[These are recycled blog posts about working retail during the holiday season from about a decade ago. Enjoy. If that is possible.]
I had another awful night at STORE, just when I thought I was getting on top of things.
This kind of thing happens like 20 times a night on average in every department. Like Sunday this lady wanted to buy this Hannah Montana shirt but it was the only one left and there’s no tag. While there are 5 angry people in line because I’m the only one there, I have to call other stores and see if they have time to go look and see if they have the shirt so I can get a sku to ring it up. Half the stores have a stream of customers and nobody else working, just like me, and they cannot go look. The other half don’t have it. Customer gets upset that they can’t just buy the thing, and leaves angry. I can’t believe this is the normal course of business at this place, but it is. What’s supposed to happen is you’re supposed to pull items like this and put a “re-ticket” tag on them, and then the manager of the department is supposed to somehow figure out how to reticket these things. This basically never happens. The re-ticket tag gets ripped off or someone new doesn’t see it and they put it back on the floor, or it gets put in the back for re-ticketing and it never gets done because the manager is too swamped putting up and taking down sale signs, which is a daily logarithm they have to run exactly right or else you get 50 customers complaining that the sign says those items are 50% off and they don’t ring up that way, or that they’re supposed to get an additional discount with their card but they didn’t get it, because the sale ended yesterday and that sign was missed. I didn’t even know how to do a re-ticket tag, I just figured there must be a way to do it and I poked around in the computer until I found out how. This is how they train you here.
At one point, a customer wanted to buy something off a couple’s bridal registry. Stuff like crystal and high-end glassware are all stored in this one stock room, which is locked. The girl in tabletop (where that stuff is) couldn’t leave to get it because she was waiting on a woman who ended up being there for 2.5 hours in ONE DEPARTMENT. She was STILL THERE after I left at 10:10, AFTER THE STORE CLOSED. So she gave the registry print-out to the guy from domestics (who of course had to leave his register unattended), who handed it off to me after about 1 minute as he had to take his break. You get in trouble if you don’t take your break because they can be sued. I was shown where this stuff is stored ONCE about a month ago for about 5 seconds. Meanwhile I couldn’t leave my register as there was a long line due to the guy in domestics being gone, so I was ringing everyone in housewares plus angry customers from domestics who were peeved nobody was over there. I called the manager on duty to ask if she could pull the girl from intimates even for 2 minutes to ring while I go look for the glasses for the registry person, but she had to hang up in the middle of our conversation. I saw her walking by a few minutes later and ran over to her in the middle of a transaction and showed her the list and explained about the storeroom and asked for the person from intimates and she said she’d see what she could do. Meanwhile the registry shoppers are waiting and waiting, and I have to go back to ringing. I finally had a break in customers after they’d been waiting about 45 minutes, so I found the key for the stockroom, and guess what? There was ONE. The couple asked for 6. So it was completely worthless and the customer was understandably pretty annoyed that she waited around for an hour to find out she couldn’t buy what she wanted. She asked if I could help her find something else on the list and I had to tell her I couldn’t because there were people waiting for me to ring them up. I just shoved the box for the 1 goblet and the list back at her and had to run back to housewares.
There was a whole table of pans that were supposed to be 60% off, but only about 1/3 of them were ringing up at the correct price, the others were ringing up at like 20 off, or 40 off. They say you can just change the price in the computer by putting in the percentage or the new price, but it changes it over the EXISTING price, not from the original. So if you have a pan that was originally $30 and it’s supposed to be 60% off, it’s supposed to be $12. But it rings up as $20. And you put “60% off” in the register, it takes 20% off of $20, which is wrong. I literally could not figure out how to come up with what 60% off of $30 was because I was so tired and confused and busy, so I ended up selling a couple of pans for way less than they should have gone for. I finally had to write down on a scrap of paper how much each pan was supposed to be and then every time someone bought one, I had to go in and manually change the price or check that it was ringing up right. Then everyone has a coupon and wants to know why it only took 10% off when it says 20% off and “almost no exclusions.” Except it’s only 10% in housewares. Then you get done and are bagging them up and realize they wanted gift receipts. If you don’t hit the gift receipts key at the start of the transaction before you ring anything up, you can’t get them. So several times last night I would ring someone up, get to the end of the purchase, they or I would realize there was no gift receipt(s), then we’d have to do a return, they sign for the return, then re-buy everything, remembering to change the price and do the coupon AND push the gift receipt key first, then they have to swipe their card again and they want me to tell them I’m sure they won’t be charged twice, etc. People are understandably angry having to go through this, but there’s simply no other way to do it if they want gift receipts than to return and re-buy.
I spent 20 minutes with one woman while people were waiting in line, discussing cookware sets. She wanted to talk all about anodized and non-stick and how pans are made and she’s fucking lucky I know as much about pans as I do. Nevertheless, I know jack shit about our particular lines of pans and the quality they may be, so I was telling her these pans were no good because of X, and these were better because of Y, and finally convinced her that one of the best sets we had at the best price was this Emeril line of cookware, $200 for 10 pieces on sale. It’s All-Clad and how that’s a good brand and how it has a lifetime warranty and if you buy it, you get a free skillet for yourself and all this stuff that nobody else in that department even knows, and she agreed to buy it and I went in the storeroom and found we didn’t. have. any. more. sets. This is how my whole night went. Meanwhile while I was helping her, people were in line waiting to be rung up. Because there aren’t enough people working.
My feet felt bruised on the bottom by the time I went home from working the past 3 days/nights in a row. I think the CO2 or Radon or smoke detector on the 2nd floor of my apartment building has a dying battery so it would BEEP BEEP BEEP three times in a row really loudly about every 40 seconds all night long. So I finally got up and rummaged around in my purse for my earplugs, which I keep because I can’t stand listening to people yammer on the commute, and finally got to sleep at probably 12:30.
It’s a Wonderful Life!