Tag Archives: Custom Menu

You Bet Your “National Taco Day” It’s Worth Having a Twitter Account!

October 4th is National Taco Day!

Of course, I would have posted this at the beginning of the day if I had known earlier. Sorry if you missed any related festivities! ;)

And, if you are not partial to tacos, just wait a few days. Apparently there is a  some kind of national food day just about every day here in the USA!

But why am I talking about NTD and how did I find out about this unique food day? …

Twitter, of course!!!

Why is this blog worthy?

Think about it… If you are a Mexican restaurant, food chain, etc. wouldn’t it make sense for you to get in on this action? The tweets go on and on. Notice the first tweet is from the press – the Kansas City Star. If you have a taco place in KC, and responded to this tweet in any way, you’d get free notice!!! Just sayin’…

Why so many businesses still don’t think Twitter is of value, I can’t figure out…

Oh, well, there are still lots of Twitter opportunities…  :)

October 5 National Apple Betty Day
October 6 National Noodle Day
October 9 National Dessert Day
October 10 National Angel Food Cake Day
October 11 National Sausage Pizza Day
October 13 National Peanut Festival
October 13 National Pumpkin Festival
October 15 National Mushroom Day
October 17 National Pasta Day
October 18 National Chocolate Cupcake Day
October 20 National Brandied Fruit Day
October 22 National Nut Day
October 23 National Boston Cream Pie Day
October 24 National Bologna Day
October 26 National Mincemeat Day
October 28 National Chocolate Day
October 29 National Oatmeal Day
October 30 National Candy Corn Day (of course :) for Halloween!)

and more…

But, alas, there is no National Garbanzo Bean day! Stephan Pastis apparently made it up! http://www.gocomics.com/pearlsbeforeswine/2011/10/03
Go have a taco! And tweet about it! And while you’re there, follow me https://twitter.com/#!/bizcommunicator

Retail Schedules Suck – Get a Little Goofy!

Have a nice day? - on my weekend?

So, what’s the best way to make the most of working on weekends?

Learn from Huck Finn

Jeez, it’s tough enough on your retail staff to hear their 9-5 weekday friends talk about weekend plans that they can’t attend. Don’t let them bring that dismal digression to work to bring yourself and the customers down.

Make Weekends something to look forward to!

Owners and Managers: Think Huckleberry Finn – make the undesirable job more desirable.

Bring in the doughnuts, spring for coffee and Chicken biscuits from the local breakfast place for the Saturday morning meeting. Or pop for pizzas at lunchtime. Make that morning meeting lively with an agenda that allows for lots of feedback, caffeine and food.

Loosen the dress code.

Make it a theme day.

Free Food!

Keep food handy – trail mix, water, nutritious snacks of all kinds that they can munch in the stock room as they search for merchandise. (And mount a hand sanitizer dispenser on the wall).

You know it’s tough to handle lunches on a Saturday… Free Food is an unexpected perk that means a lot more to your staff than you might think. The food court gets really old – especially on a busy, high traffic weekend.

More logical shifts

Schedule shorter 4-6 hour shifts so you don’t have to schedule in those 1/2 hours breaks (depending on state labor laws). It’s too hard to handle all the customers with too many lunches scheduled.

Get a Little GOOFY

Let the staff see your “other side.” Loosen up a little and energize the atmosphere. Keep the admin work for the weekdays. Better yet, hire a bookkeeper to handle the payroll and pay the bills so you can hang out on the floor more to enjoy your customers and get to know your staff better – including their strengths and weaknesses.

On the serious side…

Be ready for the weekends. If you have young staff, be realistic – – –  Have a backup plan if one of them calls in late Saturday morning instead of going ballistic when they call in or show up late. Be prepared!

Have a sit down with each staff member and tell them you know Friday night is for fun, but…

Don’t screw with me on a Saturday morning.

Consider telling them if they know they have a big party to go to Friday night, get approval from you to swap with someone to take the Saturday Morning shift. And if they call in sick Saturday morning, you most likely won’t believe them. Saturdays are too important in retail.

Saturdays are ridiculous to try to schedule in retail – and too important.

  • Morning shoppers who can’t wait for the door to open.
  • Weekend brunchers roll in around 1 pm.
  • Craziness then sets in before and after dinnertime.

So what do you do?

Weekend shoppers are different from those who shop during the week, but you still need good coverage. And busy professionals get really irked when there is no decision-maker available on weekends… schedule for that, too.

  • Schedule someone who is awake and ready to be there when the doors open, and schedule the “less-morning-resilient” (I made that term up) for the later shift.
  • Stagger shifts throughout the day. Bring in a lunchtime/peaktime shift.
  • Use your journal reports to track and document your busiest times for better scheduling.
  • Make a point of being on the floor on Weekends to make notes on the whos, whats and whys of shoppers – and your staff!.

IMHO

All retail should be open only Tuesdays through Saturdays. Keep people on a permanent and contained schedule and you’ll have better coverage and lower turnover for all shifts.

They have a life!

Retail employees would really like a better quality of life where they could actually schedule a haircut or doctor’s appointment weeks ahead and plan family and friends time.

With a modified schedule of Tues-Sat, Employers would have a stable staff, lower turnover, and better customer satisfaction.

Just think of the repeat referral growth if a customer always knew their favorite salesperson’s schedule. The high-end stores already know this…

Hair Salons and Chick-Fil-A do it

Chick-Fil-A, hair salons and the banks can close 1-2 days a week without losing volume, so you can, too. When stores have experimented with extended hours, often it evolves into a shift in traffic, not additional traffic.

And don’t give me any crap about how your sales volume would take a huge hit if you weren’t open on Sunday and Monday. Seriously? Customers who say they can’t shop your existing hours are likely the same people who like to come in just at closing time no matter how many hours and days you are open.

Hmmmmm… just imagine:

  • A happier, rested staff who takes better care of customers.
  • Customers who are more relaxed and better taken care of because they have a happier salesperson to wait on them.
  • Customers who can have their favorite salesperson every time they shop because the schedule doesn’t change.
  • Customers AND staff enjoying their Sundays with family and friends. No one really caring that stores aren’t open on Monday!
  • The staff actually enjoying their jobs.
  • A manager who doesn’t have to spend hours every week juggling to make a new schedule.

If I ever open a store, that will be the plan. Maybe I’ll close in the evenings, too. At least most nights……. ;-)

How millennials might kill a Boomer sale

Sometimes you just have to vent, so today I will.

Boomers are not little old women or men

I’m a boomer. 53 going on 54 in a couple of months. I’m not old. Older, maybe, but not old. And today, with so many centenarians around, I think I can actually get away with being called middle-aged.

So why are young salespeople are calling me “Young Lady”?  “…And if the young woman will just sign right here,” they say with a condescending smile as they hand me the merchant copy of the sales slip. REALLY?!

It’s not cute. I am not flattered. Next maybe you’ll pat me on the head or start talking louder to me.

And why don’t I ever hear them say  “Young Man” to my husband?

Granny can make it across the street

Yes, maybe I’m old enough to be their grandmother, but I am not the little old woman who needs help across the street or old like the “Veteran Reporter Herb Welch” on Saturday Night Live.

But I’m definitely young enough to stir up some trouble with the manager if I get one more condescending or patronizing smile. Actually, I am looking forward to getting really “old” just for the perks George Carlin mentioned in one of his later shows. (See video – R rated for language in case you weren’t paying attention when I said it was George Carlin.)

So, in the meantime, until I really get old, the next time a young, perky salesperson condescendingly calls me “Young Lady,” I’m afraid I won’t be quite the lady in response. And I’ll tweet all about it, too!

Sorry, Mom. I know you brought me up better…

Why you should stop reading shopper strategy analyses!

I was at the mall last week. I rarely go shopping in malls anymore since I prefer specialty shops for the great customer service. But there I was, reminded of my many years working retail.

You do a lot of observing customers when you work in retail, especially in a mall… and management time is often spent reading a plethora of corporate analyses of shopper habits and strategies. After my most recent visit to the mall, I can’t resist adding my own tongue-in-cheek counter comments…(sorry no graphs or bar charts here).

Seriously?

It’s not so much that I disagree with these studies, it’s just that my observations indicate that most mall shoppers just aren’t as serious about shopping as most reports make them out to be. And now you have to add the unknown of new Social Media discount and bar code scan apps throwing everything we thought we knew about shoppers out the window.

Apologies to Mother Goose

Monday’s shopper returns their weekend shopping mistakes

Tuesday’s shopper still didn’t get it right

Wednesday’s shopper has nothing else to do

Thursday’s shopper is planning for the weekend

Friday’s shopper needs more stuff for the weekend

Saturday’s shopper brings the whole extended family in after brunch for a few necessities and double the amount of impulse purchasesTeens come in after dinnertime to hang out.

And the shopper who shops on Sundays either forgot something on Saturday, or they are a working pro who hates to shop (but finally must).

It’s really not all that complicated!

And for those of you who haven’t suffered this post enough…

Let’s get more specific in this  “highly sophisticated” analysis:

Professionals:

Shop mostly for themselves and usually only in spurts, therefore driving themselves and salespeople crazy trying to accomplish a fiscal quarter’s worth of shopping in one lunch hour because they don’t want to shop after work or on weekends (unless there is absolutely no choice, i.e., holiday or special occasion shopping)

They are thrilled when mall shops take returns on online purchases!

The stroller crowd:

Shops 3-5 times a week because the pretty lights and sounds keep the babies happy and the stay-at-home moms/dads get to use polysyllabic vocabulary with other adults!

Purchases consist primarily of children’s clothing, toys, household goods and decorative items, and comfort clothing and footwear for themselves. And lots of coffee and chocolate.

The after school Crowd:

After school shopping for the next size assortment of their teen’s wardrobe because they woke up a size larger that morning or because they have worn the same shirt to school twice already.

Or after dinner shopping for the red shirt they have to wear for drug awareness day tomorrow (schools assume every child has a red shirt), school supplies and unusual items for the school project due tomorrow (assigned 2 weeks ago).

Weekend shoppers:

  • Weekend gardeners/ home project enthusiasts and sports nuts are waiting at the door anxiously waiting for you to open so they can get in and get out and have the rest of the day to themselves. They are annoyed you don’t open earlier.
  • Seniors who have been up since before dawn and are now half way into their day. Waiting for the doors to open is a social event for them. They also are annoyed you don’t open earlier.
  • Families sleep late and eat late on weekends, barely bother to change into street clothes (bordering on pj’s) to spend the entire afternoon with other first time home buyers to find lots of kitsch to fill all the new space (gnomes not excluded).
  • They also bring their toddlers and unwilling teens as this is their quality family time. You’ll find bored teens and dad’s escaping to the Electronics and TV aisles or sitting in the furniture section tweeting, texting or gaming. Smartphones and 3DSs are today’s replacement for social interaction or simple awareness of where one is at any moment in time.
  • Teens in heat - Weekend evenings are reserved for the cliques of teens strolling for admiring glances and ego boosts from their peers. Their purchases consist mostly of pushing their peers to buy things their own parents won’t let them buy with an underlying desire to get them in trouble.
  • Teen girls spend lots of time in makeup aisles in anticipation of when they are finally allowed to wear it. Earrings are allowed, so every pair must be held up to the ears for friends to oooooh and aaaaahhh.
  • Teen boys have no idea why they are there. They don’t want to buy anything, but they are told they can cruise chicks best at the mall. This is not true (see above re earrings and makeup), but they get occasional reinforcement at the food court which is enough for them to validate that flawed theory.

Well, that’s most of it… Malls are a virtual microcosm of suburban society.

Oh, I forgot! You can eat, go to the movies and shop for some great stuff, too! Oh, yeah, isn’t that what they were built for?

Feel free to add on!

6 Ways to Handle Holiday Shopping without Killing Each Other!

The Holiday Shopping Season is HERE! Yikes!

Try to ease the stress a little! Retail salespeople and customers often forget what usually goes wrong during that jam-packed time of shopping at the malls and stores.

Here are some hints and tips for Retail Salespeople and Customers:

Salespeople: Avoid the following

1. LACK OF FOOD!

Please eat! Keep trail mix, Yogurt, and handy no need to refrigerate items to snack on while you are running around in the stockroom. Bring your lunch because you know the food court will be a nightmare! All too often you can’t leave for lunch until 2-3 pm to eat because of additional staffing during the holidays. And if you don’t eat, nobody is happy…

2. BAD SHOES!

Hey, You! At the cosmetic counter pushing the fragrance! Yes, I’m talking to you – wearing stilettos on marble floors for 4-6 hour shifts! You don’t look as pretty with a painful grimace on your face and standing like a crane trying to relieve the ball of foot pain…  Hint: If you wear opaque hose, you can get away with more sensible pumps and still look hot!

And GQ salesguys! Why are you cramping your toes into killer shoes with narrow toes for a 10 hour shift?

Get some arch supports, all of you!

3. OUT OF CONTROL FRUSTRATION!

Smile – even if it kills you – you’ll both feel better! Those crazed people in your stores already spent too much time in traffic and parking, so you know they have no time left to shop like a normal human. Why are you taking it personally when a customer’s head spins around because you aren’t 100% available to them with the exact gift they wanted to buy? Don’t even go there!

And the closer it gets to Christmas Eve, the more possessed they become – so get over it right now! The shopping devil has taken over their souls and no exorcist can heal them until at least after the “After Christmas Sales.”

At their best, they will be mindless zombies bumping into each other until they find their way out. (see video)

For Customers:

The 3 above apply to you, too, but here are your versions of what to avoid (salespeople – enjoy and de-stress while you read) :

1. BAD FOOD!

Please eat! But don’t take out your hunger and frustration on the food court vendors. They never claimed their food was gourmet, so why are you grumbling and complaining to the people behind the counter. No, at that price, they aren’t cooking it your way. And do you really want to irk off the ones who are handling your food?

2. SHOES NOT MEANT FOR SERIOUS SHOPPING!

Didn’t you learn last year when you could barely walk to your car after long hours in the stores? Do you have any idea how much territory you have to cover in a mall or plaza, not to mention up and down the aisles of the big department stores and discount superstores. And what about the added load of shopping bags to carry around? Today, there are all kinds of good looking comfortable shoes – heels, too. You can’t finish shopping and enjoy the holiday if you have blisters all over your feet and plantar fasciitis!

3. EVIL ATTITUDE@!/%!

Even if you catch bugs in your teeth, it’s worth smiling to get through shopping hell and turn it around to the spirit of the holiday season. Keep reminding yourself why you are shopping and a smile will come easier. Shopping hell comes mostly from procrastinating. Don’t take it out on the salesperson because you forgot gifts for Aunt Martha and her cat!

Start earlier – it’s easier on your wallet, and your blood pressure, too, if you spread the shopping out over the season rather than all in one day!

HAPPY HOLIDAY SHOPPING SEASON TO ALL!