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I finally have a job! It is a casual part time/ on call job. That means that I can quite within an hour of not wanting to work there anymore. And in reverse, they can fire me an hour before a shift should start. Let’s hope that doesn’t need to happen. That was just a scary detail of signing that type of contract; their ability to fire me with very little notice. I should say, lay me off, because I don’t ever intend to be fired from any job.
Anyway, casual par time/ on call means that I work very limited hours (13 at the moment) and am expected to be available for other shifts with little forewarning. I am ok with this. I kind of have to be, but it’s a job and it’s income. Since I don’t have rent or utilities to pay, it goes to food and other (other being either saving, traveling or fun money).
Besides being a source of income, it is something to pass the time and to give me some sense of accomplishment. Yes cleaning provides a result and is an accomplishment in that way, but with cleaning all the effort is instantly undone. The first person to use the bathroom after it has been cleaned always makes me a little angry (not really, but there is a sigh of resignation to the fact that the toilets and showers will never always be clean). But, with sales, it is different. When a sale is made, it is made. There is no undoing that sense of accomplishment and having done something. It isn’t the greatest and most fulfilling sense of accomplishment, but it’s enough.
As I am sure most of you know, a lot of retail chain owners/ corporations create a competition between sales representatives. I understand where the idea comes from. If each person is trying to outdo the other, than there will be more effort put in and more money made. That makes some sense. But it doesn’t make a nice work environment. I feel it could really hurt working relationships and take away any sense of team work that might be needed. With that said, the company that owns the shop I work it, expects competition between sales people. And well, they don’t get it. Hanmer Springs is tiny. There aren’t many sales to be had. If the employees were fighting over sales, the store would fall apart. Instead all of my coworkers are relaxed about sales. While there are individual and store sales goals each day, it is looked at as something to strive for, but don’t let it ruin your day if it can’t be managed (because often it can’t).
I’ve got a training manual that I am slowly but surely reading through. There are even questions I am supposed to answer, role plays I should be doing with my coworker and then little tests at the end of each “level”. I have yet to have to complete a test or do a role play, but I am answering the questions after reading the prompts and then asking about anything I don’t understand. So, hopefully I am making a good impression.
Sometimes while reading the manual, I can’t help but laugh. The way certain things are phrased is hilarious, or the detail that is gone into or even how seriously they are taking what to me seem to be obvious things. First there is a section on personal space. It gives the rough measurements for intimate, personal, social and some other zone of space that I can’t remember. It teaches you which zone you should be in when greeting a customer. Which zone you should be in when asking questions/ helping the customer. And then finally my favorite what zone you should be in “when getting down to business.” They actually use that phrase.
Then there is a diagram on which directions you are allowed to come towards a customer when trying to cross their path to initially greet them…..a diagram. About which directions to use to walk towards a customer. In order to cross their path to greet them. Apparently, saying “hello, how are you?” is too pushy unless done as an aside while pretending to do other work….I do understand not wanting to seem overly enthusiastic and scaring customers away or just annoying them, but a diagram about the proper way to approach someone? Really? Some people just have too much time on their  hands to think about and devise strange things.
My favorite bit from the manual is one sentence. Once sentence describing the difference between men and women shoppers: men are hunters, women are gatherers. I kid you know. That is the entirety of the section about different shopping types based on gender.  Who thought that was a legitimate sentiment to put into a training manual? It almost seems rude and is very stereotypical of them.
Anyway, working retail isn’t the most glamorous of jobs, but I have met some nice people, become inventive in finding chores to do (took a mop and managed to make it into an indoor window cleaning device) and get to look at pretty clothes all day….(if you know me, that is funny).