Saturday, April 15, 2006

Hello? Is This Thing On?

Hey! Lookee here! It's my blog! I forgot all about this thing.

No. Not really. I remembered every day, and the guilt gnawed at me. OK. Maybe not gnawed so much as nibbled. For a while there I thought maybe the Medieval One had turned out to be right. Maybe I really had run out of stuff to say about working at Big Bookstore. I thought anything I might say would be the same old crap, recycled. But now it seems I have the opposite problem - way too much to say and not a clue where to start. And many of the things I want to say aren't even fully formed thoughts. Also, not so funny. If you're looking for the funny, sorry. Life at Big Bookstore kinda bites ass lately.


Due to some, um, irrational exuberance in the hiring arena, the store has blown its "manpower budget." As a result, everyone's hours have been cut. This has led to no small amount of bitching, moaning, complaining, a few spittle-flecked rants and one or two death threats. The full-time booksellers can't afford to have their hours cut. Losing even two hours a week for a full-time bookseller might mean the difference between eating Ramen every night and splurging on the Kraft Mac n' Cheese. Seriously. But management tells us that sales are down, therefore staff hours must go down. If we want to get the hours back up, we are exhorted to sell, sell, sell.

But here's a nutty thought: if you want sales to go up, you need to have more sellers, not less. I know it sounds crazy. I know it's really wacky and Out There, but trust me on this - fewer booksellers is not the answer.

Friday night was perfectly illustrative. It's the Friday before Easter. People are shopping for Easter presents. Selling to people the week before a holiday is like one of those canned hunts they have down in Texas. Just flush the customers towards me, and I'll bag them. They want to buy. They yearn to buy. They need to buy. And if booksellers are available to place merchandise in their hands, buy it they will. But in order for that to happen there must actually be booksellers. See how that works?

We closed tonight with three booksellers. Three customers came to me at the registers in the space of 20 minutes and said they had looked for help on the bookfloor and couldn't find anyone. Of course they couldn't. The Information Desk was completely unstaffed for the better part of an hour. Two of us were at the registers, and the remaining bookseller was helping in the Cafe, which was also shorthanded. So. Not one single bookseller on the bookfloor. Yeah. That's going to really increase sales.

This, ladies and gentleman, is what we call a negative feedback loop. No booksellers leads to lower sales, which leads to a lower manpower budget which leads to lower sales. See where I'm going with this? Here's a suggestion. Why don't we fire the nutbag bitch on the night crew who has been caught sleeping on the fucking job three times? Then you could give some of those hours back to the people who actually want and need them. Just a thought.


I would just like to give a big and hearty FUCK YOU to the Assistant Manager who just quit after being with us for all of two months. It's not that I blame you for taking a job that paid 30K more than the crap pay that Big Bookstore doles out to its managers. Totally understandable. But blowing off your entire last week of shifts because you had already given notice? Totally fucking lame. In your eagerness to fuck over your boss you fucked over all the people with whom you were scheduled to work.

Here's the worst part. We fell totally and completely had. We liked you, man. We respected you. We knew you probably wouldn't be around for a long time, but we were happy to have you. You seemed to get us and we thought you liked us back. Turns out you didn't even respect us enough to not fuck us over by showing up for your last week of shifts. That's the kind of shit normally pulled by some YPOT barista.

Congratulations. You suck.


A perfect Big Bookstore Saturday night moment:

Foam Party, the closing manager, over the walkie talkie: "Did anybody leave a pair of underwear in the men's bathroom?"


Blogger Gerbera Daisy said...

Happy Easter!!! It is good to have you back to form!! Loved the rants and can completely relate to all you have said.

9:54 AM  
Blogger justdrifting said...

Couldn't have said it better myself - said manager-who-left did everything wrong. Soon as he got a better job we were dead to him. Even those of us who had "bonded" with him somewhat. Plus he left a big mess for someone clean up, as in cutting staffers hours with no rhyme or reason. Easy to take the ramen out of folk's mouths when you make over 40K.

2:42 AM  
Blogger mimiNowinChina said...

Greetings from Hong Kong!

Apparently the Chinese government, in co-operation with google, has deemed "disgruntled bookseller" as subversive so I have been forced to sit in an Internet cafe in another country to catch up on the bast year of misdeeds.

Miss you!!!

7:56 PM  
Blogger Nel said...

Canned hunts are banned in Texas. And no I still don't speak spanish even though I'm in South Florida!

If you are wondering Nel has to do with the tat on my back. I know you really loved it when I got it. Heehee!

9:58 PM  

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