A customer told me today she wished she had a store like Karalina's.

I smiled and thought back through the day……..

As my key went into the lock at 9:45 AM, I wondered what kind of day it would be.

I walk in and then lock the door behind me, and turn off the security system. I walk to the office and turn on the server and then the store lights. While the server boots up, I go up front and turn on the register computers. I then go in the back and start the POS system, turn on the CD player and then login to both cash registers. I fill and start the coffee machine then I go to the front door unlock it and turn on the open sign and put out any signs we have for the sidewalk.

We are ready for business.

Some days someone comes right in, other days we might wait for a couple of hours. While we are waiting we vacuum and dust the store.

When someone comes in, we greet them and tell them to ask if they need any help. Some customers will quickly tell us what they are looking for; others will browse for a while. If they want help we will give them gift ideas, show them merchandise or direct them to a dressing room. If they need a different size or color we gladly bring that to them.

If they decide to make a purchase we meet them at a register where we scan the item(s). If there are any sales, promotions or coupons we adjust their receipt, then we ask them if they are on our mailing list.

If it’s a gift we box and bow the item, if not, we wrap it in tissue and put it in a bag. We then collect what’s due, give them a receipt and gift receipt (if required), and their merchandise, thank them and wish them a good day.

If we are lucky we repeat the checkout many times a day.
In the meantime a lot of other things happen during the day.
The UPS and/or Fedex guy or gal shows up, some days with one box and other days with as many as 20. Some bring snacks for our dogs, which is a humorous event to watch. (Houston the beagle now goes crazy whenever he sees some one dressed in all brown, or driving a big brown truck.)

We take the packing slip from each box and open it and begin the process of checking it in and then adding it to the inventory system, print a tag for each item, then tag it, then find a place for it in the store. Often a large shipment will require us to need to rearrange and merchandise a section or 2 of the store. Sometimes a box is missing an item, or an item is broken. We then have to call the vendor and obtain a credit or replacement.

We try to take a picture of anything new to put on the web site and Facebook page. This involves editing the picture, saving it in a web format, uploading it to the website, creating a page for the item and publishing it. We then take the page and link it to our Facebook page. Facebook automatically updates our Twitter page.

Each received order comes with a bill that has to be entered into the accounting system. Each day we need to pay any bills that are do, after we balance our checking account to make sure enough money is in our account to pay them. We print any checks, sign them and put in an envelope with a stamp, to be mailed that night.

During any slow time during the day we walk the 3,500 sq. ft. store to see what items we are low on that we want or need to reorder. In some cases we can go online and place our reorder, in other cases we need to set up a meeting with the lines sales rep. With a rep we almost always end up ordering more then we need, so after they send us the order we compare our desire with our budget. In rare occasions they match, but most of the times we need to revise the order and send it back to the rep.

We talk among ourselves about what marketing and/or promotions we should plan. Once we agree we need to develop any ads, place them, make sure we update the website and email them to our customers. We also make sure our employees are aware of the promotion/ad/offer and know what to do.

If it’s the end of the month we need to put together the work schedule for the next month. This involves getting everyone’s availability and needs and then making a schedule that works for both the business and the employees.

One in a while we need to help an employee realize they aren’t working out and then we will need to find a new employee.

Sometime during the day we find time to answer numerous phone calls from customers, vendors, bill collectors and telemarketers. We drink lots of coffee, fit in lunch and snacks, walk and feed the dogs, engage customers in small talk, keep an eye out for shop lifters, take clothes from the dressing rooms and put where they belong, restock boxes, ribbon and bags, take returns from customers, read the lastestfrom mall management, check and answer emails and wonder where the 10 hour day went.

We say goodbye to the last stragglers that made it a 10 and ½ hour day and lock the door and turn off the open sign.

We then count the drawers, perfom end of day sending the credit card company our charges and begin shutting down. We turn off the lights and music while we waiting for the system to back up. Finally at 8:30pm we turn on the security system lock the door and leave.

You think back that the best part of the day was talking to and helping customers.

If it’s been a busy sales day, you leave with a sense of relief and a smile. If it’s been a slow sales day, you say a prayer that tomorrow will be better. Your feet hurt after 10 hours and you look forward to getting home.

Tonight, I smile and wonder if that woman that wanted a store like ours really knew what she wished for.

Written on Tuesday, 22 September 2009 18:04 by Terry

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