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The cold war between softlines and hardlines
Old 07-16-2006, 12:50 PM
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Default The cold war between softlines and hardlines

It seems at every department store like Wally World or Target, there is a constant battle going on between the people who work in softlines (clothing for those who are not familiar with the terminology) and the people who work in hardlines (everything else).

I am of the opinon that at my store, softlines has it so much easier than hardlines. Here are the reasons why:

1. Softlines used to help during truck unloads by sorting their merchandise, hanging the hanging apparel on racks, and removing the plastic. Then the apparel manager decided that was a waste of her payroll, and now the other truck unloaders are responsible for doing that. And if they don't sort everything correctly they get yelled at.

2. They do not pull their own merchandise to replace the stuff that got bought. Hardlines is responsible for that. Softlines used to request and pull merchandise during the day, but evidently the apparel manager decided that was also a waste of payroll. Third shift used to pull everything but softlines because they didn't have time to deal with that. Apparel manager responded by threatening write-ups if her merchandise didn't get pulled at night. Oh, and hardlines also has to fill the softlines that gets pulled, which is a daunting task if you are unfamiliar with that department.

3. They do not respond to pages for backup cashiers. The rule at our store is that backup cashiering responsibilities should be shared equally between softlines and hardlines. However, hardlines gets almost all the requests for backup cashiering because whenever softlines is asked if they can send somebody to cashier, they claim they are all with customers. The rumor going around my store is that the apparel manager told the softlines employees not to respond to backup cashiering pages, because the department got marked down during a corporate visit for being messy, and she wants everybody to concentrate on straightening.

4. If softlines is really trashed at night, hardlines will often be asked to go over to softlines and help straighten. However, if hardlines is trashed, softlines never goes over to hardlines to help straighten. It's really maddening when you're staying late fretting over your zone because rumor has it some corporate suits are going to visit in the morning, but all the softlines girls are leaving right at closing time.

5. They don't backstock any of their merchandise, Once again, hardlines gets to do that. There is a cart of luggage backstock sitting in apparel backstock that has been there for close to a month. Softlines just pushes it into hardlines backstock to get it out of their way. Last night the overnight supervisor got fed up and put a sign on the cart telling softlines to backstock that luggage. It read "Softlines, can you please backstock this? Thank you!" I think she was way too nice about it. I suggested "Backstock this shit already!"
Hardlines could never ever get away with leaving backstock sit for that long.

Really, it must be nice to be paid the same wage as myself and not have to do any good hard work.
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Old 07-16-2006, 03:23 PM
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Watch the intro to the movie "Thirteen Days". That is how hardlines and softlines see each other at my store.

Hardlines (Where I work.) has to:
  1. Help unload truck when we don't have enough unloaders.
  2. Move their carts of crap so we can get to the back of the warehouse.
  3. Get carts no matter how understaffed we are. (Cause softlines is staffed by women and women can't push carts. )
  4. Empty the bailer.
  5. Help softlines cause they are "SOOOOOOOO understaffed." (As if hardlines wasn't.)

The fitting room (In softlines) takes incoming phone calls and directs them. They don't grasp the concept that, as short staffed as we are, that some areas simply arn't covered. I work in hardware, don't foreward toys call to me. I don't know jack sh*t about toys.

If I ask you to page paint calls as hardware, please do so. Over the PA in a noisy store it is very easy to get the words "pets" and "paint" mixed up.

Softlines gets pissed when they have to go get carts because almost everyone in hardlines is helping with truck. (I ask them if they want to trade. They never do.)
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Old 07-17-2006, 02:17 AM
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You are warned, this is a long reply!

Quoth Irving Patrick Freleigh
2. They do not pull their own merchandise to replace the stuff that got bought. Hardlines is responsible for that.
At my store, a Target, the backroom team pulls everything for both HL and SL, except if its a customer request (like if the shelf is empty.) In that case, the employee in the appropriate dept, be it HL or SL, pulls the item for the customer. Replenishment items come periodically during the day from the backroom team for all parts of the store, and the backroom team backstocks everything.

Quoth Irving Patrick Freleigh
3. They do not respond to pages for backup cashiers. The rule at our store is that backup cashiering responsibilities should be shared equally between softlines and hardlines. .
Its quite the opposite for me. Although our walkie-talkie system only pages for HL ('Green side' or 'Blue side' ... never knew why SL wasn't included) for backup cashiers, the front end supervisors always calls SL first for backup, and it infuriates us because most of the time they call us before the cashiers have a chance to push the button on the registers that pages HL up to the front for backup. I've had many times when (after the first backup call for SL) SL is asked again for more backup, and I have to explain we only have 1-2 people out of 4 on the floor, and HL has 8 people on the floor who haven't come up for backup!

Quoth Irving Patrick Freleigh
4. If softlines is really trashed at night, hardlines will often be asked to go over to softlines and help straighten. However, if hardlines is trashed, softlines never goes over to hardlines to help straighten ........... but all the softlines girls are leaving right at closing time.
Its just a given that HL has to come over to SL at the end of the day to help us out with reshop at my store (returned items, etc.) They never come to help straighten, since it would be unfair since it is our job to zone the racks, etc., they simply come to return items. The reason why it is like that is because (it might just be my store, I dunno), the SL departments are heavily shopped, sometimes more than HL ... and even when we work our butts off all night putting crap back, we somehow always end up with 2-3 carts of clothes to put back at the end of the day! I understand where the HL people come from when they complain about the amount of reshop left at the fitting room; I worked 8 months in HL before moving over to SL, and I've faced the situation from both sides of the fence. But, I have to say, the reason why SL is so messed up at the end of the day is the mere fact that HL doesn't have a central location (like our fitting room) where customers go to try on products located all over their 'side' of the store (yes, it would be hard to try on HL products, but bear with me please.) I bet if they had as many items taken from every imaginable location in their 'side' of the store only to be left on a 'I don't want it' rack at the fitting room, then they would be in the same perdicament as the SL people would be in at the end of the night. But, to be fair, there have been some nights where SL miraculously finished first and we had to go over to HL to help them finish. One thing though ... we ALL leave when we are ALL done in my store ... if SL finishes at 10pm, they stay until HL finshes at 11:30pm, or (most likely), vice-versa.

Quoth Irving Patrick Freleigh
Really, it must be nice to be paid the same wage as myself and not have to do any good hard work.
I'm sorry to hear its that way at your store! I wish it was that way at mine ... to be honest, its quite the opposite. I don't mean that HL doesn't do anything, they just can work at an easier pace since they don't have to deal with reshop carts as tall as they are with towers of folded shirts and strewn hanger-less clothes gathered up from the floors of the fitting room. They actually have time to chat from across departments as they zone their aisles, unlike the SL people. In SL, we are so busy picking up after the idiot SCs who knock shirts over from racks and don't bother to pick it up, idiots who try on shoes and then simply leave the pair of shoes on the floor as they leave the aisle, the dolts who open packaged T-shirt or underwear packs just 'to see' what it looked like, or the total asshats who demand that we change the battery on their old groady, crusty and stinky watch that (by policy) we aren't allowed to touch. I see it all as simply two different worlds. In HL, you have SCs who complain because the shelf price is wrong, and are extremely rude in Electronics since you aren't an expert on everything and don't carry the weird proprietary connection to their 1984 Betamax. Or, you have the people who want a huge armoire out of the back, then change their mind and want a bigger entertainment center after you already brought the first item off the top shelf in the back for them. In SL, we have whats above. One good comeback to the HL people who complain about SL is "Well you could work in SL for a night and see how lazy you think we are" Of course, they refuse, or agree to come to SL and do nothing but stand around all night while carts pile up with their reshop in it, simply because they don't want to work since they aren't in HL.

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Old 07-17-2006, 07:50 AM
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Wow, see at my store, hardlines and softlines folks tend to keep to themselves. No body helps out each other. I think this is probably because most of the hardline guys are on commission and softlines are paid hourly. Everyone stays in their own departments and does things themselves. I guess that's the way the store is organized though.

Our softline employees are awesome and hard working and I think that at my store, it's really the hardlines that have it easy.

But you know, to the OP: it sounds like that apparels mananger kinda sucks.

Old 07-17-2006, 06:27 PM
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I'm not sure how it generally works where I live, but one thing I have noticed just wandering through the clothing department the local Bullseye, is that there is a whole lot of clothing just dumped on the ground by people. I would have seen at least 25+ items, and piles of items, as I walked through to get to the electronics section. And that was before I decided to wander around the clothing section to see how messy it really was.

I'm not sure whether this is right or not, but at least with the other department/s, its a lot easier to know where a thing would be returned to. When you see a piece of clothing on the ground, or strewn over a rack, it'd probably be a lot harder. Though that's just from a customer view.. You might be able to tell really easily what it is as an employee...
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Old 07-18-2006, 12:20 AM
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I don't remember there being a big rivalry between hardlines and softlines when I worked at Target. At least not between the employees, just management. A lot of the employees in softlines were oldtimers who knew the department better than management (big suprise), they always had their hands full with the mess customers made and training the newbies who were constantly having to be replaced so the last thing they wanted to put up with were hardlines employees who didn't know how softlines worked. Hardlines was sort of the same way, both sides sort of kept to themselves and let management fight with each other. It was very rare for hardlines employees to get pulled over to softlines and vice versa.

Wal-Mart was another story though. Softlines and hardlines simply didn't get along. Hardlines employees would always have to get pulled from their departments to carry the load that softlines couldn't handle. Employees from hardlines would go at it with softlines because they couldn't pull their own weight. Softlines would complain that hardlines employees weren't team players, even though they wouldn't lift a finger to help in hardlines.
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