Saturday, February 23, 2008

Come Play Inside My Big Box: A day in the life of a retail manager

We welcome guest blogger JimmyEatWorld. Thanks for the submission!

As my dearest Sister Sassy has previously mentioned, I work. A lot. I mean over 50 hours a week a lot. [Before I go any further, I do understand that if you are a SAHM, there really is no end to your day and if you added up the hours..... well lets not.] I work for a giant big box retailer one of the big three that you probably visit on a weekly basis (of the biggest three, Wal-mart, Kmart, Target - I work for the one that ends with a T, weird eh? ;)

So this is why I am writing; my beautiful, adoring, great love of my life, Sister Sassy, will sometimes "seem" to trump me when it comes to taking a lunch or talking on the phone. She'll say about 1/2 hour into our lunch, "ya, I really got to get back to work, I got a lot to do today." Ok, and what am I? Chopped liver????

So I thought I would give a day in the life an assistant manager to entertain the masses and show my adoring wife what it's like on the other side.

First we are a 10 million dollar per year store. Now 6 million of that is from my half of the store and from that about $400k in profit. Of the 65 people that work in the store, 5 full timers report directly to me and another 15 part timers, depending on where they are scheduled for that day. That means I'm responsible for $6,000,000 in sales and about 20 people in a space the size of 2 football fields.

6:30am - The sprint begins; I mean getting the kids off to daycare AND not being late for work. Quick shower, shave, and then a go at waking up the boys. Get them in front of some Sesame Street, breakfast, and everyone dressed. Although there are days when even though they are dressed, they aren't-but who hasn't gone to school in a long sleeve polo and sweats before? huh? Come on, cut me some slack here.

8:00am - Morning Meeting: everyone available in the building at the time (5-20 ppl) will come together for a quick update about what's going on in the store and company. Today, after the big boss talks, I use the opportunity to talk about payroll. I know people hate it when we cut their hours and always feel like maybe the company isn't doing well and that's the reason. To re-assure them that this is not the case I say "My last company was the same as here. If we thought we were going to have a bad quarter, then they would cut off spending from everything. Everything. I mean you couldn't buy a freaking box of staples. You were told to make do and wait till next month." Its true and I hope it helped others to show its not just us.

8:30am - Quick tour of the building. The whole management team, yes all 3 of us, walk around and take notes of things to fix.

9:00am - Very quickly after the start of the tour, my boss (and I do love and respect the guy) will say "I'm bored with this, lets stop touring" and I say Amen, brother, lets get to work!

9:05am - My first task it to make sure that my peeps are ok. I will grab a schedule and go talk to them and find out what they planned for the day and then make adjustments to their plan. I make this quick and as painless as possible before I go to work.

9:30am - After spending most of that last 1/2 hour walking (I sometimes wonder how much walking I do - but that's another blog for another day) its off to work. I first get out my notes from the morning and find out what has to get done that no one else can do or isn't here to do.

Today it is ad changes. We get a ton of stuff in early for the ad that breaks and this means finding good places to put it all. It also means getting on the forklift and having fun. (The most fun is the summer. Oh how I love being outside. I can actually hear the vitamin D being made in my skin as it's brief time in the sun during the day. I think fluorescent lights actually suck your will to live :) )

Today I got 4 pallets ready and then I break out the pallet jack (see pic at right) to move them from the very back of the store, that's right, to the very front. The two pallets of paper are fine, but the two of water and bleach, I'd guess around 1,000 pounds each, is not a cake walk.

11:30am- Gotta go and see my soul kisser, the one whom I adore above all others, Sister Sassy. Today we sit in front of her desk and watch 30 Rock; Its really very funny and I nearly spit my ham sandwich out laughing. Then the last 1/2 hour we spend looking at houses. I sneak a few not so innocent kisses in before I go; yeah you need to learn to kiss better at work BTW Sassy ;)

1:00pm- 1 1/2 lunch? Yeah, just wait. Now since I am the default 'credit card' guy, I have to talk to all of our cashiers about why we suck so bad and find out why. So I retrain 4 people today and give them a warning that if they don't at least ask everyone, then, oh yeah, trouble will be had. Actually today, during the last 'meeting' the overhead lighting flickers, and a bulb goes out. I look at the girl and say "I hope that's not a sign." I hate riding people, but I'm good at it and since I have to....

3:30pm - Now is the fun. We got shipped in these aisle stackers, like you see in grocery stores. Unfortunately nobody has the time to put them together, so I get to have all the fun myself.

I get a pallet of parts, instructions written by someone whom the English language left a very long time ago, and a screwdriver. They actually sent in a screwdriver, just in case one of the nearly 1,500 stores out there doesn't have a screwdriver in the building. Here I show off my mechanical skills (did you hear that Sister Sassy) and I have proof. See those 12 lovely racks to the right, yep all my work. And on the left the pallet of parts it came in as proof.

5:00pm - Ok, I finished that project just in time - for more work. Yes my friends 5:00 is NOT quiting time tonight. Tonight I get to 'close'. That means I work from 8:00am until 10:30pm. So I do get a two hour lunch. Why not come in like an hour later and only get an hour lunch? Don't ask, just don't.

Now from 5-10 I get to direct 10 people to put all the strays away (those items that people leave behind or put in the wrong spot) and to straighten the entire building. Yes I get the fun of telling 18 year olds that they have to go back to the dog food b/c they missed a section or didn't get it as straight and neat looking as it should be. Fun. Pure Fun. Because its usually not enough time or people to do it, I usually end up straightening for 1-2 hours every night to pitch in as well. Lots of fun. I think to myself, as I am moving almost every box of tampons to get them all to line up, THIS is what I went to college for 5 years for!!! Yahoo!

11:00pm - Home, finally. Now because this is my weekend to work, I get to open tomorrow. So if I hurry up and fall asleep by 11:30 then I will get exactly 5 hours of sleep

4:30am Get back up. That's right, I have to open the building so that means leaving at 5:30 to get there at 6:00am. (That's my 'I'm pissy for working these F***ed up hours look to the left)

Well there you have it. A day in the life of a retail manager. Next time I'll share some of the 'fun' stories I have of my 6+ years in dealing with customers.

What's that? You want to comment? Just click on the itty-bitty words below that say "Gimme Some Sugar". Can you see them? Good. We can't wait to chat with you.


Sister Honey Bunch said...

Jimmy! Your days are crazy. Sassy ought to just let you rest when you walk in the door.

And can I just say...oh. ma. got. What is your title going to bring us from google searches. I'm skeert.

Sister Sassy said...

JimmyEW HB beat me to the punch as I was posting at the Chapel. Anyway darling, you know I think the world of you and appreciate your hard work.

Just because I feel like I need to do some work doesn't mean that I think your job isn't hard or important. I just think my job is important too.

I'm going to put that on a character t-shirt and wear it around lol!

saintseester said...

Interesting peek into your life. My brother manages a smaller store. He always talks about finding good workers and hard it is to keep people. Do you have that same issue?

And, while I understand the credit card thing makes money for the company, I am so SICK of being asked every darn time I am at the store if I want a credit card. Really. Sick. I go there every week at least. I am good, though, I don't verbally abuse the cashier over it...

Ashlee said...

I'm so lucky that I don't actually work at a store ending with 'T' Target. The Kmart here is horrible and we don't have a Walmart. Anyway...I would be broke buying all of the new cute things. It would be very therapeutic after having a day like yours. I've been an assistant manager before, crappy shifts, doing the stuff nobody else wants to do. It's GREAT! Maybe you should ask Sassy to give you a back rub tonight...or better yet, rub your feet because of all the walking you do. :0)
And, um, AMEN! to Saintseester on the credit card thing. Every single time. Wow. I'm still going to say no. My friends there sometimes don't ask me because they've realized I won't ever give them the answer they're looking for, but the "others"...I don't yell at them either. I know for some it's an automatic. Their mean old assistant manager has yelled at them so much they say it for fear of the flickering light bulbs. :0)

Brother JimmyEatWorld said...

Saintseester - I understand totally, but it is a numbers game. If we ask 1,000 people then we get 5 apps. Thats it. And personally I don't agree with credit cards or pushing them on people, but its my job, and I have to do it. As a tip, tell the cashier right from the start of the transaction 'I'm not interested in a credit card' Anyone who says that, I'm sure won't be asked.
And yes finding people who will work hard and stay can be tough but you mostly make do with what you have and try to find the good people in the mix, train them, treat them well and promote them quickly.

Ashlee - How GREAT! And no - I've never yelled at anyone at work in my life. I've certainly had the urge, but never done it. I try to take a stern tone but never belittle people.

Sandy C. said...

Goodness! Just the 5 hours of sleep would kill me alone! So glad there are people like you out there who can fulfill these roles :)

April said...

Just 45 minutes of shopping at a Target makes me want to scream. There's no way I could survive your day working there!

Blog Hoppin',
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Wade Huntsinger said...

Everybody gotta do what they gotta do. But remember God said that we should work but not overwork...

Jen said...

Geez--and I thought MY job was stressful! I hope you've had a restful weekend before heading back into the fray...

Jane the Sane said...

I guess I should be more patient with you big box people. I usually want to kill an employee before I leave. I can never find one though.

Sister Sassy said...

touche Jane, touche