Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday

I worked at a Stern's Dept. Store in a mall on a Black Friday before it was commonly called Black Friday, but it was still a memorable experience. The sales were mostly on lower priced items, but there were crowds outside the doors before opening, & they practically trampled each other (& me, although I had been warned) when the store opened.

At Pearl Arts & Crafts I always had Thursdays & Fridays off & the manager scheduled me for Black Friday only once. It wasn't necessary. The store was busier, mainly for holiday decoration sales. The real madness was next door at Toys R Us,  in the parking lot, & at the light on Route One; Woodbridge Mall was across the highway. I enjoyed Christmas season at Pearl because the store was busier, lots of decorations, & my dept sold a lot of books. I recall being very annoyed one year when a large order from Dover Books had not arrived by day before Thanksgiving. I loved Dover. Those orders could run to 16 large boxes of mostly thin, reasonably  priced  books including quality coloring books that sold really well. It usually took me a day & a half to check, price & put them in stock, a job I always enjoyed, especially after I gained some input into inventory & began sampling the full range of the wonderful Dover catalog. Dover sold very well during December.

When I first took over the Pearl Book Dept, the stockroom guys would electric jack whole pallets of boxes into the book area & drop them.  I hated that. During my second stint at Pearl (there were three), after management had upgraded & installed proper book shelving, I realized the backroom staff believed I had been rehired as a dept. supervisor, as "management." In fact, I was just an hourly "associate" directly "supervised" by whoever was running the paper & frame depts, who had the sense to leave me alone.  So I told the stockroom guys to stop doing it, I didn't care if the book order pallets  ended up behind other pallets in the stockroom, as long as I could get at them.  They stopped. I brought out boxes four to six at a time. Checking in & stocking books (or anything) required shifting shelf space, it had to be done with some forethought, packing list in hand, finding out what was coming in.

Pearl in Woodbridge was not a well-managed store. But when it was sold & renovated after I left for the final time,  made orderly, it became a very boring store & slowly died.

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