Shift

Seems that the Bait & Switch store manager under whom I have labored quit yesterday.

Two points of interest.

1. She gave two weeks notice. What kind of manager has to give that kind of low-level indulgence?

2. I found out from one of her subordinates.

It’s  a reflection of why she’s going. Any normal manager at an establishment with fewer than 30 employees would talk to each person individually. How hard would it be to take everyone aside for a minute, and say, simply:

Hey, I just wanted to let  you know that I’m leaving. Best to hear it direct from me, and I want to thank you for your help and support.

Unworldly; unsophisticated; not classy, inelegant: any way you choose to think of it, this process is that of a bogan. Which, now I think about it, is precisely the zeitgeist of my place of employment.

Tidy

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.

Back to Basics

It’s just a bloody shop.

Keep it properly stocked. Keep it clean. Keep it organized. Make people feel welcome. Don’t put up with any shit.

In the last week: we are out of green “Out of Stock” tags. We ran out of both our best selling red earthworms and a top-five white earthworm variety. Scheduled tasks (centrally determined, BTW) were not completed more than 50% of the time.

I could go on.

When “managers” look up towards corporate rather than straight ahead at the people walking through the door, stuff goes wrong.

When edicts from someone thousands of miles away are perceived as more important than what customers ask for, stuff gets missed.

When no-one has the ability to create systems that simplify and work, someone loses.

When no-one feels sufficiently strong to start the process of starting from scratch (every so often) there is no future.

There is no future.

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.