Good Critical Thinking About Store Analysis:
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When entering a position, normally entry-level, minimum wage and thought of as completely new to the game and thereby easy to exploit, there are many young men and women who swiftly find that the reality of what they’ve done far outweighs the ideal they might have come to believe. Working in and of itself is normally a thing that can at least allow most people to hold their heads high and state that they are working for their money, that they are doing something. Even the most mundane jobs in the world can afford one the ability to take some pride in their situation. Yet for all that, some jobs simply exist to drain away the very thing that they try to promote, the creativity that at one time made them so great and inviting. Best Buy is no different in that what it promises is rarely what it delivers when it comes to its employees.
This is not to state that all Best Buys by simple association are terrible places to work. Such a generalized statement wouldn’t be fair to the franchise nor to those tasked with running each individual location. Instead what is meant by this is that like most large stores of this caliber, or of any business in which the rate of growth and the disassociation with lower-level employees takes place, oftentimes employees feel left out, taken for granted, and highly replaceable should they but err one time. It is a degrading feeling to realize that the bottom of the pecking order, the workers, the one upon whose backs most companies rise or fall, are easier to replace than the merchandise they sell.
For minimum wage stores such as Best Buy and others can easily discharge one employee and hire a new, fresh face or someone who simply needs employment. It is the nature of the business, that innovation and creativity does not save a person’s job, but often is mistaken for the act of managerial interference, or as author Matthew Crawford might say, pushing down details and making up cover stories after the fact to give the appearance that a minimum wage employee is in fact an “Einstein” in the rough (Crawford 50).
It’s perhaps very fair to say that walking into any one Best Buy store will be akin to walking into most of them, as stereotypes run rampant within each building. This is yet another facet of the business, along with the manner in which the employees are treated, such as minimum to poor benefits, being treated as numbers rather than individuals, and being prompted to be better than they are while still being told that they are accepted for who they are. It is a hypocritical world within the walls of many a retail store, but looking at this franchise alone, one can usually see a great deal of similarities between one store and another despite location.
There will always be the main “lanes” of traffic that direct an individual around the store, and likely as not a customer will see only a small number, perhaps 2 or 3 at best, employees that seem genuinely willing to help out. Others will likely be busy, pretending to be busy, or otherwise engaged with activities to make them appear to be busy. If this sounds familiar then it has likely happened more than once. After this, there are aisles in which merchandise will shift every so often, with premier DVD’s and other items that are considered “hot” at that time being placed out front where they will catch the eye the most, and the outdated and less important material being filed away as normal.
The general feel of any Best Buy is that you are there to buy something, not be the guest, not be the consumer that might need help, but to upend your wallet and allow the employees to find ways to guarantee you that spending your money on this or that piece of equipment would be a wise and lasting investment. In fact it seems at times as if the only ones genuinely pleased to see you, and for good reason no doubt, are the cashiers. Again ,there is a good reason in this, as they are the ones that collect the money that you are likely to spend in order to legally walk out with a purchase. Making the bosses happy by adding anything and everything to affect the bottom line in a positive manner will make many people affect a good mood and a warm smile, as it means keeping their jobs and perhaps even enough notice to be considered for advancement.
Cynical as this might seem, it is entirely genuine, as are the unfortunate stereotypes that exist within so many stores, and are described by columnist Adam Frucci. There are those who come to work and eventually leave or are fired, and are thus barely worth of notice as they are not what is generally termed as a “lifer”, someone who either sees a long and storied career as an employee within this type of establishment or otherwise becomes stuck in a position that may or may not require their own self-delusions that they are meant to be in that spot, at that time. Among all the stereotypes there are several different variations alluding to what Frucci has written and summarized, but essentially most people can fit into those roles, if only partially.
Big box stores such as Best Buy, Costco, WalMart, Sam’s Club, Bi-Mart, and many other such establishments are designed to pull people in, whether it is through employment or the desire to have something that they didn’t know about but now desperately need. For employees it is normally, in the beginning, a chance to earn a paycheck, perhaps enjoy benefits, and even gain discounts on items that might go on sale only a week or three later.
It is a job, an experience, and a means of paying bills to many, but to others it is a career, a place that they either force themselves to care about or else find as a last resort to other options they see as less appealing. Working in a big box store is not the end of the line, but after a time it does become a comfort, albeit a torturous one to some. To others it is something to aspire to, a stepping stone towards a bright and glorious career in which they seek to master the knowledge and skill set that comes with this type of job. To those standing on the outside it can seem like a badly written puppet show in which the actors are tired, worn out method actors that have long since memorized every nuance of their given stereotype and are lauded for stepping aside from their expected behavior every now and then. Like it or not, one will fall into a role no matter where they go, no matter how they break out of it, and no matter if they have others convinced of their ingenuity and creative spark.
Initiative is more than changing a floor plan based upon given instructions, it is more than jumping to attention when the boss says so. It is the determination and strength of character to go forward with an idea even when it is not the most popular, and to hold by that decision despite what others say. It is being open to criticism, being able to accept that the ideas of others might actually hold value. This is the failing of most big box stores, as they tend to value numbers and profits over the inherent creativity of their people, going by market numbers and stale, out of date statistics rather than what might draw in a new and profitable crowd versus those who continue to buy the same old thing at the same old price.
There are good and bad points to each career, but within the world of the big box industry it oftentimes seems as though numbers matter more than people. This attitude no doubt contributes to the high turnover that many such stores experience, and the general ill feelings that most employees will feel but never bring to light save on blogging sites.
Crawford, Matthew. Shop Class As Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work. Richmond:
Penguin, 2010. Print
Frucci, Adam. The Seven Types of Employees You Meet at Best Buy. Gizmodo, 9 July 2009.
Web. 28 Jan. 2015.
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