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Retail Fail

Dvorak Uncensored

I'm not sure how long Flanders could last in retail.

I have had some interesting experiences during my 2 month foray into the world of customer service-oriented retail. In addition to learning about what kind of job is right for me, I have also witnessed the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to the human race.

Dealing with retail means you have to deal with idiots. We sell these Frog-O-Spheres, mini aquariums with water, two frogs, a snail, gravel, and some rocks and bamboo. There are boxes sitting next to the display that hold the frog supplies. Nearly every person who checks out the frogs asks something stupid that could be prevented with a) basic common sense, or b) rational thought. “Are they real frogs?” (“No, they’re mechanical frogs floating around in water.”) “Do they come in the boxes?” (“Of course. We put live aquatic frogs in the box, poke some air holes, and hope they’ll be fine by the time you tourists get home to Ohio.”) And three people so far have tried to tip the tanks over. Two succeeded in making a huge mess and dumping frogs, water, and all on the ground. Pure genius.

You also have to deal with some gender discrimination. I’ve had one guy stare at my chest during a massage chair demonstration, and another stare at my butt as I walked away from helping him, and then shrug (offensive, yes, plus I deserved at least a nod of appreciation). I helped a middle aged gentleman with a French accent who was a little bit too friendly. He told me I had beautiful eyes.

You can learn a lot about human psychology too. There are three types of people, and you can tell in about a minute. Some people want you to leave them alone while they shop, and when greeted, will politely say hello and turn away from you. There are also friendlier customers who will ask you a question about a product, or allow you to show them some neat stuff around the store. They put up with the merchandising approach and all your retail tricks with good humor. Then there are the people who completely ignore you, stare down their noses at you, and are generally rude and obnoxious. They’re better than you, presumably because you’re just a retail jockey, only one step above a fast food worker.

Retail can tell you a lot about people. It’s a test of character to see if you can handle dealing with anyone who walks into your store; it’s not just some cakewalk any highschooler can handle. So the next time you’re shopping at the mall, remember this: other people have to deal with you, no matter if you happen to notice them or not. So when you dump those clothes you just tried on onto the floor, or knock over some display, remember someone else will have to come clean up your mess, which is something they should have taught you in kindergarten.

I Can Has Plushie?

I love video game merchandise. I think there is always room for more stuff in my cluttered room, and the more creative toys are much cooler. So here are some games I think have room for improvement in the merchandising department.

Nuka Cola (Fallout)

Tons of possibilities here, from a Nuka Cola mascot (like the polar bears- maybe a zombie bear?), Nuka Cola plushies, t-shirts, posters, and actual Nuka Cola products, like those 1-Up and T-Virus Antidote energy drinks. And don’t forget Nuka Cola Quantum (kinda reminds me of Slurm).

Murlocs (World of Warcraft)

Seriously Blizzard, make some Murloc Suits IRL. They’re in demand in game, so Blizzard should just sell them at conventions. I would buy one. Or a Murloc plushie. Hey, they’ve got Cthulhu plushies, and I think a Murloc plush would look good next to my Christmasthulhu.

Piñatas (Viva Piñata)

My friends and I heard Burger King had Pokemon toys, and we went to go get some, so I went up to the counter to ask what kind of toys they had, peeked inside and saw a plastic Fizzlybear and walked right back to the table. My friend and I routinely sing the theme song from the game, so we were super excited. They also came with a few tiny cardboard stand-up characters inside. This is one example of good merchandising, not so good PR work- more people should have heard about this! So that wraps up my contribution to the video game toy market. Please steal these ideas, game companies!