Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Retail Confessions: Messing with Marketing Data

Black Friday, America's worst day to work in retail, is coming. And I used to work for The Gap on that day every year. Ok, I worked for Old Navy, but The Gap owns it. And Old Navy's profits have surpassed that of The Gap every year since 2000.

You know the retail drill: fold clothes, refold clothes once customers come and screw up your piles, offer customer service, sales. Pretend you have to pee once an hour but you really just want to sit down and not have to talk to anyone. Oh, did I say that?

gap, black friday, old navy, shopping, retail horror stories

Well, The Gap--who also owns the Banana Republic, Old Navy and online Piperlime--tries to accomplish market research by offering a percentage off to customers who call a number listed on their receipt and take a brief survey. They also accomplish this task by making their cashiers ask each customer for their zip code and phone number-- a task that often leads to a cashier being yelled at by the more conspiracy-theory customers.

Author's Note: This question elicited many nasty remarks from otherwise normal customers. It struck a sour, immediate note. I once was yelled at because of this question and told I was a tool, whoring myself out for "The Man." I wanted to counter this attack by informing the yelling jackass that he was the only tool around here with all the pleated khakis and pastel polo shirts he was purchasing. Sadly, I did not. I was afraid at the time. That time has passed: Tool.

The Gap wants to know basic information such as your zip code, phone number household information, blood type (I kid). Basically, this helps them figure out whether or not a certain zip code would benefit from a store, thus resulting in the company making profit. It's all about the money.

So, being young and sarcastic ( but mostly scared of being yelled at again) I bypassed the phone number and started to fill in the zip code myself. I entered the most famous zip code I could think of, of any kid who grew up watching television in the 1990's-- 90210.

That is, Beverly Hills: 90210.

Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills 90210, Brenda, Kelly, Andrea, Dylan, Brandon
The original cast

The problem was, I used to cashier a lot. So, many a Beverly Hills inhabitant visited our Chicago location. I'm sure much to the confusion of the marketing department at The Gap. I just couldn't stop. My supervisor was horrified when I accidentally told her I was doing this and told me: "Let's keep this between us. Don't say that again." Sorry, the world knows now.

I have no true way of knowing if this swayed The Gap to place new stores in Beverly Hills, California, or perhaps changed the Chicagoland's marketing campaigns to appear more beachy to drive sales. I like to think it made someone stop and do a double take.

I wonder: Do market research departments have a "Beverly Hills: 90210" clause for their data collection to protect the information from getting skewed by jerks like me who grew up in the 1990's and can't help by type that zip code in unimportant questionnaires?

Do they shake their heads and say: "Damnit, those Generation Y-ers are at it again! Throw out all the data for the last 4 months--not all the customers were from California. The bastards got us again!"

If not, they should. If someone finally hires me to work in their retail marketing department (I no longer work in retail, and the company I work for could care less about your zip code), I will start this clause and call it the: Brenda & Dylan Forever Rule. Oh yes.

Brenda and Dylan, Beverly Hills 90210

TV Show Rant: Kelly belonged with Brandon and she shouldn't have been messing with Dylan in the first place. Be real, Kelly. Take a good, long look at your life choices.

Ending Thought: I would apologize to The Gap, but I remember so many nights I had to work 3+ hours past my shift ending to clean up the piles of clothing left by crappy customers, or the year you told us employees we couldn't have raises due to budgetary constraints but gave the managers and supervisors bonuses.

Suck it. No one from Beverly Hills, California visited your Chicago store in 2008.

Whenever I hear the word "Sabotage" I instantly think of the Beastie Boys' song. In case you are like me, here's the video. Watch it, I know you're already humming it in your head.

Tell me your retail / workplace fun facts. How do you keep things lively at work?

I really do respect marketing data. Just not at that time in my life,

Jean Marie

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sassy Starfish of Social Media

The aquatic representation of how I feel about social media at the moment.
Sassy Starfish (other people) disapprove of your life and thoughts captured on the internet. Yet, she/he is sassy herself and is beyond approach of any judgment or criticism. 

sassy starfish, social media, internet trolls, politcal, twitter rants

Just seems a little fishy to me.

I had no idea I had just a propensity for puns. Oh well. People of social media, let's try to find the humor in things.  In other people's jokes and observations.  I know some things are no laughing matter (rape, inequality, Ferguson), but if we just keep yelling into the abyss and shaming other people for their words... you aren't doing a damn thing. You haven't come up with solutions or solved a problem.

When the two college kids invented a lipstick that changed colors when it detected the date-rape drug, people argued that we shouldn't need such things as we should teach people not to rape. They took aim at its creation.

OF COURSE we should teach people not to rape, but also having a tool to make drugging someone harder is not something to be spurned. We should teach bullys not to bully, but we don't spurn the idea of having a a hotline to call for help just because we should all learn to treat others with respect.

So, I guess my point is let's stop being so damn judgmental for the point of hearing our own voice and trying to outsmart or shame another. Be more goal oriented than that, not just part of a non-solved problem. Have purpose in your words and actions.

No one likes the trolls and just because you believe in your cause doesn't absolve you from trolling others - tactics matter.

I realize I'm opening myself up to criticism,  but hey, that's life and I'll address it as it comes.

Seacrest out,


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Post Election

Hmm... y'all see the elections last night in America? This Independent is feeling pretty skeptical about congress getting anything accomplished in the next few years - just more of the GOP bitching and acting like petulant children, in majority or not.

Anyway. Today is Wordless Wednesday. So, in honor of last night, I picked a politcal figure. Oh, and I'll be back to writing my usual posts soon and reading my fellow bloggers' work. I had surgery and am feeling much better today. :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Halloween Decorations

This week's Wordless Wednesday is about Halloween activities left to do and cool DIY decoration ideas for cheap.

Let's all go Halloween crazy this year :)

For the nail decals for you and your little ones, get them here:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Doctor Who: Let's Get Creepy

Happy Halloween Week! In honor of my favorite holiday and one of my favorite tv shows (Doctor Who), this post is dedicated to my cousin David and his awesome artistic skills of creating the DW Weeping Angel below-

I'm going to challenge myself to post Halloween-only all week.

Don't blink. RIP Amy and Rory. Let's get creepy: