Client Analysis: Short, balding fat man.

Are clients representative of the population that surrounds the store? I've been posting a few things here and there about people and how they react around my work. I've seen many interesting people, and seen many stupid things happen.

Being a clerk is an experience in and of its own (good enough to make two movies out of). Clerks get to see many people come and go, ask smart and stupid questions, figure out how to scam the store and how to get caught doing stupid things. Being a clerk is a unique experience. It's as if one is to look at the world from inside an aquarium looking out.

For one thing, the whole faith of the store depends solely on your shoulders, and yet you get the lowest salary in the joint. Several myths about clerks are in circulation: Clerks have to do whatever the customer asks of him (false), the customer is always right (false), the clerk gets to sit and be polite while a customer screams and acts as he wishes (also false), he knows the inventory of the whole store by heart (false), do I need to keep going?

I remember how the restaurants LaFleur had bothered to bring in outside consultants to gather data on how the store operated its revenues on specific weekdays when for a much cheaper price, they could've simply asked a clerk.

A man walked into my store today that gave me the idea that taking clients and analysing them is a great way to entertain oneself. First up: short, balding, fat man.

It's Saturday night, 7:55pm, a short man walks through the front door of the store. I can tell he's rather short as he happens to be the same height as a 14year old who is in the process of choosing his film. This man also happens to be quite large. Very wide at the shoulders, he wears glasses and has short hair as he is slowly balding. The man must be in his mid 30s.

The fat man haslty walks to the back of the store without making eyes contact with me and with one leg he stops his advancement and stretches his neck so he can see around the corner. On his way back, he makes quick eye contact with me before looking at the posters around him. With that, he returns to the complete front of the store to log onto the machine.

I have the pleasure of hearing him hit the keys as hard as he can possibly do it. Which reminds me that the keys on the machine to the far right aren't responsive anymore. Did I solve the mystery? I start thinking of all sorts of machines: Touch screen picture printer machines, ATMs and PCs. Are these victims of such people to? I then think of the clerks who have to deal with people who break the machine following such abuse: Return items clerks, back clerks, camera shop clerks, all these poor souls. He robotically hits the button without mercy. At half a second interval. Over and over again: click...click...click...click...click.

He finally makes his selection and walks over the machine to retrieve his film. I notice he never looks up until he has to place his card inside. The rest of the time, he simply looks down. Once the machine spits the movie out. He grabs it and walks up to my counter looking a bit annoyed by the position he finds himself in: He must talk to me now.

He states that one film is marked as being out. So far, he knows what he's talking about. He then dips into a thouroughly annoyed tone: "You only have one or -". I cut him off. I tell him they're several copies, and all of them are out. He gives a suprised look. I wasn't impolite, but he finally seems to realize that whether I was lying to him about the amounts of copies we hold or not, it wouldn't matter: The movie, and all of its copies, were not available. He keeps up the suprised and dissapointed gesture and speaks a bitter "Oh, so they're all out." before he leaves. He slouches a bit, I notice, on his way out.

He is one of many who asks the question: How many copies? As if it mattered truly, the number of copies turns out to be, as are the ones in circulation, out of their reach, and out of their control. This man seemed frustrated at the lack of insight in the answer, and certainly the fact that he would never find out. What's interesting is the fact that no matter the number of copies, the number would turn out irrelevant to him. The only number that makes a difference is 0.

Short, balding fat man walked away with a film in hand.


At 14/7/07 9:49 PM, Blogger Portelance said...

I have similar experiences at work. Sometimes when I tell a customer that we have no stock of an item left, and I will have to get some more sent in from the warehouse (which will take a day or two) they will ask me: "oh... and where's the warehouse?". What... like it matters? As if they could just drive up to the warehouse and pick it up there right now.

There have been a number of very hot items since I worked there. Products which were backordered for months (years even!) where people had to be put on a waiting list because the items were so popular and the manufacturer could not make enough of them to satisfy the crazy demand. So I would periodically get people who came in demanding to know what position they were on the list... both relative to the number of orders the individual store has, as well as the company as a whole. Of course, the information cannot be given to customers because it's considered a company secret (ie. we can't have competitors finding out about stock and all these sorts of things). But I always wondered what it mattered to them. They were told that it could take a number of months to get the item in, and everyone is impatient, but somehow THEY MUST KNOW exactly what number they are on the list... as if it made a difference as to how soon they would get their lens.


Post a Comment

<< Home