Thursday, April 2, 2009

If I could offer men any advice...

If I could offer business men, and men in general any advice, it would be-

Shave the back of your neck!

This irritates me so much, everytime the hairy ex bf got back from whatever port he'd been working in, I would make him go out on the porch so I could shave his neck.  The smart ex, everytime I'd show up would get a haircut.  The pretty one, was high maintenence enough that he got his haircut frequently.

Seriously, if you are working with anyone on a daily baisis, KEEP YOUR HAIR CUT.

It grosses me out to no end.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

First Citizens, you get mad props...

I was reissued all of my business cards. Apparently First Citizens had a breech, and immediately sent us all new ones.

That is fine and dandy, until I try to login to and none of my accounts work. I had numerous free tickets and almost free tickets on various accounts. I was not happy about this.

Today, I call the number on the back of my card, expecting them to think I am crazy. The first pleasant thing that happened "Press zero to speak to an operator." Seriously? That easy? I don't have to "Press one for English?" only to get someone who doesn't really speak English?

I got this VERY nice woman, after maybe four rings. She knew what my issue was, tried to fix it, had to make a phone call and will call me back shortly. She spoke English. She may have even been in Roanoke (where FC is out of) and spoke southern!

So, today First Citizens, I am tickled with you :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Are you kidding me?

Thank goodness today it was released that the Specialty Sleep Association will hold a meeting defining "natural" in the mattress business.

Just yesterday, I was talking to a particular rep, from a particular "S" brand, with a popular natural line up. I've always been known to ask pointed questions, not usually on purpose, but more so out of curiosity. So, I said "If this mattress is so natural, how does it pass FR?" (FR has to do with our fire laws on mattresses). I was expecting his answer to be "A wool sock," because that is how most good natural lines pass. No, he said "With Teflon." Are you kidding me? You must be joking right? The newest chemical that is supposedly killing us, is the SECOND LAYER IN THIS BED?! On top of the NATURAL latex layers?!@ I don't know that I said anything else to him. I'm sure that I just looked at him like he had lost his mind.

It gives me goose bumps to think about it. I will not have this product in my store with the word "natural" on it, when the second layer is Teflon. I look forward to the SSA meeting, even though it is going to cost me an extra arm and leg to stay another day in FL for it (it is right after another big industry event).

I really want to e-mail the spokesperson for this product, that I am pictured with in a previous FT article, and ask him if he knows this. That may just be upturning the applecart, but, I don't know that he would want his face on it if he knew.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Call me a coward if you must,

but if a customer calls me, almost yelling at me. Then gets in to "I NEED TO SPEAK TO THE OWNER." I don't tell them that I am as close as they will ever get to speaking to the owner.

I just told this guy "I don't know how to help you with that right now sir, let me get *sales person* to call you back."

Well, come to find out, he has buyers remorse. He supposedly found the product somewhere else for less (lie, we have MAP pricing on this product, and it isn't marked up. So, if he did find it somewhere else for less, some one is in big trouble). I said "Sir, where did you find it for less?" At which time he yelled at me "I'M NOT TELLING YOU." Ok, right. Because you are not telling the truth.

"Customers are always right." Bulllll. Customers are out for themselves. Customers lie.

I prefer "Take care of the customer."

Anyway, Mr. Customer, you were yelling at the person who can help you the most, and that probably isn't going to work out for you.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I know a thing or two about food marketing...

I was in the top 20 in the Nation in food marketing in high school. I know how to identify almost every part and piece of a grocery store. Don't ask me how I ended up there, I have no idea. I do know my grocery stores.

Back in the fall, Food Lion did this rearranging of their stores, to make them look more like HT. Well, that is all fine and good, but now I can't find ANYTHING. Nothing. I forget things, because after I tire of searching for them, I give up. Before this disaster, Food Lion's were logical. Now, you get your bread three aisles before your milk that you can place on top to squish it. Beer and toilet paper on the same aisle, as it was before was quite logical. Now there are random toys in the middle of the store. Magazines with the bread, and God forbid you try to find crackers. They are with the juice boxes.

I HAD to go to Food Lion today, because my Surf City IGA doesn't have as many Healthy Request soups as I would like them to. The rest of the time, I go to IGA. Less selection, but much better prices on most things. When you need to buy in large sizes though, sometimes Food Lion is a good choice. IGA is little, it caters to the little consumer, all of us single people who live here in the winter. We don't always need a box of Tide to do 400 loads. When people come in the summer, they don't need HUGE amounts of anything (except sunscreen, but they carry big bottles of that), because they're usually leaving in a week. IGA also does a local's special every week which gets emailed to me. I love it. Today is local day, but I didn't need anything on todays only specials. My other things on special I can pick up later. Two weeks ago honey was on sale, so I stopped and picked up two bottles of it, it made me very happy.

Today as I was standing at Food Lion looking at chicken breast, I thought "I should just go back to IGA. Or I could just boil the chicken off the bone that I have now. No, I'm here, stopping to save $.50 isn't really worth it." I did take note though, I got 12 chicken legs on special at IGA the other day for $3.17, Food Lion had the same thing for $3.70. Uh huh. I do love IGA's meat. They do such a good job, and have never had a meat scandal!

Anyway, Food Lion, your new arrangement is horrible. Drink mixes need to be with beer. Wine, needs to be with beer. Wine also needs to be after the meat, not before like you have it, because I can't pick my wine until I pick my meat. There is too much stuff in the aisles, I keep running in to people. The bread needs to be the last thing you pick up, not the 5th from last. I don't like dairy squished bread. It saddens me that I now have to empty my own cart onto the conveyor, it was so much more customer service oriented before. Now I just avoid you all and self check out.

Whoever you hired to advise you, that you probably paid millions, you could have checked out all the marketing kids that competed with each other for three years over these things. I'm sure none of us would charge you millions. Here is my free million dollar idea that won me a trophy- Put your cookies near the milk. I hate to say it Food Lion, but you would not have even placed with that layout.

Friday, February 27, 2009

My sales reps

I love most of my sales reps. I even enjoy talking with reps that do not work with my business. Actually, some of my favorite reps in the industry, I don't even do business with!

I was in the process of writing a thank you note to the boss of reps that I had dinner with at market. I then realized, I'm not really sure that he is their boss. I swear I think he is, but I'm not sure. So do I send this letter anyway? I hate to e-mail the guys and be like "Hey who is your boss?" I seriously need a chain of command on the website.

Industry chains of command are notoriously complicated. I have a good friend who when we were in high school would ask me what his Dad's position was, because as a retailer, I knew. As his son, he never knew.

The big problem is we have 24590834 Vice Presidents in this industry. There are VP's that mean something, and others that just have a title. That is confusing. People tend to ask "You are the VP of...?" To which I usually reply "The whole thing. I'm the only VP."

Hopefully, the National Sale's Manager and National Product Manager's thank you note should go to the VP & GM. (Thank GOD I keep an old conference guide in my desk, because I couldn't have told you what they did until I looked it up. It is pretty much the who's who of the industry).

To sum this up, if you are repping for someone, make sure your contacts know who your boss is. Especially if they are the kind of person that will use it for more good than bad.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Business Attire...

I am thankful that I grew up in DECA and at High Point Furniture market.

The lessons DECA taught me, I still use everyday. When preparing to leave for my Vegas business trip, it occurred to me that we had strict rules on travel attire. Just for fun I looked it up. DECA would have never allowed for me to wear jeans on a trip. No matter how nice I looked in them. Sorry Mrs. Gantt I wore blue jeans on the way out and sweat pants on the way in. That wouldn't have been acceptable at all. I also wore sneakers both directions. I would have never made my Charlotte connection in pretty shoes. There is a lot that can be said for comfort in travel. Even flip flops had no place in DECA. Mind you, I never wore my flops in any showrooms. I only wore them in the hallways at market. The sweatpants were for a red-eye. I wish I had a picture of me getting off that plane. I looked like death.

Everyday though, I had on a jacket. Blue blazer. Everyday, I had on khakis or some other type of nice slacks. It really made a difference. It is hard being in a mostly male industry. To be respected, you can't be in "cute" business attire. I was complimented both days on my nice shirts and blazer. Day one I had heels. Day two I had flats. I rarely took off my jacket, which is something DECA and a close friend taught me the importance off.

I was taken back at the amount of "designers" with jeans on. Also the amount of important people in golf shirts was astounding. Call me a classic High Point market girl if you must, but that is not the way we did business in North Carolina. I mentioned it to various people to hear that "You should see it at summer market!"

Granted, most of these people were not in the exact industry I'm in, but they were still there to do business in jeans. Yes, you have to walk miles a day, but jeans?!

My Dad has this theory that once you are important you can wear whatever you like and get away with it. I think that is true in your personal business, I do not think that is true when doing business with other people.

I do not have any good photos to illustrate my business attire without calling out some fellow industry people for the polo shirts.

My great grandfather was known in Greensboro for wearing a three piece suit everyday and always having a flower in his lapel. I'm fairly casual in my own business, but when it comes to business with others or big industry events, you have to look nice. Especially if it is the first time you are meeting people.

Another thing about women in business. The big hair is distracting. Really, it is. You need to be toned down. Now is not the time to be "bold." It is the time to take care of business.