Is working retail close to slavery?
A great post found from a few years back, it explains really well the long hours we have to work as retailers. Well worth a read!!!
Is Working in Retail Close to Slavery?
Opinionated Review of Working in Retail
Once I had thought maybe I was alone in this notion. Time and time again I’ve been proven wrong.
Many people don’t think about what goes on in a retail store behind the scenes, only coming in to select the items they wish to buy. Unfortunately what people don’t realize is, these people who work in retail, are stressed out, tired, and usually not happy with being there. Granted, we have all had our issues with service from a retail store, the people not being helpful or friendly in some way. Have you ever thought why? Some think it’s because they are miserable, not positive about themselves. Honestly, you couldn’t have hit it closer to the mark.
The reason for terrible service or items not being up to par has a lot to do with the company, and it’s employees. The notion that life in a retail store is like a Walgreen’s commercial is comical at best. The majority of retail businesses focus so much on pleasing the customer that they forget about the most essential ingredient. The employees.
The majority of men and women who work in retail management combat the most bizarre and simply abusive general public. They also work beyond a recommended life/work balance, putting in at least 50-70 hours a week. Another large issue is companies tend to cut back on employees and thus sending the management into a “retail hell” by only having enough hours to run the store with only one manager and one employee for the duration of the time the store is open.
It’s a falsehood that bigger retail chains tend to have massive amounts of people working at a given time. They only want it to “look” that way. In reality those same people are doing 4-5 different positions in the store during the time they are there. When you approach these people asking for help, they simply don’t have the time to walk around with you and help you pick out the items you may need.
It’s not that retail workers don’t want to help you, it’s that on top of working so many hours and so many days in a row, before finally getting a day off, that stresses any human being to the point of not caring anymore. Majority of retail workers, if honest with themselves will say, they couldn’t care less if your in the store or not. Less customers, less work, and less stress to them.
From a business standpoint that is bad, means loss profits, and less people coming in to buy the items they sell. Eventually causing the company to bankrupt, and then the employees are out a job. Does it matter? Not really, because those same people can hop on another retail ship since the majority of retail doesn’t require you to have a degree, or even work experience. There’s no challenge, no incentive to stay and be loyal to a company that only wants profits, and thus seeks to cut “corners”. To me, it’s just like lighting both ends of a candle.
The market today for retail is terrible. The industry is reporting that it’s hard to find workers. Well, I would think so if you only offer minimum wage, long hours and a terrible work environment. The people who run these retail stores haven’t the slightest clue about what it takes to make profits. It’s more than planograms, more than having enough merchandise at a fair price. People will go where the prices are low, yes, but they will also go where, even if they had to spend an extra dollar, for exceptional customer service.
My plea to the retail industry is simply this.
1. Stop hiring people who are uneducated, criminal, and have hardly any work ethic, or experience.
2. Ensure you have enough people (management, and employees) in your stores to help customers only. Not work shelves, or other piddly nonsense that can be done before or after hours. Customers don’t want to have to move around shipments just to get to the items they need.
3. Abide by the Employment Laws, and regulations set by the federal government, and local governments, so that your employees aren’t worked to death. (Not just hourly, but salary people too. )
4. Quit looking for shortcuts, and cutbacks that make working in your stores a nightmare, and to the point of ill health. Just to make your shareholders happy.
5. Allow ample time off for those in management, so that they can have time with their families, and freedom to enjoy other interests.
6. During the holiday seasons, allow associates to take time off, and vacations, by hiring temporary workers to fill in the gaps.
7. Don’t assume that the customer is always right, especially if they’ve had a bad day and decided to cuss out the associate for mis-ringing an item. This is simply abuse, and in a normal setting, people wouldn’t take advantage of the fact that retail companies allow this to happen on a daily basis.
8. Returns, are they really necessary? I mean unless the product is faulty, or damaged when purchased, if the person didn’t want the item they shouldn’t have bought it in the first place. This would also greatly reduce theft, since some people like to find receipts and return items they stole off the shelves.
For customers of retail stores, here’s what I have to say to you.
1. Don’t take items off the shelf and throw them somewhere else simply because you’ve changed your mind, put it back!
2. Don’t expect the store to bend over backwards because you want to buy an item that’s damaged and want a discount. Odds are, the company makes more sending it back to the vendor, then allowing you to buy it.
3. Don’t expect the store to babysit your kids while you browse the aisles. Kids tend to throw stuff around and scream their little heads off.
4. If you want good customer service, try letting this article sink in, then tell the companies to get more people. When there is more of us, you win.
5. When we ask you for your phone number or zip code, it’s because we have to, or face getting written up, so don’t take your “fear of identity theft” anger out on us.
6. When making a decision on something, please stick to it, or come back when your sure that’s what you want.
7. Hugging is not really a good way to show your appreciation for good service, writing a letter or calling the corporate office is!
8. When complaining about something, bear in mind the people working in the store, didn’t make the policies, the layout of the store, or what items they carry. Again, take it up with the corporate office.
Finally, for those of you who think doing fake returns and stealing from the stores is fun, and an easy way to support your habits, or kids, maybe you should fill out an application, you would most likely be hired.
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