Thursday, October 21, 2010

Incompetent Management

I was conversing with my A,T&T rep today. We were discussing why common sense decisions don't get made on a local level at Wal-Mart.

The impetus of this conversation was a recent sale of 11 Blackberry Torches by our little friend, the chain smoking girl.

The Blackberry Torch

They were sold without contracts.

A Blackberry Torch costs $500.00 without a two year Contract, and about $148.00 with a contract. So this customer paid $5,500.00 in all for cell phones that don't work without a contract.

What's wrong with this picture?

Black marketeers are known to buy up massive amounts of expensive cell phones like the Blackberry Torch at retail prices, and then turn around and sell them in Russia and other countries for a huge profit. Many people in foreign countries will pay enormous amounts of money to obtain these phones on the black market, where Blackberries can bring up to $1,300.00.

There is something illegal in this, probably stemming from dodging tariffs and taxes or some laws in the other countries that prevent the selling of contraband on the black market. I don't know, but someone walking into a Wal-Mart and offering to buy up every smart phone the retailer has without contracts should send up a red flag to whoever is working the cell phone desk. Regardless of their inexperience.

If this practice was legitimate, they would purchase their Blackberries from the factory at wholesale prices, and make a much higher profit. The fact that they don't, tells us it isn't kosher.

I was present when the man was there  offering to buy the phones, but one of the assistant managers was bugging me insistently to come up to the front cash registers and help them out because they were busier than usual, and hadn't scheduled cashiers properly. (I might add here, that Wireless associates are not supposed to be called to work in other parts of the store)I was trying to explain to the chain smoker girl why she shouldn't sell the phones, but the assistant manager was getting agitated that I wasn't moving fast enough, so I had to leave, and hope the girl would make a common sense decision.

She didn't.

When I finally got a chance to break away from the howling mob in the front of the store, I returned to find she had sold all 11 Blackberries we had, and the customer was long gone.

OK, so now you're probably wondering why I should care?.

This is why:

When we sell a phone without a contract, Wal-Mart makes about 25-40 dollars profit. If we sell it with a contract, Wal-Mart makes about 400-450 profit. The amount of profit the store makes in a year has a direct influence on the size of our yearly bonus. $4,400.00 would naturally have a more positive impact on a possible bonus than $440.00.

Before the sell, I grabbed the opportunity to try to tell the security manager (asset protection) that we shouldn't sell the phones without a contract, but all he did was call an assistant manager. The assistant manager on duty was occupied at the time on one of the cash registers up front, so she couldn't respond, so they got an assistant manager who was the manager over the grocery department.

She arrived and promptly approved the sale without even considering why she shouldn't.

This is one example out of many why I say local store management is incompetent.

Incompetent and apathetic. They just don't care.

Management at the corporate level cares. Their paychecks depend on Wal-Mart making as much profit as it can. The more profit, the more they make.

Local management gets about the same pay regardless of profit margin, give or take a couple of hundred.

The rep told me whenever he makes a complaint to corporate representatives at Wal-Mart about some bonehead local management decision, the corporate people express amazement at the level of incompetence the local management demonstrates on a continual basis.

Of course, he wasn't telling me anything I didn't already know.

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