In case you ever thought I was smart, ch. 3987

derpyderp_400x400This was an exceptionally long week at work– it was decided (not by me) that yesterday needed to be a Move Every Single God Damn Thing in the Store day, and I spent the majority of it out of breath and sweating, which are exactly the characteristics you want in a purveyor of fine furniture and furniture-related goods and services.

I am old and fat and out of shape, guys, and I signed up to be a salesman.  If I wanted to work as a mover I would have made sure to be 20 years younger and substantially more svelte.  And yet.

But that’s not the point of this post.  The point of this post is that in addition to being fat and old and out of shape and sweaty and out of breath, attractive characteristics all, I am also an idiot.

So this lady comes in and wants four $75 dining chairs.  She wants to buy one of them from clearance at half off (fine) and order the other three new.  No problem!  She’s already decided on everything before coming in so everything ought to go really fast, right?  I write the ticket, call a manager over to drop the price of the clearance chair, and tell her how much the sale will be.  She is writing a check, and blinks a couple of times and then, visibly embarrassed, asks me the name of the store.

I tell her and her day immediately gets worse as her brainfart continues and I have to spell the name of the store for her.  It is obvious that this woman is not a moron and is just having a bad couple of minutes where the synapses aren’t firing right.  We cool.  I make a joke about having made a stupid math error earlier in the day.  It is worth pointing out that the joke wasn’t true, and I was just trying to make her feel better.

I tell her how much to write the check for.  She pauses, thinking, and comments that the number doesn’t seem right.

“The one chair is half off, remember,” I say.

“Oh,” she says, and writes the check for the agreed-upon amount, takes her clearance chair, and leaves the store.

Two minutes later it occurs to me that $75 times three and a half is not $118, which is what the check she wrote was for, and I look at the invoice and discover that I only sold her two chairs.  She not only noticed the error but pointed it out to me and I still looked at $118 and went “Yeah, that’s definitely the right amount to charge someone for four goddamn chairs.”

I had to call her back and tell her she’d need to either call me with a credit card number or come back to the store and write a second check if she wanted all four chairs.  She was back in ten minutes, having figured out on her own that I wasn’t able to math.  Luckily, both of us blamed ourselves for the mistake getting through.


Earlier today, I sold something to someone who lives on a street very near me.  She asked me what street I lived on and I forgot my address.  I literally could not remember the name of the street I live on.  It took way too long.

I am not having a good week.

too long; didn’t write

whiskey

Today was a blasted nightmare hellscape of a day, and when I got home my wife still managed to one-up me within less than a minute of me walking in the door.  I had an eighteen thousand dollar order finally deliver today after two and a half months of sitting in the warehouse, and while ultimately I’m pretty sure everything ended up working out more or less to the good I spent the entire day on the phone dealing with customer service issues and intermittently talking people who had spent an enormous amount of money off of ledges.  Today started with a customer who bought a leather power sectional a few months ago coming in and wanting a refund.  Like, literally, I walked in the door, and they were already in the store.  I managed to trade those people to another set and actually made some money on the deal, but still.  This is me, the entire fucking day:

SparseFrighteningDaddylonglegs-size_restricted

And, like, okay, there are no bullet holes in me, and that’s probably a whole lot of good thing, but I still spent damn near my every fucking waking second dodging, or looking for furniture in a giant warehouse, furniture that was not where it was supposed to be, or walking up to co-workers and saying things like “I need you to save my life right now, and here’s how you’re going to do it,” and various and sundry other things, and as it turns out that all of that shit is stressful as fuck.  I am actually walking into the last day of my week at negative sales, too, which brings its own special brand of exhaustion with it.

I, no shit, suggested to my boss around 5:30 tonight that we start a fight club, and I’m not sure I was kidding.

(Here’s the kind of day I had, in microcosm: y’all know Panera Bread, right?  They’re tasty and shit.  Today we had an employee from Panera walk into the store and drop off a menu, announcing that they were actually delivering now.  Cool!  At around 1:30, in the early stages of the shakes from hunger, I decided I didn’t have time to leave the store and needed to get a lunch delivery of some sort, and– at the menu’s suggestion– downloaded the Panera app.  Which could not be convinced that the address of my place of business, which is a real place that is actually there, since I was at that address at the time, existed, and so would not let me proceed to the part of the app where I actually order food.  So I called them, at which point the recording informed me that the restaurant was closed for renovations despite the fact that their employee had brought me a menu today.  Extend that exact kind of bullshit to every single interaction I had with any human at any time today and you have my day.)

I don’t drink.  I’mma start.

Adventures in customer service

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The kid’s doing well, in case you were wondering.  Also, the iPhone’s Portrait Mode is ridiculous.

So last weekend sometime I sold a sectional.  I am absolutely religious about checking ETA dates whenever I order furniture, as you are probably aware if you’ve ever read any of my posts about my job before.  I absolutely despise dealing with pissed-off people, which makes me the most honest salesperson on the planet, because I’ll lose a sale in a second before I’ll misrepresent when something is gonna come into the store.  Because you’re gonna notice, and I’m not gonna want to deal with you when you do.

So.  A bit of background: our company has two main warehouses.  Our upholstered product is all supposed to come to us from one of them, but if that warehouse is out of a particular piece and the other warehouse has it, we can send an email and switch which warehouse it comes from and it still shows up on the same timeline.  I do this a lot, as you can probably imagine.  However, the person who responds to those emails works banker’s hours.  So I was rather dismayed on Monday to discover that a particular piece had sold out from the secondary warehouse over the weekend and that I now couldn’t get it until– wait for it– June, when I told my customers to expect it in the store in 7 to 10 days.

June is farther away than 7 to 10 days.

No problem!  I found one at our Lafayette store, and decided that rather than wait for a truck to come through from their store to ours and hope that they remembered to put the piece on that truck, I’d just go get it myself today.  It’s like a two hour drive.  I have a former student who I’m still in touch with and quite fond of who is a sophomore at Purdue, so I’ve got somebody to grab lunch with, too!  I’ll go get the piece and have lunch and come back and drop it off at the store and nobody’s the wiser and I’ll lose a chunk of my commission on gas money but whatever.  I like the occasional car trip.

Go ahead, check the weather report for today for northern Indiana.  Because holy Christ, why did I do that stupid thing I did.  I have never seen fog in my life like the Lovecraftean, Ravenloft-esque insanity that I had to drive through today.  We’re talking maybe three seconds of visibility in front of the car, less on the heavy spots, for the first two thirds of the trip.  I thought about turning back repeatedly, consistently falling prey to the sunk cost fallacy and reasoning that surely I was damn near out of the fog by now and that it would be, would have to be, gone by the time I was on my way home.

Also, once I got to campus, my GPS utterly shit the bed, trying at one point to send me the wrong way down a one-way street, then redirecting me to another street that it could have just left me on the entire time rather than taking me out of its way to nearly die, and then directing me into an alley between two buildings that abruptly turned into a bike path that just-as-abruptly turned into nothing, at which point I called my former student and described where I was as best I could, informing her that I wasn’t moving my car again and she needed to come find me.

(Also: I’m not a complete idiot.  The other problem with Purdue’s campus is that there are damn near no signs anywhere.  Signs that say things like “No Exit,” which one might put before a point-of-no-return road of some sort.)

Also, Logansport, Indiana is the worst place in the world and I don’t want to hear any different from any of you.  I got directed through “town” for some reason and half of the place was utterly deserted and everyone in the rest of it had the Innsmouth look.  I deliberately took a different route back to avoid the town.

We lingered over lunch, at any rate.  I was the oldest person in the restaurant by at least 18 years and we were both vastly entertained by the literal hush that fell over the room when we walked in, as everyone tried to figure out if I was a sugar daddy or not.  When the hell did college students get so Goddamned young?

I was planning on being home by 2:00 and didn’t bother leaving West Lafayette until after 1:00, figuring that the fog would have to have burned off by then.

Nope.  Just as bad on the way home as on the way down there, except without the opportunity to turn back.  Also, west central Indiana smells terrible.  That sounds like I’m just being mean because of IU vs. Purdue regionalisms and I swear I’m not.  It smells awful.

Point is, I think I deserve a tip for this one.

Oh god damn it

hand-holding-i-give-up-signSo.

I have made $2500 in commission on my sales this year.  This year.  Six weeks.  I did the math; I’m selling furniture for less than $11 an hour.  The company is currently earning interest on sixty thousand dollars of undelivered product.  I don’t get paid until shit ends up in people’s homes and everything I’ve sold is either still backordered or waiting for someone’s house to be ready.  Right now I expect to make minimum wage this week.  If I wasn’t married to someone who makes a lot more money than me, I’d be staring down homelessness right now.

I had a $12,000 ticket last weekend that didn’t earn me a single dime and won’t pay off until May.  That big $18,000 sale at the very end of December?  Scheduled to deliver on March 20th, still five weeks away; I don’t see a cent until then.

I was at work for nine hours today and sold $13 worth of product.  A co-worker came in on his day off and made $3300 in sales in less than half an hour.

Fuck this.  I could literally be making more money flipping burgers.

I just applied for a teaching position.

God fucking help me.

On doxing myself

job-huntThe two-year anniversary of my formal resignation from teaching passed without comment a couple of weeks ago.  It took six months of looking before I found the job I have now, and I basically have not stopped looking for work since then, as I’ve never really felt like furniture sales are a viable long-term career for me.  The hours are killing me, in particular; I can count the number of weekends I’ve had with my family in the last two years on one hand, and there are still multiple days a week where I don’t see my son at all in between dropping him off at school in the morning and putting him to bed immediately when I get home at night.  Plus, while I am actually pretty good at my job– I was #61 in the company in overall sales for the year, and this is a company with over 250 stores– the economy is slowly starting to collapse and I really don’t like working for commission.  We get paid on delivery, not on initial sale, and right now a huge percentage of the stuff I’ve sold in the last few months is still backordered to March.

To wit: I made less than minimum wage this week.  I have two Master’s degrees, and I made less than minimum wage for the 42 hours that I was at work this week.  My boss is barely 30 and my two assistant managers are both in their mid-twenties.  I have already been offered chances to move up to management but the simple fact is I honestly don’t want it, because every time I wargame it out it becomes clear that it would actually lead to less money for more hours and more responsibility, and … nah.  I can keep calling the kid who is young enough to be my son “boss” instead.  It’s just not that big of a deal.

I’ve applied for several dozen different jobs in the 19 months or so since I started at my current job.  I’ve had, I think, two interviews.  I did not have a second interview for either position and heard through the grapevine that one of the jobs ended up going to a relative of one of the people who interviewed me, which was fun.  I’m at the point where I’m so deadly tired of writing cover letters that I’m having to scan them carefully for sarcasm before sending them out, and I was so annoyed by a rejection later that I got today that said they’d “evaluated my skills” that I was halfway through a go fuck yourself, you assholes sort of response before I got control of myself.

You didn’t “evaluate my skills,” you fucks.  You glanced at a cover letter and a resume and didn’t immediately see the boxes you wanted checked so you moved on.  If your letter had said that, I wouldn’t be pissed off.  But I wouldn’t have applied for your job if I didn’t have the skills to do it.  I assure you that my skills are fine.

Most of y’all know that “Luther Siler” is a pen name.  I had perfectly good reasons to take some steps to conceal my identity when I started the blog, but while I’m not considering abandoning the name (I’ve written six books as this dude, and have an actual network of real people who only know me by that name) it’s occurred to me that if I really want a different job, this blog and my Twitter following probably legitimately do represent my best networking opportunity for finding one, and I haven’t used it at all because I’ve always wanted to keep Luther’s and “my” lives separate.  I may need to reevaluate this conceit, is what I’m saying here.  Because this furniture selling thing is really getting old, and I don’t seem to be having any luck finding any alternate work as me.


Somewhat related anecdote: we have a Saturday morning meeting every week as a staff, since everyone works on Saturdays, and this week we did this little team building exercise involving our goals and fears.  One of my co-workers noticed that I more or less dropped out of the exercise entirely when the “write about your fears” bit came up, and asked me about it later in the day.

I told him the truth: that damn near all of my legitimate fears right now involve being stuck selling furniture forever, and that I hadn’t really thought that sharing that little detail with the rest of my co-workers was the smartest way to start my day.