Friday, 1 June 2012


After careful scrutiny of the financial situation, and the fact my feet were protruding through my trainers, I took myself off to the 'Shoe Zone' today.  Now I am not keen on buying shoes as they never have the ones I want in my size (12), and no matter what I do I am never happy with the brutes.  Strangely enough I also find I do not wish to lose the hole riddled ones I have been wearing as they are now comfortable, so how that works out I know not.  In this town I find service in the shops comes in two shades.  One is friendly and almost like dealing with family, almost, the other is surly, disinterested and often teenaged.  Today I met both.  The girl in the shop kind of smiled at me, the kind of smile she uses on her uncle when he repeats the story she has heard countless times before, and was busy shelf filling when I dumped the cheapest I could find on the counter.  Her boss arrived, devoid of smile, but this time the strained "I've had enough" kind of non smile, indicated me beginning a  queue.  Smile less service followed and I departed wondering.  

Now long ago I dealt with customers in a Cash & Carry and can appreciate what people go through.  The great British public is an ignorant pain in the neck at times, the job is boring, the future bleak, however it is work!  My great nephew obtained a shop in a 'cheap end of the market' sports clothes shop and came home on his first day grumbling about the customers, "They are so rude!"  I can imagine the young who are employed in such shops, their life stretching out ahead of them, excitement calling at every dawn and instead it's enduring fussy women, grumbling children, men with no idea or indeed too much idea as to what they want, and a company pressure to make sales.  It is not what you wish to wake up to is it?   I suspect these folk are being paid the minimum wage, and that reluctantly.  If the boss and you, and possibly others have little time for one another life can be hard.

I was left wondering if using older folks as staff, especially part time, might be an idea here.  Few wish to employ folks over fifty and I think shops especially suffer because of this.  If unemployed they could do the legal 15 hours work while on the dole, give some meaning to their day, and this might bring about a better atmosphere in such shops.  Older staff know they only way to make such employment work is to have fun.  This is not easy, but boring jobs are lightened by laughter, even dark humour.  I think such shops should consider this idea, although they probably only ever consider the pennies.

On the other hand I had to contact the Pensions people the other day.  A question arose regarding Pensions I knew nothing about.  I know I will benefit from around £1000 p.a. from my time at Selfridges in the 80's, but I discovered the NHS has automatically enrolled me in their pension also. Whether this was during the seven years at the hospital or the two years of angst in the health authority I do not know.  I did not realise I had been enrolled automatically and nothing was ever said re this.  The NHS authority folk spent most of their time fighting for position, the care for patients never crossed their minds!  I was not popular whenever I mentioned this, and I did! 

The nice young lady at the pensions encouraged me to contact the NHS folk quickly, mostly on the basis I may have a large lump sum coming!  I think she may want some.  However when I called today they had no note of my existence.  Typical!  I now have to dig out addresses long since forgotten and try to discover where I was living when enrolled.  This is difficult as a quick look at Google maps shows some places have been redeveloped.   Mind one one or two were indeed slums!  However the point is both persons contacted were highly efficient, patient and helpful.  (I wonder how much they earn?)  

Management often has no consideration regarding staff contentment.  If staff are treated right, given proper support, and the work has some degree of enjoyment they will respond.  It always appears to me far too many shops work on the cheapest basis.  'Young staff are cheap, people need shoes, customers will come.'   It may give you a number of shops up and down the land, but this does not lead to a better world. 

The new trainers?  They are OK, so far.



Mo said...

I guess the trainers might get worn in to the comfy stage rather quickly with all the running around you've been doing.

Gail said...

Service is important to me. I provide friendly helpful service with a smile and interaction. Nope, not a prostitute, I'm a postal worker. I enjoy the people and now I'm headed toward retirement I'm finding out that the people don't want me to leave. I guess I've provided agreeable service for them.

I enquire about family members or things they have shared. I even have a dog who has to come visit me and she lets no one touch her but me.

red dirt girl said...

Oh so NOW you are posting about SHOES!! hahahhaha .... I knew you'd come around to my point of view: Shoes ARE very very important.

I work in retail and management. We tend to hire older people including a couple of ladies well past their social security age. Our younger staff tend to cause us more problems, i.e. forgetting the days they are supposed to work. Disregarding procedure etc. Attitudes are NOT a problem as we are quite strict about providing excellent customer service - it is one of the mandates of our company, and we are known for our loyal customer base.

With that said, I do understand the frustrations of being on the 'other side of the counter.' Customers vary from wonderful down to pure nightmares. So I tend to give shop workers the benefit of the doubt, and I am unfailingly polite to all no matter what type of service I receive.


Adullamite said...

Mo, Trainers OK, my feet need replacing!

Gail, Post staff smiling? It will never work here!

RDG, This is different! My shoes wore out, and I suspect it is 8 years since I bought new ones......

Mike Smith said...

I reckon you could get a job in a shoe shop. You would put your sole into it...

red dirt girl said...

hahahah - Mike's comment cracks me up!

Adullamite said...

RDG, Mike is clearly cracked up himself!