Improving Retail Jobs and Business
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25 / M / Seattle, WA, USA
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Posted 11/4/14 , edited 11/4/14
I watched this video, as part of my training at work (which I get paid for doing by the way) and was inspired. It's about how to create good retail jobs in today's world. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sD67LKqXGrg

Watch around 6:14 to hear how Walmart failed during the economic crisis, and how their equivalent in Spain succeeded during the same period of time.

Some companies are doing it right. They are offering a higher-than-average pay to their employees, offer less product, and give more benefits to their employees. In fact, QuikTrip, a southern chain of a convenience store and gasoline supplier, has such good jobs that it can actually be harder to get into than it can be to get into a prestigious college.

The company I work for now, Mud Bay (pet supply store in Washington, starting to branch out to Oregon) starts us off at $10.50/hr. They are also going to increase our wages to $15/hr, increased by $1 per year until we meet that, following the minimum wage increase in Seattle. In addition, we get raises twice per year based on our reviews.

Instead of offering 5 different versions of the same product, like a bunch of different salmon oils for instance, we only offer one type. We get the best one, so people are happy with it and they don't have to research about 10's of different products. Because there are less products, the employees are more knowledgeable about each one. So the employees can help customers more.

The company also plans with slack. They hire more people than required. They don't try to figure out how they can do the most with the least amount of people. They don't see the employees as numbers that need to be reduced. They see them as hard and capable workers that can help increase profit. Therefore, they invest in their growth. Instead of feeling like I could be replaced at any time, by anyone in the area, I feel knowledgeable about the products because the company has spent time and money to educate me about our selections.

Most retail employees feel their jobs are meaningless. More often than not, you can go into any grocery store or other retail facility and you will see dull, almost zombified people who simply don't want to be there. At my job, because I'm educated about the products, I can help people solve their problems and find their needs, which ties into the last point.

All of this counters what most companies do in this age. Yet the company I work for has 30 stores, has opened 7 stores this year, and will open 5-7 more next year. Other companies have already been working towards this trend. Costco and Trader Joes for instance. What's it going to take to get other retailers to start this?
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F / San Francisco
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Posted 11/4/14
The whole point of retail jobs is that they aren't meant to support you and a family for the rest of your lives. They're meant as a temporary step and a way to get job experience so you can hopefully land a better job in the future. Retail jobs are great if you're in school or maybe something to do after losing your last job and looking for a new one.

Hate to break it to you, but most employees, regardless of the job, think that their work is pointless. Doctors can't understand why people are still smoking, taking drugs and eating unhealthy as they reflect on the last triple bypass operation they did, cops can't understand why people stay in abusive relationships, teachers roll their eyes as another parent complains about their child's test scores as said parent pulls out their smartphone to catch up on the latest Kardashian news, etc. The stuff that most people find as being fulfilling rarely pays well.
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23 / M / Crunchyroll HQ
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Posted 11/4/14
Costco is a great model of how a retail company should run. Instead of hiring an excess amount of workers and compensating them poorly, lowering their productivity and job satisfaction. Costco pays a small, dedicated force that shows enthusiasm and works hard to make inventory run smoothly and interact with customers in a helpful way.
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24 / M / Canada
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Posted 11/4/14
I feel like this is an important topic, but I don't feel like watching the video right now. It is nice to know that there are some retailers putting effort into improving themselves. I've heard about things like the head of Costco having a not totally ridiculous salary and that there employees actually make a decent amount of money, not to mention that the cashiers there get to wear normal people clothes (from what I've seen).
28635 cr points
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25 / M / Seattle, WA, USA
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Posted 11/4/14 , edited 11/4/14

Squishton wrote:

I feel like this is an important topic, but I don't feel like watching the video right now. It is nice to know that there are some retailers putting effort into improving themselves. I've heard about things like the head of Costco having a not totally ridiculous salary and that there employees actually make a decent amount of money, not to mention that the cashiers there get to wear normal people clothes (from what I've seen).


Yep, I get to wear casual clothes at work too. Just no basketball shorts or tanktops, etc.
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