Corporate Stupidity: Complaints Galore, All Of Them Due To Corporate Decisions


CoworkerhellCarhop here with a tale of corporate stupidity. This happened Thursday and I'm finally calm enough (with the help of generous amounts of alcohol and a couple days of hanging out with awesome friends) to write about it.

My little shop has the local branch of a nationwide company that comes to get their vehicles serviced by us. Now, these vehicles are put under an enormous amount of strain. I'm talking we just replaced the motor on a 2015 vehicle that had 250,000 miles on it. These vehicles drive all over the place, get oil changes on an almost monthly basis, and just generally are run into the ground in under three years.

Now besides oil changes, the number one thing the vehicles come in for are new tires. Corporate requires all tires to be changed when they've reached a tread depth of 4/32. For some background, standard car tires start at about 10/32 tread depth. (We're too far south to have to worry about snow tires.)

Well, originally we were getting all the vehicles Cooper brand tires. They're not too expensive and they hold up well to all the crazy amounts of driving the vehicles do, especially since this company refuses to get tire rotations (moving the front tires to the back and vice versa to even out wear, because the weight of the engine will cause the front tires to wear out quicker than the rear). Well, corporate started complaining about the cost around the fall of last year.

Custy phone 2Ok, fair enough, we'll throw some cheapies on your vans.

Thursday we had a vehicle come in, needing the rear tires replaced due to wear. It had just been in the shop for new tires on the front back in February. We get contacted by corporate asking why this van's tires are wearing out so fast. But it wasn't just a polite question, it was more like "We need to figure out what's wrong with this van. We just replaced all these tires last fall and now they're needing replacement again?" You know, passive aggressively trying to blame my shop for shit we've already warned them about. (I long ago started keeping every e-mail sent back and forth from this company.)

So I put on my best "My, how nice..." voice and politely explained that they had insisted we put cheaper tires on their vans, and the last time the tires had been changed was roughly 30,000 miles ago, which is quite good mileage for dirt cheap tires with no tread mileage warranty. And they had two options; buy better tires, or rotate the tires with every oil change and they might last a bit longer. But don't complain about getting what you paid for.

What is it about suits in a distant office having no clue how the day-to-day of their business works? Sigh...



Bad Customer Service: "You're A Customer, Therefore Stupid. He's An Employee, Therefore Better Than You"


Bad Service 4From RHUer

I was searching for bridesmaid dresses for my upcoming wedding, and was considering my options.

Initially, I was treated normally by staff.

However, as time passed, a pushy sales assistant quickly came to the conclusion that I wasn’t there to buy and told the me and my three bridesmaids, “I knew you girls were a joke the minute you walked in!”

Okay... Wow! Talk about jumping the gun!

She was, of course, wrong. I had every intention of buying, and had even indicated several dresses that were on the list of "maybes." Buut it should be no surprise that with that smart mouthed response, we left the store immediately, informing the staff that, 'Well, NOW I'm not going to buy anything. Hope you don't live off of commission, because you lost a lot of money today!"

I sent a complaint by email to the head office, detailing everything.

Let me guess: you think this ends with an apology from Head Office.

I thought so too. And I was wrong!

I received a response stating that the shop targets “a very fashion forward customer,” and the sales assistant in question is simply “too good at what he does.” The response continued with, “He knew you were not going to buy anything before you even left your house,” and “I am sure there are plenty of shops that appease your taste.”

Wel... actually yes. Because someone else DID get all my money. And funnily enough the attendants were very friendly, accommodating and knowledgeable. And best of all, no pompous asshole-itudes were present.



Valentine's Day Hell: Creepy Corporate Horrifies Retail Workers


VD5From ninedigitninja, TalesFromRetail

My husband works in a shop which is part of an international chain of convenience stores.

They got an email from head office this morning saying that because it's Valentine's Day they have to say "I love you," to every customer...

I worked in retail for years and I have never heard of anything quite so ridiculous, not to mention creepy!

Neither my husband or his supervisor are going to go through with it because they are of a similar opinion.

I really don't know what made head office think saying "I love you," to customers is a good idea! Harassment complaints galore!

Has anyone else been instructed to do something like this for Valentine's?



Corporate Caused Hell: Sell More Keys.You Can't? Okay, We'll Scrap Them Then


Jason humphFrom RHUer

A couple of decades ago I worked for a company that sold gifts, and as a sideline, keys. While the keys were not a major factor in our total sales the company really wanted us to sell them because due to the huge markup, the profit on keys, dollar to dollar, was huge compared to the gifts. Keys as a percentage of sales = “Meh.” Keys as a percentage of profit = “Wow.”

Then the company decided to base the grading of both the stores and each employee on mostly dollar-per-customer. This was partly a plan to sell more keys by encouraging the gift customers (the majority) to also buy a key or two.

Unfortunately we had two types of customers, those that bought gifts and those that bought keys. Rarely would the same person do both.

So let’s do the math. Two customers come in and each buys $60.00 worth of gifts, your D/C is $60.00 which is way over your $50.00 goal – cool. Next customer comes in and buys $4.00 in keys. Now your D\C is $41.33 – not cool because this can get you fired. Wailing and hair-pulling ensue.

So we asked corporate to not include key sales in the dollar-per-customer calculation and their response is that this will incentivize us to sell way more keys to each key customer. Sure, all of the key customers will go from buying 2 keys at a time to 25.

Guess what happened?

No matter what key you needed, we were out of stock. The key machine was broken. The one person (we were all trained) that makes the keys is not working today. In previous years our small kiosk shops would put the key setup in the stockroom in November to make way for stocking and ornament displays, only for the keys to reappear in January. Now the return of the keys would be delayed until, oh let’s say, August. It is never wise to punish people for selling your most profitable product.

Key sales dropped to almost nothing, lamentations at corporate, cheers and jubilation in the shops.

So what to do? Well corporate is never wrong, especially about its dollar-per-customer policy, so it must mean that all of America no longer uses keys. Fortunately the solution is easy, our most profitable product line was discontinued and all the keys were sent to be recycled.



Chapter 2: The Camera Caper


Jason 040From Kaiser7, TalesFromRetail

As a short recap, I'm a former corporate employee for a franchised vitamin store called "Vita". The owner is Tom and I work with my manager Mark and our resident femme fatale who I'm convinced doesn't do a damn thing, Ollie.

These are my stories.

I'm not a snitch nor am I a whistleblower, but I'm absolutely making sure to cover my ass so I call up Loss Prevention at corporate and explain to them what I derived to be shady dealings.

Long story short, they don't care.

Apparently the way this franchise system works is that Vita gets paid twice. Once for the products, and a second time they get a percentage of the sale. If product gets lost in between, that is the owner's responsibility, along with security and shrink management. Vita doesn't care because they already got paid for the products.

LP literally said, "He could be rolling around in the protein powder, as long as he paid for it, he's allowed to do that. It's his property now. He only pays us for our name."

Undeterred, I try to instill some sort of LP policy where our top 20 products would have to be manually marked whenever sold and nightly counts were to be taken, but no one did it.

I didn't raise my concerns to Tom (not that he would have cared) because I didn't want Mark to feel like I was going over his head.

Fast forward a few weeks and Tom is making increasingly frequent stops at the store. The thing is, he's not doing anything other than talking to me and complaining about random things and overall interrupting my work and decreasing my productivity and interrupting my sales.

During one of these visits, he stopped in mid-conversation, looked up at an air vent above us and said under his breath, "Yes, that looks good."

I took the bait and asked what he meant. He said he had cameras installed in the vents and these cameras were so small that you could barely see them. I was excited (I'm in a fairly competitive IT program) and when he left I immediately investigated.

You guessed it. There was no camera.

ManagertalesDays later, Mark and I were in the middle of two huge sales, the phone rang but I didn't get to it in time. Immediately after my cell phone rang. It was Tom. I picked up and he was yelling,

"Where are you! I don't see you on camera! The store is empty!"

I looked up. If there was a camera in that vent, he absolutely should have seen at least 5 people.

"I'm sorry," I said not moving. "I stepped out for a minute, do you see me now?"

"Yes, you need to be more responsible. Never leave the store unattended."

I was infuriated and told Mark what just happened.

He responded, "I knew it..."

Tom didn't bring up the camera again. Two months later Tom asked me for help installing something in the store instead of hiring a professional. When I arrived, it turned out that Tom wanted to install cameras.

I quickly googled the cameras he got and they were one of the cheapest cameras he could have gotten. I put them up and managed to attach them to a monitor where we got a really bad feed. I asked Tom where the hard drive was to save video and he said that he didn't want to "waste" his money on one. So I hook the cameras up to the monitor and that's it. He can't access the monitor remotely, he can't save video, nothing. Best of all, the monitor is in a cabinet under the register and the store is small enough where you can see everything from the register.

He basically used it as a scare tactic for us employees, but he had me connect everything for him so I knew what was going on.

As an experiment a little while later, I decided to see how much Tom was willing to lie to us. So I manually disconnected all the cameras for two weeks. And I would make sure to do something where if you saw me, I'd get in trouble.

After the two weeks passed of him not saying anything, I reconnected the cameras and asked him how the feed was.

Tom said it was good but he wanted to talk to me about my behavior. When I asked why, he said that he's seen me on camera sitting on a stool we have.

I laughed and apologized and said ok.

The thing was, I was never sitting on a stool.

For the past two weeks, in between customers, I'd been sitting on the counter.




Safety Issues: The Sudden Storm


Safety3From RHUer

Back when I was 16, I worked at a pizza place. It's the middle of July in the Midwest, so guess what kind of weather we got? If you said 'freak storms" you are correct.

It's mid-morning and the initial rush has petered out. We just have one customer and he's waiting for a pizza he ordered.

It starts to rain, and quickly moves to rain and hail. The winds start going crazy outside, the rain is pouring down along with some quarter size hail. We're basically looking at weather that goes to funnel clouds very easily. It happens very quickly: it was starting to rain when our custy walked in the door, we build his pizza from scratch and it's in the oven. It's been less than fifteen minutes.

One of my delivery drivers is in the back and he calls to me, with the phone pressed to his face, to say our other pizza driver is huddling under an overpass with some poor random bicyclist huddled in his back seat for shelter. (He'd been caught in the weather and the driver stuffed him in the back seat for protection against the flying debris.) He tells us it looked like a funnel cloud was forming and it had blown past them and was heading in our direction. I go back to thank the driver for the info, and to tell the driver to stay safe and come back when he can and not to rush.

As this is being relayed back and forth, there's a massive crash and the sound of breaking glass. Our GM comes running out of her office yelling and cursing, thinking someone in the store just destroyed something.

I come running out of the back because the whole damn building shook and oh my fucking God there was a customer out there!

Jason 013AWhat do we see? Our marquee has been ripped off the building and chucked through our front window like a battering ram. It snapped in half so that half of it was in the lobby, the other half had cleared the counter and come into the area where we cooked and prepared food. If I hadn't gone back to talk to my delivery driver, there was a real chance I would have been hit by the thing.

The poor customer in the lobby had hit the floor and covered his head with his hands. He came up slowly, shedding pieces of glass, and turned around to stare at this huge metal thing that missed him by about a foot. (The customer was okay; none of the glass had actually cut him.)

Our GM yells at him (over howling wind, rain and bouncing golf ball sized hail that's now playing pinball in our lobby) to get behind the counter with the rest of us, and rushes us all to the walk-in cooler. We wait in the cooler for about 30 minutes for the noise to drop before coming out.

Our power was dead, but we made our customer a new pizza with fresh ingredients (the one in the oven, plus the ingredients we'd had out in the prepping station, were scrapped on the off chance that they had gotten glass in it) free of charge and gave him directions for cooking it at home.

By this time, the storm is gone and it's just another beautiful summer day; bright blue skies with a lovely rainbow. If it wasn't for the giant sign in our front window, you wouldn't be able to tell there was a storm! (The funnel cloud never actually touched down, apparently, but we'd been sideswiped by the winds.)

Our GM runs off to call corporate to let them know the store is closed due to our sign sitting in the front lobby. And corporate? Wanted to know why we couldn't just sweep up the lobby and continue business. Our GM told them that we had no power and it was a safety issue to allow customers to climb through a shattered storefront for food that we couldn't cook anyway. Only the threat of possible customer injury made corporate (begrudgingly) agree that closing the store was the best option.