Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Retail Nightmare

The holiday season.

Do I really have to say anything more?

Sure, I've worked retail during the holiday season before and it's always been stressful. But it was never more than 12 hours a week (not to mention I would fly home for 2 weeks right before xmas and through new years). And never as a manager. It's been a little rough, to say the least.

The economy is picking up, which is great for business. In order to keep up with the (hopefully) increase in customers, Sur La Table Ferry Building has hired 22 new employees. Twenty-f***ing-two. Most of which have started within the last two weeks. When your store is making roughly $20,000 a day, you do not have time to train 5 new employees, handle questions from customers and new hires, take care of that one person that managed to find you inbetween point A and point B, and help the person on the phone. You are just one person. But this is what happens. It's not that there aren't other managers to help deal with the new people, but they have their own little ball of chaos that they're trying to deal with too.

Yesterday I was trying to help this gentleman buy some pots. He had already bought a $3,000 dollar coffee machine, so I was giving him extra attention. He ends up buying $1,500 of copper ware. I'm in the back trying to find the boxes and someone has sold two other cookware sets. Great! But no one knows how to ring up a send sale. Another employee has sold something else, but can't find the right box. Someone else can't locate a man's knife which had been left overnight for us to sharpen. And I'm the manager on duty trying to deal with all of this while trying to deal with my own customer. You learn to delegate. But that only goes so far.

Then you get slow in the evening. A woman comes up to you and wants do to a price match from another company. Which is fine. But you can not find this store she speaks of online, much less the items she's wanting. So she lightly says that "Well the people in Berkeley know me. They'll do it for me. Obviously you don't know what you're doing." She then goes on to tell you how many thousands of dollars she spends in your store every year and you can't place a simple phone call (Wait... you wanted me to make a phone call??? When did this get brought up??).

All of this makes you go and sit in the managers office for a moment of peace. You try not to bash your head on the desk, or maybe you're trying not to cry from stress.... And then you see some ornaments sitting on the desk..... So fragile.... And you're all alone.....

I can't even report on the Favorite Customer of the Day because 1.) My days are all running together. I had to tell myself on five different occasions that it was Thursday today, and 2.) THERE ARE SO MANY.

It's like... They feel since they are buying something for someone else (they are being oh so selfless in buying this $250 Le Creuset pot for their brother) that if you can not help them, YOU are the asshole and they may act like you have done them a great wrong.

A friend of mine told me of how she went in search of a particular item for her mother. Unfortunently the model that she had in mind was no longer being made, but had been upgraded. When the employee told her this, he actually recoiled in preparation of her anger.

What has happened to us?!???? When it is common knowledge that people are actually MORE rude during the holidays and yet they CONTINUE to be rude, what is this saying about us? 

I'm not buying any sort of christmas tree. Or decorations. I wanted to, but by December 9th, I'm already tired of everything surrounding christmas. Okay, I did buy the Holiday hard candy mix that my mom would always put in our stockings. But it was a comfort thing only!!! And it was on sale!!!

This shall be my first christmas spent away from my family. It had to happen at some point, I guess. Maybe it's made me a little extra bitter. The boyfriend's family is coming down for a few days, which is nice. I probably won't get to see them much, however, seeing as I'll probably be working the days before and after christmas.

I'm glad 2010 is coming to an end. I long for January when we are dead slow and I can refold the linen napkins to pass the time. And they'll actually stay folded.


1 comment:

  1. Wow Brit. What a story. What a situation. I hope you are able to find some Christmas in your own way: making a paper snowflake, baking some sugar cookies, watching the yule log. :-) I hope Christmas comes to you in a form other than 'Sarah buying spatulas for Aunt Betty.' Love you.