I tend to try to make my posts balance between happiness or joy and the things crushing me at the moment. Sadly, this won’t be one of those posts… I will try to keep the complaining to a minimum. I have been under a colossal amount of stress and it doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon.
Most of it stems from my current job.
I have always struggled at my jobs. I have been in retail for more years than I can believe. I have been working different forms of retail for a decade now. Whether it was working for my mom at art shows, the gas station, or like now where I am selling bread. Retail forces people to interact often times in the worst of conditions under duress with a massive differential in terms of power. “The customer is always right,” that creates so much stress when it comes to power in terms of the relationship.
I am sure people will say that it isn’t a relationship. Technically it is. It is the relationship of a seller and a buyer. Patrons and patronage are a viable interaction. It is important. Unfortunately, that interaction is almost toxic in most retail positions here in the states. It doesn’t help that the concept of being happy and content in a job is not part of the equalization. So our customers come in angry to deal with people who are miserable….
That is belief and I am not going to use that as an excuse. It is just something I have noticed.
Now where I work I would be happy. I am in a small(ish) bakery, that should be producing exception bread and sweets. We have a lot of different factors stressing out everyone involved due to problems with management (or lack there of,) the constant construction that is strangling our customer basis, the slipping of basic standards due to what feels like the owners’ disillusionment with what is going on. I have feelings on what I could say to blame it on him about it, but I understand. He has an incredible amount to consider and as of a few months ago he was forced to carry more of that burden than he has in years. Yet he is slow to exact change and progress. His hesitation and lack of will to seek out progress will shut his business down.
The business has been there 22 years, and will be closed by next summer if he continues.
Anyways, that is the backdrop for it. Sorry, I know it is a lot of set up… but it is hard to look in on the situation without some semblance of what has been going on. And a lot of the problems stem from what is if anything a good idea that is good on paper…. but terrible on implementation. We have a sample board.
Our customers can come in and get a small sample of the bread and get an idea of what they think of the bread they may be buying. It is intelligent really, seduce them with excellent bread, ensure that they will be happy, and watch them pay up nearly six bucks for a loaf of basic white bread. Yet, that idea doesn’t work. It is a failure due to the way my boss goes about it. Because instead of wetting somebodies appetite, he is feeding customers. They can come in for a free sample of bread. They can get a massive slice of bread with butter (and they used to do honey…) We probably are giving away nearly $500 a week in bread or the equivalent of $26000 a year.
$26000 a year in free bread.
That is an incredible amount to give away. That isn’t including the amount being trashed when people touch the bread. Which used to happen all the time, until I built a barrier for it. People still try to touch the loaves. That number is excluding the butter given out and the time spent at the board. Now, that number could be looked at an investment towards future sales but that concept is shaky. We don’t require people to buy anything to get a massive sample of bread. People have told us that they are coming in just to get a slice. Or they are getting lunch or dinner in the form of a free slice of bread with butter. Moms and dads bring their entire family by to get free bread. People drive out of there way to get it, then leave. Hell, the local high school used to have the track team stop in to get free samples for the entire team. Those kids who do it may buy a loaf finally after about ten years, but that is a stretch. The others won’t be back to buy, but to keep trying breads.
There is no way that is sustainable.
Now the customers expect massive slices with enough butter for 2 loaves of bread. They will refuse to talk to anyone until they have a bread sample. More than half the people who come in the store pull this with us, and we are stuck watching it happen. Its beyond disrespectful. Frankly, there is nothing we can do about it either. My boss laughs it off and then curses the customers. Or like last night, I got cursed out by a man who thought it was rude we had broken down the board when we always do. He was angry he came in and couldn’t get a sample for him and his wife. I apologized but no it was rude. All because I explained that we break down the board.
Anyways, I have to get into work and will explain more later on. I hope everyone has a pleasant enough day. Take it easy.