Saturday, October 1, 2011

In which I make a Wager

Yesterday was a hard day at work.

My job title specifically is In-Stocks, and yesterday was not a good day to be on the in-stocks team.

Part of what we do is physically move all the stuff the back room is pulling as dictated by the computer system onto the sales floor, which is commonly refereed to simply as the line. If there are lots of things sitting back there waiting to be pushed out, the line is full. If everything has been moved out to the floor, the line is cleared.

Now there are lots of variables to exactly what would cause the line to be particularly full or empty at any given time, everything from when the backroom gets the information (top of the hour) to when the in-stocks crew took their lunch breaks.

Yesterday had one person scheduled for opening, which makes for a harsh start to the day anyways, and it happened to be one of the new guys who also needs to leave after only 4 hours for class, both of which made it that much harsher. Me and one other had the mid shift, and there was one for close.

This was pretty minimal scheduling (as some days will have a total of 6 or 7 people), and a newer break down of times. When I first started, the usual schedule of 4 put two openers and two closers, and I'm not sure how well the change to having the opener leave and two people do a mid is working, but that is merely slight back story and otherwise unimportant to the day.

This weekend is also parent's weekend at CU, which meant the store was much busier than usual. Which is just a big bullseye for causing bad days for those working at Target.

(Dear Cassi, did you see my subtle pun there? I thought you'd be proud.)

So, the opener of in-stocks never did get all his scanning done, much less start moving stuff out from the line. The other mid and I jumped in to do a little damage control in the backroom when we got there, as it really was looking pretty bad at that point. You know, just like it looks at that time EVERY day. But we were getting it under control pretty fast, and thirty minutes later I jumped off to go take care of the drastic count report.

This is something that the opener is supposed to get done as well, except that when there's only one opener they are definitely pushing it to get all the morning scanning and signing done on time (even when they're veteran team members) and with him needing to leave after 4 hours he simply never got a chance to do the drastic count report. But see, this is a commonly occuring problem, and our Team Lead told me to make sure it got done the days I had the mid shift if the openers didn't get a chance.

So again, a little crazy, but not anything strikingly out of the norm for my job.

And then, the Executives started getting involved.

Yesterday had two big problems with Executives. First up, there were too many of them and not enough low level sales floor personal. And second, the one "in charge" of it all was the intern.

Yep, we have an intern Executive. Who regularly makes me want to start banging my head against the wall.

When she was the LOD (that would be the fancy Target acronym for the person "in charge", which I always thought meant "leader on duty" but then someone else said it was "leader of department", so now I'm not really sure) a few days ago when I opened, she started hollering at in-stocks that there were six pulls on the line at 9:30 in the morning and that we needed to come back and get them cleared out right then.

But you see, 9:30 is a half hour BEFORE we are ideally supposed to be done with all our morning scanning chaos according to our Team Lead. And that's not even related to when we HAVE to be done before we start screwing up the drops in the computer system, which would be an entire hour after that. And it takes 2 veteran in-stocks people exactly 30 seconds to move 4 pulls from the line when stuff starts getting crazy, so there being 6 really isn't a concern to anyone on in-stocks in the slightest.

So we'll just put out the subtle idea that she has no idea what the in-stocks team does in the morning, much less any idea of the time frame we follow, and that I find the combination of her lack of knowledge and her need to be yelling at us for things we're not actually doing wrong mildly irritating.

And that was *prior to* yesterday.

And yesterday, the intern Executive took it on as her personal mission in life that the line should be absolutely cleared at all times (but if the line is always cleared, then what do the in-stocks team members DO?? Exactly...), and then started hollering for the sales floor team to come work out pulls (which most totally suck at, and should only be used in truly desperate times like during the back-to-college mayhem), while completely ignoring my attempts to tell her that in-stocks really could and would get it cleared out in the next hour.

So I stopped doing the drastic count report (which is supposed to be done by noon every day, but why worry her about details like that) to go move out another half dozen pulls in thirty minutes.

And then, when I went back to my attempts at getting the drastic count report done for the day at about 12:15pm, a backup call went out to the front check-out lanes. Admittedly, I was totally blowing it off, because damnit, I needed to get this drastic count report done.

But remember how there were lots of Executives? Well, another one that we shall call Lord Voldermaunt started individually calling out via walkie-talkie to the entire sales floor to find out whether they were backing up to the front. I attempted to briefly explain that my partner in crime single fellow in-stocks team member had just gone to break and that I was still trying to get this already late report done while also continuing to ensure that the line didn't take another dive into the shit-basket, to which he responded that I should take a break from doing all that and go back up from the front.

I may have been wearing my not-a-happy-Marty face by this point, but I went up to the check lanes anyways, where I was told by the GSTL (Guest Service Team Leader, the one who is both in charge of the check lanes AND actually standing up there to survey the present damage) that they were fine and didn't need me since 8 people had already come up.

But hey, at least I was fond enough of my job mature enough not to mention this over the walkies to Lord Voldermaunt as I went back to what I had been doing.

I did finally get the drastic count report done and turned in, and promptly made a bee-line to my government sanctioned morning break while only mildly regretting not having a flask in my purse (the chocolate cupcakes in the breakroom significantly helped the regret to only be a mild one).

However, the happiness over surprise chocolate was short lived, as the intern Executive called the daily huddle shortly after my return from break and again demanded for sales floor people to grab pulls upon it's conclusion, completely disregarding details like the arrival right then of our third in-stocks team member of the afternoon and the drastic count report now being done and that we had been our breaks as having any influence to the present state of the (not really all that bad) line or what it might look like in, say, 45 minutes. 

Miraculously, the next couple of hours were fairly Executive free, and even included a pleasant book-filled lunch break for me.

And then the changing of the guards happened, where the opening LOD (that would be the intern Executive I'm just so fond of) hands off the "in charge" aspect of the store to the closing LOD. The closing LOD for yesterday was one I usually get along with fairly well and therefore hadn't been dreading the arrival of, and whom we shall call simply refer to as Capt'n Jack.

Now unfortunately, Capt'n Jack is a yeller by nature. And truly unfortunately, he began his assessment of the state of the store at the front and moved to the back, so he was quite thoroughly pissed at the sales floor people doing poorly with their work before he ever even got to the line in the backroom. And exceptionally unfortunately, his arrival was right after the two mid in-stocks people had been on lunch and the closer in-stocks guy had been on his first break, so the line wasn't at it's prettiest right then.

And so, when he called out over the walkie that he wanted to see in-stocks back at the line NOW, it was a safe bet that this wasn't about to be pretty.

When we arrived, the intern Executive was dishing us up on a silver platter to Capt'n Jack about how she'd blitzed the line multiple times that afternoon and we just weren't getting our work done at all that day and that her needing to rely on the sales floor for moving the line was why they hadn't gotten their zoning done.

(Thanks intern Executive, all of us on in-stocks loves you so much more for pulling shit like that.)

And because we were in the backroom and not out on the sales floor, he could bellow at us to his hearts content.

And then you know what we did? The three in-stocks team members cleared that mother fucking line completely bare-boned empty in 40 minutes, and had a solid 10 minutes after that before the backroom got more pulls together for us.

We *may* have gloated about it ever so slightly.

"Hey Capt'n, your line is clear!"

"Hey Capt'n, in-stocks is going to go run some abandon real quick because the line is clear."

"Hey Capt'n, did you hear that in-stocks cleared the line and that backroom still doesn't have any pulls for us yet?"

So then Capt'n took me and my fellow mid-shifter aside, and made us a little wager. He said that we could get it cleared out again from all the evening drops before we left at 7, he'd buy us Starbucks.

There were a lot of evening drops yesterday (from selling so much crap all day long to all the stupid college students and their parents, since apparently their precious can't possibly buy their own paper plates and Easy-Mac), and we worked our asses off to get everything out.

But we did it, and officially had the last pull out, worked, and the trash cleaned up at 6:50pm.

As I was sipping my venti hot chocolate, I had the thought that it wasn't really worth it. I worked HARD that day. And I didn't want an overpriced hot drink as a reward. No no, I wanted the Executives to leave me and the rest of in-stocks alone.

I fully believe that in-stocks can (and regularly DOES) get all their shit done, and we don't need Executives micro-managing every second of the day  to do so.

And I want to prove it.

I want to wager with Capt'n Jack that if we take care of business an entire day without Executive involvement, he and the other LOD's will back off and stop throwing hissy fits about the line.

Odds of success in this venture? Probably pretty low... but I'm still thinking I may try it anyways.


  1. you know, i think there's something that happens to a large number of perfectly pleasant, normal ppl when they are promoted to management. the part of their brain that thinks logically and makes sound decisions is taken over by a little parasite called dumbass. it's a very tragic condition, especially for fellow managers who have NOT fallen under that parasite and anyone & everyone w/in the host's path.

    good luck w/ your next day of work & not being micromanaged!!!

  2. Sorry about your day. =( Managers suck. They all seem to forget what the lower level employees do, even if they were promoted from that exact position. Must be a disease like carmar says. Good luck with your venture!

  3. I worked retail for 14 years, and you make me so happy I'm not doing it now. I firmly believe that executives were cushy college degree carrying spoiled kids who never had to actually work retail. Now I sit on my ass all day and miss the calories I burned running around like crazy - but not enough to go back.

  4. Today was another intern-in-charge day. These days make me sad. And marginally homicidal.