Retail Hell Memories: Gas Station Hell - Everything You Did Has Been Undone


This story was originally posted on May 09, 2010


Gas station 02From Gas Station Slave Emma

Hey! First I want to say thanks for putting my stories up. It was a real thrill to see stuff I wrote on the website! :D

Second, I just HAVE to share this. VENT ALERT.

So, the store I work for has been having a lot of technical issues revolving around our registers and general POS stuff (and I mean P.O.S. Almost all of it is older than my manager!)

So we've had techs coming in and screwing around with it most days, making it a little more difficult for us to serve our custys.

For two days we couldn't take plastic or sell gas, because we had to just use the cash drawer and a calculator to ring people up. Needless to say, custys were freaking THRILLED with that.

But it got us ready for what happened this Friday afternoon.

Time: Somewhere after 11:35 AM

Place: Gas station

Emma goes in to get an innocent cup of coffee almost six hours before her shift starts. A corporate rep and someone from the company that owns the gas pumps are there, talking in dramatically hushed tones. Coworker informs her that, shock, surprise, the POS had been having issues again. They share a laugh.

Emma leaves.

Carolanne facepalmTime: 4:57 PM Same day.

Emma comes back to gas station to find manager standing behind counter and coworker no where to be seen but his car is still there, corporate rep and pump owner are long gone (figures).

Emma assumes worst, assumes she's been fired, walks in ready to be hollered at-

-and I heard her boss say, "EMMA. YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE THIS SHIT."

"Huh?" I slammed my purse down in the cigarette locker.

"We have no PLUs."


This is bad, kids, really bad.

Like trying to do inventory on Black Friday CHAOS Bad. I felt myself go pale.


"The fuckin idiot tech didn't back up our PLU files before he replaced some part in the system and now we only have a couple hundred in the system." Boss says, working on the stock computer with some cigarette packages.

"Well that can't be too bad, how many PLUs are in this store? 1200?" I ask.

It is just a gas station, after all, candy, chips, pop...

"Try 13,000." Boss barks.

I damn near died.

"So nothing scans?" I asked, totally unwilling to believe that this could be happening.

"The cigarettes do now. Please tell me you know the prices offhand for most of our products?" boss replied.

Luckily, I do.

CASHIER-HELLHowever this situation is totally leaving the door open for Nasty Ass Thieves. Just in my 9 hour shift TODAY I had four people try to pass items that won't scan yet (because I haven't added them to the system again yet, so much fun NOT) as items that are like... 50cents when their real price is something near $5.

And because I'm just so nice (and have the inability to say NO) I agreed to use my shifts to help replace the PLU files, by manually scanning and labeling each. and. every. single. fucking. item. into the main cash register, 25 items at a time, and then rebooting BOTH registers to transfer the file throughout the system, all while dealing with an average of 40 inside custys per hour *something around 120 custys per hour if you factor in the wonderful people who pay at the pump and don't come inside.* Carolanne2 022a

So all of my Friday shift goes to putting the PLUs back into the system, and we got through all of our tobacco products and half of the cooler. We were so happy!

Boss opened on Saturday, I came in at 1:00 pm and he doesn't look happy.

"None of what we did yesterday saved."


Apparently the computer decided to eat something to the tune of 800 files overnight when it switched to the new business day.

Boss was lovely enough to reenter almost all of it. Still pissed me off, all that work for nothing.

If I ever meet that tech... *growl*

I'm sure the next month of PLU/SKU/P.O.S. recovery will bring some wonderfully horrible custys.

Stay tuned.

--Gas Station Slave Emma


Read more Gas Station Hell stories here!


Chapter 1: The Case of the Missing Inventory


Carolanne2 031From Kaiser7, TalesFromRetail

A bit of background first. I work at a large vitamin and supplement store (henceforth known as "Vita") and have been with the company for 4 years to pay my way through college. Half of that time was with the corporate stores and the other half has been with a private franchisee owner (Tom) whom I'm convinced is the most incompetent human being on the planet. And he's cheap. Oh my God is he cheap.

These are my stories.

I came out of the corporate store a seasoned veteran. I was in a top 20 store where 200 customers was a slow day, I was always on the top 30 out of 200 on the weekly sales rankings and it was rumored that corporate was wanting to fast track me to a management spot. For a 21 year sophomore in college that was incredible, but the lure of a 25 customer per day store with no Key Point Indicator goals (only total sales) and a base pay raise was too much for me to pass up. I left corporate and took an assistant manager position at a franchise store nearby.

As a corporate guy, I was trained to do things by the book. Everything was documented, paperwork was always in order and proper procedure was always followed. It was on my very first shift that I realized something was terribly wrong.


Jason 013

I was using my system's item lookup to see if we had a particular type of flax oil that a customer wanted to purchase. My computer told me we had three, but there was only one on the shelf. That means one thing; "shrink."

After the customer left, I started looking up random items and noticed that according to the system, we were missing a lot! LP would have to be called which meant an investigation, etc, and I had only been there for a day!

The next day I had off, Tom came in and did the reorder, and the day after I came in with my notebook to gather a list of missing products to show the owner.

I'm holding a powder in my hand and scan it. We should have 5 of them. At that moment a customer comes in and buys the powder I'm holding. After he leaves I scan another iteration of the same powder. It should say 4, because I just sold one. Nope, it says 5.

I wait for another customer to buy something, and before he purchases I make note of the inventory, sell it, and check the inventory again.

No change.

I later found out that our inventory system is linked to our order system but not to the point of sale. Furthermore, the inventory resets every time an order is placed anyway so even if it worked properly, every week everything would just get messed up again anyway.



Inventory Week And Retail Fun


Carolanne grinFrom: FrontPageEveryTime

Not long ago, the clothing store in which I work did our quarterly inventory. Being a small store, we do it all ourselves instead of hiring a third party. The inventory of the store itself takes an entire day, and we do inventory of the stock room the day before. Because of this, we're not allowed to get anything out of the back the day before inventory.

Well, we were told that we didn't have to explain all of this to customers. Simply to say, "We're not allowed back there today," should suffice.

But being sassy little things, a few coworkers and I came up with our own reasons for not going back there. We at first tried to come up with reasons that would be ridiculous, but believable. However, no customers asked why we couldn't go back, so the ideas were just ridiculous. Among them were:

  • The door to the stock room is part of a supporting wall, which has a crack. If we open it, the ceiling could collapse.
  • The sprinkler system malfunctioned, soaking all of the boxes and the clothes inside. Now there's mold and mildew and we need HAZMAT to take them out.
  • We found wasp nests, and we're all allergic to wasps.
  • One of our associates is a werewolf. Tonight is a full moon and he's chained up there for his own safety.
  • The GOP debate is being held back there.
  • It's an EBOLA quarantine zone.
  • We found an old man living back there. When we told him he needed to leave, he muttered something about Pearl Harbor, but that's it.
  • They're filming an episode of Parks & Rec back there.
  • "We're filming a sex tape back there."
  • "Its a one-way portal to another dimension."

I'm sure there were a few more, but it was a few weeks ago during a closing shift and I can't remember them all. We just told them to each other back and forth throughout the night; it kept us going.



RHU pet Peeves: Inventory Company Hell


Freddy frustrationFrom: Dee

Having an inventory company come in never made sense to me.

You HAVE to hire an inventory company because you can’t have your own staff count your merchandise.

Then you have your staff pre-count the merchandise, so the inventory company can get the job done quickly.

Oh and then you have your staff double check the inventory crew’s count anyway.

Sounds like triple the work to me.




Inventory: Doing It The Smart Way

Jason thumbs upFrom: Smidgy

One place I worked started stock-taking (or inventory, as you call it) whilst it was still open, but this was done in a way that worked. They would start with the storerooms in the back, before moving onto the aisles where the stuff that didn't sell too well. But even then, they would seal those aisles off so customers or staff simply could not fuck things up: intentionally or unintentionally.

The only staff members who were allowed in an aisle once it was sealed off were the people counting the stuff there. If a customer tried to duck under the tape to get something from there, they were basically politely told that they could get whatever it was tomorrow, but not today, sorry.

After the shop was closed was when the rest of the shop floor got done. Anything like stuff to go back out or returns received that day were stacked to one side and counted at the very end, and actually dealt with the following day.

This gave us the best of both worlds - the count could be started early, whilst the shop was still open, so there wasn't staff there until ludicrous o'clock, whilst also minimising or eliminating fuck ups caused by people shifting stuff around during the count.


Inventory Hell: When You're An Early Bird Instead Of A Night Owl

Jason Hear no evilFrom: Greenie

Oh GOD! I hate inventory! We do the whole store twice a year were I work.

Now I will say that our store does try to make it like a fun night: catered food and drinks all night; lots of sweets, they give you a bag of goodies, like candy, to keep with you. They also make a play list of songs suggested by the workers. The inventory shifts are chosen by a drawing, and many of my fellow workers are happy to be picked. But I swear I feel more like the Hunger Games...I hate it.

I'm not a night owl, and I swear by 11pm my brain hurts. To be fair I have children, and I have to be up at 6am getting them ready for school. Between my oldest and youngest I've been getting kids up for school for 10 years now and my body is just awake at 6am, no alarm needed. So working overnights is a killer for me.

I've only had to do it once, and I hated it. The other time I was drawn I was able to get someone else to take my shift. Our next inventory is coming up in a couple of months, and I'm hoping that I will dodge that bullet again.