I've been seeing a lot of comments and hate directed toward various companies’ “sell credit cards or you’re fired,” policies, and rightly so. Corporate leaders have their heads so far up their collective asses that they actually believe their employees have the ability to override customer’s free will just by asking. It always blew my mind when they’d tell us “All you have to do is ask, and you’ll hit your numbers.” Seriously, corporate? Go die in a fire.
During my tenure at Old Slavery, I was awesome at selling those damn cards. I had to be, because with all the shenanigans I pulled just to keep myself sane (mostly having to do with the white board in the fitting rooms), I’d have been out on my ass faster than you could say “unemployment.” I say unashamedly that I was the best card-whore that store had ever seen. Because I cheated.
The unfortunate reality is that corporate will fire excellent employees for something they have zero control over. So for all of you in that unenviable position I present:
This was developed at Old Slavery, so those of you enslaved at other places will have to make some adjustments.
Old Slavery, when I was there, offered a 10% discount on the customer’s entire purchase if they were accepted for the store card. A lot of people would tell me that they knew that they wouldn't be accepted, so why bother? Since Old Slavery kept track of the number of applications processed, not the number accepted, this wasn't a problem.
I had gotten into the habit of keeping a stack of those survey things that would print out with the receipts and that people had rejected. Coincidentally, the discount you’d get for taking the survey was also 10%. I’d tell them that if they applied, I’d give them 10% off no matter what happened. Not everyone went for it, but a lot did. I could usually get 2-3 applications a day this way. Since I had the survey receipts with the proper code words (there were only two possibilities) in my till at the end of the day, everything added up nice and neat.
This was even easier during the Stuff and Save promotion they did every once in a while. During this ridiculousness, everyone that had an Old Slavery Card would get a tiny sack in the mail and they could then stuff as much in the sack as possible and get 20% off whatever was inside. Of course, nobody actually stuffed anything in the bag and just used it as a coupon for entire cartloads of stuff.
During this promotion, anyone who signed up for the store card would get the same 20% discount instead of the standard 10%. When I’d get the “I won’t be accepted” excuse, I’d look around conspiratorially, and tell them that if they applied and were accepted, I’d give them 20% off, and if they weren't they’d get 10%, so it was a win-win situation for everyone involved. Of course, there were signs all over the store that advertised a 20% discount for getting the card, but you all know how many customers actually read signs. Again, it didn't always work, but during Stuff and Save it wasn't uncommon for me to get 5-7 applications a day.
Old Slavery had a big one. I haven’t worked there for several years so I don’t know if it’s still there. A lot of people who knew darn well they would be accepted for the card would tell me they’d like the discount, but didn’t want to have another card with a balance on it. Since the computer system would only let you put an application through after all of the customer’s purchases had been scanned, the balance would be automatically put on their new card if they had been accepted. What to do?
Since Old Slavery really, really wanted to put people in debt, they needed a way for slaves that weren't on the registers to process applications. Yes, even those poor slaves on the floor were expected to sell the damn cards. So the login screen of every register had an option to process an application without being logged into the Point of Sale system. This way, when the stars aligned and a floor associate sold a card, they could then bring the customer to an unused register and sign the idiot up. So when a custy told me they didn't want a balance, I’d suspend their transaction, log out, and process the application that way. Then I’d log back in, bring up the suspended transaction, knock 10% off, they’d pay however they were going to in the first place, and everyone was happy.
3. When all else fails, beg.
A lot of the time, I wouldn't shut up about that stupid card. When the customer still wouldn't apply even after I tried all that other stuff, I’d get silly. When you depend on a shitty job to pay the bills, dignity takes a back seat to survival. I’d tell them the dollar amount that they’d be saving and list all the “fun stuff” they could do with it. Things like go out to lunch, buy their kid a toy or take them to a movie, buy 10,000 gumballs, keep me from getting fired (seriously, this worked once or twice), they could use it to tip me, whatever I could think of. If it got to this point, 999 times out of 1000 they’d walk out the door without signing up, but once in a blue moon it would work.
So there it is. At the beginning, I wondered if what I was doing was completely ethical. I figured that if my livelihood was on the line because corporate doesn't understand that someone can say no to a 29% interest rate and a hit on their credit score even after being asked politely, then anything I can think of is fair game. Especially after the managers tried to get me to sign up when our numbers were a little too low. I’m not that dumb.
I don’t always get customers to sign up for credit cards, but when I do its because I cheated.
Stay sane, my friends.
This took ploce 6 months ago at a Ross and is one of those instances where our cell phones can come in handy against Psycho Custys! It looks doubtful the woman got prosecuted but nice to know so many people came to the old lady's aid (who was probably sticking up for the cashier, I'm guessing?) I also rather enjoyed the spirtual lecture one woman gave the angry custy!
From Huff Po:
Abercrombie is going cheap as it loses its cool.
After the company announced Wednesday that its quarterly profit plunged 58 percent, CEO Mike Jeffries said on a post-earnings conference call that Abercrombie would reduce prices next year as a way to compete with cheaper retailers. In addition, Abercrombie is focusing more on outlets; the retailer opened four last year and is also testing making clothes exclusively for outlets, a first for the company, according to Businessweek.
Abercrombie has been pursuing a price-cutting strategy for the past few years, according to Eric Beder, a retail analyst and managing director at investment bank Brean Capital, "but the truth is it's not a long-term business plan," he said.
"This was once the aspirational teen retailer, and that's gone," Beder said. "The question is, how do you survive with a store layout and in some respects the infrastructure of an aspirational retailer, when you’re not aspirational anymore?"
Despite the company’s troubles, Abercrombie’s stock is climbing today, likely on the news that the retailer will buy back $150 million worth of shares. Abercrombie also reported a 2014 profit outlook that was better than expected.
This chart from Google finance shows Abercrombie's stock performance today:
Abercrombie's weak profit caps off several months of scandal, board room fights and just plain old bad news for the retailer. As Jeffries noted in a statement released with the company’s earnings, Abercrombie is facing a “challenging” environment for teen retailers. Once a staple in high school hallways and college dorm rooms, brands like Abercrombie and American Eagle are being replaced by “fast-fashion” retailers like H&M and Forever 21.
And Abercrombie's price cutting may only make things worse for the teen apparel sector, Beder said. That's because when Abercrombie sets a price, other classic teen retailers like American Eagle have little choice but to go below it.
"There is kind of a secular change in teens. Teens don't want to be billboards, they don't see the benefit as much of their predecessors in using clothing to present a certain level of affluence or style. It's more about what phone do you have," he said. "You can argue that Abercrombie, because it’s the highest-price player, kind of destroys the economics for everyone when they reduce their pricing."
But Abercrombie isn’t only fighting in the boardroom, it has faced criticism from customers as well. Teen activists slammed the retailer last year after Salon dragged up a 2006 quote from Jeffries, explaining that “a lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.” Jeffries ultimately apologized for the comment and Abercrombie committed to an anti-bullying campaign, but that wasn’t enough for many of its critics.
Abercrombie also came under fire for its controversial “Look Policy,” which strictly dictates the dress code of Abercrombie employees, after two Muslim women sued the retailer, claiming the company discriminated against them for wearing a hijab, a traditional Muslim head covering. The retailer ultimately changed its policy to allow exceptions for hijabs as part of a settlement with the women.