Friday, October 23, 2009

Sorry I Asked

As I think I've mentioned before, a good portion of my job could be described as "Glorified Greeter." I'm supposed to say hello to people who enter the store and ask them if they need help. Then I find the right associate to help them and return to the front.

So when a man came into the store the other day, I asked him if he needed help with anything. He informed me that he needed to get some pictures printed off of his "laser disc."

"Laser disc?" I asked. I was sure he meant a regular CD, but I have come across some people that use random old pieces of technology and I have no idea if there are laser disc burners out there or not.

"Well, a CD," he says.

Ok then. "They can do that at the copy department," I said, pointing him in the right direction. He says thank you and heads off. Following him comes a woman and her daughter in need of a graphing calculator. Well, those calculators are kept in a storage room behind the copy department. So I head over there, and on my way the first guy comes back toward me.

"You know, I really don't appreciate you offering me help over there when I need it over here."

...What? He's now walking alongside me as I give him a confused look. "I'm sorry?"

He points at the girl in the copy department. "She's the only one over there, there are two people ahead of me, and you're offering me help over there!" he says, motioning toward the front door. "What good does that do me when I need help over here?"

Now, before anyone says anything about having more employees available, I'm going to say the same thing that I say to everyone. Our payroll limit is not in our control. Corporate has cut our payroll budget so short that one night last week our store was left with two managers (because they're salaried so one had to stay all night to make up for the lack of other employees) and one copy department employee. We had three people to run the entire store that night because the district manager called and said to send everyone home to save payroll dollars even if it meant the general manager was all alone. No amount of logic can get through this guy's thick skull - you'd want to knock his teeth down his throat if you met him. So no matter what the GM said to convince him otherwise, he just responded with his usual verbal Band-aid. "Make it happen."

Point is, having extra people on hand is not an option.

So when this guy comes complaining to me that there's only one person in the copy department, I wanted to say, "You're lucky you got that." Instead, I politely tried to explain that we'd have more people over there if we could, but we don't have the budget for it. Then I said, "My job is to assist people on the floor, and her job is to assist people with their printing jobs."

"Yeah, but don't you see what I'm saying?" he goes on as if I'm stupid. "I need help over here, and you're offering help over there. Something's wrong with this picture!!"

Those close to me know the details of what's been going on at my job lately, but I'll just sum it up by saying that I'm close to getting up and walking out. The amount of money I make is not worth the abuse brought upon us by our demon of a district manager, and I hope he somehow reads this one day to know exactly what he does to people. Maybe I'll make a post about him here - managers like him are another horrible aspect of the retail industry, though I imagine they exist in every type of business. Regardless, as I'm listening to this customer complain to me because I offered to help him, I found my tongue was a bit more free than perhaps it should've been.

"Well, I was simply trying to be helpful," I told him with a glare. "Next time I'll be sure to keep my mouth shut."

Now, normally, you can't talk to customers like that. But I was at a point of such frustration given everything going on in my life that I really didn't care if he called my district manager right there and then.

As I disappeared into the storage room to get the woman's calculator, he shouted, "You know what? That might actually work!"

For the record, none of my feelings about my job extend to our store managers. They're a good team of people with good heads on their shoulders. The problem is that their boss (the district manager) could be compared to a stupid yet more heartless version of Darth Vader. The guy has zero people skills, and rather than help solve the problems we have, he simply feeds us the aforementioned inspirational lesson; "Make it happen." Like I said - verbal Band-aid.

Yeah, I think I'm gonna have to type out a post strictly about him.

Shopping tip of the day for 10/23/09: No, we don't have any pink network routers. Not everything in the world comes in assorted colors.


*Band-aid and Band-aid related products are owned and trademarked by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc.

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