Saturday, May 2, 2009

Either way you lose

You're at work and you've been given a list of tasks that need to get done. When the list was given to you, there weren't many appointments booked, but with walk in appointments your day has been very full and you have made good sales numbers. Closing time is a half hour away.

Do you:
a) Check in the order packets that came in today, something not on your to-do list.
b) Do the telemarketing that is on your list for the full remaining half hour in attempts to make your weekly goal.
c) Start what closing procedures you can so that you are able to save as many labor hours as possible by leaving as close to 8:00 as possible.

Hint: Either way you're getting yelled at even if you were able to complete two of these. Make sure you have a pen at work tomorrow because you'll need to sign the summary of conversation for poor time management.


Anonymous said...

god i cant wait to quit this job!

Anonymous said...

My debate for the morning.....

Go in early and do my inventory because my Sm was to damn lazy to do it for the 4th damn time in a row and pawned it off on me AGAIN.... or go in at Noon and do it thru the day.

Really, is it a coincidence that she never misses on the weekend unless inventory is due? And God forbid she stay late on Saturday and do it.... Heffer.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe your manager can get away with that. When I worked at SPS, it was MANDATORY for managers to be the ones to do the inventory, and it usually fell during a holiday weekend which SUCKED! We had to clock in for it and a lot of times someone from the district would randomly show up to check that you were there doing it. Also, we had to call our DM right after it was done.

Anonymous said...

my mgr leaves as soon as i show up EVERYDAY even if i show up at 11 and have double bookings throughout the day.

Anonymous said...

I am anonymous #2........

I went in this morning at 11:45 (sposed to open at Noon) and my 12:00 followed me in the doors. I had an appt every hour, starting them off with a Senior.
I called my flex person to see when she was coming in since on my day off Friday, i was called in because SM had an appt every hr and said she just cant do them alone (bullshit).... so i assumed she would have the same courtesy for me especially since i was doing HER inventory also.
Nope, she told the flex person not to come in until 3:30 because i had a 3, 3:30, and 4 and i wouldnt need her until then
So, my DM calls me at 12:30 and says "This is Ron, we have a problem" Duh, i told him i know inventory isnt done and i will do it thru my lunch.... that wasnt good enough for him because "I have to stay in this studio until you get it done." DUHHHHHHHHH, like i care tho, seriously. If he was that worried then he could of brought his happy ass to my studio and done it by the time i finally got it done at 3pm.

Im only 1 person and im not recieving the same respect from my SM that she gets from me.

Anonymous said...

I keep hearing that the home office is not listening to the field staff. Why don't you guys ALL call in sick on the same day (preferably a saturday) and leave the studios dark. A lot of you have earned sick days and those that don' would be worth it to miss a day. The lost revenue would certainly get their attention and you'd be letting them know who really makes or breaks the company.

Anonymous said...

its a nice idea but the fact that we are so "expendable" to me means its not worth the lost day....not to mention my dorky mgr wouldnt get behind it. seeing as walkins are always taken 15 min after closing. my dm has the mgrs do WEEKLY interviews to replace underperformers on the spot. the ship would go down and take me with it

Anonymous said...

what i want to know is why has nothing been done. theres the better business bureau for consumers but isnt there one for employees? we are treated as slave labor. they rolled several jobs into one and pay barely more than minimum wage to start. not too mention the working conditions with the heat and equipment just falling apart with techs on the phone talking us through. i work in several studios at a time and in every one theres a problem. one studio has only one working camera that the flash only goes off every third or fourth shot, in another the server keeps shutting down while downlaoding or selling photos, in a third the sas takes about ten minutes to run through each step in the sales process all things crucial to a complete sitting. faulty equipment unsafe heat issues overwoking....isnt there anything that can be done?

Anonymous said...

I think CPI is intentionally running SPS into the ground. They are in Wal-mart, the Supreme Ruler of Earth, for goodness sake. All they're doing now is squeezing every last dollar out before they finally kill it. There are other jobs out there...I went and got one myself.

Anonymous said...

It's not all that bad. I am a studio manager and have been with the company for some time now. I am the only one left from my first day there. Yeah..the pay sucks..yeah there is a lot of stress on the studio managers.. and yeah.. you could lose your job or be demoted if you don't perform. But let me challenge you this... ask for help. I know my DM is more than willing to drive to my studio and spend some time with me if I ask. Not always when I want..but I'll take every bit of help I can get.
Delegate your tasks...who said the SM has to do it all? As far as inventory goes.. the SM does NOT have to do it.. all associates should know how to run a supply order, send an email, and process and inventory..why? Makes it easier for them when they do get promoted..believe me..I know. The SM is solely responsible for the studio.. you don't see the McDonald's manager doing just one job..or even 3 or 4.. you see him/her doing a bit of everything. That is how I was taught.. give your AM "this list" to do.. give your KA "this list"and then your associates "these lists" and, if you are all adults, everything gets done.. the SM checks to make sure it was done..she sends her emails..sends in her sales certs and performance reviews on time, gets the dreaded outreach and session planning done.. plans the events.. sells the super saver cards..calls the drawer for re orders... her numbers are up..the studio is progressing and everyone is one small happy family! It's all about attitude. Even if your week by definition sucks.....your attitude is what gets you the 1st and 2nd quintiles on the phone survey and csats..

If you aren't a slacker and you do even ONE of the things on your list.. and you let your SM know what is going won't need that pen the next shift you work.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous #10:
Yeah, I did all those things you speak of...and did it well. But, that didn't mean shit when I was told to pack up and get out after 15 yrs of loyal service.If things are so great, why are you visiting a site that clearly indicates that Sears Portrait Studio Sucks? Go start your own site...and call it Sears Portrait Studio Has Made Me Delusional.

Anonymous said...

"and yeah.. you could lose your job or be demoted if you don't perform"

to anon #10

Please do not assume that the ones of us on here that have been "terminated" have not "performed" as you call it. Speaking for myself, I did ALL of the things you mentioned and ran a fantastic studio. Was given an engraved award for mng of the yr and fired 3 mths later. There was no QUESTION that I performed, even by my DM that fired me. It wasn't all bad...but it went downhill fast. (working for CPI)
As far as asking for help...I DID when I was told I could be replaced with two mngrs for my one salary. I did what they wanted and I was never told what, if anything, I was doing wrong. My old DM sang the song that she was always there for us, but I kept careful records of all the scheduled visits to my studio she canceled. In 3 yrs she came 3 times. i was the highest volume in her district. She liked to tell the mngrs how bad they sucked until I asked her why, then she said I was great and she didn't need to visit. She systematically tried to intimidate each mngr until we realized we were not alone. Despite what she said, my numbers did not lie and were fantastic.
So, I am happy that you have a supportive DM, but PLEASE, do not assume we are all so lucky!

Anonymous said...

I pray for the day I can financially tell SPS & CPI to "take this job and shove it!"

Our DM sent a manager from another studio that is running a nearly $200 prs to our studio to help us get our PRS up. I was shocked and disturbed by what she was telling us to do. She threw out the collection flip charts cpi has provided for us as a sales/marketing tool in favor of her more expensive collections. She told me to LIE to the customers and tell them we had to have "coupons" for the CPI created collections. I pointed out to her that there are no coupons for the collections to which she said "we have to have the print out. There is nothing that says they are an in studio offer." I am supposed to tell customers that I have to have a coupon or print out of advertised products for which no coupon or print our exists. I refuse to do this and I had a note from my manager telling me my $125 PRS was unacceptable and that I needed to get on board. I am sickened that I still have to work there to pay my bills.

Anonymous said...

This expectation of dishonesty is just the reason my stomach was in knots all the time during my run at CPI. It is such bad business to advertise one thing and then not honor it or mislead customers. We kept being asked to change our collections all the time, which was confusing for associates, and there was nothing even under $125. When customers would see that, they'd only want to buy one or two sheets. I think it would be better to have a collection around $75 and then have some add ons that would bring them up above $100. I can't even imagine being there now when the PRS expectation is now higher than when I left.

Anonymous said...

B-E-A-U-Tiful! These comments & blogs make me sick. I'M SICK OF SPS!!! I hate that my favorite Manager/photographer quit just before I scheduled my kids to their latest appointment (at the time).

I had set up several appts. since the birth of my first, about 3 yrs ago. I was always able to get a decent package for a decent price. She was usually the one to take the pics. In one year, I had taken my family at least 10 times (my children are very young). Most were successful.

After she quit in Sept., I've dealt with one manager that is a royal pain. She does the whole "I can't give you a discount if I don't have a coupon, because I don't know the codes." She makes my kids wait when they're happy and poorly attempts to get them into position when they aren't. To top it off, she thinks I was born yesterday. She wants us to pay over $125 for pics, while she fiddled with her cell phone that just wouldn't shut up. She was every where but taking pics. My second got bored with the whole thing and was getting pissy. My first was being good and she didn't even take a decent pic of the child.

Both times that I've dealt with her, she has thoroughly upset me with the prices she wants us to pay. We left the store without paying and twice I made my husband go back and tell the dumb **** that we would get the cheapest cheap package we could get; just so I could keep the online pics going and keep the pics I did want from those horrible sessions.

Our previous photographer never made it seem like we were on her time, but that she was always on our time & got great pics in very short time. She took great Mother's Day & Father's Day pics of us and this year I decided that Sears can take a leap. I took my own & will print them through a website for dirt cheap

The only reason I went/go to Sears now for photos is mostly because I want to keep my online pics of my family from the beginning; I haven't printed my own since '05; and to see if they have someone else that will take my pics. But I'm not holding my breath either.

I smirked in agreement with the idea that Sears will probably be closed for business by 12/31/09. When I first started getting pics done there a few years ago, I could get multiple packages for $9.99. Now you can only get one per session and other discounts are just disappearing.

Discounts are one of the reasons people come in. So is a decent photographer, that is there consistently - so that there isn't some one new to get used to families who come in regularly. We prefer someone who isn't dense & preoccupied, too.

Oh, and while setting up the last appointment (about two months ago), I watched her screw a military family out of having a set of pics they ordered from being printed. This family was moving shortly after getting the photos & was told that reprints wouldn't be in until after leaving. So the lady opted to get some printed at the store & others to be sent. To top it off, she had to pay the extra fees too.

If Sears wants to keep inept employees over the good/great ones, Sears can reap the benefits of their great choices for the almighty dollar.

I love this site. LOL. Good luck.
Fed Up w/ Sears

Anonymous said...

so now my studio and 3 others around us only have 2 employees. 2 employees to work 7 days. we were TOLD to get rid of everyone on mothers day i volunteered for a nearby studio since i am not a mother and was visiting mine for dinner. we gotta help our own since company wont right? only 5 appts were booked in this studio. NONE show up. but as i get there i get a phone call that another studio mgr whom i worked with before calls me. she asks me to call some of her appts bc her employee sched to work was in the emergency room and she was a few hours away doing her mothers day thing with her child. so i start calling these customers who begin SCREAMING that i ruined their mothers day. im trying to explain that the poor girl is in th ER and that the other employee is on the way. they dont care of course bc i ruined their precious plans. well pardon me A) i was just helping out another studio so THEY could enjoy mothers day and B) doing a second favor by making these calls. maybe i should have just let them get dressed drive all the way their to find the studio not open and waste MORE of their precious day. i started just telling them technical difficulties. no camera no pics. why do i have to lie to get a favorable response? some of these ppl demanded i leave the studio i was in to go cover that one. i was an hour away! not too mention already and hour away from my OWN studio. WTf? the blog title is right either way you lose. and the mgr of the store that wasnt open kept calling me asking me what to do. at the time i had taken 2 walkins and was answering the phones from the angry appts in the other store. i said look lady the mgr of THAT studio is on her way there are NO OTHER PEOPLE, not working, close enough to get there and cover those people. now can i go finish the customers that are here in THIS studio so at least one store is making money today? apparently she gave all the waiters store gift cards....oh well thats not aloss to us. i also agree with anonymous#1 I can't wait to quit this job. I'd rather be a cashier at a grocery store at this point rather than waste my talent here anymore. might as well have a talentless job rather than waste myself for nothing. no incentive impossible bonuses and no raise

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous customer:

Your favorite photographer/manager probably didn't quit. She probably got fired becuase you kept bringing in your family 10 times a year and being a cheap a**. No offense but its true. And if she did quit it was probably because all of those 10 times you requested her and she took beautiful portraits of your family and you insulted her by only spending $9 fu#@$ing dollars!!! Do you know how frustrating it is to spend all that time taking the most awesome photos and just having your customer slap the dam coupon in your face? Its like you people don't think our time and effort and beautiful creativity is worth your money. If you want cheap a** pictures then you deserve the cheap a** quality to go with it...Go to Wal-Mart...I have some coupons for them and also some directions to their store that I can send to your email. Let me know. And if you do find another great photographer yourself and her a her some worth and respect and pay a good price for good pictures!

Anonymous said...

Oh yea, theres NOTHING like being REQUESTED by someone you KNOW is going to make you work your ass off and be picky as hell...... just to turn around and package you!

This situation isnt even about getting reamed by CPI, IMO, but about that customer disrespecting our talent and know-how. Id start sched. their appts for when i wasnt there on purpose!

Anonymous said...

that would be why the recent photos suck. either the veterans are fed up and couldnt give a crap what they snap or the young trainees just can figure out where that darn trigger button is (or the posing guide) serious how many times do i have to show you. how hard is it to see that the pic looks like a mug shot. not too mention we knoe 3 times out of 5 its a package so we give out $5 work.

Anonymous said...

Let me clarify:

"Anonymous said...

To the anonymous customer:

Your favorite photographer/manager probably didn't quit. She probably got fired becuase you kept bringing in your family 10 times a year and being a cheap a**. No offense but its true. "

1) She did quit. She sent my family (& I'm sure others) a letter stating that she was quitting and that she was going elsewhere, & starting her own. She also stated that she would be GLAD to take our pictures & for (us) to contact her and left her info. Had she not liked us at all, she would have skipped right over our name(s). :P

She was the only one to stay, while others got fed up too. She is a great person, and I'm sure is a lot less stressed since leaving (& not because my family liked her). Want me to ask?

2) I didn't even state that I had paid the lowest prices every time. You know nothing about me. I always bought the extra prints when they came in with my purchase & still do. So you can kiss the cheap @$$ remark.

3)No offense but it's true' - is an assumption. Saying "No offense" when you call someone a name, is contradictory.

4) We didn't always ask for her, we basically took who was assigned to us. She just didn't jack around & got great pics effortlessly. She knew what she was doing; great with kids and adults. She knew the packages & coupons inside & out. We were able to pick any & ALL that we wanted without the pressures of $150 plus each time.

5) When I had said that one used to be able to get multiple packages for $9.99, I meant that you could get each pose for the $9.99 price EACH. Five poses at $9.99 each is $49.95 + taxes.

6) If someone comes in 10 times a year, that means you're making money and having returning customers. Isn't that the goal?

What if someone can't afford the extra money for packages the first 9 times, but their situation changes the 10th time? What if they purchase more affordable packages until they are able to splurge on more expensive ones?

Just because person A can't afford to shop til they drop at SPS, doesn't mean that person A won't have a friend that can. If person A highly recommends SPS to their friend, person B, then maybe person B will spend lots at SPS or pass on the recommendation.

Also, what if person A decides they liked the session & has been able to get money to reorder more (ie, $ gifts or a paycheck)? Are you really thinking about anything but stiffing someone? Not really, I guess.

If you can't/won't treat customers with respect, equally - regardless of the price they spend - you're going to make less money, have less customers, & have tons more complaints.

I won't be going to (that) SPS to claim my (drawing) win for this June as I don't want to waste my money at a place that my family isn't welcome. Nor do I want to upset someone who works at a job, that sort of requires smiles & happy people, that doesn't want to make people smile or happy in the first place. I'll wait until she leaves.

P.S. I had planned on spending more than the cheap package, but the royal pain quickly changed my mind. Did you not read the whole post? Forget that she was too busy with her phone. Don't assume that anyone wants to be cheap and you won't have such problems.

Have a NICE day.

Anonymous said...

But at $9.99 for the pose pkg which is 5 sheets (even at mulitple poses which you use to be able to do) most say "trial offer".... do you really think it's profitable in any way, shape or form? Not only do you have the cost of the paper, the ink, the packaging, the shipping but the hourly pay for the employee to take your pictures, change the backdrop, enhance your portraits and sit with you while you compare to pick out the best pose. And how about the ones who change clothes AND hairstyles and KNOW they are only going to pick 1 pose? I can totally understand the purpose of the get a NEW customer in to give us a try and see what we do. $7.99 sheet is STILL far cheaper that Kiddie Kandids or Picture People!

Anonymous said...

I am SO fed up with the customers that want to "pick apart" the pictures so they can narrow down and justify buying only one pose. How many times have you heard a Mom say " Oh, well, it just doesn't look like him" ???? Just once I want to say.. "Oh, does he look like the mailman?" What the F***?? Your child looks like that and yes Mom, you probably look fat cuz you are fat!! And if he is sick when you bring him in.. newsflash.. he WILL LOOK LIKE HE'S SICK! Cameras Captures Images. That's what they are for.
So yes, I take it to heart that you don't think they are good enough to buy when I (a 5 star photographer) did all you asked, used the props you wanted and let you change clothes.
No more posing tables.. now there are no boundries for unrully kids. Now they want to hang on the muslins, hide behind them and turn themselves around in it...throw themselves on the floor and run out the room. So now Mom's laying on the floor trying to hold a 4 month up from not tipping so you can get that full body sitting up, ok..... oops mom, stay laying there with your arm out as I turn baby this way...keep holding her.. your back hurts (like my knees!) just a few more minutes.No stay where you are and hold here. And sorry if the baby can't lift the head high enough... my camera is as close to the floor as IT CAN GET.... and I'm still shooting slightly down. So now lets have you hold the baby up and out away from you, turn her this way... no don't put her down yet,ok, got it Now bend over and help her stand...stay bent over as I need to see your hands holding hers.GREAT, got it. Now mom, lay on your back on the floor. and hold her up over your face while I TRY to get her attention, Hold her up, stretch your arms higher, .slightly turn her toward me... I know it's hard... she's heavy, we're almost done, hold just like that while i keep trying to get her to smile. Keep your arms straight mom, I know she's wiggling and trying to get away but just keep your arms staight up. Ready??
(SO sorry i put you thru all that on the floor, but i thought you would buy them all hee-hee)SOOO OOps.. No the others DO NOT always download online.. must be because you only bought 1 pose... computer figures you only liked that ONE picture or you would have bought other poses. Kinda like why would you want people to see pictures of your child who doesn't look like him or the others 7 poses that all had SOMETHING that wasn't very good.(Probably the way YOU were holding her Mom)
So go home, soak in the tub cuz your arms hurt, and take a good look at that mailman????

Anonymous said...

LMAO.. the "mailman" post just made my day! Sometimes the little paybacks are the only way we make it through the day.. I recently had a customer that was so rude and outrageous that we sang her a little song. Anybody remember the South Park cartoon where Cartman sings to Kyles mom?
Well we called the customer and sang " you're a b**ch, a big fat b**ch..." on speaker phone... What a stress reliever!!
I get so tired of the customers knowing that one complaint and they can get all the free product they want.
Chalk one up for the employees that day!!

SPS said...

^Even if she deserved it, that's kinda not cool and an outstanding way to hasten your exit from the world of SPS

Anonymous said...

True it was harsh, but it fit... we are at this job to provide the customer quality service and a quality product. But, I derserve the same respect that the customer does. Sometimes you reap what you sow.

Anonymous said...

How about the mother who has all the backgrounds already picked out with multiple outfits? Then..she wants the 9 pose composite sheet? But only buys one pose?

Know what I do?

I tell her, sorry, if you read the fine print, the coupon says, "ask associate for details"..and the details are---if you have an out fit change, you are not entitled to a ONE pose package..sorry.

heee heeee....

Anonymous said...

We have actually been trying to generically implement a "no outfit change" policy. Of course, if it becomes a customer service issue, then we cave, but still. It helps the customers understand a little bit more. No, not all of the actually give a crap but....some do, and understand. My best advice to all of the unhappy associates/managers.....just do your job to the best of your ability. That's all you can do. Don't stress about all of the elements out of your control. I am married and have two small children. I have been with CPI for a little over 4 years, a manager for a little over 2 years. My job has been posted online for the past few months. I know the end is very near for me. I am ok with that. I know that all I can do is my best. If that is not good enough, then I don't know what is. Maybe they can hire someone off the street, and they will do my job much better than I did. I will miss certain aspects of my job...the friendly families, watching the kids grow, getting FAT discount on my portraits (a huge perk with 2 small kiddos)! I actually have a district manager who, to my face, is very helpful for the most part, and who is willing to work with me. He has made attempts to visit my studio, usually on extremely busy days, and help us out. But when he comes, we spend all day taking care of customers, leaving no time do to "manager stuff". Nothing feels as great as seeing your DM, who just taunted you with the FACT that PRS is 100% controllable, get packaged...twice!!!! HAHAHAHA! I do agree that PRS is controllable to a degree. Are you going to get customers who come in planning to spend $4.99 to buy a collection...sure. Are some of them going to stick with the $4.99 no matter what you do. SURE! I try to be honest with my customers. I let them know that our collections are a great value and they are most definitely getting their money's worth, but if someone says $129.99 is just not going to fit into my budget today.....why try to push them into a $400 collection??? Talk about customer service! I, do your job the best you can do, and don't fret about things you can't control!!!