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When he got to the store, Derrick took his time walking the sales floor, doing his best to remain unnoticed. He wanted to see how the associates behaved in the absence of the store manager.

The first group of associates he saw were less than impressive.

Florence and Tiffany were cashiers, standing at their registers texting on their cell phones, instead of focusing on the customers waiting to make a purchase.

There was a company SOP, forbidding the use of personal cell phones, pagers, and iPods at work. Apparently, the two cashiers hadn't gotten the memo.

He'd met Florence and Tiffany on his first day in the store. They seemd like nice enough girls, but the store didn't need nice girls. The front end registers needed to be manned by professional cashiers, with solid customer relations skills. Unfortunately, you couldn't hire employees of that caliber for $10.50 an hour.

At the old store, he'd had several conversations with Tom Ebert on this very subject. Derrick had pointed out that the company promised customers that it would deliver the best service in the industry, and yet the company offered minimum wages for employees.

"How do you expect to give the best service for such little pay?" was Derrick's question.

Tom had responded that the company's position about pay scales wasn't likely to change. It was up to managers to learn to deal with it.

Derrick observed a customer standing in line right when Florence's phone rang.

Damn! She's actually answering her phone in the middle of a transaction.

Florence smiled at the message on her phone while the customer fumed over the delay. Right when he looked he was about to say something, Tiffany put her phone away and completed the transaction.

"Have a nice day!" she said cheerfully.

The customer grunted in response.

Tiffany started the next transaction, only to be interrupted by her phone again.

This time the customer was having none of it. "Do you actually get paid to answer personal calls?" the middle-aged, balding man with a pot belly asked.

Tiffany ignored the customer, instead laughing aloud over the message she read.

Derrick knew then and there he would have to add the texting issue to his growing list of things to fix in the store.

He walked away shaking his head. "Like I told them," he said aloud, "you get what you pay for in people too."


Author's Note:

In my experience it amazes me what people do while on the clock. I remember my father telling my brother and me, "When it comes to work you're on time and do what you're told!" My dad's generation obviously took work in a more serious light than today's generation, but then our parents never had the prospect of handy cell phones for every day use. In today's world of retail, many businesses have dress code policies prohibiting the use of cell phones while on the clock. This way the associates may focus on their daily tasks. Still, a part of me has to wonder what has happened with our work ethic if a company must put in place a policy keeping cell phones off the sales floor while at work. I would have thought it to be common sense.


For more about Derrick Payton dealing with every day issues get your very own copy of Who's Minding the Store? You will support your local bookstore when you purchase it through them, along with savings on shipping. Otherwise you may place your order on amazon.

Happy Holidays!



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