Monday, August 27, 2007
The Shopgirl Chronicles 1: What I've Learned In Retail
Like a lot of gals my age I've worked at more places than I'd like to think about, most of which have been at different retail stores. Most of the time I have regarded these positions as ways to get things that I want, i.e. extra change and a great discount. But as I was folding minuscule skirts at my current job, a sort of Gap for the under-12 set, I started to think about some of the important lessons that I've learned working retail.
Here they go:
You're Only As Good As Your Last Hit:
Yesterday is history, all anyone cares about is today. Retail is all about numbers and all about performance. While working at a semi-upscale store for professional women I was instructed to "sell" the store credit card to everyone. One particular afternoon the District Manager (the person that supervises all of a city's stores) and the Regional Manager (does the same thing for a larger area) visited our store and I secured a credit card during their visit. I was bombarded with accolades from all of the managers ALL day. I walked into work the next day with a certain spring in my step expecting to get the same treatment...NOT! No one remembers what you did yesterday, nor do they care. Hence the phrase: EVERYDAY I'm Hustlin', as opposed to ONCE A WEEK I'm Hustlin'.
You Get What You Give:
In my tenure in the sales industry, I've learned that "Associates," as professionals in the industry like to refer to sales people, have lots of power. Very few operations require the consent of anyone higher. Price changes, returns and exchanges, discounts and markdowns are virtually all at the discretion of the person at the register. However, rude or annoying customers (or bitchy associates) prohibit most of these from happening for customers. I love helping people (what? I do!) and I hate for people to be unsatisfied since I am so often the disgruntled customer so I always do my best to stretch the rules. In return, I find that when I visit other stores associates are more than willing to offer me promotions and help me when I've forgotten my receipt or something. I think people call it Karma.
Repetition Is the Key to Success:
You know how in science a theory doesn't exist unless it can be proven over and over again? Retail is the very same. You clean and you straighten and re-arrange and make everything look super nice only to have hoards of people come through and ruin your creation. You are then forced to re-do everything. Constantly. All-day. Everyday. Success is the same way. To finish college, get that promotion, build a company, you have to be willing to get up every day and do the same thing over and over again, better than before every single day.
Part-time jobs rock!