Sunday, September 23, 2012


I was hired onto the Pencils crew in 2003 when the choice for me in jobs was between a restaurant cook and pencils tech "guru". This was back before the EasyWreck and CSL and many other areas were added. The job was easy and I quite enjoyed going in and talking to managers and being a part of the team... I will say that the bonuses were a lot bigger when I first started, "Think 3-400 dollars a month extra". This all changed about a year in when bonuses became non existent.

In the first few years there was a thing called mystery shop where someone would come into the store and check to see how long it takes you to say hi to the person, if you hit each question you were supposed to ask, and whether or not you were certain heights or had your name badge on. Multiple times we got our "test results" back and they were completely off. It really isn't hard to figure out who this person is. When someone walks into the store and asks questions in the copy center but don't get copies and go directly into OS and BM asking all kinds of questions while not buying anything and also watching their stop watch like a hawk. Being 6'4 and not a small guy it was amusing when these tests came back showing me as under 5'9 and having glasses and no name tag.

As to managers, I've had different experiences. My second store was absolutely nuts. The general manager was never around and when they were it was in the office doing nothing of real meaning. The "sales" manager decided that her button down shirt should be unbuttoned a few buttons to many in order to "entice" male customers to buy service plans from her. The operations manager could not stop flirting with a CC employee and even went as far as to take the same lunch breaks and normal breaks with her while hanging out almost exclusively in CC and asking her to help him do planograms. Somewhat discouraging, but thankfully she refused all of his advances. I just wish HR would have listened.

Customers weren't even my biggest frustration I suppose but here are a few stories.

During the time allotted for 'blocking'/pull lists/cleaning the store/tech work/whatever else managers dumped on you, I found a 9 mm bullet behind a ream of paper. I've walked into the bathroom after a customer to see poo all over the toilet and on the walls... THE WALLS!!! Come on now..

There was a customer that came in saying he wanted to use his grandmas credit card to buy a laptop and "She said it was OK!!!!"  so we refused his offer of purchasing a computer. He and his sister promptly started swearing up one side and down the other of me and telling me where I should shove my copy project I was working on. My manager came over, looked at the customer, said, "We can't take it" and he started swearing at her. She told him in no uncertain terms to get out of the store or police will be called and he ran away like a little child... Man I liked that manager.

I can't comprehend why a customer would call you on the phone and then ask you to walk them through fixing their computer.. As if we had enough time during the day to spend an hour and a half telling you how to insert disks into the computer and install your printer for you because you are too stupid to know how to plug a USB cable into the computer and let the disk run. I'm sorry sir, I did not know you were disabled...

Customer interactions were generally,

Me: "Hey can I help you today?"
Customer: "Yeah I want to buy a new modem for myself, which do you think would work best?" While pointing at a new desktop sitting on the shelf with a tag that says "HP PAVILLION DESKTOP PC"
Me: "You mean desktop, sure this one would work well for you!"
Customer: "Ohh, no I wanted a new modem because my old one isn't working with my monitor anymore!"

If a customer came in spouting all sorts of useless knowledge about certain products in the store, generally my brain shut down. I do not care the repeating process of a wireless g router and that you need one that will work at a 500 repeat rate blah blah blah blah.

No sir, I did not know that this "ubs" stick that is 2 gigaHERTZ would run at 5 teraflops a second in your linux... And frankly..... Please show me this new technology!

When Windows Vista came out there was a general outcry about how terrible it was. Almost every person that came in for a new pc walked out very disgruntled that there was no longer support for windows xp and that they would be charged for us to put windows xp on for them and some drivers may not work well. The same is true when Win 7 came out. I'm sorry... I didn't know you were so attached to an outdated operating system that is a complete piece of junk.

Back to managers.

The first store I was at was simply incredible. I really enjoyed it and they were fun to work with. My managers trusted me with their passwords and such to get things done and not have to do as much "grunt" work during the day. When I transferred, I had built rapport and been doing things for long enough that certain tasks such as looking up an item under my managers password were second nature. Well, one day at my second store I was looking up something under my new managers password without thinking and she was standing there watching me. Lo and behold I got in a fair amount of trouble for using it, rightly so, and I felt bad for not asking and thinking about it. What I DIDN'T realize at the time was that later in the day I would ask her to find something out for me on the POS400. I stood by and watched her put the DM numbers into the computer... I asked her, "Didn't you just get mad at me for using your password... And you're now using the DM password? Does he know that you do that?" To which she replied "editted for the younger readers", "No, I just watched and learned his password. Don't tell him. And I'm a manager so its different that I use his password." Of course this meant, "You ignorant little *@!$ why would you question my !@#$ing motives and you better sit there and take my berating otherwise you're fired."

Man that grinded my gears.. That and seeing her stand around talking to the "mobile tech" while her tits were flopping out of her t-shirt like nasty sandbags on her large "not big boned" frame.... 'sigh'.

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