Friday, December 12, 2008

I'm Sorry, We Only Sell Tea, Not Tea

Today was a rather mind-numbingly odd experience for me.

My better half and I had a craving for some cupcakes from Sprinkles and a hot tea from Teavana, so we headed over to Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, CA.

After getting the cupcakes (Strawberry, Pumpkin, Vanilla Peppermint and Red Velvet), we headed over to Teavana.  They had recently released some new tea flavors, and I was anxious to try them.  With the temperature here today being quite chilly, and with a winter storm blowing in, tea was definitely the beverage of choice.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that Teavana wouldn't be brewing any hot tea for their customers, due to their being "busier due to the holiday season."  You could buy loose tea, but not hot tea.

As I stood there sniffing teas, trying to figure out if I was willing to part with my cash for loose tea I hadn't even tasted, several people came in and asked for a cup of tea, and all were turned down.  None of those people stayed to buy loose tea.  I actually did buy some, but I would have bought more.

So the store has three employees working, all of whom are standing around looking mighty bored because the only thing they can do is sell loose tea or mugs or whatever.  But the customer doesn't seem to want that.  Can you imagine if Starbucks decided one day that they were too busy to sell hot coffee, and you could only buy beans or ground coffee?  Would they be in business very long? Would people come back.

I spent $38 on my tea.  There's no way I paid their rent, payroll, etc. with my purchase.  What if all of those people who had wanted tea had gotten their cup, really liked it and bought loose? Heck, with this economy, wouldn't it be better to at least get the $3 or whatever from the customer, rather than have them walk out spending nothing?

Very poor direction to take your company during the cold holidays, Teavana.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Is There A Darker Color Than Black?

Black Friday is nearly upon me...again. I've been dealing with this most dreaded of days in retail for about 15 years now, and I don't think I've ever actually missed one. Sigh. Customers looking to combine a million coupons, others angry they can't use their coupons on something that's already on sale, sitting on a ton of stuff your company thought was going to sell and didn't but not having enough of the stuff they thought WOULDN'T sell and of course everyone wants.

I'm not sure what to expect this year, what with the economy so terrible. My home office wanted me to hire a bunch of seasonal help, to which of course I laughed, as my current staff is lucky when they get 20 hours in a week.

So tell me your Black Friday stories....from both sides of the counter.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Overheard: Sorry, We Don't Sell Maps

A customer of mine the other day had a very interesting change purse. It was a small leather pouch. When you opened it, the part that folded became a leather dish, and you could pour the coins into it. I remarked to the customer what a clever idea I thought it was.

He responded: "It's European or something. I got it in Japan."

Alas, I didn't have the heart to tell him that Japan wasn't located in Europe. Perhaps a folding world map might have been a better investment than a folding coin purse.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Maybe You Should Read the Not-So-Fine Print

Working in retail ensures that you get to slave away for hours at a time on a holiday weekend, while everyone at your corporate office enjoys a three-day weekend.  And as if that weren't enough, sometimes they give you insane discounts and coupons for your customers, ensuring traffic in your store doubles.  Of course, at the same time they cut your payroll, citing the high costs of doing business.

So I'm working Labor Day Weekend, where my company has managed to not only give out one coupon, but THREE different coupons, all in the same flyer.  This is in addition to a bunch of items being 30-50% off.  This would, of course, be the official signal to every cheap bastard and nutjob for 50 miles to come running into the store with visions of cheapness dancing in their heads.

Of course, some people are decent and only looking to use a coupon and get out to get away from the crowds.  Most, however, are looking to use all their coupons at one time, along with the copies they made.  These people also become irate when you won't let them combine their coupon with something already on sale.

Take, for example, the girl who came in today with her boyfriend.  The two of them bring up an item that is already 40%, and the girl hands me a 50% off coupon.

ME:  I'm sorry, but you can't use that.  This item is already 40% off.

Apparently, this is all it takes for someone to become like Linda Blair in The Exorcist.  The girl's head practically starts to spin around, and green pea soup-spewing is about to commence.

GIRL:  What are you talking about? This isn't on sale! It doesn't say it's on sale!
ME:  See that display over there with the same item with the 40% off sign?
GIRL:  Well, I didn't GET it from over there, I GOT it in the section.
ME:  Well, the item is on sale, no matter where in the store it is.
GIRL:  But it doesn't SAY that.

At this point, the boyfriend realizes that all this time he's thought he's been dating Captain Howdy, only now finding out his girlfriend is actually Lucifer.

BF:  What's the big deal? We're talking about 10%.

Oh he did NOT go there, she clearly thinks to herself.
GIRL:  What's the big deal? They purposely put out a 50% off coupon, then put everything on sale so you can't use it.

Oh yes.  That big Piss Off The Customer Conspiracy.  I keep forgetting.

ME:  There are only four items in that section on sale.  You could pick out something else.
GIRL:  There's no sign there that it's on sale.

Mr. Sulu, Snark Factor 5, please.

ME:  Would you like me to walk you over to the section and show you the sign?

She of course decides that isn't necessary.  The boyfriend pays for the item, probably planning on putting the money he's saved towards an exorcism for the girlfriend.  

After they leave, I check the section.  Directly in front of where she pulled the item is a big red sign with the name of the product on it, and stating it's 40% off.  Skip the exorcism, and buy Demon Spawn some glasses, whydonchya.

Holidays. Erk.

Friday, July 25, 2008

No Wrist, But Got An iPhone

As you can see in the picture below, I'm currently in a cast on my right arm. Seems as if I've developed a ganglion cyst in my right wrist, which will only get better with immobilization. The doctor seems to think it's from the work I do. Retail claims another victim.

Although I can't type on my keyboard, I CAN type on my iphone. Thanks to software from CellSpin, I can post to my blog.

Ain't technology great?

Keeping My Smurf Hand Strong

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

You Can Take Your Nickel And Shove It In Your Piggy Slot

For those of you who aren't familiar with them, Whole Foods is a supermarket chain that caters to the tree-hugging, hippie-like, granola munching type of person...who also doesn't mind paying $20 for a tomato.  Apparently, there is also a prerequisite for guys working there that you must be hot.  I'm not sure I actually have SEEN that requirement written anywhere, but it's pretty damn obvious by the crew working in the one near my store.  But I digress.

I was standing in line to pay for a soda and a water today in the this-should-be-an-express-lane-but-everybody-takes-too-damn-long line.  Ahead of me was your typical Los Gatos, California housewife:  perfectly coiffed blonde hair, little gym fitness body, probably on her way to play tennis with the girls.  Oh yeah, and dripping with jewelry.  She could definitely afford a $20 tomato.  In her hands was a tote bag from another "upscale" grocery store known as Trader Joe's.

So Whole Foods has this policy that if you bring your own bag, you can either have five cents deducted from your bill, or have the five cents donated to a charity.  They used to let you choose one of several charities, but I don't think you can do that anymore.  I used to give mine to the Humane Society, but there were other charities for battered women, hungry kids, save forests and help farmers grow tomatoes that sell for $20.  Overall, a pretty good cause.

So here's this woman ahead of me who probably gets her weekly allowance from the Federal Reserve directly.  What does she choose to do? Hell, she gets that five cents deducted from her grocery bill, of course.  Didn't even think about it.

I'm not sure why exactly this pissed me off so much, but it did.  I'm struggling to make ends meet, I'm paying the equivalent of four years' tuition to fill up my tank each week, I've given up $20 tomatoes.....and this woman awash in gold and hubby's credit cards can't cough up the five cents to give to charity?  Somewhere down the road, she'll attend some high-profile shindig with the benefits going to some cause she won't remember, all in the hopes of landing her picture on the society page.  Makes me ill.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Can I Write In Peter Parker?

So part of my Roth IRA is invested in Marvel Entertainment.  I bought shares before Spider-Man came out in theaters.  Whoo hoo!

So, every year, I get a proxy ballot to vote on issues for Marvel (no, not comic issues) and to vote members to the board.

Seeing as how Marvel is doing the Hulk AGAIN, gave me the every-crappy GHOST RIDER and handed over a lousy SPIDER-MAN 3....I think it's time the board got a swift kick in the butt.  With my green Hulk boots, of course.

Next Up: Rabbits With Herpes

Poor PetSmart.  First, they get in trouble for poor habitat conditions for their reptiles.  Then, the start looking at bigger financial trouble.  Today's news brings us this little gem:

I had to actually read this one about three times, just to get all of the subtle nuances.  I mean, hot coffee in the groin at McDonald's? Easy to understand.  Got to get rid of you Elmo doll because it threatens to kill your kid? OK, get that one too.

So if I get this correctly, Woman #1 goes to PetSmart and buys a hamster for her kid.  Awww, lookit Fluffy running around in his little ball.  Whoops!  Watch Fluffy in his little ball bounce down the stairs.  Watch Fluffy go all frickin' Cujo on the world and pass along some nasty virus to its owner.

OK, so now Woman #1 somehow becomes Dead Woman #1.  Fatal frying pan accident, hamster mistook her for a pellet....we may never know.

Family says "We love ya, Mom" and forks over the organs of Dear Ol' Mom to the hospital, presumably NOT making a profit, even though gas prices are so ridiculously high.  Said organs get stuffed into other people who then get Evil Hamster Virus and die.  And the lawsuit states that PetSmart should have warned people that hamsters carry diseases that could be fatal in people with weakened immune systems.

Ummm.  I really have only one comment for this, which is the ever insightful:  DUH?!!?!?

It's a RODENT, people.  Remember something called the Bubonic Plague that wiped out most of Europe?  Ok, here's a biology lesson for you....the rats of the Bubonic Plague and hamsters? Yeah, related.  Both rodents.  So if RATS can carry disease and they are a rodent....and hamsters are rodents....then do I have to draw the picture for you?

The lawsuit should be against the HOSPITAL for not properly checking out the blood and/or organs for any type of virus before throwing it willy-nilly into the next person who needs it.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this one plays out, but I'm siding with PetSmart and against The Stupid People.

Probably A Sign I'm Gay....

Of course, having a handsome husband when I'm a guy is probably a dead giveaway, but....

I got a spam email that said "Get her to come every time."

My real first thought?

"Come where?"

Oooops.  Yeah.  Not passing for straight anytime soon.

Dear Angry Customer.....

Just an open note to you angry customers out there:

Threatening to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, and threatening to have Visa reverse the charges to your account because your item is a week overdue? Really not necessary. Hanging up on the manager when he's trying to help? Also not necessary.

Fortunately, said customer referred to above now has his $37 back.  I sincerely hope that restored the Earth to its regularly scheduled orbit, now in progress.