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Retail Hell Memories: Party Store Snow Globe Hell


This story was originally posted on December 12, 2009


SnowglobeshellAnother story from Holiday Hell to warm the cockles of your weary retail hearts.

It's always an amazing thing when a crew gets a Manager they love and a Manager gets a crew they love back!

I've been fortunate enough to have had that experience and it's the one of the things that gets us all through Retail Hell at the end of the day.

This story is from Melissa. It's long, but well worth the ending...

A few years ago I worked as an Assistant Manager at a major Party supply store that is now out of business. I started two weeks before Halloween that year so instead of trial by fire I was given a tube of burn cream and a pat on the back.

Halloween was absolutely horrible but I made it through to the day after. Now anyone who works in retail knows what happens the day after Halloween - The Christmas decorations come out!

Due to the massive re-zoning, stocking, etc.., every manager and 75% of the staff was on duty, and things were going very well. All the managers chipped in and bought pizza for the whole crew as a "Thanks for a job well done".

This was a Saturday night, and the store closed at 9:00pm.

At 8:45pm, an elderly woman came in to browse our collection of Christmas decorations. While doing a walk through I noticed her "wandering", so I stopped and asked if I could help her find anything.

She explained to me that the previous Christmas, she had bought several miniature snow globes and absolutely loved them, and was hoping that we had them again this year.

Now I had done inventory earlier that day and knew we had the snow globes in the back, but they could not be put out on the shelf until the next day (Sunday) due to the way our ad ran.

I explained to her about them not being out because of not being entered into the system and they would not ring up in the register until tomorrow morning, but being one of those "above and beyond" customer service people, I told her I might be able to get them for her. I told her I could bring the boxes out for her to go through and she could choose which ones she wanted and pay me cash for them. I explained that we could figure the price plus tax, she could pay me the amount, and I would just ring the sale through in the morning after the SKUS came up in the system.

The customer was very happy about this, and even said "That's why I come to this store, because of the great service I get."

I told her that I would go get a case and come back in a few minutes.

CglobeNow let me explain about these snow globes. They are the bane on my existence. The store actually had a straw drawing contest to determine who puts them on the shelves.

The snow globes are approximately 2in by 2in, and they came packaged - individually - in a styrofoam container. Inside the styrofoam container, they are wrapped in heat sealed plastic.

They are the biggest bitch, as each globe has to be cut out of the styrofoam, and then cut out of the plastic wrap. Each case comes with 60 of the packages in it, and we had five cases total. There was no rhyme or reason to which design of snow globe was in what package; you had to open each one to see the exact design.

I HATE those fucking things!

I go and get the dolly and one of the stock guys, and we bring the case out.

By this time it is five minutes til closing and my crew is getting antsy to close up and go home. So I open the case and make small talk with this woman. I ask her if she is looking for anything particular, and she said she just wanted to see the new designs.

I open the first couple of packages, and the customer agrees that they are very lovely, but that she would like to see what else we have. I should have stabbed myself in the neck with my exacto knife then and there!

I open another three packages, and she picks one out and places it to the side.

She then wants me to open all the packages in the case to see if there is some different design hidden at the bottom of the stack. Because, yea lady, the special golden fucking ticket one is hidden in the middle of the bottom of the case!

I explain that there is only 6 different designs of the snow globes, but she argues that there were 10 last year, and she wants to see all of them.

By now it is ten minutes past closing, and my crew is politely hovering around like vultures on a fresh kill. Company policy forbids anyone being in the store alone, so I have to keep at least one person there with me, plus I still have to total out the drawers and do my deposits.

I open another five packages and explain to this woman that I need to excuse myself for a moment to sign out my crew. She seemed fine with this, and I told her I would be back in a few minutes.

C1 (2)I gather the crew and send the non-cashier employees home. I explain that I need to total the cashier's drawers before they can go, and that I need one person to stay with me until I left. Luckily one of the big stock guys volunteered, so it wasn't an issue.

I send him out to assist the lady while I'm trying to get the drawers and drop bag done. Not five minutes later the stock guy comes back and says the words no manager EVER wants to hear - "You better come see this."

I leave the most senior crew member in charge of watching the money and head out to the floor. As we are walking across the store, stock guy is trying very hard not to laugh. I know it's bad and he won't tell me what's wrong.

I turn the corner and see it - the huge fucking mess strewn down the aisle and no lady in sight.

This lady had opened EVERY package in the case (With her bare hands!) and had thrown the styrofoam packing down one half of the aisle and the plastic wrap down the other.

The overwhelming feeling of wanting to stab someone overcomes me. I go in search of stock boy and the customer, and find them three aisles over. I ask the lady if she found what she was looking for, and she looks at me and says -
"No, I think I will wait until you put them up on display. It will be easier to decide then."

I actually saw red.

Still being in polite mode and on probation, I explain to her that the store is closed and that she is welcome to come back tomorrow after we get them on the shelves.

She then asks for my name, so she can have me personally assist her when she returns.

I thank her for her business and escort her out.

As I close and lock the door, I hear the outburst of laughter from the entire crew.

I'm not one to cuss at my crew but that night I let it slip.Maxglobe

FreddyglobeI said "The next mother fucker that laughs will be the one cleaning this shit up!"

No one outrightly laughed but were still snickering. Luckily they all knew I was not mad at them and didn't take it personally.

By now it is 9:35, and the crew was supposed to be out of there by 9:30 at the latest.

I still have the drawers to do, the drop bag to finish, and now an entire aisle landfill of trash to clean. I have never cried at work but I was damn close that night. I decide that the first priority is to get the drawers done and the cashiers out of there, and the trash can wait.

I go back to the office and start totaling the drawers, and one of the cashiers ask if they can step out back for a smoke break.

I tell her that is fine, but that I don't want her outside by herself. The other cashiers and stock boy volunteer to go stand with her, and I start working on the drawers.

By the time I finish the drawers and drop bag it is 10:10.

I seal everything up in the safe and go searching for my crew. The back door is locked and there is no one in sight. I start walking the floor and can hear them in the far aisle.

JasonglobeAs I come around the corner, I see the entire crew has come together to clean up the mess.

They had cleaned the aisle spotless, returned the snowglobes to the styrofoam, and had repacked the case.

I thanked them profusely, told them that I would buy them all pizza, and explain to the big boss why they were so over on their time.

Then, the little quiet girl that doesn't talk much says - "Oh don't worry about it, we all clocked out at 9:40. You needed the help and we helped, don't worry about it. But you're the only manager we would do this for".

This time I wanted to cry in a good way.

We left, and the next night I bought them all a huge pizza feast out of my own pocket and even called the people on their days off to come in and get some.

So this is my customer from hell story but in the end it turned out alright.

Goes to show you, treat your crew right and they'll treat you right.

But I still refuse to put the snow globes out.


Read more Piggy Shopper Hell and Awesome Retail Slaves stories!

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"Now anyone who works in retail knows what happens the day after Halloween - The Christmas decorations come out!"

Ah, the bygone days of 2009 when xmas bullshit actually waited until AFTER Hallowween to plop like a Taco Bell and Salmonella sammich on the shelves...

Misty Meanor

This is why I'm glad I'm only seasonal at my current position!

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