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January 21, 2007


Amazing to have someone create an entire (one page) blog to respond to your original post. That's cool. Sorry they didn't link out to your original post.

This line gave me pause and a chuckle: "Then you have those customers who get to the front registers, decide they don't want something and just leave it at the front. Okay, no big deal, but what happens when you - the BUYING customer - want something that was left at the front? We can't get there fast enough to put things back because of those customers who left things in the fitting rooms for us to clean up!"

As a former retailer, I never leave anything in the dressing room - it is, as the secret blogger says "rude." But - as a member of the buying public, let me clear up this little gem - more than half of the customers in line are "impulse buying", which means ring 'em up quick, or lose the sale. They may be passing through a store at lunch, or walking through with someone who is on a mission - but if you don't have registers open, staffed by competent, knowledgeable people - you are losing money.

If your cashier is only knowledgeable about the POS terminal (the register) but not the categories or merchandise - when something is inevitably plopped without a price tag at the sales desk - you are in trouble. Retailers need people to react quickly. No one in line wants to hear "price check" or "children's dept. to register 5" - we are there to hand over cold, hard cash - you make me wait - you lose.

I recently visited a large grocery chain here in Boston and all I needed was a few hot chili peppers for a recipe - but the entire handful that I picked up did not register on the scale. The cashier looked through the flip book of produce, glanced at the line and said to me "How's about $1.25" - I said sure, transaction complete, line moving.

Retailers: If a customer has taken the time to try something on and get in line, they want it. You can only screw up the transaction by taking more time to ring it up than it took to actually shop for it. THAT my friends, is preventable loss.

Empower your people to make decisions on the spot and you not only make the sale in the moment, but you get them back again. Try to remember that - it will make more of a difference than all the loss prevention programs ever conceived.

Lori, I, too was in retail management for a thankfully brief but educational moment.

I was a manager at the Chicago Water Tower Place A&F store (a magnet for Chicagoland teenagers, a.k.a. terrors with credit cards), and on a busy day, it sometimes seemed impossible to keep up our store standard while keeping the line moving. The smart, motivated college kids we had on staff sometimes crumbled under the weight of the consuming public. At a certain point, the indecency of the average shopper (who, I believe, is affected by some sort of mob mentality on busy days) can take a toll on even the most well-managed, diligent employee. For ____ an hour, I can see why they'd throw up their hands in disgust and quietly smirk as the store goes to hell.

I don't really have a point other than that I can feel their pain. And I'm stoked that someone blogged about it.

From what I know of Kohl's (some directly, mostly indirectly), Kohl's seems to try to be an "upscale" K-Mart (are they still around?). They try to have good merchandise, but look more like a supermarket in layout (cash registers up front, maybe one service desk).

So, it seems they are going on the cheap for operations, but trying to attact a different type of customer. Ultimately, you get what you pay for or what you expect -- both from your employees and customers.

Hopefully, the passion the Dallas Kohl's employees show for their job does get them a promotion because they seem to know the right from the wrong in how the store should look and operate.

A short take: If management wants to know how to improve their business, ask and listen to employees--frequently.

"It's interesting to me that it took that long for action to happen. The message on my voice mail from the VP of PR was left on Monday, January 8th, and only 10 days later did someone actually go and clean the place up."

We seem agreed that it's a local management problem. Anecdotally we have good stores and bad stores in different areas. Even

Eight working days seems like plenty of time for your typical org to respond. Queries fly up and down, denials fly to and fro. If local management (in Dallas) is guilty they're buying time and obfuscating. Eventually higher up lights a fire under the right manager and things happen.

If the management and other Kohl's employees cared as much as this person, there's no way you would have seen what you did Paul. I completely agree this person should be promoted if discovered.


Dimes to donuts, I'll bet the employee gets fired if discovered. Doesn't exactly sound like the company would "value the feedback" from this employee. Too bad too.

The employee has valid points and I support their disgust with some consumers, but the store management really needs to work on this. The employee/s can only do so much on their own and with their passion/ caring.

Sounds like the company (locally and nationally) needs more of these problems brought to light. If they happen to come visit, and I hope they do, I hope they will see the value in all of the things that have been said here (and more importantly) on the employee blog... but it doesn't look good so far.

"Your average Kohl's customer shops the store with Wal-Mart money and expects Barney's service. They take several pieces of clothing into the dressing rooms, try them all on and then leave them there. Okay, this happens. But then you all expect us, the employees, to clean it all up because "that's your job," you say. Right? Well, as long as we're having to go behind each and every PIG that shops, we aren't able to assist you on the sales floor, aren't able to get more product onto the floor (replenishment), and we aren't able to keep the sales floor in pristine condition."

Call me crazy, but I'm betting that every time this employee sees a customer go into a dressing room, that they think 'there goes another PIG customer'.

Too often, the perception becomes reality. Sounds like this employee is in a pretty crappy retail reality. I'm betting their actions have at least SOMETHING to do with that. I'm all for listening to the employees that are interacting with the customers, but the employees STILL have to do their job to the best of their abilities, no matter what they think of their 'lazy' bosses and 'pig' customers.

Lori- I think the blame definitely still lies with the management and corporate offices. In all jobs, you have to set the employees up to succeed, and obviously they're not doing that. Maybe they should call us in to supervise? :) Probably not...

Clay- Same deal. I can definitely feel the pain of working in some shitty job with shitty customers bustin' up the place, but it's still the job of management to staff to a level where both the line keeps on moving and the store stays clean. If that means purging customers, so be it.

Mike- Yup, Kmart's still around, but just barely. I think I read about them doing some ill-fated ad blitz, too, actually. Anyway, I think Kohl's wants to be the Target of department stores. Only problem, I've never walked into a Target that's run like that. Maybe there are target's like that out there, but I haven't see 'em.

I guess they can just hope there are no camera phones wherever those are. :)

Brian- Fair enough, I'll give you that one. That wasn't a totally unreasonable length of time...

Matt- maybe instead of the site we talked about, we need to start a campaign to get this guy moved up to management! ha!

Tim- Yup, i'll agree. Not much of a chance that the employee will get too much praise. That's s shame.

Somehow I doubt they see the value in any of this...

Get your ass back to the states, my friend!

Mack- I agree, but that's tough. There's only so long you can go working your ass off, picking up the slack for other lazy co-workers, for 8 bucks an hour, especially if management does nothing but eat doughnuts. Not sure if that's really the case, but I'd probably say screw it, too, if I was in that situation...

oops, I came here to dice-up the state of the union address. I guess I have the wrong blog :-).

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