Friday, September 26, 2008

Re: "You are encouraged" comment....

Every blog writer loves comments, even negative ones, so let's respond to this.

On my Sept 24 entry, we received this comment:
"You are an idiot. This is a business we are running and most businesses want to make money. Who are you to say how to go about doing that. You don't sound like you want to work. In your world, if the customer does come in, they would have their portraits for free! I could go on and on but you probably won't post this anyway."
I'm unsure what you're responding to: the story submitter or myself for the comment I made following the story. I'll assume I'm the one being called an idiot though.

Yes, CPICorp wants to make money. I would never give away portraits for free. If they had money, I'd be happy to take it. However their business model is set up in a way that can discourage that. Let's break this down.

Let's say you're a high school student [as many associates are] and it's prom season. Your friends are all going to need group shots and Sears Portrait Studio is far cheaper than the photos they take at the dance and the photos would turn out far better and have variety. It makes sense that you would want to invite your friends in.

Here's what should happen:
You invite your friends in and make appointments for them. They can't all come in at the same time so you have to do two different sittings. Each sitting buys the $9.99 package of their favorite pose and a 29.99 cute collage you made up. Those two sales make up $80 that your studio would not have had that week. Your manager thanks you for the extra money you brought in for the company.

Here's what happens:
How many hours you work and how you are viewed as an employee is based on your sales average. If you invite your friends in, you know that your sales average will take a huge hit (To make up for your two $40 sales, your next sale would have to be $240 to bring you back up to $120 average). Yet you invite them in anyway because you really want to take their photos. Your sales average for the week ends up at $90 after some other sales.
Your ninety dollar sales average gets posted on the bottom of the studio's list, serving to make it look as if you have done the company a disservice. Rather than being commended for bringing in sales, you will be reprimanded. Your numbers will fall and that will signal to the company that you aren't doing your job. I know this seems blown out of proportion and for just two sales, but I know that other SPS employees can back up that this is how the company works. They do not care the amount of business you bring in. And yes, they care about how much money your studio brings in, but their perception of you is shackled to your average sale number.

Call this blog sour grapes. Call it an isolated studio. All I have to say is this. I woke up every morning dreading going to work. When people push me and tell me that I'm not making my numbers, that only encouraged me to work harder to try and prove them wrong. Despite this, I have never worked at a job where I was more disrespected. The more I talk to other SPS employees, the more I find this is a nation-wide problem. I currently have daily entries queued up until November 1. I hope the fact that I would go to all this trouble says something about what a truly negative work environment SPS is. If that alone doesn't say it, I'll let the entries themselves do that. I've saved some of the best for last.

[Also note: any comments that show up as removed are always spam comments. I would never remove an actual comment. Call me an idiot all you'd like: consider this your written invitation to get the debate going]


theaterchic said...

To the person who has created this site: You are obviously an intelligent, well spoken person--most certainly not an idiot. I wonder who the people are (like your commenter) who stand up for the company. Is there some tiny part of the country where working for the company isn't hell? If so, I'd like to know where. I can agree with you in saying that working for CPI was the worst experience of my life. I am in my 30s and have been a previous business owner. I have always been successful at anything I've taken on. I did achieve success at SPS as well, but it was not without consequence. My life was horrible during that period. I was unhappy every day. I felt disrepected, unappreciated, frustrated, stressed, and uncomfortable with the company's focus and "unethical" practices. I don't believe my experience is isolated either. Your site has given us all validation.

Anonymous said...

Have you read my space comments on sps? Look under companies and search for sears portrait studios.They have many interesting comments as well.It is great to know it was not just me feeling this way.Thank you for this site!!