Thursday, July 7, 2011

Double Rainbows, Grandpa Pizza, and Dancing With the Hired Help

It's been a rough week. I feel worn out and beaten down. I caught a horrible cold, missed some work, and spent three days in bed. My lungs still hurt and I'm still exhausted, but I'm heading back to work in the morning.

Bear with me, I'm still groggy so I'm having a bit of a ramble today. We all went to the store a few weeks ago. My daughter needed clothing for her new job. It was late in the afternoon and we were lucky enough to get rain. My daughter ran in with the baby and I was a bit disappointed because I wanted to point out the rainbow for him. My husband and I lingered in the parking lot a bit longer to gaze at the rainbow. It seems I saw them more frequently in my childhood. Perhaps that's due to an ever present drought. The rainbow was strong and complete, and became a double rainbow before we went inside. Beautiful.

Grandbaby loves pizza. He doesn't, at his young age, look down on his grandpa for working such a lowly job. One evening my husband called me after work to ask if I needed anything. Grandbaby was sitting on my lap and when he heard Grandpa's voice he smiled and pointed at the phone and said "Pizza." When my husband arrives home at night Grandbaby and dog run to the door to bark together. When I open the door and he sees the car he yells "Pizza pizza!" He also wears the uniform hat any chance he gets. Whenever we introduce a new food to the baby I suggested that we cut it in a triangle shape and call it pizza.

I know I've discussed work before but I've never wanted to get so specific that someone figures out who I am and where I work so I can be fired, but sometimes corporate ideas are so stupid that you have to vent. I take my job seriously. I do the best I can possibly do. I consider myself quick, efficient, and kind, and I have never had any problems or complaints. I work in a grocery store and as I myself am a shopper I think I have an idea of what people want. I want to get in, find what I need and get out. I want fresh product on the shelf, plenty of sale items to choose from, and a quick checkout. I do not want entertainment. I don't want to be followed about while I shop. Get in, get out, that's me.

We have someone new in corporate. He has new fresh ideas to take us to the next level in the shopping experience. He thinks we need a heart shaped bulletin board in our break room to share our great ideas about doing good things at work. He thinks we should do videos and photos of employees at work and post them to the company website. He suggested employees use their smart phones for this which really amuses me because a previous communication warned employees that cell phone use on the sales floor both ON and OFF the clock was forbidden.

They also want us to fist bump and high five each other when we pass on the sales floor. The worst idea ever--they want us to drop whatever we are doing when our new store song is played over the intercom several times a day and dance and sing. I was hired for customer service and cashiering. I will not leave my customers waiting in line while I dance. Fire me. This is not a Texas Roadhouse, or a strip joint. It is a grocery store, ask a few shoppers what they actually want, better yet go back to school.

This is in a store that needs some improvement. Dairy products are often found a week or more out of date, equipment breaks down, proper rotation isn't always followed, sale stickers are left on the shelf from the previous week, and I suspect product in some departments is relabeled with a new date so they can sell it past the sell by date. It's not pretty. You could add a few employees so there would be more time and attention spent pulling products and setting up the sales. You could stop freezing the pay raises of your lowest paid employees. You could hire someone just to inspect the store on a daily basis to ensure there are no out of dates. But no, you have the best idea, a little song and dance will fix all that.

One last note, company loyalty and pride is never forced. It is earned after learning how to treat employees fairly and doing the right thing. It is earned after treating your customers well. Song and dance? No thank you, I'll go elsewhere where I will be appreciated, dignity intact.


  1. Methinks this new corporate person won't last long.

  2. Fist-bumping and high fives? What if you have your hands full? How old is this person suggesting this? So, what do customers do, fall over whatever you dropped to dance? Wait for your dancing to be over so you can answer a question? Stupid ideas, all! I don't fist bump or high five anyway!

  3. I believe it's called gilding a dead (or dying) horse, to mix metaphors.

    Your last two paragraphs say it all. A store with critical needs, and the solution is song and dance. Good luck in your job search.

  4. Oh my, it's been a while since I worked for a large retail company but I do remember the absurd ideas and policies we were instructed to follow. Things that were so out of touch with what shoppers were in there for....I don't think I could handle it now, all the stupidity that comes from the top. Feel good in recognizing what probably is more important and knowing what works for you. I'm sorry that you aren't in the position to run the show.......Hope things work in your favor.

  5. You sound like a hard worker. I would hire you in a minute if you lived in New York and I would NEVER make you fist bump, high five or sing and dance. When I see that stuff in ice cream shops and restaurants it just makes me embarrassed for the employees and I leave. Good luck to you!

  6. I hope you're better soon! These things are so frustrating because there's no pill you can take to make them better.

    And I'm with you on the grocery store thing--I want to get in, get reasonably and fairly priced produce of good quality (not past their sell-by date! O_o) and get out. I don't need fist-bumping staffers. I just need workers who can tell me where the pickling salt and the cider vinegar is.

  7. Some employees idea of dancing could be nearer bumps and grinds that I don't want to see. Nor would I want my children exposed to it. This could be lawsuit land or maybe just desert when they chase off all the employees and customers.

  8. Greetings from the PNW: iatwp, your post proves that sometimes the only thing that keeps you sane at work is one's loving family at home. Running a business isn't that complicated as you pointed out, grocery store...concentrate on selling groceries the best way you know how. Hospital...let nurses concentrate on providing care for patients. Don't require so much charting/documentation that half their time is spent in front of a computer. Can you tell I'm a nurse? :) It's not just retail companies with wacky ideas. Luv hearing about your wonderful family. Hang in there.

  9. I probably read most of your post with my mouth hanging open. If corporate really want to know how to improve their stores they should take their grandmothers, wives, sisters and friends with small children through the store with a realistic grocery list and listen to their comments.

    It sounds like they are trying to improve moral when they should just start with the basics of good business. Have a clean organized store where prices are clearly marked.

    I would be sorely tempted to ask a friend to send a e-mail to corporate complaining about staff dancing in the aisles.

  10. Holy Smoley! Fist bumping and singing and dancing in a GROCERY STORE! I hate that crap when I see it in restaurants, I sure as heck don't want to see it in a flipping grocery store.
    I'm with you, Working Poor. Give me a clean, well-organized store with quality products at reasonable prices. If I want to be entertained, I'll go to a concert or the movies. I hope some of your customers start complaining about the new practices to management really soon.

  11. Arghhhhh! Blogger ate my comment! Anyways, I agree with the above posters, no amount of dancing in the aisles, or high fiving is going to substitute for a clean, well stocked, well run establishment. It's been years since I worked retail, but I remember this kind of mentality from corporate so well. I'm with you. Yikes!

  12. Oh, how I hate things that humiliate the employees. My department used to put on a renaissance dinner for the community--requiring teachers to dress as clowns and entertain the patrons. Luckily, the brains behind this left and no one wanted to continue the tradition.

  13. My dad was a grocer. He and mom owned and ran a Mom n Pop operation in a small town and customer service was their hallmark. Dancing in the aisles was NOT on any ToDo list and all employees were treated like royalty. Dad had a list of folks who wanted the next available job opening. Customers appreciated personal service, fresh merchandise, good prices and quick check out. Maybe it's cuz Dad was no smart-alecky Ive League school grad but in the 1930's had gone to business school and actually CARED about people? Hm. Could all be. I hope you find the respect and appreciation you so richly deserve, WP!!!

    Mother Connie