King Rat (gkr) wrote,
King Rat
gkr

Adventures in retail-land: Newsstand lead for a day

I don't normally work Mondays. But the newsstand lead quit a couple of weeks ago and they haven't yet filled his position. No one was available to cover his work today, so management tapped me because I've been stocking newsstand since October.

Now, theoretically this job shouldn't be too tough.

First thing I do is newspapers. Done that before. Not a big deal.

Next, I do some recovery in newsstand because all the managers that can tell me my job are in a meeting.

Meeting is done, and the receiving manager, my normal boss, basically tells me to wing it. About all he says in the way of direction beyond that is that I can find information in the store planner.

First batch of magazines hasn't arrived, so I do category maintenance for a bit until the magazines arrive. Category maintenance involves picking up a copy of each title in a section and then scanning the barcode. The scanner will emit a beeping noise if the magazine needs to be pulled. The scanner also displays the proper sections. Any misplaced copies need to be moved to the proper section. Pretty easy except your arm gets tired after you hold it up for 20 minutes or so. Oh, and some of the magazines won't scan. The bar code is damaged. Or the bar code isn't in the system. And some need to be removed even if the scanner doesn't emit the beeping noise. For instance, someone put the new issue of a magazine out and didn't remove the old issue. You don't get the beeping noise on the old issue until it's been out of date for quite some time. All the pulled magazines go on a V-cart and I then take them to receiving, box them up (thankfully I don't have to strip or count them), label them and leave them for the UPS guy.

Magazines arrived, so I took them out. Fairly similar to what I normally do except I didn't bother to sort them first. And some of the magazines are ones I wouldn't normally handle. Just a matter of scanning them and finding the proper locations. Finding the proper locations for promotions can be kind of a pain. More on that in a few paragraphs. Anyway, finding the regular shelving location is easy. I know all those. So out goes the old; in goes the new.

Now, the store planner says today is a changeover for newsstand. That meant that six promotional displays get changed over to new signage and magazine titles. Piece of cake. First ones are Cafél A & B. Front and back side of a display. First problem is there isn't a list of what's already on the display. So I go to the display and write down what's there. Some of the magazines stay up. No need to find copies of them. So I note what's missing. Then I go find copies. Put them on the display and take the other ones down. Then take the old copies up to their normal locations on the newsstand. Of course, some of the new magazines are hard to find. The list says Slow Cooker. There are four issues with Slow Cooker or Slow Cooking in the title. One of them has a matching product code! Easy peasy! Next one is People Special. There are three People Magazine special issues on our newsstand. None of them match the listed product code. Luckily for me, the old display had a people special on it. So I just left it there. If it's the wrong one, someone will yell at me tomorrow.

Now, the next set of promotional displays was Cashwrap 1, Cashwrap 2, and Cashwrap 3. Now, I'm assuming that these are by our cash registers. We have one magazine display in front of the main bank of cash registers downstairs. And two in front of the smaller bank upstairs. But which is which? Since these are our bestsellers I'm assuming they don't change much, so I look to see which ones would have the least changes. It appeared that Cashwrap 2 was the one on the left upstairs because only one magazine needed to change. Then I had to traipse downstairs to see whether that display was 1 or 3. It appeared to be 1. I make the needed changes to 1 and 2. 3 had a bunch of changes to it. Of course, two of the magazines that are to be placed on the display aren't anywhere to be found. Blueprint is an annual magazine that comes out in August. Why it's on promo in January I don't know. We don't have any copies left. And I'm not sure what magazine to substitute because I have no idea what Blueprint's content is, other than it's women's interest. We also have no copies of Spiegel. So I substitute random women's interest titles. By random, I mean I looked at the ones we had with overstock and used the overstock to replace these missing titles.

Last one to change over was titled CGW-1 Side A. No clue which CGW display this is. There's no map for me. And the displays aren't labeled. Now, if I had a list of what the last promo for CGW-1 Side A, I could check every one until I found the matching one. But I didn't. Also, the receiving manager didn't know where the new sign was stored. And it wasn't in the set of signs at the newsstand desk. So I left a note for tomorrow's newsstand person so she could do it.

After all that, I spent another hour doing category maintenance.

All this was just fine, but I felt like I could have done it all in half the time. No training on the display maintenance, and the manager to ask wasn't in. No set of written procedures either. No documentation of what goes where. It certainly was possible to do everything with what I had. I could have found the missing sign with some effort. But really, a half hour of training and a list of promotional display locations would have shortened this. And I hate to think of a stupid person having to do learn it by fire, or someone who's afraid of messing things up (like a good minority of the recent hires are).

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