30 September 2007

Saturday at Borders

I spent yesterday -my usual day-off, working at the Borders in Montclair. Starting at 6 am, I spent the morning shelving and helping Lyly get the store back into order.

I'm unsure how she felt about this, but when she left that store 2 years ago to take on Rancho Cucamonga where I work, she left a store in a great position. Even after she left Rancho to take on the very troubled Chino store, I don't think she think in a moment she would be back at Montclair to put it back in order.

But, alas, she is back.

And at first, I thought maybe it was time to let Montclair go, especially after Barnes & Noble opened a huge store with in the Montclair Plaza Mall. Plus, over the last few years, the Montclair Borders stock began to fall, as Rancho stole a bunch of their customers. And couple that with the new B&N and many staff issues, the store was quickly becoming a pariah.

Just last week I found out they were down to two IPT people, their GM had quit and their superviser staff was down to a few. Lyly, who is damn good at what she does, was asked to come back and right a lilting ship. Got to say, even after a week back, she's got the sort room close to where it should be, as she told me that they had over 7 pallets yet to sort through.

I spent the day just shelving, but she had to make sure I was not fixing the sections as I went along. She was concerned about just getting stock on the shelves, which is really the key to all our sales, no matter how much the company wants to focus on customer service.

But she knows me too well, and she stopped me from fixing the computer books. Just get the stock out, she chided me. Got to tell you how hard it was not to want fix these sections I worked on, from trying not put the books in alphabetical order, and taking titles (especially in the computer section) that don't belong where they're at.

But I did as she asked, and by 3pm, most of the back room was empty. I got home at 3:25 and nearly collapsed. It was hard work, really something I'm used too. But still, by the sixth day of work, I'm tired.

I missed Heather's baby shower, and I sent a missive to her myspace to explain it. I lover her to death, but overtime is what I need, especially afte the recent car thingy. It's hard to explain to someone that money -stupid money - stoppped me from going and enjoying myself. And, I suppose, I could've gotten out earlier or even got to Heather's late yesterday, but I figured even if I showered and got out of the house by 3:45, it was still a 45 minute or so drive to Sunland. I would've had a half-hour (for it was over at 5) to spend.

So, hopefully she'll not hate me too much.

Anyways, back to Montclair. The store, besides not being in alpha, looks pretty good. It needs a strong leader, which Lyly is and the previous manager was not. It will never be the money making store it once was, if only because B&N is making it difficult with its store right in the mall itself. But, if a the right person is selected, one who can bring the store back from its tipping point, I don't see why it can't get better. Lyly is only staying for a while, as other plans are in the works for her.

I told her I kind of want to go to the Mira Loma when it opens in February. She was surprised and said that it was further away than Rancho. I told her I was aware of that, but Rancho offers nothing in the way of a challenge, plus Mira Loma is one of the first of the new concept stores in California. It's designed to address the changing music and DVD market, as it will be a store that people can download music -much like what Starbucks is doing. And I kind of want to be a part of it.

She also asked me why I turned down the supervisor position, and basically told her that I now realize where I fit into this world. I'm not cut from the same cloth when it comes to being any sort of manager. I can be a leader, but my brain is not wired to deal with so much gobbly-gook that it takes to be a manager. Plus, I don't think the customer respect us workers, yet they expect us to respect them. I told her I would say something that might get me fired, so I said it was better to keep me on IPT.

Besides, I know, and she knows cause she told me, that Rancho's success is because of me. That Jeff would be at a loss if I left and went to Mira Loma. We'll see. And I know that sounds arrogant, but when I took a week off in August (when I knew things would be slow, so my loss would not be that great) both Natasha and DJ verbalized to me that they missed me, because things that normally got done, little things in some respect, where not getting done.

They seemed suprised, I guess. But that's my greatest strength. I know little reward (as in money) will come my way, but this is what I'm good at, this is what makes the stores I work in bring in the money.

As I mentioned earlier, the company is so concerend about customer service and its investors, they don't realize that the key to the success of any store is the ability to get the stock out in a timely manner. If the product is out, the customers will buy. Yes, customer service is important, but to trim hours forcing IPT to work FOS (cause their hours are guaranteed) and register effects the ability to get the stock out.

But, at the end of the day, I'm still unsure about my future. Most days, I still want to work at Borders, as I still love doing what I'm doing. But there are times, when money comes up short, that I have to make a choice soon; get a part-time job or find something else.

And to be honest, the only thing that appeals to me at this time is Starbucks. I think there is a great company there, one that treats it employees (or so I've heard) with diginty and respect.

Funny, how it all comes down to respect. I just wish our customers saw us more than just stupid folks who could not get a real job, what ever that is. But that is for another post.

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