Thursday, August 4, 2022

Midwit Employee Of The Month: Why We're Doomed

My patience for such rank stupidity as the following tale has definitely come to a middle.

Me last night: "Item not recognized." High-70s IQ sales help comes over because Pavlovian conditioned reflex to flashing red light. Tries both magic tricks she knows. Item still not recognized. Like the computer told her the first three times.

"I can't sell this. I don't know what the price is."

"Ma'am, I'm gonna go out on a limb and bet that your $19.98 Clearance sticker on an 8-year-old banged up book that went for $24.99 brand new in 2014 is probably a major clue there."

"But it's not coming up in the system. So I have no way to sell this to you. Is there another one?"

"No, it's the only copy you have of a How To book from 8 years ago. I have the money for it. It's the only one you have. I'd like to buy it now. How hard is that?"

"But I have no idea how much to sell it for. Anyone could have put that sticker there. And it's not coming up in the system."

Word to Corporate HQ's Mother: When you hire someone with an IQ in the 80s (which seems to be a lot - like 90-ish percent - of your employees) couldn't you help a brother out by putting them in orange jumpsuits, and a hockey helmet with a flashing red light on top to clue the rest of us in on what's about to happen? I'm BEGGING you...

Smoke streaming from both ears, Midwit then puts it over on her counter, like I'm a five year old in a timeout and can't see it there any more.

I had no idea people coming into the store and dropping off strange books with the company's clearance stickers was such a huuuuge problem at their stores until just this moment, but at least I've finally solved the lifelong mystery of what ever became of the kids from kindergarten who ran with scissors and ate the craft paste who didn't end up in Congress. With a little luck, Midwit here could become a congressweasel from NYFC if she's not careful.

Thusly hijacked by stupidity, I complete my remaining purchase and tote my trove to the car. Then come back in to look for someone who can either take their socks off and do the math, or with a higher IQ than Midwit. I'll take either one. Worst case, I'll see if I can't find the same book on Amazon, and cut them out of the sale entirely, and let them eat shit on the deal. (Note to anyone who cares: the 'Zon in fact has it, in stock, and for another $10 less than Wallytardia. But I'd have to wait until next Wednesday for it, plus S and H. So that's a wash.)

But Midwit has already rotated to some other low-IQ task. The new flunkie now on duty is pre-occupied. So I walk by , lift the book, and carry it back to where I found it, only I stash it instead behind the coloring books (which, to be fair, is probably the only area of the store she's got committed to memory), at 10 minutes to closing.

Went back this morning just after they opened, with a whole new crew on duty, found another newer clearance item with the same price, took both items to the registers, scanned the new one, paid the bill, left the other item, and bagged the book I wanted in the first place the night before.

Wally World has now, despite the best efforts of their chattering hired monkeys, successfully sold the ancient item they couldn't unload for 8 years at the exact price to which they marked it down, and I have the exact item I was prepared to pay for the night before, banged up and cover-worn, but still worth the price to me at a 20% discount.

And nobody there among the high-functioning retards has to flap their feathers and burn out their brain transmissions by grinding gears in their tiny brains to figure out how to sell a book to a guy standing there with cash in his hand to buy it, because the all-powerful CPU has forgotten what it is nearly a decade later, and they haven't been clued in to the use of a signal flare, and calling the undoubtedly 80-IQ assistant manager over to help them.

Most stores have managers on duty to make exactly such high-level corporate financial decisions, but what the hell do I know, since I've only been buying stuff at stores since eleven or twelve presidents ago, and I seem to recall the clerks back then used this arcane art known as looking at the goddamned price sticker, typing that into the cash register, ringing it up, and taking your money, pretty much the same way that's been done for over 143 years, ever since James Ritty invented the sonofabitch in 1879, and nobody had a stroke over that, including an entire century of history when no computer had anyfuckingthing to do with the entire retail process whatsoever, and even the most simple-minded idiots could accomplish the task of ringing up a sale without taking off their shoes or spraining a synapse. I could be mistaken, but that's my best recollection of how it's worked, oh, since EVER.

If the corporate twatwaffles who run that ship of fools has a problem with that, they probably shouldn't have forced me to be their employee to ring up my own shit, because they're too stupid and cheap to hire a couple of more minimum wage checkout clerks every day and shift.

Monkeyfucking assholes hiring monkeyfucking assholes is no way to run a business, even if they're getting good-guy points for hiring the high-functioning retarded kids and rehabbing the brain-fried stoners from the '70s and '80s, or something, and paying them 16 bucks an hour.

One has to but wonder what sort of productive work such an employee can actually accomplish, and dollars to donuts the only reason the pallets of goods dropped around the store just prior to closing get broken down each morning before they open is that they must hide food pellets among the goods to keep employee interest in clearing those boxes up to par.

Half of me expected her to turn to the side and reveal that sentient apes in the back office had done brain surgery on her or something.

WallyWorld had a minor kerfluffle a few years back when they pulled a certain mug. I don't think they actually pulled it. It's just a hunch, but I think they just saved them to give out internally to store employees across the chain for this sort of accomplishment.

The exercise was worth it to me for the sheer satisfaction of working out a way to thwart the Minions of Stupidity, but I'll bet a paycheck that somewhere in the annals of miscellaneous tales during the decline of Rome from imperial HQ to cow pasture, that somewhere there's an account of some middle class Roman frustrated because the inbred clerks at the marketplace couldn't make change for a sesterce without taking their sandals off, couldn't read cursive script, couldn't tell time from an hourglass or sundial, and had to look up what a "dozen" was at the public library. 

Get off my lawn, you damned punk kids!

(Hand to God: Half of me wants to buy another copy of it from Amazon, go back there, bring it into the store, put three different price stickers from the Clearance aisle on it, including at least one far above the retail price on the cover, and smear some glass etching compound on the scanner on my way out for good measure. I do have a birthday coming up...)


Jess said...

That reminds me of an attempted sale for a refrigerator at Lowe's. The underling, in this situation, was a young man with initiative. With some haggling over trading an ice-maker for accepting a ding in the showroom model, the only thing left was approval from the manager. It was a no-go, since the department manager had been well-trained in dumbassery. I walked away, with the manager completely satisfied he'd have to either accept such bargaining in the future, or doing more paperwork to try and send the model back to the manufacturer as damaged goods.

Old NFO said...

Ah yes...BTDT but at Home Despot. Walked out, went to Lowes, bought the item.

Plague Monk said...

These days, what I love about shopping at Wally World are seeing the battered cans of chicken and various Chef Boyardee products on the shelves. I'll mention to the stockers that there might be some interesting toxins brewing inside these cracked cans. The response is invariably one that they can't remove them from the display because "someone" will buy them. Uh, not me.

Plague Monk said...

As far as books are concerned, the WW nearest me has a large book selection. That's the good part. The bad part is that they are inordinately fond of works by the Obamination, Hillarious, and tomes on how not to be raccccist. Nothing useful. Meijer and Kroger are about the same.
They really don't like my coming into the store wearing one of my nicer t-shirts, such as Vote From the Rooftops or The Emperor Declares Exterminatus! with a chainsaw under a blaster.
I have to give their pharmacies credit, though. I won't buy my prescriptions anywhere else, and I can get them wherever I'm working on short notice.

Anonymous said...

You can use it to your advantage by returning items that didn't even come from CCP-Mart but they have cracked down and of course no cash.
Welcome to Costco, I love you.

Stones said...

Betcha dollars to doughnuts, that book you used for its sku will be giving them fits for the next 10 years because it's no longer in the system lmao

John Wilder said...

(SMH) - It's the result of procedure, procedure, procedure being drilled and also setting up the jobs so that a -2 standard deviation I.Q. can do most of them.

Anonymous said...

Heh - don't hold back, tell us how you really feel...

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of trying to pay to swim laps at the community center pool recently. I worked there in the 80s. Four keys on the register for admissions: kids, adults, families, seniors. I could let a line of over 100 people in in about 5 minutes since most had the cash in correct amount.

I go there now and I have to wait five minutes while the desk person is registering someone for a class. Then it's my turn to pay. Hand him exact amount of cash. It takes two minutes to enter info into the computer. Then he has to get someone to help open the cash drawer. Then he waits for computer to print receipt, which is also quite a process. Finally I head downstairs to pool. No one in office to open doors. Wait five more minutes until lifeguard returns from deck rotation. Heaven help these people if they ever have to let in a crowd of over twenty.

I miss cash registers.

5stonegames said...

Only 29% of the US population can read at the 6th grade level or above. So basically nearly 3/4th of the population is more or less illiterate.

No wonder. Stupid is as stupid does

Anonymous said...

The problem with stuff that comes up as unknown on the computer is that everything that is paid for HAS to be entered into the computer. The systems are set up in such a way that the transaction cannot be processed any other way.

Assuming Walmart uses similar procedures to my store, the proper procedure for would be for her to call a manager or head cashier over and get them to enter the "unknown item" code, which the cashier cannot do herself because it requires an override (to prevent "internal shrink.") That can potentially take quite some time, particularly if there is no head cashier available...which does happen.

Back when I ran a cash register I got a lot of eye rolls over my persnickediness in following exact procedure, too, but I caught a LOT of people low-balling an estimate of how many items they had or claiming that they had several of the same item when they had several different kinds mixed together, etc. Then there were the outright thieves swapping barcodes and such....Bottom line is that the cashier works for the company, not the customer, and the company's priorities are different from the customers', however much they may talk about the importance of customer satisfaction.

-Grey Fox

TechieDude said...

First problem is shopping at wally world. I go there only if there are no alternatives.

That said, what happens to me is they look around for a manager, then shrug their shoulders and put whatever it was in the bag.

Too much effort to deal with it.

kevinH said...

Sounds just like every visit to the local Dollar General.
Avoid these places they are dens of stupidity, and send your hard earned shekels out of town.

ghostsniper said...

Just about everything now is run by computers and humans take 2nd place to them. So, if you're a thinking person you have to be smarter than the system, as you showed in your solution. I recently did something similar in the self checkout line. The computer didn't have avocados at $1.49 each but it did have limes at 79 cents each so I paid for limes instead. computerz iz dum

C said...

To work for the big blue machine. I did a few months there in between factory jobs. Half the shift would either call in or leave as soon as the GM truck was unloaded. Management wouldn't fire any of the lazy bastards for a month Leaving us with five people to handle everything. Unloading all the produce, meat, and dairy trucks, zoning, sorting break packs, and stocking the entire store (supercenter not the regular). Management insisted on nobody from second shift leaving until everything was done. While at the same time writing us up for having overtime. The pay was a meager $9 an hour with a raise to $10 if you completed the online courses assigned to you. Problem was you couldn't complete the courses unless you were clocked in, you couldn't take the courses during any break period, and all assigned tasks had to be completed before you could take any courses. IIRC if you didn't complete the courses within a year it was automatic termination. I've heard things have improved, but anyone with two brain cells to run together avoid the place like the plague. I bailed after a plastic recycling facility called to offer me a day shift job. No regrets.

Fast forward seven years later. Only two people I recognize. he cute little twenty something gal that worked in sporting goods. She stuck it out long enough to move up to department manager. Didn't know a thing about ammunition. She had enough sense to read the boxes and compare it to what customers asked for. The other being an older gentleman who couldn't do tree work anymore. He wasn't the brightest, but he was damn dedicated. Good help is incredibly hard to find.

Carl Bussjaeger said...

Sadly, I've worked at Wally World. Things aren't always what they seem.

Odds are that cashier knew what to do, but was actively prevented by Walmart from doing it. Been there, done that.

Stealth Spaniel said...

Okay-I understand your frustration, but lemme let you in on the other side of the barricade. The scanner is ALL POWERFUL, ALL KNOWING, AND ALWAYS CORRECT. Corporate lives and dies by the scanner and the computer-ie, register. Corporate canNOT fathom that merchandise doesn't get entered, get entered correctly, or simply does not exist. Hence, both you and I are frustrated. True story: yesterday I had an older couple who wanted to buy 6 banana nut muffins. Rang up at $4.98 but the sign said $3.98. I know this because grandpa took a cell pic of the sign. I canNOT override prices any longer as the company now wants a stupidvisor to enter their codes and will have two people to flog: me & stupid. I called for said stupidvisor who looked the 3 of us in the face and said "Wait, I have a customer I'm dealing with." Grandpa said, "Well, who the F*** am I?" Said stupidvisor takes off following "her" customer and leaves the the trio hanging. But wait! It gets better! Grandma had her running shoes on and took off at a fast hustle. Not 2 minutes later, she comes dragging stupidvisor back to the register. This entire scenario took over 5 minutes when all stupid had to do is say, oh yeah, put in her codes and go on. It happens constantly. Call for a stupidvisor and that is their clue to disappear into merchandising, loading, etc. Remember......the scanner and register are NEVER wrong! The only thing corporate cares about is how many credit cards we sell and how many account upgrades we get. NOTHING else matters. Your skin color is your uniform; if you are white, you have certain standards that must be met. However-if you are black, hispanic, Hindu, Muslim than you can do what you would like. Literally-this corporation pays managers and supervisors to stand around and watch workers. And you do realize that ALL of the stores are loaded with cameras both inside and out. They have managers watching "their" store, they have an official observance team, and yes-even corporate can look anywhere anytime. This goes for Costco, Sam's Club, and Walmart. Welcome to Retail.

Aesop said...

I have a jet black Sharpie, and a pen knife.
Good luck scanning the holy bar codes when they're altered. Or missing.

God help them if I bring in a magnet too, and start moving the shoplifting tags to random items and strange places.

Welcome to "Customer Service Gets The Benefit Of The Doubt". ;)
I watched the same attitude kill May Co. Robinson's. Sears. Mervyn's. Penneys. Montgomery-Ward's.
And generation after generation of asstard corporate management can't figure out why the f**k the 'Zon is eating them for lunch.
If Amazon moves into fast food too, they'll take over the world.

Retail is a service industry, FFS. This should be Retail 101 stuff.
Hell, send 'em a copy of "Miracle On 34th Street".
Maybe Hollywood from 50 years ago can clue them in.

Ruth said...

Yah, the fancy computerized cash register systems can't be just over-riden that way any more. A manager/head cashier person could force through a clearance sku for you, but you'd have to get the idiot to call one for you. At least at my store we CAN give the cashier the manual sku for most items to be rung out with, IF THE IDIOT AT THE REGISTER actually calls the dept for it. But for a lot of older clearance merch finding that sku ends up more time consuming than calling said manager. And I'm not sure if Walmart can do manual sku's or not.

Experiences like yours are why I dislike it. But at the same time the theft rates because of those loop-holes continues to go through the roof. The companies close the loophole to try to stop the theft, they annoy the customers because not all cashiers are created equal and some are pretty fucking stupid about handling it when it needs to be fixed, they cut hours because annoyed customers go elsewhere so sales drop, which means even fewer people with a brain to handle the shit…..its a viscous cycle and I've not got a good solution that'll actually fix it in a realistic manor.

Tucanae Services said...

Oh heck this is nothing. I walked into a TacoBell for a burrito and soda.

Me: "I would like ...."
Teller: "Can't sell it to you."
Me: "What?"
Teller: "Our computers are down..."

And so an entire store with 8 employees stood there doing not a damn thing. I walked away shaking my head. They were too stupid to even know how to count back change that I learned at 14yo. Close the store? Can't. It was one of those stores that was open 24hrs a day.

On the other side, much of the stupidity starts at the top. Some MBA type comes up with the brainy idea to substitute machines for a trained teller. Their thinking is we can buy a $50k machine then hire anyone that can fog a mirror.

Society also suffers. I can kindly remember that a trained teller could ring up an entire grocery order at twice the speed it took to scan it. And a really good clerk knew what the sale prices were in their head. Error rate? Less than 1%.