Life at the uni book store as of late has certainly been a mixed bag over the years, but circumstances have turned it into the good, the bad and the ugly.
The Good: Once the start of semester rush died off, things were actually looking pretty good at our book store. All but one of the temp workers ended up staying on as permanent casuals, as they've proven to be more competent than past temp staff. More people to split shifts between, but it evens out now we've been told to always have three people on at once, up from a minimum of two.
Scheduling has been rather crazy as of late - the last 2-3 weeks now, I've only worked on day as the scheduled hours - the rest of the time I've been shuffled about from morning to evening, swapping shifts with someone else, or called in to open for a sick manager or the like. I generally get at least a day's notice and have nothing better to do than help out and earn some more money, so I'm find it more amusing than anything, especially given I still get my weekends off regardless of what happens.
The Bad: Corporate has decided to get us returning half of our remaining titles in a bunch of textbook claims back to the suppliers so as to make their finances showing a cash flow of incoming money.
At this point in the year, we've already sent back our excess stock, and only hold onto about half a dozen of each textbook at most, but try finding enough small boxes to fit 1-6 books in, for at least a hundred or so individual claims that have to be packaged separately. God forbid our stock is out, lest we get hounded for our missing copies that are probably miscounted at the warehouse or another store. The whole thing feels completely pointless when we're just going to get most of them back again for next semester, so why even bother?
Worse yet, it's not the end of semester, so I pity the students who either left buying their textbooks too late, lost or had them stolen, or found out it's an open book exam and there's not enough copies in the library. If they want them, we have to place an order with the publishers, then sit back and wait a couple weeks for them to arrive, of which they invariably need them by the end of the week.
The Ugly: Nursing student uniforms. Well, they don't look ugly, but they're proving to be one giant clusterfuck.
It's the time of year that all the nursing students are taking these practical classes, and they're required to purchase a uni branded uniform from our store, consisting of a combination of choice from pants/skirt and polo/shirt.
Shirts/polo tops are about $30 and not too bad, but pants/skirts sting a bit at $70 a pair - and the students automatically fail if they're not wearing the correct uniform, including if they attempt to buy an otherwise identical pair from a department store for half the price, just without said uni branding on it.
Of course, that means our uniform displays are often a mess with clothes and hangers strewn about everywhere, sizes and styles all mixed up and clothing that doesn't fit left in piles around the change rooms, but that's just the usual behaviour to be expected that comes with the territory.
The ugly side is that we've had an utter failure to get the most popular sizes even ordered before the rush began, so we're running out of everything in the smaller sizes, particularly in the ladies. We've next to no stock in ladies pants sizes 4-14 which everyone is after, and whilst we're taking payments and orders for when they finally arrive, we can't guarantee they'll arrive before they have to attend their classes. It sucks even more for females who can't wear shorter skirts for religious/cultural reasons, so have even less choice in what to wear.
It's coming to a point where people are just going to have to buy something that isn't in their size - or gender - to avoid getting instantly failed. Plus, I foresee a whole bunch of angry students looking for refunds on orders that didn't arrive in time, even though we've been as honest as possible when taking them down, saying that they could take up to several weeks for the right sizes to arrive.
And that's not to mention all the bags of orders that have come in and are sitting behind the counter waiting to be picked up. We're constantly ringing people up, at least half the time with no answer and leaving messages on multiple occasions. One quarter of the students answer and schedule the uniform to be picked up, one quarter hear the message left and come in to pick them up. Then another quarter don't need their orders any more and fail to let us know, with the final quarter never answering or calling back, only for their uniforms to go to the next person on the waiting list, then come in complaining about it the next week after being marked as a no-show.
On top of all that, we have 2-3 different barcodes for one style of pants/shirts, some of which are discontinued but still in stock, which makes ordering the right one even more problematic, all the while the stores at each of our campuses are squabbling over what little stock we have left of the popular sizes, a combination of hoarding/begging for whatever we can get our hands on. All the different sizes/styles start to blur together after a while, and it's been the first time I've developed an actual headache on the job as a result of trying to wrap my head around the whole ordeal and keep it straight as to what we have, what we don't have, what we know is coming and what we have no idea will come in.
At this point, I think that I'd rather handle some stupid/annoying crusties rather than deal with this whole mess - at least once they're out the door, they're out of sight and out of mind rather than this ongoing scenario I'm dealing with every single shift now.
Sorry for the length - once I get started trying to vent, things start to snowball out of control just like the situation at work!