Greetings Curious Scroller,
If you've never landed in this part of cyber space before, you have taken a hard, fast plunge into the fiery depths of work hell. RHU is dedicated to giving the service worker a voice. If you are an angry customer, a corporate suite, a homophobic race-hater, and you don't like skull masks or swear words, this blog isn't for you. Click away now, before your ears bleed and your eyes explode.
I'm Freddy, Crypt Keeper of Retail Hell Underground RHU -- a place for service slaves to have a voice, tell their story, support each other, or just have a chuckle about the insanity of working in the 10th Circle of Hell! I'm also the author of "Retail Hell," the funny memoir about life as a handbag sales associate at an upscale department store! The sequel, "Return To The Big Fancy," has just been released in hardcover and e-reader and is available wherever books are sold!
Harry Gordon Selfridge (1864 - 1947)
Somebody find me a necromancer. I wish to raise him from the dead just so I can kill him again.
Okay well maybe I can, in fairness, muster some moderation for the bloodlust that blows through my veins. Let's face it, this much loathed phrase has changed from it's original intent. When Harry (or Marshall) first coined this phrase, the world was a very different place.
Business in those days centered around the phrase 'caveat emptor,' or "buyer beware." Under this motto, anyone who pruchased a product was Shit Out of Luck if the product was defective. In modern terms, you know that refrigerator you spent $2,000 on? It's defective. Nope, you cannot exchange it. You need to shell out $2000 more for a (hopefully) working new one. Furthermore, there were no laws demanding that products be sold in good quality (i.e. 'merchantable quality' laws). So it was a Russian Roulette as to whether what you were buying was even going to be worth the money you spent on getting it.
Harry was employed by Marshall, and while no one really knows which one coined this phrase, it was to be the stepping stone of a better business model for the future. Marshall Field and Company centered their business around unconditional refunds (not-so-brilliant now-a-days), consistent pricing and international imports were totally innovative for their time and became standards for quality retailing. Field's employees were also taught to leave customers the fuck alone; if the customer wasn't interested, the employees were NOT to push products on them. The idea behind the phrase "The customer is always right" was not to take the message literally, but instead to help foster a helpful and more encouraging mindset when dealing with consumers.
[/end history lesson]
Of course, as the years went by, a new culture of entitlement came along. Now, the phrase meant to inspire helpfullness is warped beyond its original intent and is now flaunted by the scum and villany of customers everywhere who want what they want when they want it.
The corruption of the line's original intent now does more harm than good. "The customer is always right" is now an adge that custies AND corporations abuse, fostering within Retail Slaves a weary, bitter and all around negative view of both the company they work for and the people they were hired to assist.
If customers come first, where does that leave employees? Eating dirt. Why should an employee be loyal to a company that always sides against them? Custies can have legitimate complaints or needs that should be addressed to the best of an employee's abilities. If the Retail Slave cannot help, they should be able to turn to a manager or supervisor. However, a line must eventually be drawn. As soon as a request becomes a demand, and the special treatment asked for becomes unreasonable, the business SHOULD side with its employees. Employees want to be seen as valuable, as this positive feeling encourages them to do their very best at their jobs.
Granting unreasonable customers an unfair advantage only encourages them to act in a negative manner and encourages them to return, with the same abusive behaviors. This inability to see that some Crusties are bad for business is what creates an enviornment for scams, which are designed solely to rip off a company and steal the company's money. When a company loses more money than it makes, there is no way for the company to survive, and suddenly the CEO can't understand why the business is now bankrupt.
This is what we wish corporations would wake up and realize, but they never seem to.
"If you don't like our product, we'll give you another for free!" This is a no-win situation.
1) If your product is a piece of shit, I don't want you giving me another one.
2) If your product is defective, I will SAY it's defective and ask for an exchange.
3) If your product is good and I say that I don't like it because I want the freebie, I AM RUNNING A SCAM THAT IS STEALING FROM YOU! WAKE UP, DUMBASS!
And now, a bit of fun for the whole clan! Let's face it, the ending is something retail slaves have dreamed of doing to hellspawn for a looong, looong, looooooong time.
Why is it corporations think weak discounts make everything better? In this case it's unthoughtful and insulting. And even if they thought a discount could help their image - why not do something bold like 80% off? But these greedy douchebags would never do that because at 30% the company can still make money off the people they didn't kill the first time around...disgusting. I wonder if any passengers have accepted the 30% offer....
Here's the story from HuffPo a few days ago:
The owners of Costa Concordia have offered survivors of the tragedy a 30 per cent discount off future cruises.
The gesture – which has been branded “insulting” - comes as the firm battles to stave off lawsuits that are likely to cost it hundreds of millions of pounds.
Brian Page, who made it into one of the lifeboats, told the Telegraph: “It is a ridiculous and insulting offer.
“I’m very disappointed in them. They are not accepting their responsibilities at all.”
The 63-year-old retired accountant from Southampton added: “Our only backup is separate legal action.”
More than 100 passengers are believed to be preparing to sue the owners of the ship.
As the firm tries to limit the damage from impending lawsuits, it has also been reported passengers are receiving phone calls asking if they need counselling, information about how to claim for lost valuables and offering full refunds for the doomed voyage.
Costa Cruises is owned by an American-based company, Carnival Group, and the class action suit will see survivors seeking a minimum of £100,000 each, it has been reported.
Divers searching the wreck of the liner discovered another body this weekend, bringing the total dead to 13.
According to the Civil Protection Authority, Italian divers made the discovery on Sunday afternoon.
The body, that of a woman, was located on deck seven of the vessel’s hull around 10m below the water line. She was wearing a life-jacket.
Twenty people are still missing and only eight of the thirteen bodies discovered so far have been identified.
I, the Slave of Arch, am moving on.
I really didn't want to do this. For as many favors as my one manager, A, has done for me, I really don't want to blindside her by just...leaving. But the fact of the matter is that school is expensive and I need more money.
So the other store manager, J, tells me that if I want a raise, I need to learn the grill. Never mind the fact that I have been there twice as long as most of the other employees and work five times as hard, even going so far as to come in when not scheduled and wear spare uniforms that are 3x too big...Never mind the fact that I always show up on time, stay late if necessary, and never complain. If I want a promotion and a raise, I need to learn grill.
And I would be okay with that except for two things.
1. They won't put me on grill no matter how much I ask.
2. My coworker, E, who has been there half as long, works no harder than I do, and does NOT know grill, got her promotion today.
So I figure, if they aren't gonna help me out with this, I'm out.
As soon as I find another job, I'm leaving.
Wish me luck, all.
--Slave of Arch
Wingtip Workhorse again with another ridiculous corporate conundrum.
At our store, anytime a new debit/credit card is swiped a prompt pops up on the pin pad asking for the customers phone number. These numbers then go into our stores database so that we can harass said customer about upcoming sales etc. The company has conveniently placed a skip option on the prompt as well. As most of you are probably well aware, very few customers actually want to give this information up let alone get solicitation calls.
Because the company allows the customer to skip this step, it's now our fault as the associate that they are utilizing it. They began sending out mass emails to all associates asking us to tell the customer that we ask for it for security purposes... So now I'm being asked to lie to my customers so that I can harass them. I don't know about you but my mother taught me to be an honest person and hell if I'm going to lower my personal morals to satisfy a company that sees me as perfectly expendable.
Like a good little retail slave, I upped my efforts to obtain these precious phone numbers and thought I was doing better. That was until today. I just left my store managers office and they have a new problem with me and the phone numbers I've obtained. Over half of them are invalid and that's somehow my fault... Ok... What??? How is that in any way in my control? What would they like me to do now? On top of lying, do they want me to hover over them as they type it in? How am I supposed to know when they aren't valid.
In my many years of retail, this is by far the most ridiculous corporate expectation I have ever encountered... I'm at a complete loss for words...
Anyone else had something even more outrageous expected of them from the higher ups?
Until next time,
It’s my first time posting here and you can call me.. um... bilingual nice girl :) (ok I'm no good with names, if you know a better one let me know!)
Well I’ve come to tell you about my horrible experience at a store that rhymes with “Holes” that I hated working at and looked forward to leaving.
Our managers would always be pushing us to get more “credits” = credit cards. If we managed to get one, they would say “good job with the credits!” *high five*
RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE CUSTOMERS!!
I always felt uncomfortable when they did that cuz it was like “great job getting this sucker to sign up!” =/
And they would just STAND THERE looking at us making sure we asked everyone. Even when it was really busy and we needed them to help out.
We weren’t supposed to give discounts if customers weren’t approved, but since they counted toward the daily quota, our managers would encourage it- except when Corporate was there and had to pretend that we gave discounts only to approved customers.
I was one of the people who got the most “credits” for a while and was the favorite, because the more credits you got, the more you were liked. Then new people started working there, and were desperate to kiss ass and it became a competition between the other cashiers.
Now the amount of discount you got changed and there were huge signs above our registers saying how much of a discount you got for signing up- the max we ever gave was 30% discount. One of the new girls got in trouble for giving 50% discount.. and our registers only go up to a 30% discount! She must have given them a 30% discount and then another 20% discount. The customers must have known that 30% and then another 20% off of that wasn’t the same as a 50% discount, and she would have had to void it and call a manager- and that’s probably how she got in trouble. That didn’t stop her from giving big discounts.. she would still give 30% to people even when we were only supposed to do a 15% discount (again- there were signs above us that said how much the discount was!) and I would nicely tell her, “Oh we aren’t doing a 30% anymore, it’s a 15%” and she would just say she forgot and continue. Of course the managers loved her for getting so many credits.
I got so tired of getting people to sign up for the credit cards (and the managers being ungrateful and asking for me to get more and more even when I had set my personal best for one day) and stopped putting so much effort into it since I knew I was going to move and quit soon anyway.
So then I left and was happy :) the end!
--bilingual nice girl
It is with heavy heart and dirty paws that I write this to you today.
Herdin' Collie is no longer employed.
You could say I've been sent to the pound, and like every fellow fluffy friend, I sat there, watching them with a 'What did I do' expression. I sure feel that way. The event all started yesterday, and ended yesterday.
I was at work for two hours already, when one of our grocery managers walked up, and said that our store manager needed to speak with me. It's about time for our performance reviews, so I didn't think anything of it. Just blindly skipped in there like a dog on it's last walk. There was a loss prevention guy sitting there, already lookin' at me as if I had fleas jumpin' out of my hair. In retrospect, I should have just walked out right then.
What happened next was nothing short of surreal. He started reading me all this technical mumbo jumbo about how employees also cause shrink to the company, through drawer theft and coupon usage.
I've never stolen from a soul in my life, not even candy from my neices' halloween basket! He said I had used coupons illegaly, out of store policy. Y'see, at WalkDalls, they have this card, and you use it to get 'card savings' on things. Everyone has them, everyone. My roommate had been using my number, and that apparently red-flagged their system. Someone I LIVE WITH.
As I tried to explain the situation, tail tucked, he started to treat me as if I were some two-bit pup with two different bred parents! Makin' gestures and talkin' real slow. I've never been so humiliated.
I couldn't understand that after all I've done for that store, donated to their 'charities' and worked my rear end off tryin' to deal with their darn crazy scheduling that something as ridiculous as coupons would get me fired.
Well, thankfully, that's not what happened. I quit. I clocked out, after they tried to get me to sign a 'suspension' notice and I quit.
I may not have a job for a piece but I'll be damned if I didn't get away with my dignity. ...Well, portions of it.
I feel betrayed, used, and somewhat of a old dog who lost it's puppy luster.
There is a silver lining to this story, though.
My old manager who hired me before being transferred, is gunning to get me at her store. This lady is the rare gem of managers that makes sure you have her phone number in case anything goes off task, or somethin' should happen to ya. She is the sweetest individual and I hope I'll get to work for her for many years. Just hafta' wait for those applications to go through.
Someone get me an alcoholic milkbone.
From Hellmart Slave:
I work 3rd shift ICS or for some of you fellow hell-mart ASSociates out there 'I can't stack'. Any whoo. Found this while pulling some freight to the back room maybe the 50,000th time this week, maybe some of you know how this goes. But you all know by now we are all owned by China and this is an example of their finest work printing the warning on some of the cases. So of course some poor underpaid overworked jackass (sounds familiar) gets the honor to fix the problem. We alone received multiple boxes. You could only imagine how fun this must of been for him. Anyways that's my rant for the day.
I have another rant / story about the store I work at that I've decided to refer to as 'the basin' , since it directly relates to the store's name and it's easier. Anyway, I'm sure a lot of you can relate to this rant.
This rant is about the dreaded in store 29.99% interest rate credit card.
*DUN DUN DUNNN*
Not only do people NEED to sign up for this, but we also have to practically BEG them to use these things. Our "credit blends" are watched very closely - which is how many customers out of all transactions you do, use their card. Every time the blend falls low we get spoken to. I think my blend is supposed to be around 48% a day, but last time I worked, mine fell at 9%.
The other day, I was called down to the office and I received a write up for not getting enough people to sign up and use their cards! In the description of my violation notice it said that our stores credit is very important and I must get people to use and sign up and it's non-negotiable.
Now, what pisses me off the most about this is, when I was first hired, they never told us anything about how much our jobs depend on credit. No. This is something they saved to spring on us after about two weeks of working there.
I almost feel the same as when I worked at the call center. If you could sell you were treated like pure gold. If you weren't a seller, you were treated like shit. But that's a story for another day.