Reflections on the Week

Since last Sun­day night, I’ve been work­ing overnight shifts at work reset­ting my depart­ment in prepa­ra­tion for the hol­i­day sea­son. I had to do the same thing this time last year, but this year was a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent ball­game, it seemed. 

  • I feel like last year I had much more sup­port from man­age­ment than I did this year. My cur­rent assis­tant man­ag­er was very encour­ag­ing and did help to set one counter while work­ing days, and yes I do under­stand that she could­n’t work overnights with me due to anoth­er assis­tant being on vaca­tion this week. I had a dif­fer­ent assis­tant last year (the one which was on vaca­tion this year), and she not only worked sev­er­al side­coun­ters but also “threw her weight around” to get room in oth­er depart­ments to store new prod­uct, mak­ing the entire tran­si­tion­ing process much easier.
  • Also, last year, I had a much more expe­ri­enced crew work­ing with me–two depart­ment man­agers, the receiv­ing man­ag­er, and the pre­vi­ous­ly men­tioned assis­tant man­ag­er. Their com­bined expe­ri­ence eclipsed mine, and togeth­er we kicked some seri­ous butt with­in that week­long peri­od.

    This year, my crew was three non-super­vi­sor asso­ciates who did­n’t have a whole lot­ta expe­ri­ence with reset­ting side­coun­ters, deal­ing with assort­ed or cross-ref­er­enced mer­chancise (which is plen­ti­ful in the toy depart­ment), or using the rel­e­vant hand­held com­put­er functions.

    I’m not try­ing to say I regret the crew cho­sen for this year. No, I great­ly appre­ci­ate them, and I owe them big for the week they gave to me and my depart­ment. How­ev­er, my only oth­er expe­ri­ence with reset­ting toys makes for quite the uneven comparison.

  • From what I can remem­ber, I had much less mer­chan­dise left over which was delet­ed off our sets, not trait­ed for our store, or clear­anced last year. The­o­ret­i­cal­ly, shelves should be set in a cer­tain way, which also helps with famil­iar­i­ty with the lay­out if peo­ple vis­it oth­er stores. How­ev­er, it is often nec­es­sary to put some of the old back into the new, rear­rang­ing every­thing to make room. Right after reset­ting the depart­ment is not when man­age­ment (at least at my store) wants that stuff worked back in. So space has to be made else­where, which is a pain. Any­way, as I was say­ing, it seemed as though I did­n’t have too much of that stuff left over last year. This year, how­ev­er, I now have around some­thing around 88 feet of shelf­space (not to men­tion quite a bit on the top ris­er shelves) ded­i­cat­ed to this to-be-phased-out or out-of-sea­son mer­chan­dise. Hor­ri­ble, hor­ri­ble, hor­ri­ble.

    Last year, to her cred­it, the receiv­ing man­ag­er was some­what of a clearance/toy depart­ment guru, and it is pos­si­ble that she dealt with the major­i­ty of this left­over stuff while I was­n’t looking.

  • What did go smoother than last year was the amount of stuff we left at the end of the night. Last year, we had almost twen­ty carts sit­ting around either in the back hall or on the sales­floor of stuff we did­n’t have time to work yet. This year, we kept the num­ber of carts down to three or less, unless I am for­get­ting some. My crew did a great job in han­dling that 88 feet of mis­cel­la­neous stuff!

It was a long week, one of the only weeks in which I was able to work some over­time hours in. I’m glad it’s all over, though there is still much to do–flags need to be made and hung, mer­chan­dise needs worked off of the stor­age trail­ers, ris­ers need to be sort­ed, the 88 feet of stuff needs dealt with, and all my sum­mer-ish or clear­ance fea­tures need phased out into new items.

Retail: the quick­est way to dis­lik­ing the hol­i­day season.

I can’t wait to get A+ Cer­ti­fied. All in God’s time, I suppose.

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Rick Beckman