Monday, August 23, 2010

Things to Know About Retail

1.You've all been frustrated by shopping carts that just won't separate from the one in front of it.  No matter hard you push or pull, it won't come apart.  So eventually you give up and try another or go for a shopping basket.  Well, you're not alone.  But after hauling those carts in a thousand times, I've learned how easy it to separate them.  I wish I had a diagram, but I'll describe it as best I can.
The insanity!

Underneath the handle is the part of the shopping cart that moves inward and upward to allow the carts to stack.  I'll call this the door.  The door is what is keeping you from getting your cart.  The door of the cart in front of the one you want is stuck on your cart.  So if you just lift the door on that cart and pull on the front one, it will come unstuck easily.

2.When you return something to the service desk of the store, the clerk there will probably ask you, "Is there anything wrong with it?"  In most cases, this isn't because he won't take the product back if it is damaged.  What he means is, "Can I put this back on the shelf or does it need to be returned to the manufacturer?"  So many customers try to conceal what's wrong with product probably because of this fear.  So inoperable merchandise ends up back on the floor and some other customer purchases it.  So be honest and let them know if there are any flaws or problems.

3.  When you do return something because it's broken one of three things will probably happen to it.  All three are determined by the manufacturer.  The manufacturer may ask the retailer to: send back the product and it will be repackaged and resold, they may get parts from the broken merchandise, or they may ask the retailer to destroy the product.

Recently, in the news there has been upheaval because people found out companies were destroying perfectly good or slightly used merchandise and throwing it away.  "It could be given to the homeless!" they cried.  It does seem wasteful to throw it away.  First, it isn't the store that comes up with the policy.  It's the manufacturer.  It isn't cost productive for them to send back/resell certain products, so they're destroyed.  Second, it can open up a whole bottle of dishonesty.  An employee or customer could purposefully harm a product in hopes of getting a discounted price.  (Trust me, it gets tried all the time.)  So next time you want to return a product, think what may happen to it.

4.  This point is more controversial.  Many times customers will approach an employee and ask if they can do something that is against policy.  The customer may not know it's against the rules when they ask.  Hopefully the employee explains with respect that he cannot do it.  But invariably no matter how it is explained to the customer, they may get mad and say, "Fine, I'll just take my business elsewhere!"

I laugh internally whenever I hear this.  Truth of the matter is, the average employee doesn't care.  They aren't paid on commission.  If you find a better product, price, or service at another business, by all means you should go there!  Customers expect employees to have strong loyalty to their employer.  Very few people in chain retail have loyalty to their company.  For most, it's a temporary job.  For others, they would shop around to find the best price, so why would they expect another customer to do different?  Even CEOs leave companies when they're going under for better prospects.  Don't use that threat against an associate, it holds no weight.

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