I remember last summer, reading all the horror stories from all the poor slaves who had to endure the bankrupcy of Hoarders and the process of closing a store. Well, fortunately my store isn't bankrupt, but it is closing. There are many reasons, but the main one is our lease is running out and corp doesn't want the current store owner owning more than one store (guy who used to own this store got canned so the current owner stepped in and is running it till it closes). The current store owner owns a much bigger location down the street, so lucky for me when it closes im going to be transferring to a store that is actually much closer to my house then my current one is. The only downside is I will be moving with a whole staff of people so my hours will get cut drastically.
But the real reason why I decided to write in is to talk about the tom-foolery that is going on in regards to the store closing.
There are actually two brothers that own the two big stores in the downtown area of my city (large canadian city on the west coast). It is quite common that when one store is short handed, staff from another store will work a shift at a different store. I've worked at both big locations during big sales etc. About a few months ago, they started transferring people out of my store.
Well, they eventually are going to get tranferred anyways, so why not when the store needs them, right? Wrong. We have 4 departments in our store, and the busiest department now has ONE staff member who works PART TIME on WEEKENDS. We only have four customer service representatives, two of which during mon-friday mornings and two of which are supposed to cover mon-fri closing AND weekends. The two that work mon-fri absolutely refuse to work weekends, which means that the other two girls never get weekends off on top of closing every night.
Oh god the sign. Management thought it would be a great idea to put a giant sign on the front of my store that goes something along the lines of....
"CLOSING SALE 50-90% OFF OF SELECTED ITEMS. ALL MERCHANDISE MUST GO"
Now I am not maliciously racists. However the city I am living is is accurately nicknamed "hongcouver" because Caucasians are actually a minority in the city, despite being a Caucasian nation. Living in a city full to the brim with all sorts of different cultures makes you realize that hey, some stereotypes are actually quite true. I have dubbed this sign the "asian magnet" because the moment we put the sign up, the store's sales started doubling. DOUBLING. Mostly because the local asians see "50-90% off" and get an insta-boner. I can't even count how many times I have had to explain to someone that no, it is not 50-90% off the entire store, just on the clearance items and the current price tags reflect the current price.
Remember how I said that since the stores had owners that were related, sometimes staff will go between stores if needed? Well we SORELY needed it and not a single helping hand was offered. Our store had been consistently destroyed on weekends and the only sliver of hope we had to hold on to is the fact that we were closing soo.
Another big pain in the ass is when we have little to no
english speaking individuals who try to return items that have high FINAL SALE
stickers on them, and get extremely upset when they dont understand why they
can't get their money back. We USED to have staff that spoke cantonese and
mandarin, however they got transferred out (lucky us). Usually another customer
who is fluent in both languages will step up and act as translator (more to get
the line moving since they are usually stuck behind this customer). Or, if
someone buys a refurbished item, our return policy is repair only. You cannot
get your money back, however we will send it off for repairs, only my store is
closing so we can't send shit off for repair because we wont be here in a few
weeks when it comes back.
And of course to top it all off, we still have hoards of people who are batshit crazy.
First we have Old Asian Lady. OAL has been in twice a week since the sign went up and each time she comes in, she NEEDS an associate to follow her around to give her the prices on everything, even though the shelf says it right there.
After about an hour of shopping, and filling her cart to the brim
with random stuff, she will proceed to the cashier where she will watch as
everything is scanned and ask "is that half off?" for every. item.
Even though she just spent the last hour with an associate saying "no
thats not on sale" to EVERYTHING in her cart, she refuses to believe them.
Even with three people (myself, a manager and the guy who helped her shop) are
practically yelling at her that NOTHING in her cart is on sale, she still
insists on scanning everything and then arguing that it should be cheaper.
The best night was when she walked in half an hour before close. We were 1 hour late getting out that night.
Another gem is a lady name Judy (Name changed for security purposes). Judy was a crack whore.
I am not over exaggerating.
We actually caught her multiple times shooting up in the parking lot. She was a skinny, wrinkly old lady who would always stink of B.O. and Alcohol and wore clothes way to revealing. We always knew she was there before we even saw her because of the smell. Judy always tried to rip us off by switching tags on clearance items and damaging product. But the weird thing about Judy is she would always act like she was your best friend. She learned everyone's names, consistently tried chatting the staff up and generally trying to distract us all from our jobs.
When it comes
to clearance, there are two ways a clearance item can be priced. It can be
marked down off of it's regular price (which means we ring it in by its product
number and change it in the computer) or it can be written off and given a
random price (which means it is rung in using a "clearance" product
number and allows us to just enter any price for it). Judy would actually bring
in a pen and cross out the real number and put on the "clearance"
number and lower the price almost 75%. But she never got the number
right. Ever. We always caught her. She always made a stink. She would leave
with the random ugly christmas ornaments that she liked and she would come back
next week and try again, smelling even worse, and reminding you about how good
friends you guys are because she comes in so often and tries to rip us off each
I could go on forever about all the crazy people that we encounter. However I want to end this post with a story of epic.
We have been slowly selling our light fixture displays. You know, those lights that hang above the aisles as displays for the light that you probably wont buy? Those things. We were selling them at $15 each, including the light bulb.
Cue an old asian lady (what a shocker) who wishes to purchase said light. During the cashing out process, somehow the light bulb is broken.
This lady is LIVID.
She demands, not asks, that we replace the light bulb for free. My manager refused to open a new box of light bulbs (that probably cost just as same as the light) just to satiate this woman because lets be real, $15 for a light fixture is a fucking steal, with or without the light bulb. If this lady does not want it, the reality is that we will probably sell this fixture within an hour anyways.
The lady is not pleased to hear this. She is so unpleased, that she screams in a very high pitched voice, shouting chinese slurs at the staff for about 5 minutes (we only knew what she was saying because one of the ladies who usually works upstairs balancing cash was helping at the tills and she was fluent in Mandarin).
After about a minute of abuse, my store manager had enough and tells the woman that if she does not leave the premises, she will call the cops.
Thankfully, the old asian lady vacates the store, leaving all her unpaid merchandise and cart at the front. This is not the end however, because about ten minutes later, she comes back, yelling that we owe her a dollar for the cart that she left behind. She is yelling in the face of everyone that she can, getting in people's personal space and accusing everyone of stealing her money.
My store manager (who is a 5'2 woman that is VERY fit and plays tons of high physical contact sports) puffs her chest up and starts slowly "pushing" the old asian lady out of the store, via her chest (more like walking to the door slowly, making sure the lady was between herself and the door).
Once the lady had been moved to the door, my manager runs to my till, opens it and takes a dollar (in Canada they are coins) and THROWS it at the old lady. She left after that for good and the police showed up and took statements from the managers.
The best part?
The lady didnt even fucking have a
loonie in her cart.
Anyways. Keep chugging and dont let the shitty customers get the best of you.
Next week, I tell off a customer for lying straight to my face.