Workin’ hard

My fellow assistant manager is one of those people who is really cool as long as things go his way.  He is admittedly, more efficient than I am both at getting things done himself and utilizing the help he has to get things done.  I’m improving on both counts, though.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m too nice a guy that people don’t always bust a gut to get things done on my shift, or if it’s that I don’t give clear enough goals or instruction.  My counterpart is very aloof and doesn’t like to be bothered while he’s working on his stuff.  That’s not a good thing, but at the same time, I think he gives the associates clear assignments before he disappears.  It seems to work as far as getting things done, but it’s not my style.  I think management should be approachable and supportive.  I think I am those two things.  I just need to be more assertive, decisive and authoritative.  I truly don’t care about being liked.  It’s more of a confidence thing.

The best managers I’ve had over the years have been nice and approachable, but still commanded respect because they were clear about what they expected, and were not afraid to both delegate and to express disappointment and discipline when necessary.  I respected and liked those managers.  I strive to be like that.

It’s challenging to get on people’s cases for not getting things done sometimes because I struggle with it myself.  The job is fast paced and demanding, with CONSTANT interruptions.  But there are times when I’ve thought that I could work circles around someone and I am too gentle in telling them to pick up the pace.   Part of the reason for that is that I have a hard time relating to people who are not self-motivated like I have always been.  Many people will get work done when you give them a specific goal and check up on them.  The checking up on them is the key part for most, which I tend to lag on.  When I’m given something to do, I want to do it for my own sense of satisfaction upon completion.  I’ve had one or two associates like that in over a year as an assistant manager of a dollar store.  I’ve realized with some disillusionment, that even good workers usually need to feel that someone is watching to put the maximum into the job.  Maybe that’s fair, if they think you won’t notice either way; whether they bust their ass or slack off.  I know it’s on me as the one in charge.

People might think that being an assistant manager of a dollar store is easy, but there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.  Like many businesses these days, discount retailers rely on minimal staff/payroll to maximize profit.  A “fast paced environment” means understaffed.  “Multi-tasking” means doing three peoples’ job (for less pay than your predecessor).

It is what it is, and I strive to do it to the best of my ability.  I feel that I am continually improving, but it’s frustrating, especially because I could be doing so much more.  I lacked support or guidance when I was younger.  (See Father’s Day post)  but I’m not blaming disappointments in life on my parents.  The choices I made and actions I took, or didn’t take, are mine to own.  That’s what keeps me going.  If I blamed everything on others, I’d be bogged down in self pity and bitterness.

So, I do the best I can where I am while looking ahead and trying to plan for the future.  That’s all anyone can do.

Dark thoughts of a retail worker

I try to keep a generally positive attitude in life and keep my blog upbeat as well.

Sometimes, though, I don’t feel real positive, especially toward the end of a work day.  That’s when we do “Recovery and facing”.  Recovery is returning things to their rightful place, and facing is pulling product forward on the shelf to make it look nice and neat and “full”.

What a mess people make.

Clothes on the floor.  Do you just drop clothes on the floor at home that you’re not going to wear?  The toy aisle is always trashed.  Do people not make their kids put their things away at home?  I guess if you don’t know how to act in public, you’re not going to teach your kids to do so.  I made the comment once to a former coworker that I think people make a mess on purpose.  He said of course, and that “we” used to do that when we were kids and now we have to clean up when other people do it.  I said, “Who’s we?  I never did that and neither did any of my friends.  Our parents would have had our hides if we did that.”

Then there’s the lady who comes in every day just to put things out of place all over the store.  I figured out who was doing it because she did it right behind me and when I turned around, saw the foreign item she had deposited.  I couldn’t believe she was that brazen about it.  I wasn’t 100% positive that the item wasn’t there before she came in the aisle and back out real quick, so next time she came in, I looked around after she left and found stray items in the usual places, so I knew it was her.  I planned to confront her, gently, the next time I saw her.  I did a sort of double take when she came in next, but was busy waiting on customers.  She must have seen the look because she got real sneaky from then on, and I haven’t even seen her.  She sneaks in and out, never buys anything, every f’ing day.  She must have OCD or something, but that’s no excuse.  I have bipolar, but I don’t go around behaving inappropriately.  She must live within sight of the store since she seems to strike when we’re real busy and don’t see her come in.  She’s like a ghost – a mess making, pain in the ass ghost.

As I do my recovery at the end of the day, I can’t help thinking that it’s people who don’t work, and white trash, and ghetto folk, and the lower segment of the population.  I get some dark thoughts, like thinking of some people as “welfare rats”.  When I find messes, I think “scumbags”.  I don’t like to be that way.

Then there’s the theft.  When the anti-theft alarm at the door goes off, a lot of people don’t even stop or make eye contact.  They know you can’t chase them.  Although, my former manager, now at another store, does just that.  They haven’t fired her yet.  ha ha

Just as annoying, or perhaps even moreso, perhaps because of the brashness of it, are the bogus “returns”.  You know when something is not right.  Either they stole it from another store, or they just took it off the shelf and “return” it.  You ask questions and try to make it difficult for them, but in the end, you end up giving them a refund.  Of course, you can only give store credit without a receipt if it’s over $5.00.  If you aren’t sure it’s bogus, you know when they want to buy cigarettes with their ill gotten booty, that it is definitely not a legit return.

I sometimes find myself saying, “I hate people”.  I don’t like to be that way.

That’s why I try to keep a rapport with some of the regulars I’ve told you about.  I dont’ want to dwell on the negtives.  It only gives them power.

So, after venting, I still believe that most people are decent.  If shrink is at 3% and setting off red flags with Loss Prevention, then that means the overwhelming majority of people deign to pay for merchandise.

P.S.: I had to edit this post a little.  I was getting really sleepy at the end when I first wrote it.