Chapter Twenty-Two

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Throughout the next couple of weeks, I took notes of some of the problems I saw around the store. I typed all the notes I had taken along with a proposed solution for each.  

I arrived at work at the next morning at 8:00 a.m. Marc was there early so he opened the door for me.  

"So how's it going?" he asked. 

"It's going pretty good I suppose, how are you?" 

"I'm alive, so I can't complain," he said again, as if he was being witty. 

"Good to hear," I said, almost as automatic as his response. 

"Listen, Marc, I made a few observations about how the store operates and I think there are some things we can change, which will increase business." 

"Great, I would love to hear them, what do you have in mind?" 

"Actually, I wanted to wait for the other managers to arrive and discuss it as a team." 

"Okay, good. I'll let the others know, and we can find a time at some point during the day to discuss your ideas." 

"Sounds good. Thanks, Marc." 

*** 

A few hours went by and the store was pretty quiet. I separated Andy and David so they didn't talk to each other so much. I asked Carlos to make sure all the shoes on the shoe wall had price tags on them and asked Amanda to stay up at the front to greet people as they came in. I grabbed the schedule and made sure none of the managers were taking their lunch any time soon. I went into the back and asked Marc if it would be an appropriate time to go over some of my ideas.  

"Yes of course, I've been looking forward to it all day. Whenever you're ready." 

I went over to my locker, grabbed four copies of my neatly typed proposal, and handed them out. 

"Wow, what's this?" Jamie asked. 

"Inside you will find the solutions to our problems," I began. If that didn't get their attention, I didn't know what would. 

"I wasn't aware we had any problems," Jamie said.  

"There are just a couple of main issues. The first thing, and probably the most important thing, is most of our staff are not selling. I have individually coached each of them and there has been little to no improvement with many of them. This draws me to the conclusion they are either lazy, unmotivated, or they just lack the ability. In any case, I strongly recommend letting certain people go and hiring some new people who are motivated to sell. Hiring a few new people may also motivate the existing staff members to be more productive as well. I elect myself to be in charge of this whole process."  

"If you flip open the pamphlet I gave you, you will see I re-wrote the sales training manual. I know our current manual is handed down from corporate, but it's no good. We are the flagship store and we should be number one, but we're not. I don't think we can be number one with that manual. It's outdated and ineffective. Let me re-staff our team and train them the right way and I promise we will be number one again. 

"Next, we need to reevaluate the organization of our sales floor. I don't know who came up with this arrangement, but it is illogical and needs to be changed. Right now, we have the women's department mixed in with men's athletic and men's urban. Then we have men's urban on one side, but with a part of it spilling over to the men's athletic section. This doesn't make any sense. Why don't we just put the entire men's athletic section on one side, and the entire women's section in one corner, and the entire men's urban in the other corner. That way, sections are not split up. Doesn't that make more sense than how we have it now? 

"If you flip the page over, you will see an illustration I made that will give our store a face-lift. You will notice I have replaced all the shoe pyramids in the front window with several mannequins. Mannequins sell clothing, shoe pyramids do not. You will also see a large banner above the shoe wall. Currently, that space is empty and looks bare. As a focal point of our store, we should be utilizing that space for sale advertisements.  

"So these are the major issues I think are wrong with the store. I'll now open up the floor for questions, comments, or concerns." 

I waited, but there were none. Instead, there was a hostile tension that loomed in the air, making each agonizing second ever more uncomfortable for me. Immediately, I began to question my approach. Upon consideration, I may have been a little arrogant, but I didn't think they would hold it against me. After all, I figured that they would admire my eagerness, but I was wrong. Evidently, I still had a lot to learn about being tactful, especially among senior associates. 

"Trevor, I appreciate your input, but where do you get off trying to tell us, and corporate, how to run a business?" Jamie asked. 

"I wasn't implying you guys don't know how to run this store, I just wanted to present some fresh ideas." 

"You're twenty years old and have been here less than six months, and already you want to entirely rearrange the way this store operates. What makes you think you can do a better job?" 

"I wasn't saying that, Jamie. I was just trying to help." 

"We got it, thanks, man," Jamie said, as he threw my booklet in the garbage. The others weren't as upfront about their feelings, but they seemed every bit as reluctant to implement my suggestions.

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