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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

I, Salesman.

People who have kept pace with my random musings posted here would have noticed my views on the tribe mentioned in the header. In case you didn’t here are the ready refreshers!. Before you groan “Oh no not again!” let me confess this is a new beast I am talking about. A ‘retail’ Salesman! Salesman all right but a new animal in town!

While I could identify, understand, empathize, and even joke about the two species discussed in the previous note, the latest avatar only brings my deepest sense of sympathy and often agony in my heart. For those who came in late, the ‘Retail Salesman’ is nothing but the customer sales assistants, floor managers and the other staff in a retail store. The ones who man and manage what is called the ‘organized’ retail stores which is relatively a new bitch in town. I am sure you can place this variety now. And if you detect a bias in my words while speaking about them, you are right! As I am one among this crowd for the past few years!

Organized Retail - The new bitch in town! 

Retail salesman in this new environment has 24X7X365 as the primary pattern written into his/her DNA. Suffices to say that this is a breed which is always on work. When the whole world is holidaying, celebrating, taking it easy, these folks are up early to ready up the store so that you can holiday, celebrate, take it easy and spend in style at your neighbourhood store, Shopping arcade or a Mall.

If you think these are lucky dudes who spend their waking hours in swanky showrooms, world class malls, air conditioned stores etc. just remember, they are not permitted to sit while on duty! (Except for a tightly rationed and closely monitored tea/lunch breaks) Try it for a day and I am sure you would bless your stars you don't belong to this section of humanity!

Your Friendly Neighbourhood Salesman!

There is an old quip about this set of humans. “If you don’t like family life, have no social circles worth mentioning, hobbies are nothing but a word in the English dictionary, are an insomniac and generally don’t prefer doing anything except work, Welcome to the world of retail!”

If you think all this is a fair bargain if it leads to loads of money in the bank then you have another thing coming. You will see some money only if you achieve your targets and above, ensure the products under you care are not shop soiled or are not pilfered and you have above average attendance! Essentially it means you need to be a Teflon coating for the products, be a surveillance camera of the store apart from being a consummate politician who can sell anything by glibly lying about any product by promising something which you know you cannot live up to! Engineers who crib about their life may kindly spare us your bilge!

The other well known and oft repeated quip about this group is “Whenever I look at my targets, it is month end already and when I think of the payday, it seems a million years away!” Faint hearted among you may kindly stay away from this mode for earning your daily bread. And if you think this is a story restricted only to the ‘lowly’ Customer Sales Associates, the ‘Floor Manager’ is afflicted with the same disease, the magnitude being much higher. Even the security guard at a store who is forced to double up as a ‘walk-ins’ counting machine!

Spare this variety a sympathetic glance when you visit the friendly neighbourhood mall the next time. Now that you know their story, hope you will understand the pain that goes behind giving you ‘Service with a smile!’

The pain of 'Service with a smile'!


PS: I often say, the Police, Fire Service, Hospitals and Salespersons have a common thread running among us. All of us, it would seem are covered under the Essential Services and Maintenance Act (ESMA)! Always on duty!

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