Do You Have Questions For A Retail Store Manager?

Do you have questions about how the business of retail works from the other side of the register? Are you curious about store credit cards, loyalty cards, confusing signage, women’s clothing sizes, loss prevention, sales goals, the all-consuming power of Corporate, or other things that form the basis of most Consumerist complaints? The Consumerist’s Mystery Manager is here to answer your questions.

Mystery Manager has more than a decade or so of experience uniting customers with their wants and needs. M.M. has also put in time at discount stores and chain pharmacies, but mostly in the midrange clothing stores that line the corridors of nearly every mall in the country. This manager was also our source for the “three refusals” side note that riled up our commenters earlier this week.

You can leave comments here, or send them via e-mail to tips@consumerist.com with “Ask a Manager” in the subject line. Hand in your questions by 5 P.M. Eastern on Wednesday, September 5. We’ll send your questions over and publish the answers next week.

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  1. Press1forDialTone says:

    “This tendency creates a phenomenon whereby the potential to be good at something can be preferred over actually being good at that very same thing. ”

    Say whatt??
    Does “actually being good at that very same thing” refer to demonstrated ability??
    If it does this is patently absurd, and reflects one aspect of why the business world is
    complete FUBAR.

  2. rgf207 says:

    /consumerist/IAmA

  3. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    I have a question.

    Why do stores install 26 checkouts (looking at you, local WalMart superstore) and then STAFF 4 OF THEM WITH PEOPLE LINED UP 10 DEEP?

    OMG that drives me crazy. I’ve been tempted to let my cart sit on more than one occasion.

    • Mr_Magoo says:

      I did that last week. I went to Walmart to get a frozen dinner and a couple of other things for lunch the next day, got to the front, and there were crazy-long lines at a few checkouts, with a bunch of checkouts closed.

      I stuck the frozen dinner in one of their pop coolers next to the checkouts, put the other stuff on top, and left.

      • ovalseven says:

        I often do that at our local K-Mart (only department store in this small town). I’ll want to pay for 1 item and they’ll have only one lane open. If the people in front of me have an entire cart load off stuff, It’s not worth the wait.

        • Kisses4Katie says:

          lol K-Mart. I worked for Super K for 3 years, from 01 to 04, and the only time we ever opened all 26 lanes was on Christmas Eve. That. was. it. (and each register had lines 20-40 people long. the horror.)
          Even on black Friday we only had about 3/4s the lanes open.

      • MarkFL says:

        Even at Target, which usually has lots of employees working at any given time, rarely has more than a half dozen checkouts open even when there are 25 registers. And their Express lanes are almost never open.

        If nothing else, this seems a tremendous waste of potential shelf space.

        (One note: Some of those rarely used registers get use during the holidays, especially on Black Friday.)

    • dicobalt says:

      What do you think is the most successful retail business right now? Who seems to be fairing the best now that many people are shopping online?

    • VintageLydia says:

      It’s largely a corporate decision. No idea why they build so many to begin with, but they only provide the store with enough labor hours to staff just a few of them. The employees hate it as much as you do.

      • quail20 says:

        The number of check out lanes being used will increase during peak seasons like Thanksgiving, Christmas and the like. They’re there for when they’re needed. But yea, whomever decides the payroll for the week always misjudges and you’ll have too few checking out too many.

        • regis-s says:

          I doubt if it’s a matter of misjudging. It’s probably a guess at how few cashiers they can have working before people get pissed off enough to shop at another store that probably does the same thing.

          I don’t really see how it can be cost effective have all that space not to mention equipment go unused for probably 11 months of the year.

    • nightshade74 says:

      Basically — the 26 checkouts serve two functions. First, fault tolerance if a register
      goes down, move to another…. Second, most should be used at the extreme busiest
      days of the year ie just before Christmas.

      At least that was how it was explained to me in the early 90s…..

      • Outrun1986 says:

        This is true, if there is a fault on a register the cashier just moves to another, so they need to have a few extra in case some go down. However even at peak times I have never seen every register filled with a cashier, I guess because of the above, there always needs to be a couple registers open. Then you have cashiers that need to take a break or lunch/dinner break, so you might get a couple empty registers open because of that. Overall it probably looks like there are more empty registers than there really are if you consider these 2 points.

        Hint if you are shopping at peak times (like Black Friday) you are better off going to the store with the most registers, no matter the situation. If I had to pick the lesser of the 2 evil’s, I would much rather be at Walmart on Black Friday than at Toys R Us, both stores will be equally crowded, but I know from experience that TRU only has 4-5 registers in the store if that, and Walmart has as you say about 26 registers. That is a big difference! But I won’t be shopping on BF anywhere but online.

      • PragmaticGuy says:

        When I shop at Costco most of the registers are open but then they’re able to get people to work there because they pay a decent salary.

        • quail20 says:

          When Sam’s first opened in the DFW area their registers were all manned every weekend. Even then the lines would stretch back a ways. The cool thing was they used to have someone go through those long lines, scan your stuff and your membership card, then when you got to the register all they had to do was scan your card and you’d pay. Really never understood why they stopped doing that or why other club based retailers never did it.

          • waterboy179 says:

            Costco still does this during busy times, but sometimes they do it to see if you are an Executive Member and if not try to tell you how much you’d save if you upgraded.

    • ilovemom says:

      So the cashiers don’t have even a second of downtime aside from required breaks. The extra lanes are there for Christmas and other peak shopping seasons.

    • hjc628 says:

      THIS DRIVES ME INSANE.

      • dangermike says:

        I’m ok with it as long as the lines keep moving. What does drive me mad is my uncanny ability to pick the one lane where every other other lane serves 2-3 times as many people before my items even start getting scanned.

        (and also, this is one of the few things I really like about Fry’s electronics… they have a single queue for their multitude of registers. When you get to the front of the line, just watch for the next green light, and you’re good to go.)

        • lockdog says:

          simple solution, just pick the lane with the cutest cashier. even if he or she turns out to be dumber than a box of hair, at least it will be an enjoyable wait.

          • dangermike says:

            Enter text…

          • dangermike says:

            Unfortunately, at the supermarket I frequent, that choice would typically come down to something like a middle aged lady with a figure like Dr. Robotnik or the one in her early 30’s that’s done so much meth that it would take a really good dentist to make her as attractive as the host puppet from Tales From the Crypt.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      I do this almost every time there is a long line, dear retail manager, the cash register is the most important part of the customer’s business, and often time the only time the customer will interact with employees throughout the whole visit. If you do not have enough registers open when I am in the store, and I need 1-2 items, I will simply do without them or drive to a different store if its something I absolutely cannot live without. If the line is 10-15 people deep with cartloads then it would take me less time to drive to another store and pick up my items rather than wait in your line to buy them.

      Also I went to walmart last night and I had the most disgusting retail shopping experience I have ever had in my whole life, and usually I don’t have a problem with Walmart, it was so bad that I walked out of the store almost as soon as I walked in, lines were no joke THIRTY people deep and wrapped around the store!!! There is no way I am waiting in a line that long for anything!

      I have honestly not been shopping at big box lately at all (I really made a mistake by trying last night), since IMO, the local grocery stores have everything I need, and the prices are better or the same as big box, thank you Wegmans for almost always having short lines and plenty of staff, prices that are the same or better than Walmart, and when the lines are long, they move fast!

    • dvdchris says:

      secondly, if a store has self-checkout registers, WHY WOULD YOU EVER CLOSE ANY OF THEM. It gives me a headache over the amount of anger and disbelief in the stupidity of any management that chooses to do this.
      I understand they have to be staffed by a monitor, but at a 4 TO 1 RATIO. Store managers, this means YOU QUADRUPLE THE AMOUNT OF REGISTERS ONE EMPLOYEE CAN HAVE OPEN. Is there something you don’t understand about this?

    • Kuri says:

      That drives me bonkers too.

    • muceybbds says:

      That’s a question for someone higher than the store manager. Managers can only use as much payroll as they’re given.

  4. Sophie says:

    Re clothing stores: For loyal brand consumers, how do you recommend we manage all the sales and new inventory? For example: Ann Taylor and LOFT stores have weekly section sales, bi-weekly markdown sales and monthly store-wide sales. They do not coincide with discount cards and emails which are for full-price items. New inventory is shipped bi-weekly. One store manager stated that many customers shop weekly, pay full-price and up to three months for a major sale to return and re-purchase the items at discount. Which sounds like a time-consuming scheme for clothing. Thoughts?

  5. Jane_Gage says:

    Barbara Ehrenreich asserts that the psych tests they give (“have you ever stolen a rubber band” “would you report someone stealing a rubber band”) are intended to break spirits and insult intelligence rather than actually serve as a metric, but most people feel they do function as a crude IQ test. Thoughts?

  6. Dagny Taggart says:

    Why do you have six people folding sweaters, 3 patrolling the dressing room, and two at the front “greeting customers”, but only one person at the cash register? A store should never make someone wait when all that person wants to do is HAND OVER SOME MONEY. Isn’t that why a store is in business in the first place?

    • JollySith says:

      I can answer that one. because when no one is checking out at that specific moment then that employee would be getting paid down time. It makes more sense to have those sweater folders function as back ups. The problem there is people. The sweater folder doesn’t want to stop what they are doing to run a register (where everyone does their bitching). So when Bob at the register gets a line that is too long he has to stop what he is doing 5 times to call for help. Everyone ignores him hoping that someone else will help him. By the time a manager puts down the magazine he is reading in the “office” and goes to the front Bob has handled the huge line and the manager yells at him for whining about a few customers.

      • quail20 says:

        That scenario depends on the chain and the manager. If both are customer minded you won’t see that. If either one is only concerned about themselves, pity the poor cashier.

        • MarkFL says:

          Even as a manager (no, not the mystery manager) I have been paged to the register while in the middle of helping a customer. I would always try to quickly get to the register, but sometimes it’s difficult without being rude to the customer in front of you. I do what I can.

          • amylynn1022 says:

            Question for the mystery manager and anyone else: Why don’t the stores have enough _dedicated_ cashiers, rather than having to page employees from hither and yon to deal with lines that are only there because you only scheduled two people at the register? As a former retail employee I can assure you that this is annoying as heck for both the employees and the customers and you probably lose sales as a result.

            • MarkFL says:

              Because if there is only one customer at the checkout, it’s pointless to have three cashiers. This holds true at all times, but in these days of minimized payroll, you can’t afford to schedule people to stand around just waiting for something to do. Management will try to plan for peak periods during the day, but this will never be 100 percent accurate. Even then, when you’re paying at or barely above minimum wage, you can’t hire the most reliable people, and even reliable people sometimes don’t make it in, so sometimes even planning goes down the tubes. I have had shifts where I ended up with NO cashier or NO barista. One morning I had neither until I could get someone to come in.

              Of course, there should be plenty of dedicated cashiers during peak holiday hours.

      • makoto says:

        This has happened to me on a number of occasions…. from the side of the cashier whose fellow employees refuse to respond and by the time someone comes to help me, there is no line and I get treated like crap for it.

  7. msbaskx2 says:

    Why do you hire the most unfriendly, unpleasant, unhappy people to be the ‘face’ of your company?

    Is it too much to ask that a cashier smile… maybe say “Hello”… tell me what my total is without looking bored out of their minds… answer my questions without rolling their eyes… and maybe say “Thank You” or “Have a Nice Day” when I’m leaving?

    I think there are enough people in the country who want to work that it makes no sense to me that a retail store would stock the place with miserable sounding / looking / acting people.

    • Mouseman says:

      If you’d ever worked retail, you’d know that when they were hired they weren’t “the most unfriendly, unpleasant, unhappy people” — having to deal with the public made them that way. I worked retail for many, many years, and while the majority of shoppers are fine, there are some real a-holes out there and just one will ruin your whole day. Add on top of that the incompetent managers and stupid corporate structure, and even the cheeriest person will have their soul crushed and their heart turn black in a short period of time.

      I crossed the line one day while our store was going through a liquidation sale (we knew our jobs were gone when it was over and I was done with retail). A customer offered me $.05 for something marked $35 and wouldn’t take “NO” for an answer. After well over 15 minutes of trying to excuse myself from the haggling and his calling me not-so-nice names and following me around, I snapped and told him to get the “F” out of my store. He asked to talk to my manager (who was also losing his job) and demanded a response. My manager, in one of the coolest moments ever, told him “Yep, X’s response was exactly right — get the F out of our store.” The guy shut up, dropped the item and stormed out of the store. I bought the manager a cigar on the last day to thank him.

      • msbaskx2 says:

        So the reason that cashiers talk to their co-workers about things like Tameka’s boyfriend and Jeremy’s skanky new ho….. is that their soul is crushed?

        The reason they answer “I dunno” while staring at the ceiling when asked a simple question……. is that someone else was there right before me and ruined their whole day?

        The reason they sigh in boredom while waiting for someone to finish their credit transaction….. is because their hearts have been turned black by the general public?

        The reason they can’t acknowledge that there is a human being standing in front of them is….. incompentant managers?

        The reason they are not intelligent enough to ring up all of a customer’s other items to save time while waiting on a price check for one thing is….. stupid corporate structure?

        • LadyTL says:

          Lord you must be insane to think that cashiers of any kind think that a customer doing their credit card stuff is the most exciting thing EVAR even though they have seen it about a hundred times that day alone and will see it a thousand more times before the end of the week. You as a customer are not the most exciting thing to a cashier. You are lucky if you get a smile because no they are not paid for kindness or cheerfulness at minimum wage.

          Also you think it is a simple question. Given employee turnover at a store though, it is likely they are new and don’t know every little inane thing in the store that a customer might want the answer to.

          Also maybe if you acted like a human being in front of them, maybe they would acknowledge you as such. Given your attitude displayed here though, I doubt you come across as human to retail employees.

        • Zmidponk says:

          Well, except for the first item where you seem to be complaining that coworkers occasionally actually *GASP* TALK TO EACH OTHER ABOUT NON-WORK RELATED STUFF (THE HORROR!!!), are telling me that every single employee in any and every retail store that you have even seen, far less personally interacted with, without exception, have all universally carried out all of the actions you’ve described? I’m guessing the answer is ‘no’. If so, take a long, hard look in the mirror, and realise that you are one of the assholes Mouseman refers to.

          • msbaskx2 says:

            In what profession, in what job, on what planet, is it okay to completely ignore the human standing in front of you that you are transacting business with, and talk to a co-worker about completely non-work related things?

            I’m ok with being an asshole if that’s the definition. I’m an asshole who has never, and would never, treat my customers that way.

            • Outrun1986 says:

              When the human being in front of you that you are trying to ask questions to that you are required because you are the cashier is yapping on their cell phone during the entire transaction and just expects to swipe a card and leave without any personal interaction.

        • Anubis says:

          A) Hire people for little more than minimum wage with no chance of advancement and tiny raises doesn’t make for the best workers. Also, stores refuse to train anyone because that would cost money, so again you aren’t getting quality workers. However, we have ourselves to blame for this in some ways. Do you shop only at the places with the cheapest prices? Then you get what you pay for.

          B) After interacting with the public, you learn that most of them are terrible human beings and you want as little contact as possible.

          I’m a cashier. I’ll try my best, but I’ve got a lot to do that you don’t know about. I have to watch for thieves, even though I’m not loss prevention. I have to make sure I don’t have too much cash in the register or I’ll get in trouble even if I have a ton of customers. I have to answer to customers I’m not even ringing up because that’s just good customers service. I know nobody will help me when the time comes and management will do as little as possible and never have my back. I know customers don’t think of me as a real human. So after having to do all that takes a bit of life out of you, and then knowing that many if not most customers are bad customers leaves me with little desire to do everything.

      • MarkFL says:

        I would add that retail pay is sufficiently low that you will rarely attract the cream of the crop to work there. If you have a really good person, it’s usually someone who is working part-time to fill time or pick up extra cash, such as a student, retiree, working mom, etc. Or someone who is doing this until they find a “real” job.

      • MarkFL says:

        A note about liquidations (you know this, but others might not):

        Usually when a store is being closed, an outside liquidator will come in, essentially buy all of the product at a percentage, and then run the store until it closes. So that unpleasant manager who was exceedingly rude to you? He might not even work for the retailer. He works for the liquidator, who you likely haven’t ven heard of, and the retailer can’t do much about it even if the company isn’t entirely going out of business. (If the company is in bankruptcy, the judge usually assigns the liquidator, so the retailer doesn’t even have a say in that.)

    • quail20 says:

      True. But most of my experience is that consistently horrid interpersonal skills is a regional experience. In the rural midwest or out in California I’ve encountered extremely pleasant retail employees. It’s in the North East of the USA, down in Florida and along expanses of the Atlantic coast that I’ve found the rudest people working in the retail world. And some of those jerks take pride in their behavior.

      Sadly, for management they’re not only concerned with an employees demeanor but they need someone who shows up to work the retail trenches. If you get hired, you show up, and you do your job without making the wrong person upset then you’ve got the job until you decide to leave. (Also, everyone should have a stint in the retail/restaurant world to know how awful the customer can be and often is.)

      • MarkFL says:

        “It’s in the North East of the USA, down in Florida and along expanses of the Atlantic coast that I’ve found the rudest people working in the retail world.”

        I wish people would quit picking on Florida for stuff like this. Do you know how many people in Florida came FROM the other places you mention? We get their rejects!

    • Jane_Gage says:

      Good ‘ol America. We want the dollar store price point without the melamine poisoning, we want to be treated like we matter while supporting a system that pays seven dollars an hour. Look at the name tag, make the person laugh, thank them. My friends asked how I got a real glass at an open bar–I flirted with her, tipped her, and told her to have a great day, imagine that.

    • anyanka323 says:

      I’m echoing what Mouseman said. Most people are decent human beings when let out into the wild of retail stores, but some people are just a-holes to retail and service workers. Some people are just having a bad day and need to take it out on someone and some people are just unpleasant individuals to begin with. Ironically enough, black Friday actually isn’t that bad in terms of customer behavior in my experience. Most people who have the time or motivation to wait in line for the early morning openings know how it is and view it as a fun, social activity to do with friends and family. They’re actually quite mellow and relaxed compared to the last minute holiday shoppers.

      Most of the time at the department store I work, most areas are understaffed for the simple reason corporate is cutting payroll for the non holiday months. Also, we are actively hiring along with most other retail, restaurants, and local fast food places, but aren’t having much luck getting applicants. Most of the ones that have been hired in the past couple months are unreliable and lazy, but because we are short handed, management won’t do anything about excessive call ins, no call/no shows, and general not doing their jobs.

      I’m in a very employer friendly state with wages not much above minimum wage for most jobs and very few full time positions available. Some people view it as easier to either keep collecting unemployment or welfare rather than get a part time job for less than 30 guaranteed hours a week. That’s sad because it speaks volumes about the decline in the American work ethic. This is in a state that is a very solid Red state and probably between welfare and farm subsidies receives more federal money than it pays.

  8. clementine says:

    The local Barnes and Noble store has gone downhill customer service wise recently. When I go in to see if they have a book and they are out, there is no offer to allow me to order it and when I do try to order it, there is a big sigh from the salesclerk. When I go for my book club meeting there (which is sponsored by B and N and mentioned in their monthly store newsletter) someone will invariably say “Oh, is that tonight? Well, just stand over there and if anyone else shows up, we will get you some chairs” (we always show up). When my office has a question about putting on an event at there store, the response is about two weeks later (and after several phone calls and e-mails). The new philosophy at this store seems to be ignore the customers and they will go away. I don’t want my bookstore to go away. How can I get my local bookstore to care again? Notify corporate or talk to the local manager? Any strategies?

    • gorfnab says:

      As a former B&N department/merchandise manager, from my perspective all I can say is that there is not much you can do at this point. B&N has failed to turn a profit 5 out of 6 of the past quarters. It’s stock is not looking good. Reacquiring B&N College did not help the balance sheet and the current plan of expanding into Europe (Great Britain) isn’t likely to work with the presence of the overseas Amazon/Kindle market. Considering how little cash B&N has left in the Bank (about 20 million in free cash flow) it’s only a matter of time before the inevitable. B&N is circling the drain.

  9. Joedragon says:

    At what point where you no longer the captain of your ship (store)?

  10. Joedragon says:

    do you like the personality tests that you need to take to get a job and how many good people that you would hire have failed them?

  11. JillMC says:

    My question is about the increasing trend with retail stores to have a sales quota for staff that is not necessarily within their control — I have heard stories of employees having to upsell a certain number of magazine or credit card offers at the register of several major clothing chains.

    It’s happened to me too – at a major cosmetics chain, the cashier was trying to upsell me a subscription to an entertainment magazine. I said no. She offered to add in a free travel-size set of makeup, but I didn’t want to get caught up in the auto-billing that inevitably comes with these subscription offers, so I said no.

    The cashier (who looked to be in her early 20s) got tears in her eyes and said “Please? I haven’t sold any today and I’m not going to make my quota. I have to sell so many of these to keep my job.”

    I have a blog that deals with retail shopping, and one of my readers recently wrote:

    “One woman’s clothing store that I worked at wanted us to sell a minimum of 4 items or $100 worth of merchandise per transaction. I would get reprimanded by corporate if my IPTs (Items per transaction) and DPTs (Dollars Per Transaction) were too low. One customer buying a single pair of clearance earrings could spoil an entire day of up-selling for me. ”

    How common are these practices?

    • anyanka323 says:

      Extremely common. Management at the store I work at is more laid back about credits and emails, but pressure is coming down from corporate that we need more.

  12. Dukebruno says:

    I can beat the 26 lines / 4 staffed. I was at the local Home Depot two Sundays ago and, while I couldn’t tell you how many checkout lines they have I can tell you how many were staffed: ***ZERO***.

    Everyone was forced to use the self check-out. Folks had lumber, pieces of furniture, I had a 31 gallon trash can.

    Home Depot to customers: SUCK IT!

    To add insult to injury, the self checkout assistance employee was a total BEYOTCH. I complained to Home Depot corporate and the Atlanta based drone who called me back asked what he could do to make me satisfied with HD once again. I had no answer. He made no effort to make amends (a $ 50 gift card might have done the trick) nor did I ask for anything.

    As the conversation ended I assured Mr. Drone that I would never set foot in a HD hell-hole again. And I won’t. Well, I don’t think I will.

    • kbsparky says:

      Should have asked for that gift card. The big-wigs are authorized to pass `em out like candy…

    • Silverhawk says:

      I don’t normally mind using self checkouts at most places, but HD and Lowe’s are the two worst offenders at /forcing/ customers to use them, and it’s irritating. I’m not buying a head of lettuce and a dozen eggs, I’m buying lumber and drywall, ya jackasses.

    • MarkFL says:

      Yeah, I kinda wonder about this. From the customer perspective (as opposed to the shareholder perspective), this was one of the biggest complaints about how Nardelli ran the company. He’s been gone for years now, but they haven’t set this straight.

      Unless, of course, you’re a contractor. Then you’re allowed to talk to the one guy in the store who knows about home improvement.

  13. eezy-peezy says:

    why, when there are long lines at the checkout, will you only put extra cashiers on when someone complains to the customer service desk? Did you not notice the situation before that? Why am i doing your job for you?

    • amylynn1022 says:

      For the Mystery Manager: Why the heck can’t any business, but especially retail, figure out how to staff appropriately? As in, sit down, figure out what jobs need to be done, how many people-hours you need to do it and schedule the people needed, when the are needed. And make reasonable allowance for the fact that things don’t always go as planned (people get sick, task take longer than expected or turn out to be more complicated than expected)? I have as yet to have a job where we regularly had the staff we needed when it was needed, even when anyone with half-a-brain could figure out when the busy and slow times were likely to be. And there seems to be an absolute prohibition against contingency planning regarding staffing, to the extent that I have had jobs where we were regularly in crisis mode due to entirely preventable or predictable situations. (Big example: my current employer asks employees with kids to have a back-up child care plan so they don’t have to call in if school is cancelled during a winter storm but it never seems to occur to them to schedule enough staff so if people call in sick we’re not in crisis mode. And no, it’s not a new company so they should have some idea of sickness rates historically.)

      • MarkFL says:

        It’s not a question of figuring out how, it’s that the budget doesn’t allow for enough people. It can get worse later in the week because if a few people don’t get their drawers counted in time, they go over their planned hours and something has to be cut later. (It can work the other way, though, if someone calls out or no-shows, or even quits — that will free up money later in the week, and someone can be added.)

  14. momosgarage says:

    So retail is in a hopless downward spiral? I don’t see many of the questions being answered by the “Mystery Manager”. I am also curious about the need for employees to upsell extras like magazines subsciptions etc. At this point I think the public should respond in kind by complaining to the store manager everytime someone attempts to upsell. Something has to happen if the store and regional mangers recieved a call or face-to-face complaint for every three attempts at an upsell. Sustained grassroots efforts could kill the practice.

    • MarkFL says:

      The original article says that answers from Mystery Manager will be post “next week” (meaning the week of Labor Day).

      As for upselling, nothing will change unless you go to the top — the execs who come up with these programs need to hear the complaints, as even regional managers can’t change it. But note that, as any communicator will tell you, what you say is not necessarily what the listener hears. If you complain about the upselling, upper management will likely interpret that to mean that the salesperson was too aggressive, even if they weren’t. These folks have MBAs, so they know everything about managing the company, ya know…