 3 or 5 would’ve been a ticket to the next round and possibly beyond? Answer: No, never. Not a chance.

Second Holy Crap! moment is Jack coming back to work Monday after two solid weeks in Memphis at his daughter’s hospital and our manager making a ha-ha comment about him getting a credit card application that played off his daughter being alive as a small miracle.  Jack was on the clock *less than a minute*, and while I actually PREDICTED manager would make exactly the style comment he did, there MUST BE some kind of common decency line waaaay back that should’ve kept him from saying anything except “glad she’s okay enough for you to come back.”

Lastly, when the word ‘SPECIFICALLY’ is used in an instruction, and watching the Vice-Presidential debate I’m certain I heard the moderator use it at LEAST three seperate times before giving the next question to Mr. Ryan, how could he continue giving generalized/rote answers and still have people think his measured tones beat the animated and very clearly on-point Joe Biden (even with facial gestures and interruptions he used being a little uncool)?  Example: $5 trillion in taxes cuts–how SPECIFICALLY will they be paid for (vs. adding to unreal debt)?  Biden says only two areas of budget, mortgage and college cost deductions, are  “loopholes” that provide enough dollars to close that massive a gap, and why can’t (or won’t) Romney-Ryan admit they are going to gut them if given the chance, but Ryan tap dances around things just the same. 

Iran and nukes situation–Joe B. said sanctions are proving to have a very significant effect (ie- 40% devaluation of currency in one week, reduced national income, rioting by the public) and Iran’s a long way from having a vehicle to deliver a weapon even if time of having refined materials has gotten very, very close.  Ryan kept saying ‘Obama foreign policy unraveling’, and (just?) “have to change ayatollahs minds.”  Yeah, like those guys have EVER shown the slightest movement off zero regarding anything the Great Satan wants. 

Afghanistan ‘surge’ troop withdrawals? Biden said 315,000 security forces had been trained and along with the U.S.’s 49 allies, 2014 is time to let Afganis take care of themselves, “otherwise (like in Iraq) they won’t step up, just continue to be content to let us handle things.”  Ryan says they agree with 2014 date BUT… shouldn’t give enemies a calendar date where they can wait you out and shouldn’t remove 30,000 troops if going to lose whatever alleged things have been gained in 10 years of combat. (Biden jumped in, “you think we should keep sending Americans on patrols instead?” to no answer.)

That political How? is the biggie of course, but here’s betting that President Obama takes a clue from Biden and jumps Romney every time he tries pulling a swift one Tuesday night, which he neglected to do in first debate. That’s the difference between the Prez and the Nats at this point–bringing ALL your ammo if you want to win.

Glenn Shorkey

Panthers Played Like Needed to, My Results Were Just Better

Carolina Panther fans can certainly be a fickle group to please, and nobody from Cam Newton or Jordon Gross to the furthest tail-gating location on game days is going the moral victory route after Sunday’s 30-28 barnburner in Atlanta.  By the numbers, including 3 1/2 sacks by Charles Johnson on a day the Panthers D (really, its a legit word) clawed Matt Ryan to the ground SEVEN times, there were kudos available to many.  There’s still that cellar-dwelling 1-3 on the books, but “except for that pass” as Charlotteans will undoubtedly opine regularly this week, it really was a good game.

Having alternate Sundays off is part of rotation we’re maintaining even with Jack still away, so I gladly watched the game, with beers and a massive plate of chili ‘n chips with all the fixings. Very entertaining, and you could definitely appreciate offense coming back, down 24-14 before going ahead 28-24 on a 36 yard TD to Kealoha Pilares, and downing a punt inside the one with 1:09 to go (after Atlanta forced a Newton fumble) was textbook. Knowing how things eventually worked out, its legit to say that all things considered, I had a better day Saturday than the team did Sunday.  

Having done my best to nail that final $3000 (in Nautica merch) in search of bonus, I posted another $1700 day, including late Vineyard Vines sales that helped overall volume (I’m ALMOST ‘out of the hole’) but don’t factor into bonus.  Experience in sales situations gives you a feeling for estimating, like last December when Jack and I didn’t feel strong enough about a $2600 overall volume–we barely scored a major payoff because on a hunch I bought $145 that last day of the year.  Driving in Monday, 2.0 stuck in my mind. We hadn’t gone that large since Labor Day, but Friday’s $1.6 brought us to $30.7 (1000s), so getting $2000 was all about that arithmetic Bill Clinton mentioned. 

Recognize that needing $2k and ‘only’ producing $1700 is the essential equation, meaning the results–Nautica sales by *anyone* contribute to production goals– were greater than my significant personal efforts even before subtracting non-Nautica sales. I left a message for Jack right after I got the $32.7 figure from the Polo guys, because unexpectedly good news is one of the truly best things to share.  I’d strapped it on, done the max I possibly could, and having earned rewards of a tangible-spendable kind, I admit that’s always jazzed me.  Now I’m working on a streak!  and for the record, Jack and I came into Nautica last August and put together eight straight months in bonus money.  The cash won’t last long, but there’s enough to invest in a cigar to share with Steve the number crunching brother, continue that lottery ticket purchasing– I had *2* numbers last $200 million-plus possibility– and then perhaps some Padron with buddy Bridget.  Yeah, thats the ticket.

Tomorrow will entail tending smoky grills from 7am-4 as our Mens Club (church-related vs. legendary place on Tyvola) gears up for 4th annual BBQ. Never been on that detail before. We’ll see if I hang around for the pickin’ and packin’ after that.

Glenn S.