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Um ... really?
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Old 04-14-2019, 10:49 PM
Pixelated Pixelated is offline
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Default Um ... really?

I was told today by a coworker (who has worked with the company for some time even before this site opened) that when somebody comes through with a large pile of lumber, I must count EVERY ... SINGLE ... PIECE. Even if it's 125 pieces. Or 150. Or 200.

Me: "What do I do when there's a lineup of 5 or 6 people??"

CW: "You still have to count it. Otherwise we'll have HUGE losses in lumber." (Oh, as opposed to the HUGE losses we're having due to no security ... ?)

CW: "The guys at the desk here will help you."

Me: "Yeah, except for weekends, when they don't work."

CW: "Well, yeah, but you can always call for an extra cashier to come help."

Me: "Really? And when we are drastically short-staffed and the front registers are slammed too?" Because this has already happened, and we're not even in the "crazy busy" season yet.

CW: "Well, you just HAVE to count it."



Okay, well, instead of all this crap about "good customer service," maybe we should just change it to "Our customers are most likely thieves so just treat them all accordingly."

On the one hand, I can see the logic of not letting somebody claim they've got 125 pieces of lumber when they've actually got 150. But ... is there no better or faster/more efficient way to do this? Because I foresee a truly major shitstorm at some point when some poor soul is the only cashier in the lumber department and has a huge backup and is trying to count 100 or more pieces of wood that have been tossed onto a flat along with a ton of other stuff and it's all in total disarray -- I've already had a couple of customers come to my till with that kind of mess. So far it's only mildly aggravating, because we're NOT all that busy.

If anybody has worked or is working in this type of setting, is this standard operating procedure? If not, how does your place of business handle this?
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Last edited by Pixelated; 04-14-2019 at 10:51 PM.
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  #2  
Old 04-15-2019, 04:43 AM
Buzzard Buzzard is offline
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Translation: We're not about to spend ZOMG! dollars on stuff that is needed and actually works (and will pay for itself fairly quick), so we need to make up for it by squeezing hell out of the little loss-points that our pointy little heads can see (it's hard to see things with our heads up our own ... ) since it 'doesn't cost us anything'.

As to the counting... yeah, it's a good idea to keep track of what legitimately goes out the door, and 150 vs 125 is a big enough discrepancy. 126... close enough, your total is $XXX, next customer. My count can be off, the customer can be off, and... this isn't exactly gold bars here. Time spent/revenue for a full recount might justify the expense here and there, but annoyed customers, delayed lines, further annoyed customers... yes, obviously counting every last twig, twice and three times, is in the best interests of everybody. And don't forget to charge for that sawdust on that guy's boot while you're at it.
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Old 04-15-2019, 12:51 PM
Jetfire Jetfire is offline
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If it's the same lumber it shouldn't be too difficult to count. Just do basic math. Count how many rows and columns, multiply together and then add in any odd ones out.

Now if it's a mix of 2x4's, 2x6's 4x8's and so forth it gets trickier; but I would argue that's when the count is more important, for both the company and the customer.

Really though loads of that size (hundreds or even fifties of lumber) shouldn't be going through the front checkouts; that should be the Lumber yard dealing with that and making sure the counts are right.

The more annoying cases are probably the home builder building a deck. they'll have that lumber load; but they'll also have dozens of bolts and brackets that will need to be counted individually as well, along with boxes of screws that are hopefully sold by weight or by box.
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Old 04-15-2019, 01:47 PM
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Kittish Kittish is offline
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Quote:
Quoth Jetfire View Post
Really though loads of that size (hundreds or even fifties of lumber) shouldn't be going through the front checkouts; that should be the Lumber yard dealing with that and making sure the counts are right.
Pixelated is in the Lumber department. The problems are that their store is severely understaffed and management won't address it, and that they're trying to institute policies that will ultimately cost them far more than they'll recoup by charging accurately for what lumber people purchase.
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Old 04-15-2019, 02:28 PM
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EricKei EricKei is offline
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Quote:
Quoth Pixelated View Post
Because I foresee a truly major shitstorm at some point when some poor soul is the only cashier in the lumber department and has a huge backup and is trying to count 100 or more pieces of wood that have been tossed onto a flat along with a ton of other stuff and it's all in total disarray -- I've already had a couple of customers come to my till with that kind of mess.
Just page CW to do the count when it's like this (especially if it's busy that day). If it's so important to him, then surely he'll be only to glad to help...



Also, does he have authority over you? Have the managers backed him up on this, and told you what to do in case of it being just that busy?
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Old 04-15-2019, 06:32 PM
Pixelated Pixelated is offline
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Kittish is correct: there is no lumber yard here. There's only the lumber department, and often (especially on weekends) only the one cashier, although they've advised me there will be a second one on during our "busy" season. Which still won't help if we've got to physically count up every last scrap (and the sawdust on people's shoes ; thank you, Buzzard) each time a large order comes through.

It would seem to me to make more sense to have a large number of employees in the department, to help load the supplies AND keep track of what's being bought AND hand the customer a form attesting to what's been bought, so the customer can then hand the cashier said form and we can get them out of there as quickly as possible.

Again, as Kittish says, I don't see management going for that at ALL. They will simply mumble the equivalent of "Work smarter, not harder" and leave us to deal with the mess.

EricKei, you raise a good point. The CW in question does NOT have authority over me or the other cashiers, although her longer experience with the company (at another site) has convinced her that she does. It's not unusual for her to tell cashiers what station they should be at (or give similar orders) even when the head cashier is standing right there. I've generally taken to pointedly ignoring her and looking at the HC for direction.

Management, as is their wont, has said nothing about this one way or the other.
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Old 04-15-2019, 11:41 PM
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csquared csquared is offline
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As Jetfire pointed out, counting should not be that difficult.

If it a large number of the same thing, they probably had to stack it fairly neatly to transport it. Rows X columns.

If it is a mix, then they will most likely have it sorted by type. They will load up one, then move to the next.

Don't need to count plywood. Grab a tape measure.

Now, if someone comes up with their lumber all mixed up, then you definitely need to check and count everything. The you ask "Would you like to buy these additional pieces or put them back?"
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Old 04-17-2019, 11:24 PM
Mental_Mouse Mental_Mouse is offline
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Quote:
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As Jetfire pointed out, counting should not be that difficult.
You seem to have a great deal of faith in human rationality. I bet he gets a lot of jumbled-together loads.

Last edited by MadMike; Yesterday at 02:58 AM. Reason: We've already read it, thanks.
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  #9  
Old Yesterday, 01:28 PM
Jetfire Jetfire is offline
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Due to somewhat standardized sizing, lumber tends to be self organizing, or else the customer won't make it more than a few steps from the yard/lumber area. Basically it's easier to move if all the pieces are more or less facing the right direction. Can still be somewhat tricky to count, but ultimately not that difficult.

While I never worked in a building supplies store, my dad worked at one for decades, and I used to help them do Inventory every fall (and in later years I also did the data entry after inventory, until they finally got around to automating it).

Counting wise, the most annoying things tended to be the small things with unique skus for each type of item. Things like lag bolts, or house numbers or decorative frills. You had to make sure everything was sorted together first and then count and make sure you got the right sku for each one.

Hardware like the bolts would probably be among the worst; they often don't have stickers, are usually sold in open bins (where it is easy to mix things up) and would usually be bundled together by customers who hopefully did get al lthe same, or at least only one or two distinct types and not a big mix.
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