Category: Cube2Box

Things not to do when you go shopping during the ice storm

Now I must add a disclaimer before this post. I work in a small store. Most of the time there are less than four workers in the store at any time and they each have their own section of the store to take care of.

Do not be upset when you can not buy something because the power is out. Most big box retailers rely on computers for pricing, scanning & charging you for products. If the power is out there is not much we can do.

Do not be upset with the person helping you for any reason. It is highly likely that the person is the only one to actually show up to work that day. He/she has had no breaks and could possibly be working a twelve hour shift. It is not his/her fault that the store is out of a product. It is not his/her fault if you did not call to verify that the store had a product before driving through the ice and snow to get to the store.

Do not expect us to have melting salt products on day three of the storm. We more than likely sold out of it on day one or sooner. In retail it can take at least a week to get a product in once ordered.

Do not leave the carts out in the snow, yes we can collect them for you, but you probably have a coat on and it would not be that great a burden on you to return the cart to the store. At my location we do not have cart storage devices in the parking lot so during the ice/snow storms the parking lot is dangerous enough, we don’t need extra carts blocking drive paths and parking spaces. We also can not help other customers in the store if we have to take the time to put our coats on, walk out, and return carts to the store. In icy conditions it is also likely that the person working at the register in a small store is the only one available to get the carts. Please try to be nice and return your carts.

Do not be upset if you came for a training class and found out it was canceled. We can try our best to inform people, but if the power is out across the state it can be hard to call one’s clients without phone service. It might also help to call the store offering the class to make sure that the classes are running before making the trek through the snow.

From The Cube To The Big Box

Media_httpstormwolfsm_sphmd

This is an outline of a series of posts that I have planned on moving from a Cube or Office type job to one in Retail at one of the “Big Box” retailers. In this series I will talk about many things that I had to deal with in my transition from office worker to retail worker. Here is a rough outline of some of the things I will be covering:

  • Making the transition from salaried to hourly
  • Dealing with the public
  • Tips and tricks to help you get through the day
  • The Closing Process
  • Much much more

Happiness Thy Name Is Retail

Media_httpstormwolfsm_kvagf

I used to be unhappy at my job. I’m not sure why I really stayed. Probably fear of change. Like most people I was stuck where I was and it took something major to move me on to my next path. I was unemployed for three months or so, good thing for that 2008 stimulus check.

I spent the time job hunting. Not much to do in this little town. I went on a few interviews, never really heard back from them. What is up with that anyway, can’t people at least have the decency to email or call to reject you, oh well that is a rant for another time. Anywho, back to the main point of this posting. One of the few places that did call me back was a pet store. They were opening up a new store a few miles from my house and wanted to interview me for an associate (cashier) position. With a new store the interviews were setup at a local hotel. I met with the man that would come to be my future store manager. We seemed to hit it off and the interview went well. He said he would call me back if I was to move on in the hiring process. A few weeks later he called and asked if I was still interested.

In this economy I couldn’t really say no, so I took the job. A few weeks later all of the managers and all of the associates gathered at the newly constructed store. We stocked the store from scratch. That process really did help teach us where everything went, it also let us see how much work went in to setting up a store. It really is a shame that not every associate gets to go through such a process. We all shared a bond that helps bring us closer together as a team. At the time we were informed that not everyone would stay on. In fact most quit or were fired within the first two months that we were open.In the beginning the managers were tough on us, we were just learning what to do. It seemed that many of us did not come from a retail background. I think that is anther reason we all get along so well. As time went by they began to relax a bit and we learned what we needed to do to keep the store running as best we could.

I am happy to go to work these days. Every day is different. Different people, different tasks, and different ways to go about those tasks. You never really know who you will run in to, what you will be doing, and how much fun you will have each day. It is fun to see the pets and assist the pet parents in finding just the right thing for their pets. It probably would not be the same with a different crew or in a different store, but I am happy where I am and with what I am doing. Instead of just trying to get through the days ahead I can actually see a future.

Can you not just be happy to have a job?

Media_httpsovereignst_vixkk

I don’t know what it is with people these days, but you would think with the current economy and most people NOT having a job, if you had one you would be thrilled. I know I am! Recently though, this doesn’t seem to be the case with those individuals I have run into. Now granted the majority of those individuals were working in a grocery store, fast food restaurant, or clothing store, but come on! I know that if I lost my job today, I would apply to all those places, just so I could find the money to support me and my family. So, why not be happy with the job you have and do it to the best of your ability?

For example, awhile ago I visited Arby’s to get food for me and Mike for dinner. I went through the drive thru and waited for someone to answer. And waited… Finally, and begrudgingly this “kid” comes on and asks, “What do you want?” What do I want? I want you to say “Hello, how are you, what can I get you today?” But, no. I got, What do you want? Seriously? Well, I placed my order and pulled up to the window. Then comes the time I have to ASK for the sauces that should come with my meal. Why is it that we have to check what’s in the bag everytime we go through a drive thru now? This is not rocket science. And yes, I know that we all say that, but really? You can’t remember to put the marinara for the cheese sticks in the bag? After doing my routine check of the bag I waited for the guy to come back to the window and ask me what I needed. I said, “you forgot the marinara”. He turns around, stomps off, and then comes back with the marinara sauce, but here’s the kicker…his finger has punctured a hole through the top of the marinara sauce container. I couldn’t even believe it. Well he had walked off so fast, that I yelled into the restaurant from the drive thru window and said, “You don’t think you can get me one of these that hasn’t had your finger through it?” Obviously this was a hard question. Finally, he brings me one that hasn’t been stabbed with his grubby little hands.

And what’s up with the zombies working at Target or Kroger? The Target Mike and I go to here in Lexington is filled with them. No one asks how you are doing or did you find everything you were looking for. They just stare at you, swipe the items, tell you your total and bag up your purchases. Now granted their job is to be, as Mike even calls himself, a “register jockey”, but you don’t think you can take the time to be nice and interactive with people? I know that if I had this job, I would try and talk with people, do more than just stare off into space, or anything to make the time go by and do my job as best as possible. Another great example has been Kroger. Now there are a few great employees at the Kroger that Mike and I go to, but the majority of them are “kids” and half of the time, you can stand at the register and wait for them to realize that you are even there waiting for your groceries to be scanned. I admit that unless I have A LOT of groceries, I am going to use the self checkout just so I don’t have to deal with these guys.

Now, I know we all have the attitude going into these places that we are not going to get the service we are looking for and maybe that is part of the problem, but honestly, I feel like sometimes people just don’t try. I know in my own job things like returning phone calls in a short time frame is important to me and one of the things I do to be nice and courteous to people. And its not hard. Most phone calls last about 10 minutes tops and really, how much time is that to be nice, pick up the phone, and just call the person back instead of leaving their call there for a day or so allowing them to wonder what’s going on. And with this day in age, if you can’t get to it right away just shoot off an email or a text and let them know that you got the call and you’ll get back to them soon.

I feel like at almost 30 years old, I sound like I’m 60 talking about these “kids” working at these places but something really has changed with people just a few years younger than me. So many people in even just their early 20s right now have no respect for their elders, no respect for the money they are earning, and no respect for their future. Maybe it was just the way I was raised, but I know from many of my friends that they see it to. These “kids” as I call them, even though they are only 5 – 7 years younger than me, have this sense of entitlement and many of us don’t know where its coming from. They feel like things should automatically come to them. They don’t have to work for that promotion or work to get the job, but it just should happen. Maybe its because some parents “babied” these people or they always got the trophy even when the team didn’t win, but I have a feeling that those of us heading into our 30s or already into them are not going to raise those kids anymore.

When I have children, they are going to have respect. Respect for me, respect for their grandparents, respect for the money that comes into the family and how it is spent, and respect and the ethic of working hard and earning respect back.

You should work to live, not live to work.

Media_httpwwwasieunim_naozg

My mom reminded me the other day of a saying that my grandfather used to always say to us – “You should work to live not live to work.” Its very true and something that I have been struggling with a lot lately since I became the only person handling the legal affairs of a $1B global company. What does “You should work to live not live to work” mean? Its meaning is simple, but to me, the meaning is, work isn’t everything. Like I said though, its hard. Its hard for a lot of people not to have their job completely consume their life. I’ve had to make a concerted effort these last few months to make sure that I don’t let my job consume me and I admit though that it does on occasion. With the world of blackberries and laptops and VPN access, I literally have my work with me 24 hours a day. And, if I didn’t make the effort to push it aside and live my life, I would become my work and I don’t want that to happen.

My job is stressful. I admit it. I feel that over the years, I have learned to deal with stress well, but it doesn’t always work. And, being the ONLY person handling everything “legal” coming into the company is hard. I have to remind myself daily that I’m only one person and if I don’t get to it, I don’t get to it. Even more so lately I’ve had to start reminding my coworkers of this. I pride myself that I have been able to perform at such a top level all this time, but I think that also it is at my disadvantage more so now than ever. People have come to expect me to turnaround projects on a fast time line and before deadlines, but now, those deadlines sometimes even have to be pushed back because I just can’t get to everything. And let’s not forget, I’ve tried to be a perfectionist all my life. Which is funny because not much else other than my schoolwork and my work work have been perfect. And this, is where I have to remind myself again, in the words of Chad Steward aka “Papa”, “you should not live to work.”

I’m really trying to take that saying to heart more so lately than ever. I can feel that my work, the stress the “perfectionist” in me, are taking a toll. So, this is my vow to myself and now to the world, that when I start to “freak out” or stress out, or hear my husband ask when I’m coming home, that I remind myself “You should work to live not live to work, Tracy.”