(This is the third part in an on going series dedicated to the many years, going on 8 now, that I have spent as a retail whore.)
From the brokers on Wall Street, to the fry cook at McDowell’s, almost everyone has a boss. I’m no exception. In the world of retail the chain of order is like this: Corporate – Area Managers – Store Managers – Supervisors – Hourly Peons. Part 3 of My Life in Retail will go into more detail on how truly fortunate I am to be part of this chain.
I myself am a supervisor, so that’s one less asshole I have to deal with. I took the supervisor position for two reasons. The obvious one is the pay raise, the other reason is that I felt the supervisor I had before was incompetent. So my thinking was I would rather work with her than for her.I believe that in Part 2, I mentioned how a monkey could easily do the task required for retail, well her job fits that analysis as well, assuming that the monkey could do basic arithmetic.So one day when I needed her to do her job and help me out, and she couldn’t that’s when I said, “Well eff that noise, Jack! Ima take that position and not have to rely on this assclown!” (I actually talk like that, Ima is a favorite word of mine.) I only wish that I had the rights that a pimp has, because I’d like to smack some of my subordinates.So as a supervisor I’m required to know and follow al the policies put forth by the company. Which sounds easy enough, but sometimes the customers don’t care for such policies and want to see my boss, someone who is part of store management.Out comes the manager and this is where they either become a manager I like and respect, or complete asshole. They’ll either A) get my back and say that all that was done is all that we can do, or B) they’ll make me look like a dick and side with the customer. This was stated in the comments after part one, and it does happen. It’s an easy way to kill morale. Why put policies in place if they’re not going to be followed?
The managers that will usually back up a co-worker, I’ve noticed, are the ones who will be found working on the sales floor more often. The ones out in the trenches with the rest of us. Where as the others will try to run the store from the office. Almost completely unaware of what’s really happening in the store.I understand that there are things that need to be done in the office, but more than half the shift shouldn’t be spent in there, and if it is don’t give me shit for trying to run the front when you don’t know what’s going on.
Even worse than the managers in their office, are the fat cats in corporate. They try to run stores across the country, but I don’t think they have a real grip on what’s actually happening in the stores. Sure they may get reports from the area managers, but those guys are in each store for roughly 3 hours a week, that’s just the district manager. The further up that ladder goes the less they are in the store. The regional manager may only be in the store 3 hours a month. What could possibly be ascertained about what the store is really like in that amount of time?
The company I work for, like most modern retail outfits, is trying to destroy every ones credit score with a store credit card. Making sure everyone has this card has become the number one priority of the company. Those of us on the front line are the pawns in this credit ruining game. And when we don’t get the credit numbers they desire we’re yelled at by management. When our tactics begin to annoy the customers, we’re yelled at by them.
But the most annoying aspect comes once again from a manger in the office. I have one who rarely leaves the office. So all night long I hear him in the walkie-talkie deal I have to wear, up my ass about credit. Why don’t you get out hear and really motivate us?
The worst thing about that manager is he took the place of another manager who left to start a family, who does that? But she was fun. She toed that line of boss and friend perfectly. More importantly she was on the front line with us. She would run a register and solicit credit. When that happens morale rises because you feel that you are all actually in this together.
The boss is something that can’t be avoided. As long as there is work to be done, there will be someone telling how, and when to do it. You just put in your 40 hours and at the end of the week you get drunk with co-workers and rag on the boss. That’s the American way.
If you are a boss, or become one, don’t be such a dick.
28 May 2008 Lee S. Hart