Friday, January 25, 2013

More Shelver Confessions

You guys are better than therapists, you know that? It's true. I can blab on about work, and you don't mind, or at least you don't mention minding. Because oh my GOSH work drives me insane sometimes. Also, I figure that if I can vent a bit about what drives me nuts as a shelver, it might help you guys become better customers as well.

Those two goals, venting and improvement, are why I do my Shelver Confessions sometimes. With that in mind, here are a few more.
1. Always, always, always be nice to your cashiers, because working at the register sucks. It's part of the job, I know, but do you have any idea how soul-sucking it is to be stuck behind a counter UNABLE TO MOVE and forced to repeat the same questions over and over again for eight hours? That's what being primary register means. All of the other employees get to flit about helping customers while I'm practically chained to the drawer. I've yet to meet anyone who enjoys being primary, so please, be nice even if we're grumpy with you.

2. Speaking of registers, you know how we keep trying to get you to buy a discount card? It's because we have to. We hate selling those stupid things as much as you hate hearing about them, but we have a quota that we must fill every single day. My managers send my percentages to their boss (the district manager) every two hours. I'm being watched, y'all. We're also told during the interview process that falling below quota consistently is grounds for termination, no matter how good we do in other areas.

3. I admit that I consistently undersell discount cards, because it's very hard to sell something you don't believe in. I believe that unless you buy large amounts of books from us ($200 worth or more per year in my store), the card isn't worth it. Most people in my store seem to average around $100/year, which makes the card pretty useless. However, there are some people who either buy books consistently enough to make the card worth it or are coming in for one huge purchase, thereby making it stupid NOT to get the card.

4. This year for the holidays we had to collect donations for a charity. We'll do the same thing at different points throughout 2013 for different charities. It's a good thing. We're giving back as best we can. And while we often offer really cheap and awful books as a way to tempt people to give ("It's only a dollar, sir!"), our manager encourages us to pick out our favorite books (at retail price, too), so that the kids have good books. It's surprising how generous people can be. Remember, it's all for a good cause, so don't snarl when we ask. We have to. We have a quota for charity donations, too.

5. Oh, another holiday note: I hate Elf on the Shelf. I seriously DESPISE that little thing. This one is a personal thing rather than a store-wide sentiment, but I confess it nonetheless. I marvel at how easily customers let retailers dip into their wallets. Elf on the Shelf is not a time-honored tradition. It's a creepy doll and an overpriced DVD made to sell a book, and the book is made to sell the creepy doll and overpriced DVD! It's a scam! It's only a "fun holiday tradition" because marketers wanted to find yet another way to make you spend money on junk you don't need. Plus, think of all the money you'll have to spend on therapy.

6. The last thing I need you all to know is that while I do enjoy working in a bookstore, my day-to-day satisfaction rests almost entirely in the hands of the manager. My mom can tell when I've come home who my manager was that day. Was it the General Manager, a cool, relaxed, and thoroughly awesome lady? Was it the equally cool and relaxed Pony-Tailed Associate Manager? Either one would be awesome. They're nice, understanding, and great about making sure we take breaks and keep our morale up. But if Other Associate Manager is on duty, you can forget about it. I tense when I see her coming. I cringe when I hear her voice. I growl her name under my breath. She's a gem with customers and the District Manager loves her, but no one else (not even the GM) likes that woman. So if you decide to get a job in a bookstore, scope out the managers carefully.

Well, I feel much better. Thanks for listening. If you have any questions or confessions of your own, the comment section is all yours. :)