Shock & Awe

June 15, 2005 - Okay, so this is my first attempt at a editorial. But something happened today that has really torked me off. Yes, this is my installment into the wonderful world of the disgruntled employee versus the boss story. I felt that it was my turn to join the fray and add my two cents to the ongoing saga between the minimum-wage employee and the good payed manager. For interests of security, I have withheld names from this to protect the sometimes innocent.

    I have worked at this place for over three years now. I love my job and what it entails, with of course, the trials and tribblations that come with it. Today I enter my place of work only to find a note for myself and my co-workers (two others in this case who were working with me on the day in question) describing to us how we haven't done our jobs "properly." This B.S. has gone on long enough, and now its time to share it with others. Sure, this is my way of venting steam from this discriminating letter. What follows in italics are excerpts from the letter with my response following.

    "OK that's it! No more Mr. Nice Guy. I would like to know why the stock that came in was not put away yesterday. There were 3 people here. That work should have been done. I would like to know why there was only $300 in sales until late afternoon. I did a run-through of the tape and saw, in the RC area, at least 5-6 opportunities-some 12-15 people-missed because know one waited on them or even asked them a question."

    For starters, yes there were three people on the floor at the time. Counting four if you include one of the owner's who left before noon. Let's see... There were a whole bunch of boxes containing supplies that we put out at least 75% of before we were off for the day. The rest I would ask the second shift crew. As for the sales, if you have looked at the market lately, which by the way, I remember him saying that the entire hobby market was down for the year so far. That and gas prices, etc. The fact that we have moved less than four months ago and people STILL do not recognize that we have (as a matter of fact, two people asked me that today). Also, I was working on my section straightning it up after "someone" condensed it for more room for another area. So I was working on that for most of the day and really got hot doing that mind you. During that time, I also entered the stock for said boxes that came in, and proceeded to tag and put some out after I was done straightening up my section. As for my co-workers that day, they too were working on straightning up the other side of the store which had also been moved around for better sales. They to were working on straightening, inventory, and the all important customers as was I. As for the "missed" opportunities, we strive to make each and every person welcome in the store as we can. And ask them if they need any help with anything. Most of the time they say "no" or "we're just looking." And for the record, there were just THREE boxes left in the pile that came in that day. One good size one, one medium box, and another small box with magazines in it...

    "I have said over and over that the customer pays you. They should be treated correctly by approaching them and making them a friend. That was not done yesterday and it seems that that may be a reason our sales are down. We need to make customers. We can not afford to stand behind a register and wait for them to come to us. This is and never will be Target, K-Mart, or Wal-Mart. We must engage the people that come through the door by talking to them thereby showing them we want them for a customer and while they may not buy now, they will remember us as a place where somebody took time to be interested in them and their needs."

    Gee, by this paragraph, it seems that I, along with my fellow employees didn't do a darn thing yesterday. So then he proceeds to blame the employees for the sour sales... Right... Sure... Newsflash, the "big three" (Wal-Mart, Target, K-Mart) are already beating us even with our outstanding service. Oh wait, it isn't the service that is killing us, it's the lack of products and prices that are?! For instance, recently said customer could walk into Wal-Mart and buy a booster pack of the Star Wars Miniatures: Revenge of the Sith for $9.99. They could come to our store and pay full price, $12.99. You make the call. Then there is the issue of having said item on hand. Today I was approached and asked if we had a plane in that "someone" had promised them that it would have been in yesterday. Yea, you guessed it, the warehouse where we ordered it from didn't ship the item until today. So I had to inform the family that it wouldn't be in until Friday at the most. Luckily for us, one of them had mentioned if the "other store" in town had any and the airplanes and the other replied they didn't...

    "I've seen this lack of attention to the customer start before the move and it has grown since. That attitude is now over! The customer comes before looking at sales catalogs, looking at stock in the computer, making orders, doing e-mail, looking at internet sites or playing games on the computer or anything else that puts a barrier between you and a customer. I don't care if we've moved, have new owners, falling sales and lack of traffic. There is no excuse not to do the basic customer service steps it takes to get people to come back and to feel that we are different than the mass merchandisers."

    Granted the games are bad, but then HOW are we supposed to know about said product?! He complains about us NOT knowing the product, so then here's a now win situation. As far as the "different from the mass merchandisers" the only difference we have is product and quantity of it. Which by the look of things over the past four months, stinks plain and simple. Why did the Magic: The Gathering players go away? Yep, we ran low on expansions and without a game room, you get the picture. Why did we lose so much business in Radio Control to our competition? Bingo. Lack of parts and service which goes all the way back to the beginning of the store three years ago. The best part is when one of my co-workers got yelled at for actually straightning up the shelves! So then I ask the question, isn't one of a store's objectives to look neat and orderly?

    The bottom line in my opinion, is that the store got screwed from the beginning. Whether it was from the corporate idiots who thought that re-ordering a whole slew of products to bring the stock back up FOR THE OTHER BIGGER STORE was a good idea. To the former owners who don't have a CLUE how to manage anything except their wallets. Time to face the facts, without myself and my co-workers that day, the store as we know it would not exist. PERIOD. We are the one's responsible for cleaning up the mess that other people have made, whether it is a failure to contact someone on a "special order," or even just ordering something that is not in stock. The management blames us for almost all of the screw-ups in the store when most of them are NOT our fault!

    You know, I used to have faith in this place that I work. I lost respect for the previous owners when they did not care about us by paying simple bills to our distributors on time (we are talking months behind), and other mishandlings that went on. I have lost respect for my manager after this recent incident. For which he has screwed me before a few years ago when he had his own store (that's another story for down the road). The only reason why I still work there, is because of my Johnny Lighting cars. I am the ONLY reason why we have collectors stop by and buy from us! Why? Because if it wasn't for me, the prices would be the regular retail at around $5.00! Plus, they would not have any of the current releases in stock. I am also the only one with the knowledge and experience of the line, no one else in the store can claim that. I am the one who pre-ordered all of the 2005 line and are one of the first businessses in the quadrant that gets them on the shelves! So in closing, if I and my co-workers leave the store, I can make a sure bet that it will crumble.

By, Kevin D. Matthews

1999-2007 by Kevin Matthews. All Rights Reserved.