People have tells, just as businesses have tells.

Businesses are easier to judge, because they’re not intended to be multi-faceted, like people. They make steel, or create PR campaigns or sell groceries; there’s no secret as to the beginning and the end.

At the Bait & Switch shop, the story is the same. You decide to purchase your favourite kind of bait, so you make a trip to our store. We stock your bait, and we advertise good prices.

But when you arrive, you find we aren’t that keen to sell you what you want. We have another kind of bait, one of which you have never heard. Insisting upon choosing what you have come to buy, you can’t help but feel like you’ve done something wrong.

If you look closer you might notice some things – the fact that the store’s kinda messy; that it’s dirty; that the employees are detached; that there are few systems; that it’s confusing. Working there is worse. Systems are weak or non-existent; policy is only poorly developed or barely matured; managers look up toward corporate functions rather than straight ahead at customers and workers; that confusion reigns and no-one is king.

Simplicity takes work, but is always worthwhile. Start at the beginning and examine the reason for doing anything, and it soon becomes a habit to not do useless stuff, which creates room for the good stuff.

Keep it tidy, and all else will follow.

Walking Dead

Friday night and a special treat arrived for some of us at the Bait & Switch shop: an off-site event.

A local institution (coughcoughRinglingcough) was the beneficiary of the largesse of the Dodgy Brothers. A walk through the grounds was punctuated by stations of food and bait, all for the low low price of $135 ($175 for VIPS). Called the……Bait Walk, it had the potential to be a cluster, especially given the organizing ability of the Bait Manager in charge.

I was situated at the first tasting station. With me were three other Bait Associates, all of whom were Kool-Aid-soaked deadshits from other stores. OMG these guys had zero personality, and less customer rapport.

Two of them took one bait type each, leaving me with the red bait – two bottles. The other one stood (literally stood stationary) behind us and did nothing but opened containers.

As the line became longer, and people began to linger at the tasting table, I figured to move up the line to those people waiting. At no time did this other bozo take over from me, nor offer any kind of contribution.

Then there was the situation with sample (pour) size. My first information was we were pouring 4oz, then it became 2, and at the end of the night the word was 1. OMG, these idiots. And there was little guidance as to anything else. As the people moved along the walk, we were left with no-one to serve, and the monkeys descended into boring shoptalk. I kept apart and silent. That was for the best.

Happily I was out of there at 9:00 pm, with a 9:00 am start the next day. But as an example of just how poorly disciplined and organized these people are, there are few better.


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.


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.