Never enough

Remember when we were kids, and our parents and teachers told us, If you’re going to do something, do it well.” ?? I took that bit of advice pretty seriously, and I would like to believe that it plays a huge part in my work ethic. I am proud of the work that I do. Yes, I have obsessive compulsive tendencies, but I think that helps me do things the right way, the first time around.

Apparently if you work in retail, that “do it well” mentality will get you in hot water. Or at least when you work for a huge corporation that really only cares about money. Now it’s all about, here’s a list of shit to do, get it done as fast as you can, and try to make it look as presentable as possible. Don’t worry about it too much though, we’ll just spend a whole day freaking out, trying to fix everything, and make it pristine, right before the suits come to visit.

When customers give us feedback, they leave ratings on whether or not the store was neat and clean, if we had the items they were looking for in stock, and of course, the level of customer service they received during their visit. That clean and neat part, is the key to it all. To me, that means a clean floor and dusted shelves that are properly stocked and shoppable. You know it’s bad when the delivery arrives, and you can’t even put it out because other things are filling more than their allotted spot on the shelf. If there are things scattered randomly on the shelves, or things stocked in the incorrect spot, this will only cause confusion. When there is a pricing issue, due to items in the wrong place, or ad signage on the wrong product, we are obligated to resolve the issue at the register, which usually results in the store losing money. The less money the store brings in, the less hours we get, which places a heavy burden on every member in management. When hours get cut, we become cashiers, stockers, receivers, and about a dozen other things, on top of all the daily tasks that we have when hours are normal.

Upper level management (the suits who have no idea what things are like at the store level) seem to think that, regardless of the amount of hours we have to work with, or any other factors that might come into play, (a late delivery, someone calling in sick, an unusually busy, understaffed day) we should be able to complete those normal every day tasks, in a timely fashion.

How hard is it to understand??

  • every item in the store has a designated spot
  • every store brand item has an item number right on the package, that matches the label on the shelf
  • every shelf has a set capacity in order to keep things straight and full
  • every ad sign has a specific item number (shelf label) that it corresponds to and they go in order on the shelf

In my mind, that makes everything pretty darn simple.

  • If you can’t find where it belongs, don’t just set it somewhere that “makes sense”
  • If it doesn’t fit on the shelf, don’t force it. We have a backroom for a reason
  • If you can’t find the label that matches the sign, don’t hang the sign

I have given almost 10 years of my life to this company. The longer I stay here, the more I realize that there is no such thing as “work ethic” being instilled in today’s youth. There soon, probably very soon, will come a day when I just give up the fight and start doing everything half-ass like the rest of my colleagues. Why can’t we keep a nice clean store ALL THE TIME!!?? Did I mention that I have compulsive tendencies? I pride myself on making my department look as good as I can, all the time. I get angry when people (fellow employees) mess up my shelves by stuffing out extra product that doesn’t fit, or by filling the shelves with completely wrong products. Everyone knows that I have my ways, I keep my backroom in a certain order, I work my back stock in a certain way. I do everything I can, within reason, to keep my inventory accurate. It is a never-ending battle, and I fear I am losing. I try to fix the really bad areas in other departments as well, but I can’t focus on those. They think it’s just a funny little problem that I have, and sometimes they do it on purpose!

After the last two days, and several interactions with my store manager, it seems pretty clear that my way of doing things is too slow. We have too many things to do, and too little time to accomplish all of them. When I was told that today’s project was taking too long, I gave a reason. My boss is aware of the problem to which I was referring, but there isn’t enough time to deal with it right now. Okay… So I asked, “Do you want me to do it the right way? Or do you want me to do it the lazy way just to get it done?” At this point I was told to “do it the fastest way possible.”

There you have it folks! We don’t really care what our store looks like, as long as we can pretend it is amazing when the important people come calling. Our customers don’t complain enough yet, so it’s not a priority.

Some day they will realize that the longer we let things slide, the harder they will be to fix. I just know when it comes down to it, people will start pointing fingers and throwing each other under busses in order to save their own asses.

No matter what we do at the store level, it is never going to be enough to keep the big wigs happy. If I take the time to make things right, I am too slow, and being too meticulous. If I let it slide, then I’m doing a crappy job at keeping my department in order. I’m stuck in a dead-end job, with daily struggles that seem to always end up in a lose-lose situation.

Good thing I have some pretty awesome co-workers to vent to and drink after-hours margaritas with!! That, and knowing that my husband appreciates the fact that get off my ass and go to work everyday, are the only things that keep me sane.


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