Monday, January 28, 2008

Trading Hours Extension

Every January, Food Place carries out an extensive and vigorous review of every single store it operates. They look at how much money each store takes, how many customers they serve and how many items they sell. They then break this down into fifteen minute time slots for each day of the week to identify when the strongest trading times are for each store.

Somebody had a eureka moment when they looked at our store's trading patterns. They recognised that we take a higher than average amount of money in our first and last hours of trading and thought: 'Ooh, wouldn't it be a good idea if we opened that store for longer!"

So, from 18th February, Food Place will be trading for an extra two hours each morning, opening at 6am, and an extra hour in the evening, meaning we'll be closing at 11pm. An idea that is incredibly stupid in my opinion.

Yes, I know the old argument. If it was my business, I'd want to take as much money as I possibly could. But they must be stupid to think that anybody is going to come to Food Place at 6 o'clock in the morning. Large hypermarkets get custom in the middle of the night because people who rise from their beds obscenely early, or are coming off night-shifts, get the weekly food shop done and dusted when they know the stores will be quiet. Food Place just won't pull that sort of custom.

We're a 'top-up shop'. Being reasonably small in size, people don't generally come to us for all of their weekly shopping needs. Just their daily bits and bobs to keep them going until they go somewhere bigger to get the majority of the food in. And nobody does that at sparrow's cough!

I can almost understand the logic of opening until 11pm. There, I think we will get enough trade to justify being open. But, unfortunately, it's the later closing that's causing the riots amongst the staff. Nobody wants to work until that time of night - although it doesn't particularly bother me because I'm more of a night-owl than an early-bird. In order to trade, we need at least two people manning tills (you can't leave one person on their own for obvious security reasons), two people on the shop floor - which is actually already covered because we have a night-shift), one supervisor (to access the cash office) and one manager. Spread that across 6 days and it's going to be very difficult getting people to cover it. It's not so bad with the earlier mornings, because all of our morning checkout staff are prepared to do their share of 6am starts, and there's already fresh-foods staff working at that time.

I just don't see why, when they weigh the obstacles against the, extremely minimal if non-existent, benefits they actually want to go through with this. When the late Ellenfoot Food Place started opening until 11pm two years ago, within three weeks they had an armed till-raid and were forced to backtrack because the staff revolted. I can see the same thing happening with us.

Mrs Snot and her sodding boxes - again!
The customer from hell seems to be moving house once more - perhaps the neighbourhood she just moved into was too common for her on reflection. She telephoned us again this morning asking us to ensure that boxes were reserved. But she had specifications this time: they're not to be wet, they mustn't be broken down and they should be large enough to hold a 'substantial content'. For want of something better to do, I actually trotted off to the warehouse and sought these boxes for her. Naturally, I had to tape them back together to save her the strenuous effort of doing so herself. She hadn't been to collect them by the time I left, but I hope she was duly impressed by my efforts. Now there's a sign of how bored I was today: I actually went out of my way to please Mrs Snot - what was I thinking?!

On a further note...
The people dressed like lab-technicians who insist on pitching up in our store to peddle free samples of random crap need to be banned immediately. What do they think they're playing at? Handing customers little trays and cocktail sticks for them to leave in their baskets and trolleys, along with small morsels of food waste, for us to dispose of!


James UK said...

Again, sounds like a decision made by a suit in an office looking at figures only, when he / she should actually get out and visit a few stores to see exactly how they work...

With Mrs. S, I suppose you could tell her that all boxes now have to be "accounted for" to minimise theft, and would she bring them back in the same condition when she's finished with them. Warn her that they are fitted with "those new RFID chips to track them anywhere in the World", and I feel sure she'll make that the last lot she asks for... ;-)

Do you think your place will get in dedicated staff for the 11pm slots, if they can't fill them from the existing staff?

And yes, I see the same mess at my local Sainsbury's whenever there's a "taster" person doing a demo. of some product. (do HATE the mini empty pots of yogurt and licked spoons on my beloved Coinstar machine!)

Personally, I don't understand why no one has worked out that you need to put some bins around the store, as if you give someone something to sample in aisle 3, they'll be leaving the recepticle for it on a shelf in aisle 5 if there's no bin. People don't tend to stand there and eat in front of the demonstrator (who is normally a very bored and disinterested young girl from my experience. Ask them anything about what they are demo'ing and they don't know the answer!).

Al said...

Hey, you're back! I'd stopped visiting because I thought you'd stopped blogging. Glad to see you're still going though. I've read all that I missed but haven't left any comments.

I think you might be quite surprised how many customers you will get from 6am. A couple of small stores local to me open at that time and when I've had to pop in there before going to work there's always a few customers in there. It probably won't be busy but it might just cover costs.

I don't blame anyone for not wanting to work late nights, I did a couple of weeks of 2:30pm to 11:30pm shifts and it was a total nightmare. Actually being at work wasn't too bad but you couldn't have any kind of real life during the week.

Are you getting any extra staff or are they just expecting to spread the exisiting staff more thinly?

AggressiveAdmin said...

GGrr I just wrote out a longish reply and lost it!

They're going to spread the staff more thinly from what I gather because we can't really take people on to cover the extra trade because it's only two short bursts. We're fine covering the 6-8am part, it's just the 10-11 nobody wants.

SkippyMom said...

The entitlement of Mrs Snot simply takes my breath away.

She actually "ORDERED" boxes from y'all [per her specifications?] - that are...FREE?

I don't whether to pat you on the back and say "Way to go" for helping her out or to trip you out right on your way to the warehouse to get the troll's free boxes...

[so kidding about tripping you!]