More Shelver Confessions

You guys are better than therapists, you know that? It’s true. I can blab on about work, and you don’t mind, or at least you don’t mention minding. Because oh my GOSH work drives me insane sometimes. Also, I figure that if I can vent a bit about what drives me nuts as a shelver, it might help you guys become better customers as well.

Those two goals, venting and improvement, are why I do my Shelver Confessions sometimes. With that in mind, here are a few more.

1. Always, always, always be nice to your cashiers, because working at the register sucks. It’s part of the job, I know, but do you have any idea how soul-sucking it is to be stuck behind a counter UNABLE TO MOVE and forced to repeat the same questions over and over again for eight hours? That’s what being primary register means. All of the other employees get to flit about helping customers while I’m practically chained to the drawer. I’ve yet to meet anyone who enjoys being primary, so please, be nice even if we’re grumpy with you.

2. Speaking of registers, you know how we keep trying to get you to buy a discount card? It’s because we have to. We hate selling those stupid things as much as you hate hearing about them, but we have a quota that we must fill every single day. My managers send my percentages to their boss (the district manager) every two hours. I’m being watched, y’all. We’re also told during the interview process that falling below quota consistently is grounds for termination, no matter how good we do in other areas.

3. I admit that I consistently undersell discount cards, because it’s very hard to sell something you don’t believe in. I believe that unless you buy large amounts of books from us ($200 worth or more per year in my store), the card isn’t worth it. Most people in my store seem to average around $100/year, which makes the card pretty useless. However, there are some people who either buy books consistently enough to make the card worth it or are coming in for one huge purchase, thereby making it stupid NOT to get the card.

4. This year for the holidays we had to collect donations for a charity. We’ll do the same thing at different points throughout 2013 for different charities. It’s a good thing. We’re giving back as best we can. And while we often offer really cheap and awful books as a way to tempt people to give (“It’s only a dollar, sir!”), our manager encourages us to pick out our favorite books (at retail price, too), so that the kids have good books. It’s surprising how generous people can be. Remember, it’s all for a good cause, so don’t snarl when we ask. We have to. We have a quota for charity donations, too.

5. Oh, another holiday note: I hate Elf on the Shelf. I seriously DESPISE that little thing. This one is a personal thing rather than a store-wide sentiment, but I confess it nonetheless. I marvel at how easily customers let retailers dip into their wallets. Elf on the Shelf is not a time-honored tradition. It’s a creepy doll and an overpriced DVD made to sell a book, and the book is made to sell the creepy doll and overpriced DVD! It’s a scam! It’s only a “fun holiday tradition” because marketers wanted to find yet another way to make you spend money on junk you don’t need. Plus, think of all the money you’ll have to spend on therapy.

6. The last thing I need you all to know is that while I do enjoy working in a bookstore, my day-to-day satisfaction rests almost entirely in the hands of the manager. My mom can tell when I’ve come home who my manager was that day. Was it the General Manager, a cool, relaxed, and thoroughly awesome lady? Was it the equally cool and relaxed Pony-Tailed Associate Manager? Either one would be awesome. They’re nice, understanding, and great about making sure we take breaks and keep our morale up. But if Other Associate Manager is on duty, you can forget about it. I tense when I see her coming. I cringe when I hear her voice. I growl her name under my breath. She’s a gem with customers and the District Manager loves her, but no one else (not even the GM) likes that woman. So if you decide to get a job in a bookstore, scope out the managers carefully.

Well, I feel much better. Thanks for listening. If you have any questions or confessions of your own, the comment section is all yours. 🙂

13 Responses to More Shelver Confessions

  1. Christine January 25, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    I feel your pain about working a register — I swear I used to have nightmares where I just kept asking those same questions over and over again, they were so ingrained in my brain!

    I also really hate that any retail store has quotas like that for the employees. Most of that stuff isn’t anything people want or need so you are at a distinct disadvantage. And the WORST if you ask me is when they have to try to get you to sign up for a store credit card. I’m really sorry you’re supposed to sign up a certain number of people, but there is no way I’m going to trash my credit by signing up for multiple store cards, just to get 10% off. I almost always will give a donation though, so hopefully I’m not a completely awful customer 🙂

    • Shelver 506 January 25, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

      No, not awful at all. 🙂 Thankfully, our card is a discount card and not a credit card, and the only time we truly get irritated at someone for not signing up is when they’d only have to pay like $5 to get it, because it REALLY trashes our quota AND they’re essentially throwing away money.

  2. Christina January 25, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    Good lord, what is that elf thing? That is horrifying. I never want to see that ever again. *shudders*

    • Shelver 506 January 25, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

      I agree. It’s like the Christmas version of Chucky. Don’t ever let it into your house.

  3. Brandy January 25, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    2. I never get mad about this because I know you have to ask. (And I actually probably should have one because I do spend that much. I don’t know what bookstore you work in for sure-but the one I go to regularly I should have a discount card for. Hmmmm…maybe I will make the day of the next cashier who happens to serve me at the store.) But I had no idea there was a quota. That is utterly ridiculous. You have no control over what other people choose to do with their money. Ugh.

    5. How stupid people get about that ridiculous elf just perplexes me to no end. Of course, we don’t even do Santa Claus at all with our kids so…(Not that we think Santa is evil. We read stories about him, watch movies with him, and listen to music featuring him. Our kids just know he’s made up and from whence their presents actually come.)

    • Shelver 506 January 25, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

      2. Right?! One of my first questions was about market saturation. If we do our jobs the way we’re supposed to, eventually everyone we can possibly convince will have one.

      5. W never believed in Santa either. Most people acted like our childhood was RUINED, which is just silly.

    • Brandy January 27, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

      I don’t see how anyone’s childhood could be ruined by their parents choosing not to elaborately deceive them on a regular basis. It is awkward when adults talk to them about Santa like he’s real and my kids are looking at them like they’re insane.

  4. Ems January 26, 2013 at 12:12 am #

    ELF Therapy…YES. Luckily, my parents didn’t ever buy into the hype, so I was spared that. However, just seeing that creepy little thing in other homes has done enough damage. *shudders*

    I haven’t ever agreed to the discount card because I don’t go to physical bookstores often enough (we don’t have anything other than the huge chains or I’d totally do the locally owned ones), but I do always donate to the charity drives. I know how important it is to support those, especially when they’re local. Gotta do my part!

  5. kimbacaffeinate January 26, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    {{hugs}} as someone whose family owned a store, I know what cashiers such as yourself have to endure. Lovely vent and all so true!

  6. Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings January 31, 2013 at 10:28 am #

    I hear ya! I worked at a retail store where there was a store credit card and we had the same thing where we had a quota of how many credit cards we had to “sell” every day. However, our store was close to the Canadian border, and Canadians can’t get American credit cards, so half the customers weren’t even eligible, but corporate didn’t care about that :-/ I was very happy to leave retail, and now am always as nice as I can be to store assistants!

    • Shelver 506 January 31, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

      Haha, working in retail and dealing with other retail workers can be such a double-edged sword. On the one hand, I try to be nicer and more patient than all of their other customers, because I know what it’s like to be on the other side of the counter. On the other hand, I KNOW what they’re supposed to do and not supposed to do, so I have less tolerance for slackers.

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