Thursday, March 1, 2007

Phone conversations with retail emloyees (not mine)

Beth sent me this link to a conversation Waveflux at Shakespeare's Sister had with a Hallmark employee over whether they carried a certain item in-store. There's not really a way of trimming it down, and I don't want to quote the whole thing, so go on over there and read it. I'll wait.

Now, from the perspective of someone who gets these kinds of calls regularly, the employees really didn't handle this all that badly. At the bookstore, we have what are called "Key 6" items, which are typically small tacky knickknacks that either sticks in a purse, sets on a desk, or gifts to someone who will do one of the two. And it's pretty much impossible to keep track of what's what, and where anything is, and what any individual thing might be called, unless you spend some percentage of your time stocking and/or straightening it. Ditto for the handful of stuffed animals and other similar things in the kids section.

In other words, if someone called me and asked for such-and-such item, my response might very well be, "Um, well, not sure, let me go check," or, "Let me check with the merchandising specialist in that department," or similar. And unless that person had very recently seen the item, or at least was familiar with the various names of the random stuffed toys that get stuck in that area, their response might very well be, "Beats me."

I can understand that the employees here work at a Hallmark store, not a bookstore, and can be more reasonably expected to have at least some knowledge of the various items in their store, but remember that this sort of thing can be tough to keep track of, and even smart, motivated employees can be stumped by very simple items every once in a while. And that assumes that the store wasn't really busy when Waveflux called -- in-store customers will generally get a much higher priority than phone customers.

Now I've got to go get dressed for work, even though today's supposed to be my offday, because someone else called in and I've been asked to cover the closing (four to midnight) shift. If anyone wants anything, I'll just pull a "not even supposed to be here today" defense.

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