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. [More]
Carol Bartz was ousted as Yahoo’s CEO with more than a year left on her contract, replaced in the interim by CFO Tim Morse. The company has formed an executive council to search for a permanent replacement. [More]
Steve and his wife were checking out at the supermarket when they noticed something odd about the cashier packing his bags. She was ramming all his groceries like she was trying to repair a levy in a flood. [More]
Has RadioShack gone too far with its sales quotas? Allison wrote us to say that when she tried to upgrade her phone recently, the employee had to add accessories to the transaction before the system would approve it. She said he canceled some, and she ended up paying $2 for “two plastic covers for phones I don’t own.” But she says her mom had an even more bizarre experience at a RadioShack, where the assistant actually paid for the accessories herself. [More]
After fifteen minutes of being ignored by Circuit City executives, Pliego decided to try to find the documents himself. Frustrated, Pliego ultimately tapped acting Chief Executive James A. Marcum on the shoulder and told him he couldn’t find the financial statements he was looking for.
Papa John’s wouldn’t let reader Adi redeem her coupon for a $9.99 extra-large pizza online, so she trekked over to the nearest store in Weymouth, Massachusetts, where she met the franchise owner from hell. The owner insisted that the coupon didn’t apply to online orders, so Adi asked to cancel her online order and re-order her pizza in person to get the discount. This prompted the owner to angrily throw the coupon at Adi, before throwing away her ready-made pizza. And was just the start of the fun…
When reader Steve went to Wal-Mart to buy Rock Star for his daughter, he reluctantly presented the cashier with a state issued ID containing just his picture, name and signature. Steve’s job is to consult with law enforcement about identity theft, so he’s more careful than the average bear.
Scott, a member of management for a retail chain, wants to share the other side of the checking-ID debate:
Your website continually runs stories about how merchants aren’t allowed to ask for ID during a credit transaction. I work on the management team at a nationwide retailer, and credit card fraud occasionally hits our location. Every so often, we are hit with something called a ‘retrieval request’ from one of the big 4 credit authorization companies (Discover, AMEX, MC, Visa). This means we have 48 hours to provide a legible signed receipt, and video evidence of my staff checking a photo ID to verify the cardholder.
A Steak ‘N Shake manager refused to serve Karen Putz, a deaf mother of three, after she asked to place her order at the drive-thru window as allowed by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The manager claimed it was “policy” to force Karen to order like any other customer:
“You’ll have to drive around again so I can take your order through the speaker,” the guy said.
A CompUSA cashier summoned her manager and a security guard when Bud tried to pay for his purchases with cash. The promise of 40% discounts drew Bud to the Boisie, Idaho store, but he settled for a 10% discount on an iMac and several accessories.
I start counting out hundred dollar bills and the clerk goes nuts! “Sir, we don’t accept cash for this kind of purchase! You must use a credit card!” she says at the top of her lungs. (I see her also hit a button on the phone at the same time.)
Former American Airlines CEO Bob Crandall fired a guard dog at a Caribbean outpost to keep costs down. Just look at the self-satisfied gleam in Crandall’s eye. This is no mere cocktail party story, but a defining act of corporate leadership for his grandkids to cherish.
As part of USA Today’s series on retail management, the newspaper shadows a Toys R Us manager for an hour on a Saturday morning during the holiday season.
The retail industry needs more managers, reports USA Today—people entering the workforce don’t usually consider retail a viable career path: “Students find banking, technology and other fields more promising because there’s more ‘growth potential, a better work/life balance and a clear…
Alenaya traced her lost wallet to a recently visited Gap and pieced together a disturbing story:
Seemingly, walked away from register and wallet fell out of pocket. Kind customer behind me gives to cashier, who sticks it on the side of the register and does not log or tell manager my wallet fell.
USA Today has a quiz supplied by the National Retail Federation based on materials they use in their retail management and certification courses. [And if you're one of those people obsessed with taking quizzes, stop reading here until you've taken it.] It’s an interesting but somewhat obvious set of questions, all centered on hammering home the concept that being a retail manager means focusing on display, loss prevention, and customer service—but not on “long-term planning” of the type of merchandise that will be sent to your store.
Too many people wait until they hit rock bottom before seeking help from credit counseling agencies, says a New York credit counseling service. The consequence is that consumers end up limiting “the options available to them without having to make major, and often very difficult lifestyle changes. If they wait too long, debt repayment plans become unaffordable—leaving them more vulnerable to losing assets or having to file bankruptcy.”
So how do you know when it’s time to ask for help? If your monthly payments are exceeding your monthly income, it’s probably a good time. To find an agency, check out wikiHow’s How To entry, and use this list provided by Bankrate to ensure the agency will be able to provide the services you need.
Militia-funding banana company Chiquita has announced a big restructuring plan that will eliminate 160 management jobs, including 21% of the top three tiers of management, for a savings of $60-80 million dollars in 2008. The company says it will use the savings to pay down debt. It doesn’t mention, however, that last month it was fined $25 million for financially supporting both left- and right-wing paramilitary groups in Colombia from 1997 to 2004.
“Americans collectively spent more than we earned after taxes for the past two years in a row,” says SmartMoney in their latest cover story, “Live Debt-Free”. Their point: we spend a lot of time thinking about how to save and how to invest, but not enough time working out a healthy debt strategy that doesn’t eat away at our happiness, not to mention our retirement savings. They offer four different strategies for reducing your debt to little or nothing, so that you can apply your income to more worthwhile activities than fighting off your liability monster.