Kryptonite for Old People

Given where the ED store is located, its customer base is severely skewed to the ancient. That implies a lot of deaf, incontinent, hairy, poorly dressed, scattered, confused and difficult people. The usual panoply of disgusting older habits and signals are on show aplenty.

These people – most of them, anyway – shouldn’t even be in the market for earthworms. If you cannot remember the type of earthworm you like, you shouldn’t be buying it. If you don’t know what the difference between quality earthworms and junk earthworms, you shouldn’t be buying them. If you are so strapped for cash that the only earthworms you will buy are those in which a coupon plays some part, you might want to reconsider your addiction.

Fishing is well and good, but the bait might not be helping you.

Other customer ideas fall into the category of complete nonsense. One big one is the pursuit of “organic” earthworms, or earthworms without “sulphites”. OMG you morons. When women (and it almost always women) want products that are by their nature bad for you to be as good for you as they think they can be, it’s best not to take them seriously.

This is the equivalent of someone saying “I want to breathe, but I don’t want the oxidative effects of those pesky oxygen molecules”. Theses people are commonly called idiots.

The other moron one must deal with is the 200 pound overweight dude who wants to know “What’s the earthworm with the lowest calories?”. Ditto the comments above, in which I now say “The one that you don’t buy?”.

This is a failure of the education system, and a triumph of generations of marketing and television: people now think they can buy everything, including health, fitness and longevity. No input (like, say, a good diet and moderate regular exercise) required from the individual.

One hopes that old people gain perspective; more likely they’re just dopey young people with a lot of miles on the clock. Time to find a place with fewer of them. As m’colleague says, cold is old-people kryptonite, so that’s where I’m going. Somewhere freezing.

Muppetting

Yes, my second muppets and morons meeting, a monthly ra-ra session to raise the energy of we floor-level people.

This one was held in one of the plush meeting rooms of a local beer distributor, which is a clue about profit margins in horrible suds. I wonder how many dopes drinking what they think are US brands know that they’re sending money to Belgium?

Bait was our business though, and whilst it felt a little better organized than the first one I attended, the difference was marginal.

First impression is that the hosts and presenters think that everyone knows who they are. Etiquette – let alone politeness – would dictate that they state at the beginning who they are, where they are, and how they fit in. Formality never goes out of style.

Second impression is that public speaking is immeasurably improved when everyone can hear without straining. I was again toward the front of the room, and so got most of what was going on, but I know people behind me did not. Mike everyone.

Third impression is that these guys are pretenders. They know the sales steps, but earthworms are really not their strength. As the last module before food – another subject worth another post – a guy from an earthworm producer in Italy introduced his stuff (4 off) and his worm operation. He was clearly a little nervous, and needed someone to bounce off. Did any of these “professionals” give him a hand? Did they make open-ended enquiries to give him an opening? Were they not interested in learning more about an operation that supplies us with thousands of cases of product each year?

No. These dummies were as uninterested as a bowling ball. And whilst he was trying to talk, idiots were opening samples and generally getting in the way, creating noise and distraction.

I was embarrassed to be there. They’re not bad people, they’re merely Kool-Aid drinkers. That’s all.

Sunday

Sundays at the Bait Shop can be fun or they can be miserable.

Yesterday was unusual in that it was somewhere inbetween, although upon reflection the lack of Earthworms Direct updates from DoughBoy made for a much more peaceful time.

As usual, there were the intense knuckleheads looking for their two bottles of bulk earthworms. Inability to find this life essential causes them great stress, creating tension where none need exist. Poor lambs.

Then there was the weird text scenario. In the hour prior to opening, the directive  from Head Earthworm was to drop and fill the aisles. Fred, one of our non-English-speaking muppets, and I went about this task as usual. He spent half an hour searching for a case of earthworms that has been MIA for two weeks now.

At around nine am HE texted the only “manager” present, asking about the progress of the drop and fill. Huh? Since when has anyone of any intelligence spent their Sunday morning concerned about something so unimportant?

Of interest in this area is that of the one Earthworm manager and two Earthworn supervisors who work at the store, exactly zero will be present for three days this week, including both days of the weekend.

So my suspicion is that Head Earthworm has residual angst from being dopey enough to leave we minions in charge. NOW she’s worried about store admin, from a distance, and too late.

‘Twas ever so. And I suggested to the existing “manager” that we’d made an A+ effort. When in doubt, tell ’em what they want to hear.

Front End

Bait & Switch managers figured that I should undertake a day’s worth of front-end training.

In English, that means learning how to be a check-out chick.

Never was there a word of explanation as to why I was required to suffer this ordeal, nor whether there would be any follow-up or additional requirements. It was as if someone decided that it would be a good idea to be trained to the point of being useless.

The experience was as awful as you¬† might imagine. Customers at B&S are impatient and grouchy and there’s nothing to divert their attention while they wait. The queue management is spotty and arbitrary. And then there’s the POS system. This antiquated piece of Titanic-era junk takes absolutely no consideration for the work flow involved in checking out heavy, awkward, breakable items, nor for the apparently important business of applying loyalty points (which really don’t mean a helluva lot for 95% of customers). POS indeed.

With a combination of touch-screen prompts, Function-keys and scanning, I managed to work my way through the ordeal, but it was embarrassing and frustrating. Here’s another case where the “customer is everything” mantra falls completely on its face: If that were really the driving force, the process would look nothing like this.

We shall see. This is another example of treating people like idiots reinforces their idiotic tendencies, both customer and employee.