Retail Man


My husband got a new store today. This is certainly worth discussing because, you see, the man is a retail nut; it all started back long ago when he used to sweep up and help stock in his dad’s store. It’s apparently a family thing, but none of our kids seem particularly inclined to go into that line of work, so I guess it will end here.

Back on topic: my husband works practically round the clock; well, he probably would except for my griping. I do get really annoyed when the schedule unexpectedly changes; quite often it’s because he’s doing someone a favor. Once, long ago, he changed days off to accommodate a co-worker and ruined our family’s weekend plans – he hasn’t done it since, though.

Gosh, this seems to be getting away from me; again, back to the new store.

This is important, because it means both a raise and a better opportunity for a promotion. It’s also quite a challenge for him. When he came back to work for this company, they gave him a nice-sized store in a decent neighborhood. It needed some work, for example, the stock room probably had more merchandise than the floor; but it was a good location and he had fairly decent employees. Well, except for one. Or maybe two.

At any rate, the new store is an “okay” neighborhood, best I can tell, but sheesh – it needs a LOT of work. Aside from the maze in the back which leads from the outside door to an inner door to a hallway to the actual stockroom, the place is just kind of…dirty. And there are a lot of “holes” on the shelves, which simply means merchandise hasn’t been properly stocked; and it looks as though this has been the situation for some time now.

I’ve been a retail wife for…well, a long time now. I don’t discuss much of the store operations with my husband because he’s an absolute expert at this sort of thing and, well, because my comments frequently start arguments. There are simply things I don’t understand, and while I refer to them as “senseless”, he’d just rather not rock the boat by passing along my helpful commentary.

For example: the company requires managers to work 52 hours. Not 45, not 50, not 55. Why? Who knows? It sounds silly to me. They also require managers to close the store two nights a week. Again, why? Seems like if you’ve worked your way up in the ranks, you should have a few perks, right?

The six-days-a-week bothers me too – but then, I think everyone should have at least two days off a week, preferably together; and it really bugs me when hourly employees do have that benefit. Of course, assistant managers and cashiers aren’t really “full time” because if someone worked 40 hours, after all, the company would have to include benefits. Much better to let them take off a week when sick, yes? And have guess-who pick up the slack.

Let’s not get started on salary – no wonder the economy is in the toilet because, frankly, very few companies pay a living wage. A true living wage, that is – once the government takes its share, and one pays out the nose for health insurance, there really isn’t much left. Can one person even make it on minimum wage? What about two? Not even close.

I’m sure I could go on and on about this – ask my husband, he’ll tell you I don’t shut up once I get started on silly things. And to me, a lot of retail is just plain silly. Haven’t you ever gone to, oh, a big box retailer who shall remain nameless, and asked an associate a question – only to be told that’s not “my department”, even though that’s where you found them, doing absolutely nothing? Or waited in line to check out when only two lanes were open, but gaggles of employees were standing around discussing the weekend?

As a consumer, I happen to think the retail industry itself needs some serious intervention. Unless of course it’s my husband’s store we’re talking about – give him a week, tops, and this new store will be completely transformed.

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