November 29, 2010

If you can't laugh...

Obviously the whole job thing has been going good, seeing as I haven't posted in almost a month. No, it has nothing to do with my decision to bail on NaNo, I just really haven't had the energy. Then, this past weekend, I experianced something I sincerely hope I never have to experiance again:

Working Retail on Black Friday (actually, the entire Black Weekend).

It was insane. It was chaos. It was wild and crazy. It was painful, exhausting, rediculous and hilarious (in both the ha-ha funny and OMGWTF? funny ways), and it was unreal. People grabbed, people threw, people piled things on the floor. They dug through piles, argued prices, and yelled (serious, not-your-inside-voice yelling) at managers. Most of the day, I was working with at least 3 customers at a time, and people would actually interupt other people who were asking me questions to ask me questions. People stood in lines to check out for over half an hour, and there's roumer that people were lined up to get into the store on Sunday at 3am. We opened at 7am.

We had our marching orders, as associates, and it's really telling to think about it and see how it really devolved over the weekend. It started that there were cash people, cash back-up people, and fitting room people, then people to do phone/fitting room look-ups, and at least 2 people per side of the store, plus managers and team leaders. Seemed like a good plan. The store was in excellent shape, stocked as best as we could. By the end of Friday, every table was a laundry pile overflowing with items that didn't belong on those tables. Every rack had clothing flung over it, and a couple of manikins had been stripped naked. Hangers lay abandoned all over the floor, and the clearance section looked like... well, it looked like my closet.

Saturday Morning, the big day, the orders changed from "keep order, do your best, and focus on helping the customer" to "stay calm, don't bother folding anything, and focus on keeping hangers and clothes off the floor". We sold out of our big-sale items by noon, other items shortly after. Three fitting rooms turned into pre-processing rooms. One cash register went down, and all hell broke loose. I spent most of the day grabbing shopping bags from the cash registers just to hand them out to customers, then running back to empty garbage bins so that people didn't trip over all the hangers.

The experiance gave me a new appreciation for others who work retail, and somewhat of a distain for comsumers in general. I've started creating rules in my head... How to be a good Customer, or how not to be a total Douchenozzle. They range from the simple:

Sales Associates are not personal shoppers... unless you plan on tipping, don't expect us to carry your bag/purchases/purse/dog in a purse.

To the obvious:

If you pick something up, please put it down on the same table/stand where you found it. Doesnt' have to be folded or anything, it just makes our lives easier when things stay in one place.

The pathetic:

Though we are trained in what to do in the event of an emergency, please try to rememeber that the store is not a playground, nor are the associates a babysitter. Your child is NOT allowed to kick or throw any kind of ball in the store, they are not allowed to play on the fixtures, ladders, decorations or electronic theft prevention devices. If you cannot control your children, please leave them at home, especially on days when you know that the store will be very busy.

To the juvenile:

Please wait your turn when speaking to a sales associate. If you see that I'm talking to a customer (or that they're talking to me), don't interupt; I see you there, I will get to you.

To the rediculous:

Regardless of the state of the store, your treatment by associates, the lack of hand soap in the washrooms, the lack of a sale or the weather, there is NEVER an appropriate time to take a piece of clothing into the fitting rooms, wipe your genitals with it (ladies...), then return it to the associate for them to fold. It's disgusting, it's childish, and frankly, it's dangerous... It's technically a form of assault.

All of the above happened to me at some point over the last few days (The last prompted my facebook status to refer to Vag Damage...) except having someone ask me to carry their dog (everything else happened). I've confiscated soccar and footballs, helped 2 kids find their parents (neither parents even acknowledged that their kids were missing after 5 minutes of myself and loss prevention officers trying to find mummy and daddy), and consoled a fellow associate after she was hit in the back of the head with a rubber ball.

There's a level of insanity in there that I'm not sure I was prepared for. What's that saying about how people as individuals are generally ok, but en masse they're morons?

Oh well, at least I got started on some more knitting...


It keeps me going, even when the coffee gives out.

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