Whatever negatives I espoused before Wednesday, I decided to quit any bitching and just produce the final two days, ride Black Friday like a bad boy and see what kind of a sprint we’d need Saturday to achieve Nautica bonus. I admit being TOTALLY wrong about just hanging for several hours–in fact, almost exactly half of $6000 volume came between 12-3am. Happy to report only ONE butthead customer in 12 hours, must be some kind of record.
The ONLY disappointing thing that’s happened since sitting down at 12:30 with brother Steve and doing traditional cigar (a solid Baccarat) & wine as turkey deep fried and discussing/observing Ryan’s bow-hunting, through terrifically entertaining 25 or so persons gathering where everyone understood my having to dine ‘n dash at 7:00 because of overnight shift, 5 delightful hours sleep afterwards, a smattering of college rivalry games like Washington St.’s overtime comeback win against Washington, another short but productive work day, and a Sunday morning cheese omelet and amaretto in my coffee was watching last two USC drives die pitifully on the Notre Dame goal line.
Everyone else was in red shirts at midnight, but I’m guessing I was identifiable to customers desiring help. Wore tuxedo pants and long-sleeve fuzzy black shirt, then decided the proceedings rated blue and flowered Tommy Bahama shirt. Both Friday and “last customer” situations I wound up in Saturday were well handled by managers, but I didn’t get bulldozed either. “My customers” (and rest of Mens Better Sport) usually come later, because as regulars they know the sales times usually won’t matter, and from 6:30 until end of shift at 11:30 I pumped a mess of 50% off sweaters, and average sales were higher because of Nautica Week $25 off $100 purchase postcard. Best possible news came at 3:30 arrival for what I’d demeaned as a skimpy 6-hr. Saturday and learning Jack slayed it all afternoon Fri., finishing at record $12.4 (1000s). That whopping $3400 over plan left us a walk-over $1200 making month on Saturday. People were/are DEFINITELY in buying mode, but more just steady compared to bum rush.
Gotta give props to managers who backed me up (ask anyone in retail how rare but good it feels when that happens!) When I overheard one remarking that 12 hr. shift was no problem, he’d done 14-15 with Macys, I reminded him we called 8 open-to 10-close deals “The Iron” and he smiled. “Yes we did,” and that acknowledges a bit of the warrior mentality you sometimes need in high anxiety moments like some customers bring. Giving him my quick version post-dealing with, thats good management, even a change to applaud if we’ve finally gotten to where sales people aren’t automatically in default position at start. That last person Saturday, trying to get over on me about exchanging $200 jeans and eventually telling manager I’d disrespected him in front of girlfriend, I was half-amazed she took maybe three minutes to have him moving toward the door with jeans in hand and encouraging him to search hard for receipt if just got yesterday. Wow!
So we’ve made bonus, and hey! there are suppoed to be nights in the 20s coming along, so getting some of those good warm jackets moved will become a factor. I’m thinking cruise wear and a celebratory Caribbean swing in late February if cold means buying now vs. 70% off sales like last year.
Keep that optimism going America. Like that commercial that ends “the sky is not falling,” its not all doom and gloom. Pre-election polls showed that even with only 1.3% growth and below necessary numbers of new jobs filled, Americans were feeling things had turned, even a little, for sustainable progress. Predictions of 4% growth sounds somewhat lofty, but hey, would we trade marginal taxes if country wasn’t stuck in mud? Ending gridlock in Congress? Really? Something like that’s even open for consideration? I’ll take the check because we earned it, keep my eye on the rest.
Not sure how much I looked like either a big ol’ gimpy turkey or a pork chop, but nephew Ryan and Steve jumped on my question about how his tennis was going. “He’ll kill you. You won’t be able to handle his serve,” was Steve’s smiling and immediate response. Hope Ryan won’t feel bad about demanding a whole session of hitting and getting used to moving around on clay (new sneakers couldn’t hurt, right?) before trying to put a whuppin’ on me. I swam 100 yds. against a national champ at forty, and I’ll go witcha kid, but this ain’t gonna be like dropping that cow in with the velociraptors in Jurassic Park flick…