I’m sure there’s some statistic somewhere that says x% of people have worked in a retail environment at one point or another.  Some do it for the summer in high school to support their latest iPhone addiction their parents finally made them pay for, others do it to get through college years and pay for their ramen supply .  Or maybe later in life it’s a second job so someone can afford the FAMILY pack of ramen instead of the individual packs. Either way, I don’t have time to look up the statistic (it is 4:30 am after all) but I know it’s out there.  And I know a significant amount of Americans have worked in retail sometime in their lifetime. It’s just, I just went an made a career out of it.

And after days (nights?) like toady (tonight?), WHAT I ask you WAS I THINKING?!

I guess I didn’t choose the shelf life, the shelf life chose me.

So I just got off an 8 hour overnight shift (now 4:42 am) to execute a department reset in one of my least favorite departments in the store.  Now I’ve only been working for my current company for less than a year.  So this was my second experience with  a reset within this company, but they’re pretty much all the same yeah? Take product out of current location, throw product on floor, move shelving, add fixture, pick up product from disastrous pile previously made, put product back on new shelf.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

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Easy peasy, righ?

YEAH. Tonight’s reset was about as easy as passing a kidney stone. (or what I imagine passing a kidney stone feels like) Painfully excruciating, completely unnecessary, and utterly awful. There may have even been blood.

Let me elaborate.

For starters, I’m pretty certain the guy who made the map(s) HAD to have dropped out of school in the 3rd grade, you know BEFORE they teach you how to measure? Or count.

They give us these papers right? One is a crudely digitized (maybe even hand drawn with kohl from ancient Egypt) layout of our store.  Even WITH my glasses on I had to touch the paper to my nose to see the wording.  And this “map” as they call it, tells us where everything will be going for the reset.  In addition to the map, we are provided with a shelving overview that tells us how high or low to make the shelves on each fixture for it’s new product assortment.  After that, there’s another paper that tells us which fixture/shelf to start with, and is a step by step how-to on conducting the entire reset.

All super helpful you say?

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Please refer to the above mentioned 3rd grade drop out.

Let us first discuss the kohl map.  It is 2016.  Why is this shit not 3D with a goddamn (if this terminology is offense, you might want to stop reading now because that pretty much is the cleanest dialogue you’ll find on my site) touch screen that shows me a full color photo of this place.  WHERE IS MY HOLOGRAM FOR CHRIST SAKE?! You people have hoverboards! I can’t get a map I don’t need fu*king telescope to see?! Maybe it’s like the Marauder’s Map and I need the spell to make it visible.  Well shit.  Where is Harry Potter when you need him! Voldemort’s dead, he can’t still be busy.

Whatever, just put the map down and pick up the shelving overview right? That HAS to be easier to read.  It’s a printed spreadsheet (yeah, people still use Excel apparently) with numbers and words.  SIMPLE!

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So we take the paper and start marking the shelves with the corresponding measurements as defined by the provided spreadsheet.  After we mark the shelves all the product starts coming off, we start scanning the product for it’s new placement, and making our piles near the new homes of each product.  THIS IS GREAT! Everything is moving great.  Now commence operation reset shelves.

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WHYYYYYYYYY?!!!!! WHY ON GODS EARTH DOES IT TAKE THE HAMMER OF THOR TO REMOVE THESE THINGS?! Who put these in?! Should I go find Arthur?! Is HE the only one worthy of removing this excaliburian metal from it’s home.  AM I NOT WORTHY?!

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Moving these shelves was out of control.  Just out of control.  They’re peg shelves, so there has to be some lift to them as they hook into the slots at the base of the fixture and lock down.  But somewhere during the 17 years of resets the shelves and their pegs have gotten battered, beaten, and abused so the number of times they would get stuck was…. well it takes me back to calculus.  THERE IS NO LIMIT.

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The women I was working with were much better at this part (well actually all parts) than I was because they were prepared for the lack of love from the shelves.  They were pros at this, having done most of the resets over the last 5 years.  I was not prepared.  And like with every loveless relationship I was left broken and scarred for life.  My one coworker got a serious kick out of watching me attempt to move shelves.  At one point she was laughing so hard I thought she might pee herself.  It kicked me into a fit of laughter.  Then I kicked the shelf.

The best part of all this though?  THE MEASUREMENTS WERE WRONG ANYWAY! Every time we tried to place products we had to move all the shelves again anyway because the product was too big to fit! WHO MEASURED THIS SHIT?! YOU HAD ONE JOB PATRICK! ONE JOB!

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Now, I had mentioned they provided us with a step-by-step guide on how to execute this reset.  Well, let’s just say after the Marauder’s Map with no spell, and the Excel sheet from hell we said SCREW THAT.  Take your Ikea-esk directions and put them where you keep your common sense.

We spent the better part of our 8 hour shift cursing, hitting things, and generally maniacally laughing as we plotted the death of Patrick and his minions.  It will be slow.  It will be deliberate.  And first they will have to re-reset our damn sales floor!

Cut to the near end. (There’s so much more but it’s now 5:28 am and the Red Bull is starting to wear off)

The shelves are all set on the major fixtures, we’re almost done un-boxing all the new product we received for the new layout, and things are moving along GRANDLY! We’re making good time and we might be able to get everything done.  One coworker is measuring out one of the endcaps (aisle facing shelves for you non-retailers) we missed on a fixture.  The other comes up looks at her and says something along the lines of “wait, the measurements go from top to bottom on the paper?”

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YOU DID NOT! JANICE! JANICE! WE TALKED ABOUT THIS JANICE!!

She did the whole one side of the fixture wrong.  It all had to be redone.

She laughed.  The other woman laughed.  I laughed. We all cried a little inside.

She fixed it.  We continued our Winston Churchill trudge.  Just kept going, straight through hell.

We get moving again.  Making up for lost time, finishing up those boxes.  Except, this product goes on Row 3, Space 2.  And THAT product goes on Row 3, Space 2.  And THIS product goes on Row 3, Space 2.  And the next one.  And the one after that.  Not the next one.  But about 2 after that do.

Every Row 3. Every Space 2.  They. Just. All. Go. There.

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EVERYBODY GOES ON ROW 3, SPACE 2!

Don’t know where something goes? It doesn’t scan? Patrick says put it on Row 3, Space 2.  Those socks you lost in the drier? I bet you’ll find them on Row 3, in Space 2.

After that we kind of just gave up.  We got through the rest of what we could, put away everything we could, and pulled our sanity together the best we could.

I left a recap for my boss.  Parts of my soul on the ceiling tiles.  Packed it up and hauled ass back down the street to my house.  Luckily I live close to work, otherwise I might have typed this sitting in Nivens (my car).

I really wish I knew when the last time Patrick or one of his lackeys executed one of these themselves.  I mean, they send pictures of what it’s supposed to look like, so SOMEONE had to have done it.  But then again, Donald Trump is running for POTUS so that’s proof that you can know absolutely nothing about a job, and still get backed by a bunch of rich guys as being an expert.

Needless to say, I’m grateful to be done with work and in my bed for sure.  That shit was exhausting!

Hopefully you got a laugh out of this.  Hopefully some of you can relate if you’ve worked in retail or done any merchandise resetting. This post was really just a way for me to wind down from the night, and finally get some writing done.

Please note, all names and identities have been changed in order to protect the privacy of those on Row 3, Space 2.

It’s now 6:05 am.  I’m going to bed.  So I can wake up and start Monday. (Joy!)

Published by Nancy Jane