View Full Version : For all the retail grunts...

Irving Patrick Freleigh
09-25-2006, 02:32 AM
I thought this would be interesting to try out.

If you were in charge of deciding what items your store would carry, what items would you get rid of? Or what items would you add?

Me, I would get rid of:

-wicker baskets. The markup on those things must be astronomical because they are always on sale for 50% to 75% off. Plus they stink like rotting seaweed or whatever chemicals that were used to coat them. Wicker was big about 5 years ago, but that trend seems to be over. We can't move any of it unless it's 75% off.

-framed art. It doesn't sell, it's not planogrammed so everything is thrown in helter skelter, and it looks like a mess.

I would add a bath and body section, because this is what we had before the wicker trend started and it always sold well.

09-25-2006, 02:50 AM
*tries to remember what he hated*

Well, from a hardware standpoint? I'd have gotten rid of some of the funky fake brick masonite sheets. We never, in the year I worked at Lowe's, sold a single sheet of this stuff. In fact, I think the store had only ever sold the regular masonite. There was just no call for this cheap fake brick type stuff. It'd have freed up a ton of space for regular masonite or the like.

Secondly, I'd have tossed half the piece wood. The special stuff like poplar, cedar, pine, hardwood, and oak which was used for projects. Our store never sold any of it, but the mark up on the stuff was insane. It took up a whole aisle, which could have been marketed for other items.

Another thing I'd have scrapped, was most of the appliances. Some things like microwaves and coffee pots sold, but others like Irons or these really funky special coffee grinder things; never moved. I myself, ended up buying a really expensive coffee maker for sixty dollars when it had originally been around two hundred.

If I had to add something?

Well, I always thought Lowe's could have done better if they sold more furniture. Not so much in the way of couches and such, but more like coffee, or dining room tables and chairs.

From clothing stores, I'd have to say I'd remove Lay-Away. This was the most annoying thing we had to deal with. It was guaranteed to get you screamed at by someone at some point in your retail life. Plus, it was a hassle returning everything people left behind.

To add something?

I'd add a little policy that said that if you, the average customer would work one day in retail. A day of my choosing, and a full eight hours, then I would give you a 60% discount on one shopping trip. However, you had to work the day completely, and without any complaint to management. Furthermore, you wouldn't be paid for the day, but if you did shoddy work you'd be charged extra the next time you shopped.

09-25-2006, 03:02 AM
I'd add a little policy that said that if you, the average customer would work one day in retail. A day of my choosing, and a full eight hours, then I would give you a 60% discount on one shopping trip. However, you had to work the day completely, and without any complaint to management. Furthermore, you wouldn't be paid for the day, but if you did shoddy work you'd be charged extra the next time you shopped.

Good idea, but I don't think it would work in real life. :(

09-25-2006, 03:32 AM
I'd get rid of all the wine because I don't know anything about it and people keep asking me for a good quality red wine! :confused:

09-25-2006, 03:36 AM
I'd get rid of the photo lab. It is such a hassle, and from what I eavesdropped, we dont make money off of it. In fact, some months, we lose money because of it.

09-25-2006, 04:16 AM
they rarely sell unless we dont have any made then everyone wants them
hot dogs are the same way but much better about being sold sometimes

09-25-2006, 07:42 AM
I would ditch the ugly seasonal tchochkes we sell (god, some of it is absolutely hideous!) and expand the durable medical goods section. I can't count how many sales I direct to medical pharmacies because we don't carry those items. A lot of them are pretty big ticket, too.

I would probably expand our vitamin section too, to compete more with the GNCs that are housed in Rite Aid. Because hey, I like kicking Rite Aid's ass any way I can. :devil: They can keep the nurse practitioners, though. I don't even want to go there.

09-25-2006, 01:14 PM
At the home improvements store, I would have added some or all of the items that we didn't carry but people were always asking about. I'm not talking about ridiculous items, like ice cream or pet food (yes, each of those happened at least once), I'm talking about reasonable items that you'd expect to find in a place like that.

I can't remember what they were now, after having left that job 17 years ago, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out that people are going to go elsewhere for those items, and they'll most likely get the rest of their stuff at the other location too. After all, who wants to make two stops if they don't need to?

Actually, I stopped by there about a year after I quit, and they actually did start carrying some of those items. Unfortunately, it was too little too late, and the place ended up going out of business about a year after that.

Kitten in the box
09-25-2006, 03:55 PM
What I would get rid of is this:

1) Cigarettes (a.k.a. cancer on a stick, cancer sticks) they are nasty, smell bad, and plus its a pain to open the case especially when the one who has the key is no where to be found or is off that day. But mainly because it is bad for your health

2)Hard liquor not because I hate the stuff (I dont drink it) but because we loose on tons of money when our friendly neighborhood shoplifting punks come in and lift the stuff....plus we cannot stop them...security must (whenever the company deems it necessary to even HAVE security there)

3) Panyhose and socks-this stuff goes slower than crap. No one really buys those things in our store....the boxes are always ripped open by unsupervised kids or by customers who obviously have NEVER seen that color of panyhose EVEN THOUGH they are wearing the EXACT SAME COLOR

What I would add:

1) More selection on our meats...other stores have a wide selection and we do sell alot of meat

2) More of a selection on our deli items. I been in one store that sold a slab of tri tip in the deli.

3) More selection on thier books. Crappy romance novels don't sell well at my store so I would have more of a variety that appeals to everyone

thats about all I can think of for now.

09-25-2006, 04:36 PM


Current job? I'd have to get rid of:
The bags of ice, even at $.99. They're not stocked up front anywhere, so anyone who buys one requires a special trip to the freezer. Second off, it would cut down on the number of people coming in and buying just one thing.
Who the hell decides to themself: "Hey! I need ice for the drive to work... and I'm hungry... I know! I'll stop at the Arches and grab a bag of overpriced ice and breakfast!"

09-26-2006, 05:14 AM
How I wish we could do this during my RadioShack days!

There were so many things we could have done without, especially during Christmas time. Rugrats clocks, talking pinball games, electric massagers, talking picture frames, crappy 9" televisions from some company you never heard of before....

It got to the point where we would get a shipment in, with new stock items. I could just look at it and tell if it would sell or not. 9 times out of 10, I was right.

I don't know what the purchasers were on, but damn I wanted some of it.

At my current place, all I'd have to agree with repsac: More furniture, meaning tables and bookcases and shelves, etc.

09-26-2006, 06:17 AM
Here are things I would stock at our store.

1. Handguns. We stock and sell rifles and shotguns, but no handguns. Customers complain to me about this all the time. I can understand their feelings.

2. Yarn. After our remodel our selection of yarn was slashed. The old ladies are pissed and they LOVE their yarn. If they go elsewhere for their craft supplies, then they arn't going to buy other stuff here.

3. Decent Airsoft guns. Most all the ones we carry are crap. Re need some good, quality electric ones like the MP-5 that my Co-worker has.

That is all I can think of right now.

09-26-2006, 12:56 PM
Kinko's would probably do a whole lot more business if they burned off the pissant, penny-ante jobs that take time to set up and run but cost 30 cents at the register. Resumes and such. I always felt they should be run out in self serve, if at all. The big machines and the fast, knowledgable techs need to spend their time running big jobs, like corporate handbooks and company stuff. That's where the money is.

Probably the biggest pain to do is passport photos, so maybe that would be what I would get rid of. They take a lot of time when you are busy, the film's expensive, and most of the time, the customer hates them anyway, and we ended up doing a lot of do-overs.

09-26-2006, 02:37 PM
What I would ditch:
1. All those stupid dolls that sing. I hate having customers go to each one, pressing the button, and letting the whole freaking song play out. Plus, I've yelled at kids near my age(18) to stop pressing the buttons to be "funny".
2. The copy machine. It's a POS and it's older than I am. The copies suck and it just keeps eating people's dimes, which I have to hear about.
3. Newspapers. Yea, sure I like to grab one during work from time to time but I hate listening to whiney people at the end of the day complaining about how there are no more papers left. Well, if you want your freaking Sunday Wall Street Journal, get here early like everyone else.

What I would add:
1. Red Bull. I don't drink it, but a LOT of people do and it'd probably sell pretty well.
2. Video games. We rent out videos. We sell vidoes. Why not video games? It's not like I pay for my video rentals anyway... :D ;)
3. A system to the video rentals. Right now, it's based on the colors of the boxes...Which does us crap if we don't have the color of each movie memorized.

09-29-2006, 06:05 AM
It would save me a lot of sweeping if we stopped selling hamburgers with seeded buns. Sesame seeds are flavorless, undigestable*, and they end up all over the floor.

*Pretty much all seeds are. That's why nature surrounds things like apple seeds with tastiness, so they'll be eaten and remain undigested, to grow where ever they're . . . left . . . afterward.

Spiffy McMoron
09-29-2006, 08:24 PM
Back at my old Crappy Tire, I would have added more:

Automotive fuses: We had lots of the ATM (standard) kind-with the coloured end to it, and two flat prongs. But if somebody stopped by with a tubular filter-good luck, and good night. More often than not, they had to go somewhere else.

Windsheild washer fluid: Well, I would have had more facings for it-we were constantly running back and forth, trying to fill up the homes. Plus, they were on the bottom shelf, which made then tough to see for a lot of people.

Seat Cushions: We would just always sell tons of these. I'm not really sure why.

And had fewer:

Red jerry cans: They were big, bulky, and couldn't pack away very well-plus, we rarely sold them. Especially the large, 5 gallon ones-everybody who needed one has five of the damn things.

Floor mats: We just never sold them, and they took up tons of space.

09-29-2006, 09:08 PM
We'd stop selling to a certain European country. It's not that our customers in that country are suckier than others. Most of them are very nice, actually. It's that we have an exclusive contract with this one agency in the capital. This agency is a pain in the butt. They are polite and honest enough, but they insist on doing things their own way, everything gets messed up and I'm the only one at our company willing and able to wade through all the crap and fix it.

There are many resellers in that country who can't stand dealing with the agency either. They would love to buy direct from us. We offered the agency a deal. Let us sell to resellers in your country, we'll make sure you get your commission as the contract states, and you can make money without doing any work.

They about blew up. Seriously. We wound up on a conference call where the president of the agency reamed us out in his native language while an English-speaking employee translated the ream-out into English. It was so ridiculous that I had to leave the room to cover a giggle fit.

Anyway, we made soothing noises at them and told them that if they didn't want to make commissions without doing any work, that was fine with us.

09-29-2006, 09:41 PM
We'd stop selling to a certain European country. It's not that our customers in that country are suckier than others. Most of them are very nice, actually. It's that we have an exclusive contract with this one agency in the capital. This agency is a pain in the butt.

So when does the contract expire?

09-30-2006, 01:11 AM
From an annoyance standpoint, here is what I would banish from my work:

1. Any electronics that come with a million pieces (i.e. printers, DVD players that have all these wires plus remote) or can't be returned once opened (DVDs, music, and software.) I am really sick of getting yelled at by morons who don't understand copyright laws or that they must have all pieces of the item in order to return it.

2. Anything that is "All sales are final." This includes rifles and ammo, and who knows all what else. It prints right on the receipt, but people still complain! ARGH!

3. We also don't take food back without a receipt because people on food stamps try to scam money out of us. Other people try and bring back outdated food and claim they just bought it even though they pulled it out of their freezer and defrosted it to return it to get some cig money. Sometimes I wish we didn't sell food. Bah.

Things I would add:
1.copy machine: so people stop whining at me

2.mail box: because I am sick of lazy people who can't go to the post office NEXT DOOR, just to get them to shut up. These are the same people who complain that the only stamps we sell are in a machine, and they don't have cash with them. Like I care or something. Again, RIGHT NEXT DOOR!

3.more candy!: what kind of twisted place doesn't sell single Nestle Crunch bars? We have a big selection of bags, but not a big choice with single candy bars.

4.more books: our selection is measly and it's mostly romance novels and the "for Dummies" books. More Dummies books! I know a lot of customers who could use them.

09-30-2006, 03:52 AM
What I would add:

1) Selling music CDs. We already sell movies on DVD, so it only seems normal to sell CDs along with them.
2) More gaming products. A lot of people call asking if we have what they want. When we actually carry what they ask for, it's a 50/50 chance that it's out of stock.

What I would remove:

1) Rebates. These things are pains in the arse. They suck up more time and energy than necessary. Just give the customers a deal in the store and be done with it. It would save a lot of trees and all the extra time the customers have to fill everything out, send it in, wait for it to be processed, approved and mailed. The nightmare begins when some of these morons don't read instructions thoroughly and their rebate gets rejected because they left something out of their rebate and they come in or call us up all upset because they didn't get their money. And I get to process all these rejected morons' rebates. Me. Because I was stupid and volunteered for something to do in between phone calls when it's slow.

09-30-2006, 04:10 AM
I used to work at the Novelty Store at the Run Down Mall. Every day, customers would ask us if we carried things you would normally expect a novelty store to carry, like costume accessories, magic tricks, stage knives/blood/makeup, etc. We had none of those things, because our boss refused to stock stuff that would sell, instead preferring to buy cheap, pointless, made-in-Outer Mongolia tchotchkes that nobody would ever want to buy (things like Children's Cologne, which smelled like they spilled Kool-Aid on themselves). When I left, I gave the boss a 2 page list of items that customers had requested that we did not have. He never bought the stuff. Bet he wondered why he went out of business a short while later. :rolleyes:

09-30-2006, 09:30 AM
We'd stop selling to a certain European country.
I'm going to guess either France, Germany, or Ukraine. Am I close??? Belarus is nice to deal with, it just takes forever for stuff to make it across the pond.

Irving Patrick Freleigh
09-30-2006, 10:47 PM
I thought of something else we can do without...

Last night we got in another huge load of christmas tchotchkies, which put us way behind because the manager can't do the schedule right; she put on another person Thursday night even though it wasn't needed (no truck or planograms), so to compensate we were a person short last night, and of course this has to happen on the night we get a 1700-piece truck...

but I digress.

Anyhow, we have got about 20 different snowman tree ornaments. They all look similar except one is made of clay dough, another is cermaic, another one is made of wood, one has a red hat, the other has a blue hat, this other one has a stripey scarf, this one has a little bell on it, blah blah blah bling bling bling blah.

We could easily make do with half the number of snowmen. Or even a quarter. It would be less junk to go on clearance after the season anyway.

El Barto
10-01-2006, 02:55 AM
I'd get rid of the photo lab. It is such a hassle, and from what I eavesdropped, we dont make money off of it. In fact, some months, we lose money because of it.

I've got bad news for you, corprate is doing the opposite of what you want. We're dumping the send out photo service next year. But theres good news, all the signs, ads, etc, that say 1 Hour Photo will disapear, so no more customers bitching about it taking more than an hour, "But the sign says 1 hour, I want all 20 of my rolls of film done in an hour or I'm going to walmart." I can't wait, those morons at qualex are constantly screwing up our customers orders.