17 thoughts on “September 9, 2017

  1. One of the first skills you pick up in retail is faking the “look in the back” routine for a customer.

    It didn’t take long until I just agreed to “look” for the customer’s item in this mythical “the back” area by walking through the nearest back stock door and promptly sitting down on a box out of view for 3 minutes, then returning to the customer with tussled hair, sighing, looking dejected and saying something along the lines of “Gee ma’am, sorry, I looked all over but we didn’t have any”

    • @Carlos

      It depends on the situation for me. If I have an inventory gun on me and it says we don’t have any ( or some extremely low number) and the customer asks after I tell them that we don’t, then I will do that.

      If it is a common item or I don’t have an inventory gun, then I will look around the back.

      • I like Carlos’s answer better. It’s actually more convincing than putting a lot of effort into doing a real search for an item that the store simply doesn’t have.
        I once wasted well over an hour looking for a card table set that the computer said was “discontinued” on the off chance that we might have the item in stock one step removed from the “clearance aisle”. I checked through the store, I checked in back, I contacted the warehouse, I contacted the other three stores that could transfer the item if they had it. Nothing nada zip zero zilch. I did my absolute best but the customer — who hadn’t bothered to come in, she had called — was so disappointed when I called her back. She didn’t think I’d put the proper effort into it. I made some excuse about being at the cash register with a line of customers and hung up on her.

  2. I worked for a department store one summer during high school, and dealt with some of these folks. I don’t even ask. If they had it, it would be on the floor.

    • As a customer, I give them the benefit of the doubt and say “Is this a ‘Whatyouseeiswhatyouget’ situation?” and *may*may follow up with a “Any of your other locations have it?”. Then I let it go.
      As staff, one reply I’d give if I was in Stuart’s situation: “Somebody JUST asked me about that same product like, 15 minutes ago and I DID look in the back… So I can confidently say ‘Sorry. Nothing.'”

  3. A big plus working at Target is the fact that you have devices that show not only if the item is in the back but the exact location. If there is none in back I show it to the customer (guest) to show proof that I’m not BSing them.

  4. No. We do NOT have any water. We do not have any bread. We do not have any canned tuna. We will NOT have another delivery until after Hurricane Irma has passed.
    We CAN give you a nice price on fresh Dungeness crab. Or some Salmon fillets. Or… No, we do NOT have any BLEEPING water!

    Sorry, I’ve been dealing with this all week, and it’s the situation in the strip, but even more than usual.

    • Common sense would tell them that if a place had water it would be at the front of the store due to demand prior to the storm.

      If it isn’t, then guess what? Ain’t got any.

      I worked in a supermarket in southern NJ back when Sandy hit, and the owner literally just left the entire pallet of bottled water at the entrance and let people come in and buy them. They all do that.

  5. Instead of checking the back, I tell the customer that I already checked for the same item for a different customer a few minutes ago.

    This canned response usually only works if it’s a reasonably popular item.

  6. My first retail job, we didn’t have a backroom. We had solid panels on the top of the shelves and we would put overstock there. We marked what was in the box on the box and the quantity. Every time someone took an item they would update the quantity. When the box was empty it would be taken to the baler. An amazing system and it worked. Of course the customers didn’t believe we didn’t have a backroom but that was their problem.

  7. Depends on where I am, really. Most places I don’t bother asking, I know better. Probably the one serious exception is a grocery store – because they A: do have a ‘back’ – and B: they’re restocking all kinds of things constantly, so the odds aren’t terrible. I often actually end up doing that at one of my local ones, as the cases of Mexican Coca-Cola (yeah, gonna spell that out to make sure of the meaning ;p) get stocked last it seems. Just about anywhere else though, no. Mostly due to grocery being it’s own weird subset of retail, with it’s own stocking etc. rules that aren’t quite 100% congruent with other businesses.

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