November 18th, 2006



I went out. I danced, when the music inspired me. I flirted with girls. I had an awkward conversation that left nothing resolved. But mostly I wanted to flirt, and that I did.

Today in downtown handouts

Today I will begin a semi-regular feature, Today in Downtown Handouts, a review of stuff handed to me whilst traversing our city streets.

Our first installment is a glossy brochure for the downtown Adidas store, entitled Celebrate Sport. 15% to 25% off listed apparel. But the real bonus is this: a free footscan analysis! Who wouldn't pass that up?


Things I got wrong (tales from retail land)

I shelve magazines. Last week, I shelved travel after I shelved the magazines. News-stand and travel are the only areas that are on the mezzanine level (i.e., next to the outside entrance). So as I was pushing the travel cart back to the freight elevator, I noticed a woman grabbing magazines from the home and garden section (specifically interior decorating) and leaving them on the floor. There is a lot of recovery that goes on in the magazine section. Not just neatening up the magazines, but re-shelving things because people carry the magazines off to read them. They'll leave stacks of them sitting on a table or a bench. It's a lot of work to put them back. Or they'll attempt to re-shelve the material themselves. Such attempts are usually failures: magazines in the wrong spot, magazines hiding other magazines, and magazines mispositioned. This is even more work to fix. Really, it'd be better if folks just left the stack of magazines (honestly, does anyone really need 10 magazines at a table?, but I digress) for the professionals to re-shelve. Anyway, this woman was flipping through them and tossing some of them to the floor by some set of internal criteria. Internally, I was livid. So far, the only time a customer has done anything that bothered me. But since I am not floor staff, I figured I would just walk away and let someone else deal with her. So I did. A few minutes later, I saw her on the main floor with her stack of magazines in a shopping basket, and she was looking through interior design books. Damn good thing I did nothing, as she was purchasing. Still, it would have been a bit less disconcerting (or a bit more concerting, I suppose) had she got the basket first.

One of the carts I shelve semi-regularly is the computer/humor/games/music/film/television/drama cart. However, humor, music, and film books are rather large (100 Years of Rock Album Covers!, Every Far Side Cartoon Ever Imagined!) and don't sell quickly (at least not yet), so the stock on the cart was building up. Computer books, though they sell (some subsections at least), are also large. We were running out of room on the cart. So we took another cart and moved all the humor, music, film, television and drama to the new cart. Each cart has a number of 8"x11" cards that delineate subsections. I spent and hour pulling off the numbers from the cards and renumbering them for the new cart. Two days later I was shelving the humor cart, and I noticed a Scrabble® book on the bottom shelf. There was no Scrabble® card, although there is a Scrabble® subsection. Now, in this case it is pretty easy to tell the subsection to which the book belongs, but other books may be much more difficult (and in many cases, the obvious place isn't the correct place). A card I had painstakingly renumbered (well, it took about 30 seconds actually) was missing. Bob (name changed to protect me) came walking by pushing the computer cart. He had shelved humor the day prior. So I needled him about losing my card. Of course, cards fall off all the time. I've lost them. But we normally banter back and forth, but for some reason I could sense a bit of an edge in his response to my needling. Perhaps there was a bit of an edge to my needling. Five minutes later he returns the computer cart to the receiving room, and then walks back out and hands me the Scrabble® card. Yup, it fell off while I was pushing the cart out to the floor. Well, I obviously am the goat here.

Two days ago I am shelving the history cart, which includes current affairs. Now, normally, current affairs sells like hot-cakes. That means there's lot of room to put new books out. Of course, the ones that sell like hot-cakes are the ultra-current ones that sit on the promo tables next to the entrances. SO really, there's not a lot of selling of two year old current affairs books. Though I suppose that will pick up short as Christmas approaches. Current affairs is the grab-bag for all the political books by folks such as Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, and Kevin Phillips. Anyway, I can't get books into this section, but I notice a bunch of books at the end that appear to be out of order. It goes from W straight to a shelf of books that are before W. I get a bit irritated, because there is room on some of the A-G current affairs shelves, but I have no books for that. I have lots of books for S-W. Had the folks who did zone maintenance (pulling old books, putting books in the right spot, etc.) put these books in A-G, I would be able to get my books on the shelf. I stomp back to receiving when I am done, looking for the zone maintenance head. I tell her there are a bunch of books out of order. She says show me and I do. Perhaps they are Media/Journalism books, like the KROY says the Z.M. head points out. I look down on the self, and sure enough there's a KROY label (I dunno if KROY is a brand name, a label technology, a B&N term, or what) on the shelf that says Media/Journalism and these books are exactly where they belong! Damnit, wrong again. In my defense, the shelf labels are messed up and hard to notice in places. Like the KROYs that direct us to shelve books on Country/Western first, then Folk, and then Country/Western again. Well, it's a crappy defense, cause the labels weren't messed up in any way at Media/Journalism. I was wrong a third time.