Wednesday, May 28, 2008

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York.

It often seems to those of us who have seen a few New York springs, that the hot weather abruptly arrives at the end of May, around the time of our Memorial Day holiday. That is what happened again this year. It's finally fine to wear sandals, and to shed a layer or two of jacket or sweater.

There has also been lots of rain, and the park is very heavily green. Rose bushes in sunny places are beginning to bloom, and some folks on my block have planted begonias, impatiens and pansies to bring a little color to the concrete and asphalt.

Although I have yet to see them, new neighbors have moved into the recently renovated apartment next door to mine. Last night when I returned home from work and was unlocking my front door, I heard a baby crying from behind the door next door. Previous neighbors in that apartment have had babies, and it is a testimony to the design of the building and the thickness of its walls, that once inside my home sweet home, I heard no crying.

I do hope to meet this new family soon.

After some blustery rain last evening, today is a lovely day, made more lovely because it is a day off. We will host a "special" event at the shop tomorrow, focused on our petite-sized range (theoretically for those 5'4" and under.) This event is not a very extravagant affair, featuring some light refreshments, and the opportunity for customers to meet with the company's petites specialist, and to have 10 per cent of the amount of their purchases be donated to a worthy philanthropy.

I am a bit worried that not too many folks may attend, despite our publicizing the event. Often our events give the customers a certain dollar amount off the price of an item, or give them a gift with each purchase. That will not be the case tomorrow. Customers making a purchase will received "double points" for their purchases, however. (We have a program that grants a customer a point for every dollar that is spent. When the accumulated points reach 2,000 ... no matter how long it may take, the customer receives a gift card worth $100.) It is my sense that a gift with each purchase would have been a stronger draw, but we will know more tomorrow.

After working so very hard, day after day during the retail month of May, it was very disappointing to my staff and myself that we did not meet our sales goal. Therefore, we won't get a bonus check for May. The checks that we each received for our April success were quite substantial and quite welcome in these inflationary/recessionary times. We think that what kept us from our May goal was powerful Mother Nature, who provided two very, very cold and rainy days, when few customers ventured out to shop.

Now it will be my task to motivate the staff to keep going strong during June.

My assistant manager and I will be out of the store for two days next week, attending out of town managers meetings. We do value our staff and their ability to flourish without us, but all the same, I really wish that both of us did not have to be away for so much of next week (the two meeting days, plus our regular two days off.)

It is now the season when staff will begin taking lots of holiday time off, so it is a bit of challenge to juggle the schedule, making sure that everyone does get the free time they request, but also making sure to keep the shop adequately staffed. I try to be fair to everyone.

Since the weather is so good today, I will now put my sandals on and go outdoor to check on those roses.

18 comments:

  1. i'm short! (i mean, petite.) wish i could be there.

    hope you get a good draw.

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  2. My little daughter is in the fashion retail business the same as you, except she sells shoes, I used to think it was because she wanted to bring home all the stock, but she really does have a great passion for her work, and does bring home a vast array of shoes ( I should know i have just moved her into her new flat and carried all 108 boxes in!!) but so much of what you say I hear her saying, reaching targets, trying to sort out staff holidays I guess its the same the world over, I hope your event goes well I am sure it will and in the meantime a bit of advice from my Mum she aways says in life " Take time to smell the roses" I hope you do.
    Much love
    Blossom

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  3. Oh...targets, they should never have been invented. How hard for you , and disappointing for your staff who have worked towards this goal. Isnt amazing what effect bad weather can have.
    Go out and enjoy beautiful calming roses!

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  4. It sounds lovely - spring in the city is a magical time...somehow almost more magical than in the countryside as it is such a contrast to the asphalt and fumes.
    I agree with your ideas about the event - immediate rewards are always more enticing than the long-off prize....
    Sorry indeed about your lack of bonus. Aah, how I loved bonuses in my theatre box office days!
    Hope your new family are nice - and good neighbours. I could do with your walls here - we have a pub opposite and some times we can hear every word of the conversation (and trust me, it isn't always what one would like to hear!)....jxxx

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  5. Mmmmm have managed sandals on one day . . . we have had sun but it hasn't been so warm.

    Fingers crossed for the event - I guess whatever happens tomorrow won't count in May's total towards your bonus. What a shame you didn't reach your targets - doesn't seem fair for you to be penalised as you and the other staff put so much work into the shop.

    I am one of the little people - but tempting though it is forgive me for not being there tomorrow.

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  6. Lovely to catch up with you . We've had a warm spell when we kicked off the cardies and put on the sandles, but this week it's back to cold and ran again, socks and woolies firmly back on!

    I'm Petite, so would fit your 5'4" range!

    I can understand what you mean about concern over you and your assist manager being away at same time, does seem rather bad planning, but hope meeting goes well.

    Greetings from Muddie in Sussex, Muddie being quite apt again today!

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  7. Lovely pictures in my head of the Park and roses - we have just had the first frost of the season here!

    Sorry you didn't make the target for May... and after some really busy days too... what a shame... hope June and the sunshine will draw out many customers wanting to update their wardrobes for summer and holidays away.

    Hope the new neighbours are going to become friends.

    xx

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  8. Dear Frances,

    It is sad that May did not reach the target at shop especially as you and your wonderful staff put so much into it. Hoping for a 'bumper' boom sales target for you Frances, especially as the weather has reached a warmer temperature.

    Wish I could be one of those 'petite' ladies at your shop Frances.

    Enjoy those moments with the beautiful Roses.

    How I wish I would be able to be that neighbour next door to you Frances, they are very fortunate.

    Camilla.xx

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  9. I hope your promotion goes well, not that I would be invited, being rather on the 'grande' side at the moment.

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  10. what a pain about your bonus when it is clear how hard you work. It has just tipped down here the last 2 weeks and cautiously, today, are just starting to think that the worst might be behind us.
    WRT my blog and T11 getting a phone. I know I know I know. I know it all (!). However, come September all children here going in to Y7 get them, or all but. In his class now, Y6, I would say 75/80% of the children have phones. It's a safety thing mainly. If he's down the park (protected from the road, you have to know it, plus a friend of mine backs onto it so it's as safe as safe can be without wrapping them in cotton wool) then I have the means to contact him and him me. It is £12.50 a month for 200 texts and 200 mins so seems good value and I have thought long and hard about it. We both did, E and me. In Sept he goes by bus to a school in another city so would def have one anyway, we brought it forward by a few months to reflect how hard he has worked in tests this school year (not only to get into grammar, but a gruelling week of 2 or 3 tests a day earlier in May, SATs). Plus he's the oldest in the school (something they all care about) and to be one of a few without he had taken well, a little going without not being a bad think in my book - many children in F9's year have them! Mad. He's also an incredibly good and open and rational child, old beyong his years, and is fine with me fumbling through it, should I wish at this stage, to check on him, plus I can access the calls made on-line. Plus it frees our phone up a bit - the number of times I lurch to my feet of an evening to answer the phone to find a silky-voiced 11 year old girl on the other end calling for T11, and it's a relief to limit some of those! I hope that goes some way to allaying your quite understandable disquiet over the whole business! Phew, essay over!

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  11. When does sumemr come it arrives over night it seems adn each year I am surprised by its suddenness! I do hope your petite promotion went well, despite not meeting your targets you sound less stressed I think!

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  12. Lovely blog Frances and interesting to hear about your retail targets for May; I wonder if it is a nervousness about the econimic situation that is to blame? Probably as you said, it is more down to the weather which truly did turn so much colder. Lovely to catch up with you xx

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