Archives for category: work

I never fail to be surprised at the incredibly strange decisions that Homebase makes sometimes constantly.

Guess what we’ve just got in stock today to be saved in the warehouse.

That’s right, Christmas Trees!

What the fuck Homebase, Its not even the end of September yet! The first floor of the warehouse is literally filled to the brim with trees, with no room for anything else up there. I also know for a fact that the majority of customers will only buy trees a few weeks before Christmas, or afterwards, because around those times you can usually get some insane prices on usually expensive gear. Last year, we were selling off 6ft fibre optic trees for £4. £4! £4. No wonder you aren’t making any goddamn money.

So for anybody wanting to buy Christmas trees at Homebase (not likely for any readers here, but you never know), leave it until a few weeks before. These are valuable tips from insiders, you know!

Long time no post, apparently. Blame that on work. I blame a lot of things on it, myself.

OK, so a few days ago we got the results for last months “Mystery Shopper” surveys. Basically if you don’t know what these are, its where some person wanders around as a customer taking note of whether they get good service or not, basically. There’s not really much more to it than that.

Back onto the topic at hand, we got the results and they were decidedly average. They found problems with the four areas they look at, which would be the exterior of the store and the front end area, two questions to shopfloor staff, and the checkout process. I didn’t pay too much attention to the shopfloor because that was OK, on the whole. Now, regarding the tills and customer service, this is where the bulk of the problems were.

The short story is that on the tills, the cashier only offered basic service, didn’t talk much to customers outside of basic service lines, and didn’t ask for the loyalty card. This was pretty much how it went on the customer  service desk, for the record. Also, no smiles were offered.

Sounds pretty bad, right? Well. Don’t jump to conclusions just yet. Lets look at the other side of the story for a moment here.

What this survey fails to mention is that there were no other till trained staff available on that day, due to holidays, sick notes, and what have you. Same story with the customer services. So basically, for what constituted 95% of the working day there was only one person manning each area. Of course, on Sundays – the day the Mystery Shopper was in – it gets busy. Take both these things into account, and what do you get? Long queues and waiting times. Feel free to throw in the random occurrences of barcodes not scanning, tills crashing, and a whole host of other things. So all in all, the staff were stressed.

This leads to an unescapable catch 22 situation. Either the staff follow all the guidelines, score the marks on service and lose out on speed of service, or serve people at full pelt and discount the “extended” service marks until the queues subside. Normally more staff would be thrown into the fray, but of course today that wasn’t an option, considering there weren’t any.

Of course, after results are in this leads to a high speed buck passing regarding who is really at fault here. The managers, who fail to ensure the proper staff and relief staff are available, or the staff for not providing the proper service?

Also not smiling. Maybe now it should be clear why we weren’t.

Either I’m incredibly stupid or remarkably patient for staying in this job for four and a half years.

You may recall in a previous post I mentioned a little thing called the “Till Closed” sign. Well, for no reason other than I feel like making a post about work, here is the sign in question:

Till Closed Sign

Ignore the shakycam footage, the Homebase Guy there and the Venus Fly Traps for a minute. Now, this particular image was taken from the average spot a customer will stand in before they mosey on over to my checkout.

Please tell me you can see that sign clearly, because a startlingly large percentage of customers cannot actually see that notice. Never mind the fact its bright orange, right at the front of the checkout, and says something to the effect of “THIS TILL IS CLOSED, PLEASE PAY AT CUSTOMER SERVICES.” In 72pt Comic Sans, no less. How is this difficult to see? People will stand there for – no joke – ages looking like they just beamed down from Saturn wondering where the cashier is to take their crazy Saturn Money. I will suggest to Nondescript Jim that from now on, all Homebase signage be rendered in Saturnese as well as English. Also, that the sign be changed from an A4 sheet of paper, to a colossal neon sign that flashes and shoots awesome lasers all over the goddamn place while playing “La Cucaracha”.

In other fluffier news, here is a cat:

AND ITS NOT EVEN CATURDAY

Here’s a question for you:

Say you’re working in a DIY store, on a busy Saturday. You have four available checkouts. How many will be manned?

Protip: The answer is less than two.

This post is brought to you by idiot managers who let all the weekend cashiers book their holidays on the same day.

I also noticed a lot of my work related posts are filed in “stupid” as well as “work”. I’m seeing a connection forming.

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

So today I was at work, working the tills as per usual on a Sunday. As you can imagine, it was quite busy. Despite the fact it was pissing it down with rain again. Or is it “raining still?” Never the less, instead of actually stopping raining fully it just seems to slow down to spitting. I digress.

Now, its pretty obvious that on a busy Sunday I get a fair number of people coming through my till, buying our (expensive compared to every DIY store in the UK) gear, such as garden furniture which is still selling strongly no thanks to the deluge that South Yorkshire is still under at the moment. Umbrellas, surprisingly enough. Of course, most of my customers are good customers, complete with manners, the kind of stuff you expect from them. But naturally, like a sneaky bastard cranking out an air biscuit in a crowded lift, its the bad customers among the group that stick out the most, unfortunately. Much like the aformentioned air biscuit. Because the post is huge I’m putting it after a break.

Read it! Your customer service may depend on it!

Read the rest of this entry »