As I may or may not have mentioned on here, I work in Homebase, which is something like the 2nd or 3rd most popular DIY store in the UK.  I know I didn’t mention that last bit. Quite how they managed this considering how they run the place is beyond me.

More jabbering after the cut.

I started working there about, four and a half years ago, tops? Realistic enough estimate. Just for the record here my store had had several different managers, who right when they seem to be getting good at it, they either leave or are replaced for seemingly arbitrary reasons. This also goes for Supervisors, and Line Managers, its the same principle. With managers, so far we’ve had Scottish Ian, who literally threw out shoplifters, Big Kevin, who actually did work out on the shop floor, Scottish Ian again and Useless Gary who swanned about the place and annoyed absolutely everybody in the store. Right now we have Nondescript Jim, who might do things but I just don’t know because I never see him anywhere. He’s better than Gary, in any case. When considering a paralytic granny could do a better job this isn’t particularly difficult.

Now, you’d imagine keeping a store like ours – who apparently, is one of the best in the entire chain – Is no easy task. Its certainly not made any easier by some of the questionable decisions that are made. For example, I keep asking to get a better contract of hours because frankly, my current contract is, in a word, shit. Its only 8 hours, but bear in mind previously I always did a lot more hours than contract, almost up to full time hours in some cases. I digress. You’d have thought with my willingness to do extra hours, (because like anybody else in the UK I like owning pieces of paper with the Queens mug on the front) I’d have been easily granted a better contract with more hours, right?

Apparently thats not the way it works, as it turns out theres an “overtime ban” in place right now. Ignore the fact that other people are doing overtime. Ignore the other fact that theres been at least six – count them, six – new starters since that ban was put in place. Now, I’m no rocket surgeon, but surely if you’re employing more people, then you have more hours to spare? But not in Homebase! Also feel free to ignore the fact these new people are doing overtime.

Now, you may think that they have money to throw away with such reckless and
frivolous disregard of the store budget. Apparently not! Somehow, among the four tills we have if you gutted them for parts you’d only get about 1.3 working tills out of them, at best. Also one of them only has half a counter. Meaning I (as I usually end up on this one) have to controt myself into all sorts of strange positions trying to get hold of customers items, but you can reference a previous post for that.

Also take into account that the majority of these tills haven’t been in full working order since I started working there, over four years ago. No matter how many times I go on about it, not just for my sake but customers who inevitably get pissed off when out card readers don’t work, or I accidentally f-bomb when I’m trying to “fix” a scanner gun – usually by hitting it, as this often works – usually most people see the funny side of this though, which is a good thing. I don’t want to get hauled up in front of Nondescript Jim for telling my scanner where it can shove itself.

Its not all technology, though. Some of the staff we have appear to be plain useless at their job. Much like the people on the customer service – sorry, “customer service” – desk who repeatedly and without fail ignore me when I’ve been shouting them for article codes (essentially shorter barcodes) and price checks for 5 minutes. Also this ties in to how those who print LIS (price) labels or put out POS (point of sale, fancier price cards and posters and so on) don’t do their job right as often there’s a wrong label, or a missing one, or so forth. There’s also the entire logical proposition that customer is in fact dumb and can’t read our giant signs.

In response to the almost nonsensical distribution of budget, I’m fully convinced that most of our budget goes towards paying electrical bills. A little bit more background information: we’re located on a retail park, on a main road, about 10 minutes from a busy shooping place which recently was actually underwater. Despite this there are times when the place is utterly devoid of life except for some staff milling about not doing very much, usually in the evenings. For example, weekends. Weekdays generally have a better spread of customers through the day, but not by much. We close at 8PM on Saturdays, when in fact after 6:30 PM or so there are – and I’m going to use the technical term here – bugger all customers. Surely, we could close early on Saturdays and therefore <emsave money by not using the electric, paying wages for those hours we’re closed, and generally having a grand old time? Well, believe it or not we actually used to do just that, close at 6PM on Saturdays.

“But whats the problem then?” I hear myself thinking because none of you lot are saying it. Some Genius up in Head Office that decided that opening until 8PM was a better idea for what I’m sure is a perfectly good reason, if you consider a perfectly good reason to be utterly devoid of logic. Same thing goes for Friday nights, we open until 9PM. Why bother? Most of our clientele at that time is out on the town working on a badass liver disorder (by which I mean getting stinking drunk.). Its even better on 10% days (10% off everything in store) as we open until 10PM. Who is going to come rushing in on a Friday night at 9:50PM deciding they absolutely must redecorate their house, or buy a pallet of garden furniture? Nobody who hasn’t been out working on a badass liver disorder for the past 6 hours, thats who. Well. One person did that, buying about £350 worth of tiles one Saturday evening. Once. In four years. Why bother when you can come in on a perfectly reasonable hour the following Saturday morning, when its still a 10% day? Then again, the customer thought process isn’t something that is easily deciphered, even by eminent behavoural psychologists armed with really big clipboards and mustaches.

I could probably ramble on for hours about whats wrong with this store but I’m probably getting a stomach ulcer thinking about it. But maybe thats the sour milk I ingested this morning. I know I should have left it when I had to put a slice of it in my coffee this morning.

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