26 thoughts on “December 10, 2015

  1. I absolutely do not get this. Corporate produces the advertising flyers. Corporate dictates what goes on sale and when. Corporate produces the planograms. Corporate ships merchandise to the individual stores and determines what will be sold and what will not. How can *anything* an individual store manager does have any impact on sales for any given day?

    • Apparently Corporate thinks that staff driving sales works better than it actually does.

      Those who remember the recession now plan budgets and pick out exactly what they want, so those tactics have diminished.

    • Add-on sales. Corporate brought the customer in. Now the associates at the store level need to work the customer for every cent. “Buying you husband new dress shirts? Look at these ties we have, 3 for 2!” “I see you’re getting some lucky kid a Nerf crossbow. Have you considered this package of extra darts? They’re rather easy to misplace and if you buy it with a gun or crossbow then they’re 25% off.”

      • Who’s going to do the upselling when stores are so understaffed that nearly every available employee is ringing up customers and frankly don’t have time for this? I wonder if the difference between a store’s actual sales numbers and their goal is enough to cover another employee…

        • Ah, yes. When I was still working, they would cut hours because we hadn’t met our sales goal and then expect fewer clerks to sell more. Idiots.

          • Ritz Camera had a similar policy. If our “on time” orders in the photo lab fell below 90% or 95%, then they cut hours in the photo lab. Naturally, that would have left the lab even MORE overworked.
            As a result, we routinely marked photo orders as “finished” even when they were 30-60 minutes from done.

            FWIW, they were marked “finished” when we entered the print count into the register and printed a price label.
            When a single role of film takes 45 minutes (running though the chemicals), it’s very hard to process 20 rolls in one hour. I was never fast enough to do 20 rolls, and it was even worse when one customer would bring in 20 rolls all at once. See, the film developer could only take 2 rolls every 3-ish minutes, so it took 30 minutes before we could even get the final rolls into the machine. It took several minutes just to get the film out of the canisters and attached to the developing machine’s loading mechanism. The machine took about 20 minutes to process a pair of rolls, so by the time the final 2 rolls came out, there was only 10 minutes left to print & price the last rolls in the batch. And of course, the entire time, we had to keep up with printing, boxing, and pricing the pictures.
            The trick was to look at a strip of developed negatives, count how many good pictures were on the roll, and then enter that into the computer as the number “printed”.

  2. Typical corporate, it doesn’t matter if you beat last years numbers if you don’t make the 25% increased sales goal of this year. It’s apparently obvious that the sales people are not doing their jobs by selling useless products and add ons to the customer, who is too stupid to know what they really want and need sales people to tell them what they need. (sarcasm)

  3. It’s so easy for Stuart to sit back and criticize while he never does the actual work. And how dare Corporate add a 10% increase over last year when the recession is still not over?

  4. Only 10% over last year? Corporate obvious is taking it easy on them. At my work goal is 15-18% (and has been for years – yes even during the bad years of the recession) over last year.

    The only time we actually made that was about 2 years after the 2008 crash when our numbers, having been pretty terrible for 2 years, started looking amazing as we had a moderate bounce back that year so we were actually 15% over the year previous. I really don’t understand how companies expect growth of 10+% each year every year. Just seems completely unsustainable to me.

    • I know, right? But the economic analysts do the same thing – a company is doing “terrible” if they only grew 2% that year. How is it bad if you are doing as well this year as you did last year? Terrible is if you start /losing/ money, right? Obviously to survive you have to replace customers you lose with new ones, but you don’t constantly need more customers than you had before.

      • Because reasons. Because a 2% increase in sales over the prior year typically won’t cover the change in operating costs. Wages/salaries go up. Longer lasting employees get more PTO. The cost of benefit plans increases. Utility rates increase. Taxes and fees. Insurance. Plus inflation. Without a sizable enough increase in pure numbers, you’re making effectively less than the previous year.

  5. But you didn’t make the arbitrary number conceived in a board room by people that have never worked retail, and probably have people that shop for them. How could you fail so horribly.

  6. The final Retail comic will be the angry Grumbels staff rebelling and strapping Stuart and corporate stooges to a rocket aimed at the sun.

    • I think it would be fun for the employees to buy Grumbels – and then find out that the problem isn’t the players – the problem is the system. And Grumbels is just a cog in what’s wrong.

  7. *sigh* I imagine one day there will be a strip where Stuart calls asking for an update, and Marla will just respond that she won’t tell him, because whatever she tells him, he’ll find fault with. Stuart will in turn respond with an actually pleasant, “Well, at least you’re not wasting my time.” and end the phone call.

  8. Example of corporate thinking: Employees must make 20 calls per week to new companies (meaning companies that had never done business with us). There were 5 employees in that division. That added up to 100 calls per week, 5200 calls per year…again, only to companies that had never done business with us. Problem: There weren’t that many companies in the area that hadn’t done business with us! There certainly weren’t anywhere near that many totally new companies opening up in our area. But, management wanted to see those 20 calls per employee each week!

  9. My first year managing a store, I took over a busy-but-poorly-run location that would always run out of stock – the previous manager would barely order enough weekly stock to last a single day. Just by ordering enough, being friendly and helpful, and cleaning the place up a bit, we blew our sales goals out of the water. I’m talking 20-30% higher than previous years in a super low margin industry – basically unheard of. That is, until February/March, when “the accounting department made a mistake” and set our goals to be 15% higher than the set budget, rather than the previous years sales. This was something like a 40% increase in our slowest months. My store was the only one that came close to making our goal, and we were still significantly under. My bonus that year should have been twice what it was and my employees all should have gotten major raises, but because of a mistake that the company ADMITTED was their fault, we all got punished. Corporate still expected us to make the completely unreasonable goals, rather than adjust our numbers to be more realistic. It’s no wonder why some companies can’t retain employees for more than a couple of years – I would probably still be there had they given me the bonus and raise I earned, which would have been a drop in the bucket of their profit – they could have given everyone twice the bonus they did, and it would have made practically no difference to their profits. Instead, they lost at least 5 managers around the same time in the same region, and my old stores sales are in the toilet again after they didn’t hire an actual manager for the store – my old assistant ran things until she’d had enough and quit.

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