Gripes About Retail at End of 55 Years

January is a slow sales month, and February is, well, worse. Tomorrow is my birthday and I certainly didn’t expect to be sweating the economics of 30 hour work weeks and how many $20 (75% off!) jackets I need to sell to pay for myself at this point in life, so getting some gripes off my chest just might be useful. If you’re guilty of similar behavior, consider being a ‘customer upgrade’ and change!

“All I want to do” is almost always trouble because the customer KNOWS they’re on wrong side of standard operating procedure. Lady brought a shirt to counter other day and “all I want” request was take her shirt from elsewhere and swap it for right size. “Its a Vineyard Vines, you won’t have any trouble selling it” was the rationale. Oh, and let’s do the same with this sweater. “Call a manager” is definitely a jaw grinder because obvious expectation is you’ll cave rather than risk embarassment of being overruled. After recently refusing to call a manager because guy pointed out (and NOT just kidding around) similar shirts in big/tall area were 40% off and this one had lot less material so it should cost less, his following me through three departments to see my name tag after suggesting he try that reasoning with another salesperson was unreal.

Won’t get overly deep here, but a couple things you can fix easily. Leaving clothes inside out and on the changing room floor–does your mama deserve a headslap for teaching you that? Can’t figure cost of 50% off item? Come on! Being max enthused about an item that’s exactly what wanted, then returning next day because wife or girlfriend didn’t like it. Returning some childrens game to my counter because you’re too lazy to go to downstairs; bringing Polo (or ladies wear returns) because going to righter place means some sneakiness would be recognized immediately. Especially with returns, being a nasty ‘bulldozer’ vs. remembering flies and honey/vinegar axiom. I may be ’empowered’ to cut you slack, but trying to prove some invisible DUMBASS is written on my forehead will NEVER get my cooperation.

Glenn S.

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Thoughts for Te’o

Te’o’s situation, which spilled over on Notre Dame and became a yippee! nugget for everyone from Katie Couric to Letterman, Saturday Night Live, and legions of Notre Dame haters, is probably not the most painful lie he’ll hear, but yikes! on embarassing. I recently had a female from online dating who mentioned being an entrepreuner that dealt in gold antiquities, was headed to Africa and hoped to meet when she came back. I smelled something similar to Nigerian bank scam, and while I hadn’t been contacted about helping get $26million out of a country for which I’d receive a grateful 15%, I did have experience with “help me please, I’ve been robbed/lost passport/no money but many problems about how to get home.” One note about not helping if I got that kind of message ended communications immediately, but that’s what experience is supposed to help with.

Even beyond that, I dated, had sex with, lived in same city with a particular woman for EIGHT YEARS, and while she was often ‘elsewhere’ for 2-3 weeks (and we ended things several times), the last blast was amazing. Worried about not seeing her I was talking to a friend of her’s when a laser of thought made me ask, “What do you think she does for a living?” The response–patient liasion for a local hospital–might’ve been legit, she’d graduated with related degree–but it was miles from what I thought. “Blood stock agent for Fasig-Tipton,” was my response to “what do YOU think she does?” The point is people can/will bamboozle you early, late, standing in front of you, for money (think Bernie Madoff) or no reason at all.

Knowing how enamored the media was about the dead girlfriend Inspiration angle versus ‘just’ his playing, I would have (hindsight is always so clear) gotten to ESPN guy before that Heisman event and said, “Look man, I know everyone is up about the Lennay thing, but there’s some screwed up aspects for me. I’ll give you first word about it real soon, just please don’t ask about it in front of all these people.” Co-opting some political truth or legal dishonesty while being quoted ticks me off, but it’s ever so different to ask for break because its reeeallly time to put brakes on the situation. Tough to think his stock value went down more for hedging around some truths like Bill Clinton about Monica than how Alabama running backs went right through his tackles is unfortunately going to part of his legacy. If he led Cleveland to the Super Bowl and had nine interceptions as Rookie of the Year, Lennay deal will be in third sentence.

I would also make sure the SOB who messed with me knew staying FAR, FAR away from my grasp was important.

Glenn S.

Notre Dame Loss Quickly Lost in the Sauce

The Notre Dame claim to rising onto the throne of college champion was pulverized early by Nick Saban’s ‘Bama squad last week, officially becoming a dynasty The Bear can’t take credit for. There will ALWAYS be houndstooth hats and jackets worn, and Tide lovers will forever hug this years coronation to its collective bosom. Eaaaasy there about hugging and bosoms Brent ol’ boy, that’s THE QUARTERBACKS honey you’re drooling on…

It was 21-0 by the time I got from work to the business end of a Bacaratt at The Crisiz Center, and in absolute and statistical terms, the gold domers couldn’t get runners on the ground == pulverized. Notre Dame’s best move was offered late, and despite the derisive way I’ve viewed ND for a decade, they did earn their previous 12-0. ALABAMA *is* that good, and there’s really no controversy about Best Team right now. Ultimate playoff? I’ve never felt bad about two places lifting singular digits if thats how it came out. At the end of a week of bowls and an awesome opening set of pro games though, it became anti-climatic. Then came THIS weekend of football nirvana, and thankfully, the Irish getting whupped is quietly laid to rest, and everyone should pay the $5 you were willing to talk about “just to make it interesting.” Nice year and yes, Johnny Football DID deserve the Heisman more than your guy too.

Ray Lewis continues the Retirement Tour, and you can BET that warrior answers the bell next week. Most asked question: how do you not get far enough back to NOT allow a 72yard or whatever last gasp?

Work has involved beaucoup returns, but also wound up with more like 33 hrs. than previously proscribed 30. Saw plenty of football while carving out well above average weekend. Making positive strides on those special interests (like SC HOBY) because of 3-day off work week was cool. Decided as addition to BPBGRJ (bill paying, benefits giving regular job) to push some hours/units elsewhere, and both business meetings in that area were solid. I’ve reconnected with previous volunteer experiences, and bike riding or shooting hoops physical activity is always suggested, but doing fun or profound whatever that hits your Bazinga! button makes sense too. Meeting that Kiwanis group Thursday moved HOBY portion of my personal goals forward greatly–I’m ready for visit to South group with another lunch time available, then on to Columbia perhaps…Success isn’t always about the paycheck.

The NCAA does a great commercial about “This isn’t the finish line in life” thats equal to a previous “462,000 whatever NCAA athletes, and most of us will go pro in something else” public service message. I mention that because Notre Dame has nothing more to accomplish for now, and next year is their legitimate measuring period. Mine however has become creating units and dollars with the hours provided each week, same as its ever been. Now I have better communications tools though. Notre Dame put some points on the board at the end, and you KNOW ‘Bama wanted that shutout, so thats a mark of character. Me too! Will be my mindset about working a little more (or smarter) because it makes a difference in these trying times. Quality always counts, right?

And Notre Dame, much as that Tide rolled, Hurricane Sandy’s devastation of NY-NJ leaves comparison to THAT in rear view mirror. NOBODY better say Peyton failed again in ANY kind of same breath with that Irish loss either. Just sayin’…

Glenn S.

Commercial’s right about two being better– and 3 jobs better yet?

After 12+ hrs. on inventory and one of the last checkers out on Sunday, I’m taking an elementary step towards supplementing my regular bill-paying, benefits providing, reduce to 30 hours-by-executive-fiat-job, beginning with a 7:30 am meeting about fundraising that I scheduled around three straight days off. I’ve worked with Kurt N. before, and meeting includes web content and specific products-programs I’ll be promoting in the scholastic sports arena beginning shortly. Leaving behind economic negatives about a truncated ‘regular’ work schedule, I’ve decided to proactively seek additional opportunities in what I believe requires entrepeunerial spirit in economic action, somehow make my extra time worth while to others.

My professional background in large and small group motivation is a long-time strength, and with a manageable goal in group sales there should be a reasonable payoff for consistent efforts. I have always appreciated a well-displayed carrot, and at least until the end of this year that includes some commission $$ at day job in retail. Jack and I weren’t near last years figures, missing by over $7000, but nobody really was–Polo was $50k-plus shy of last December (which was a record) but we still pumped PLENTY of product down the stretch. Speaking from the ‘eat what you drag back to the cave’ mentality, working the Nautica line for 16 months provided opportunities for extra cash above commission. Our two-man dept. probably goes to 30 hrs. next week, so there’s really no growth possible there. Having consistently warned ‘day job’ customers about slashing staffing levels 20% might affect their shopping experience through FEBRUARY, I see an some pretty short-sighted personnel screwing for the sake of a probably unfixable budget. It’s not going to enhance anyone’s perceptions of Availabilty or Willingness to Recommend (a ghastly 25% on the first 4 returns of the year)when there’s factually nobody around to take their money. I’ve never been Just a Clerk ringing the register; I’m a Salesperson, that truly sorta terrific guy who gave succinct and clear directions, had solid and helpful info and opinions that’s missing from skeleton-staffing.

Getting back to guerilla marketing tactics and counting volume hits a pride chord, but I’m proud of the fundraising/sports memorabilia I’ll also be doing locally and for the So. Carolina chaper of the HUGH O’BRIAN YOUTH (SC HOBY) youth leadership organization as well. Committing to HOBY after 3 days of facilitating a certain Team Belgium in June is energizing to the psyche, brings personal giving to an elevated level. I’m taking advantage of opportunity to sharpen my game, and for my Bottom Line, serving a small but important clientele (like HOBY) for free works because it affirms my belief in Quality People doing the right things at the right time. Experts agree, if you’ve really got a passion that translates into actions for another organization or person, unpaid ‘free time’ in your weekly schedule becomes Better vs. just a bite.

They always say work your passion and you’ll never have a job. Or at least not a second one. When I start getting my production right, I’ll let you know.

Glenn Shorkey