Monday, December 29, 2008

Sights and Sounds from the Holiday Maddness!

"With a gun stuck in your mouth and the barrel of the gun between your teeth, you can only talk in vowels."-excerpt from the novel 'Fight Club' by: Chuck Palahniuk

The holiday shopping season is finally over. The longer hours, the sore feet, the never ending stream of bitchy customers, is over.

By all reports on the news and online, America's retail sectors are down this year. I would like to contest any of those reports. I have been in the midst of the busiest shopping season to date in my eyes. The first half of the December the crowds were thin. 7 days before Christmas I would have told you that, yes, retail was down, but in the last 7 days leading up to Christmas, the crowds came, and they spent. My company's location that I work in did almost an entire month's worth of sales in 7 days.

That kind of volume makes you want to eat a bullet. Nothing can prepare you for being that busy.

"Money is not earned or won. It is just a mutual agreement to a change in perception." Dan T's Blackberry Messenger status message

One observation I have made this year, during this 'economic crisis' is that the over all mood of the people is poor. All day long they have to listen to the news reports telling us the economy is in the crapper, the stock markets have lost more points than it did during the Depression. The new President keeps telling us that we are facing the worst economic crisis since the Depression. It is no wonder why the people are depressed.

Now usually I am the biggest Grinch in America during the holidays, but this year, my mood seemed downright festive.

Despite this economic crisis the news said that retail sales were down, but I feel that people were still spending money, but you can tell that they just didn't want to let it go so easily. In my business there is a type of person that we do not like to see. That type of person is called, "Mr. and Mrs. Beeback".

Mr. and Mrs. Beeback represent a retail sales reps. worst fear. That they will come in, talk your ear off, and then think about it, and 'be back' later. All of our sales training that we have been put through is designed to close sales immediately, because we all know that Mr. and Mrs. Beeback are not coming back if they leave and if they do come back, they will either talk to your colleagues or go to a different store all together.

This year, Mr. and Mrs. Beeback actually came back. We kept very meticulous track of all the customers who said that they would be back, and we kept touching base with them. In a week most of out Mr. and Mrs. Beeback's had come back. Our sales went from being in the toilet to being up ahead of what we did last year. The economic crisis in my eyes, isn't the doomsday that the media is making it out to be. People are getting laid off but that is because the company they worked for made bad business decisions. The America auto maker put it eggs in the large SUV basket. They need to learn from it and move on. Pick up another skill. Its not always as easy as that, and I know people are hurting, but people are always going to be hurting. The broad strokes of the issue is not that people aren't hurting, but that people aren't hurting nearly as bad as the media would like us to think. Now in January; it might be a different story. That's when people will get the credit card bills.

"Damn my arm is killing me!" Me-after playing Wii until 4am
I was a part of a lot of other people's gifts to their loved ones this year. It is one thing to give a gift to another person, but the way in which you do it is what makes it all special.

How do you give a cell phone as a gift and make it all original. Many parents like to wrap up the phone in the box and call it. The ringing phone makes a noise, and the kids know what they got, and they tear into the package like a tiger to Roy's face.

This year I wanted to help people make giving a cell phone more fun. At this point calling the phone under the tree is old news. I tried to help people think of more creative ways to give gifts.

Here is a list of some of the ideas I came up with:

1. There is a very popular and very expensive phone that all the kids want. Because of the high demand for it, be had a ton of empty boxes for this phone. Parents were not buying the really expensive phone for the kids' first cell phone although they surely wanted it. So I would give them the expensive phone box and the parents would put the phone they really bought in it and wrap it up. Now many say, well you are just disappointing the kids. My retort is actually one a customer told me. "They can shut up, the phone they got was totally better than the one they had 5 minutes before opening that one."

2. Take the phone out of the box and place it in a much larger box labeled as something else.

3. This one I am particularly proud of. I had a customer who wanted to add on a new line for his girlfriend. He had to do it although he and his girlfriend were 'exploring their best options' with other carriers. He came in and picked out the phone and said he would call me to let me know when he was picking it up. He called me and said, I will be there today, but she is coming with me and she is going to want to talk to a sales rep.

We had to put on like we had never talked and they were a completely new customer. So he came up solo and said, we have 1o minutes before she gets here, so he bought the phone and put it in another bag he had already gotten from another store. He then walked away and said that he would be back.

So when they came back she was asking about phones and asked about plans. I basically sold her on the phone and accessories he just bought for her 15 minutes earlier, but lied and said the phone she wanted in the color she wanted didn't come out until January. She was excited and decided that they would come back after the new year.

Little did I know what he was going to do with the phone. He then took a photo of the engagement ring with the phone's camera and put it in the box.

She opened the phone, laughed, and when she turned it on, the engagement ring was the wallpaper of the phone and the banner read, 'Will you marry me?'.

She said yes and stopped back yesterday to tell me that I was a wonderful actor and he thanked me for all his help.

Its special moments like that; that can turn the crappiest most busy holiday season around. The acknowledgment of all my hard work from a customer is all I needed.

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