Retail in the Shoes of a Manager

michaels_crafts_50percent_canadaThis is more personal, but as daily life and applicable to all topics blogged upon. In fact, it is using the same principles and practices mentioned below, and inserting them into a true life example. It is in your face as real as today’s market, retail particuarly, as you get. Bare in mind, this causes it to be more of a story-telling-true-to-blog-fashion blog.

The MANAGER title does not mean, as much as everyone seems to want to think it does, that I know everything there is to know, that I am perfect, and that I can touch things with my finger and create acts of God in an instance. I am not CEO or President or even a DM. To put it that way, I’m not even in charge of the store, technically, I am just an average department manger, one of three to be exact, which makes me third in charge below the ASM and SM. That’s it. I stick to every rule and policy all other employees stick to, even more to the books, and I have more responsibility than any in the store to uphold those principles and practices and be a true model for all.

Tonight, a once “Michaels employee” informed me that she was such and that she knew my policy, since she had worked at Michaels for several years. She inquired that I override a sale item to its original price for her so that she could use her coupon. This is a savings of 10%, or in this case, $2.00. Policy very strictly states that this is never to be done, and in fact, is something I very directly and quickly could lose my job over. I informed her of this, in my most professional manner, and apologized. What then occurred was the most outlandish, immature scene possibly imaginable. I was treatened and verbally harassed in front of several customers. She demanded to speak to my DM, of which I gave her the name of, and had no number to provide. She used an innapropriate phrase at this point, grounds for me to swiftly escort her from the building, of which I was curteous enough not to do. She then demanded, again in an innappropriate fashion, to ask for a name and number of any surperior that I had name and number for so she could complain. I proceeded to give her Jason’s name and number, of which I started twice was the actual store number. After a much longer extending inappropriate scene, she finally left.

Seeing her pop her cell phone out immediately, I expected the phone ring to be her, and very kindly answered the phone. To my surprise, or not, it was the same customer. She for some reason was too much of b***h to listen to my explanation of who the number was for and who she would be calling. I reinformed her that I told her she would have to call the actual store and speak to him when he was available tomorrow. Good thing the phone “hiccuped” at this point, because whatever left her mouth, it’s a real good thing I didn’t hear. She currently has my name and is “going so far above my head to people in positions I don’t even want my name to be spoken to”. Is there too much sarcasm when I say… I don’t care.

You see, policy is above all. People now think that because times are tough and $2.00 here and there adds up, that harrassment and abuse to those kindly attempting to assist them is the appropriate or efficient method to get what they want. It’s not. As much as I agree, we do need money, and I agree, we do need customers… a $10 purchase tonight isn’t going to kill me. I do regret losing a customer, but truly, are those the kinds of customers we want? The kind that curse at us and call us G.D. idiots for doing our jobs correctly? No. I will not put myself on the line for the outlandish behaviour of a few out to save a buck. I have confidence that I serve others well enough that we will prevail in the end. It is the good guys who finish last, but it is also the good guy that people like the most and come back to. Kill with kindness really holds ground, and I have faith that our store cares about enough customers that we will make it in the end, without having to bow our heads to those who feel higher and mightier than the “law”.

For all who haven’t worked retail, you should. If only for just a week… see the way people treat you and speak down to you and expect that you work miracles and that you know everything and every price in the whole store. When they are too lazy to try to do something themselves, stand there and verbally do the entire project for them. All that you learned in 4 1/2 years of expensive art school, yeah, how about you give them a 5 minute lesson of all you learned in 6 months, totally for free. When they need something carried for them, or a coupon they forgot at home, or if they break a whole shelf of merchandise and walk away from it… Smile. It’s as if the second they walk in the store they are untouchable and the most important person there. Everyone of them, more important than the last. You are their servants, for any reason. Trashing the place, with comments such as, “Might as well set it down, gives them something to do”. And each day, you must enjoy being there, underpaid and unappreciated.

Verbal harassment is wrong. Lack of respect is wrong. {Apply Golden Rule here}


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