Sam’s Club, We Have a Problem. . .

Good morning folks!  Considering the ramifications of this proposed policy change at Sam’s Club (my most favorite shopping destination EVER), I cannot believe that I have not written this sooner, but I have been extremely busy with banking and buying art in Downtown Lafayette, so today is the first chance I have had to write this!  I am not feeling well today, so I called in sick. We get two “freebie” sick days a year (without a doctor’s note) and this is my second one, so I hope I feel better by Tuesday, or I will have to go to the doctor.

Before I start with my main topic regarding Sam’s Club, I would like to give everyone tracking my write-up points at work an update!  I am now down to 22 points.  Let me explain how the point system works at my place of employment. . . We start off each year (July 1st, I think) with 37 points (if we still have 17 left from the prior year) and earn BONUS points each paycheck that we have no write-ups. Up until a month or so ago, I had never fallen below 37 points because of the “bonus point” system. No matter how many “bonus” points you have, you lose them ALL with any infraction.  In my case, I had at least  12 “bonus” points and lost them all for a 4 point write-up being 4 minutes late to work.  Totally my fault and stuff happens, that is WHY there are bonus points, so good employees are covered for “stuff” happening.  Since the write-up for being late by 4 minutes, (again, totally my fault), I have been written up 3 more times, which brings me to my new total of 22.  Let me start a new paragraph and explain those write-ups.  WHY? Because it is completely fascinating how this works!

So after being late by 4 minutes, I was down to 37 points (the lowest I have EVER been, which is where we start each year) and then someone called in sick.  Because I was working 8 hours that day, I was called to work overtime (to cover someone else’s shift) and I turned it down.  WHY when I LOVE overtime?  Because I had worked overtime the prior two days and was exhausted and falling asleep on my route the way it was.  So, I turned it down and got written up, rather than accepting, falling asleep while driving, and unintentionally killing myself or other people.  So, there is a 5-point write-up for someone ELSE not showing up for work.  37-5=32 points left.

Next write-up:  I went to do my pre-trip check and discovered that not only were the bus schedules not in any particular order on the bus, but that many were also missing.  In particular, the schedules for the route I was actually driving that day.  After sorting and organizing the schedules, so that I knew which ones I needed, I proceeded back inside to grab the stock that I needed.  Folks, this is in our RULES (in our employee handbook) that we are to make sure our bus is stocked with schedules for passengers.  So, I make sure every day that I have them. WHY? Because it is one of our many RULES! (and this rule makes perfect sense, btw, and saves a lot of time and memorization)  Anyway, as my route changes, often times daily, I am usually in a different bus each day.  It is very apparent to me that very FEW fellow employees actually stock the schedules on their bus.  What happens is that every day, I do it.  I have been telling both supervisors and fellow employees for at least two years (also every person I train) to make sure this gets done. Virtually no one does it.  Fine.  So this particular day, I go inside to get my stock of schedules for this bus that hasn’t been stocked in forever and ask the two supervisors present to, “Please send a memo stating that schedules need to be stocked on the buses.  It makes me late to my route nearly every day because no one does it.”  They both turned and looked at the clock and guess what?  When I got done with my shift, I had a 5 point write-up for being late to my route. WHY? Because the person that normally drives that bus did not stock their schedules (let alone arrange them in any sort of order), so I had to do it and was late to my route.  Summarization of this write-up:  I need to show up 15 minutes early and not get paid to do someone else’s job or get written up. Got it!  32-5=27 points.

Next: two days ago I was doing BTP’s route and stopped at Lawson to get the largest coffee they had.  As it was piping hot, I did not even taste it.  I left Lawson and 4 blocks later, I turned onto McCutcheon Drive and the ENTIRE piping-hot cup of coffee went all over me (scalding my leg) and all over the driver’s area (including brake and gas pedals) and I stopped and went into Subway at Purdue West and the kind young man working gave me a whole roll of industrial paper towels to utilize in my clean-up process.  As my leg was burning (plus I was soaked and my uniform was ruined), I called to get a relief driver after the allotted time for the lesser write-up (there is a time-frame for less write-up points),  and was relieved after my cuddle-duds (long-underwear) had turned into cold compresses due to the temperature.  Worked out GREAT that way.  I both burned myself and had ready-made cold compresses for my legs! Awesome!  Result: 5 point write-up for spilling coffee on myself.  I accept that ENTIRE responsibility. 27-5=22 points.

Here is how my math works:  I believe that since I had at least 12 bonus points before the 4-point write-up for being 4 minutes late, then I should still have 8 bonus points.  Since the other two write-ups against me were for OTHER people not doing their jobs, they should be gone.  I will accept the fact that I spilled an entire cup of coffee on myself and burned myself and needed to go home.  By my math, I should have at least 3 bonus points left and be at 40 points, rather than 22.  This folks, is how good employees get fired, just like my friend ‘J, and why companies end up with people that lose them time AND money.  On to Sam’s Club!  🙂

Okay, so Thursday I scalded myself with coffee unintentionally and went home early with a 5 point write-up.  Hey, I always turn lemons into lemonade and got a ton of stuff done that day.  I started with banking, went home and changed clothes, did more banking, bought art in Downtown Lafayette, went to Freckle’s Graphics to do two things, one of which was to order our new SUPER FUN sock hats for our company that I got permission to do!  Caveat:  We have to pay for them out of our own pockets. I am absorbing all costs and paying out of my own pocket to have FUN winter hats instead of ugly, scratchy, boring hats. I only ordered 10 and I am keeping two. There will be three red and five blue available for the rest of you! Get your orders in soon, as I will NOT be ordering more!  After Freckle’s, I went to Sam’s Club and received the most disturbing news from the cashier. . .

Here’s what happened:  I left everything in the cart and rolled it up in front of the register.  I only had beer, Reese’s eggs, bananas, and a most awesome Laura Ashley plush throw (the second one I have bought for $12.95 and I now have purple AND green!) and was informed that “technically” everything was supposed to come OUT of the cart.  Furthermore, beginning next Wednesday (she believed), this was going to become company policy!  Folks, the new proposed policy at Sam’s Club is that you must remove EVERYTHING from your cart (except water-softener salt) and the cashier has to scan it over the conveyor belt scanner, as opposed to leaving the heavy stuff in the cart and using the hand-held scanner to scan it.

Sam’s Club, this next part is my FREE gift to you.  I will explain exactly WHY this is a TERRIBLE policy to implement for both your company AND your loyal customers. If indeed the cashier was correct in informing me of this new shopping-cart emptying process that you plan to implement this next week, let me explain WHY it is a total LOSE/LOSE proposition.  I will start with the obvious: Sam’s Club sells things in bulk. What this means is that items purchased are often times HEAVY.  It is struggle enough, at times, just to get it off the shelf and into the cart.  Now you propose to make us lift it OUT of the cart, put it on the conveyor belt to be scanned, and have your employees then lift it AGAIN to place it in the cart where it began? Are you trying to eliminate hand-held scanners, or do you have a bunch of chiropractor and back-surgeon investors?  This makes ZERO sense and goes against the entire efficiency of Sam’s Club.  Let me explain further. . .

Sam’s Club (at least the one in Lafayette, IN) is formatted PERFECTLY.  You walk in, get your cart, and all of the heavy, bulky items are at the beginning of your shopping trip.  Hence, they are on the bottom of the cart where they should be anyway.  Smaller items go on top later (like produce, bread, eggs, chips, and Reese’s).  If the proposed policy change takes effect next week, not only will all of the small stuff go first on the conveyor belt, but the cart re-filling will all be backwards (plus, unnecessary back injuries from both employees and customers).  Is the reason for this policy change theft of items not scanned?  If so, take the loss Sam’s Club.  You have people that stand at the door and check receipts. Also, fellow loyal customers, you can pre-plan your trip and have all of your items ready for pick up!  This hires ANOTHER Sam’s Club employee and eliminates IMPULSE purchases like my TWO Laura Ashley plush throws that I bought on two separate occasions because I kept walking by them and LOVED them.  Pre-shopping online, totally eliminates EXTRA purchases AND Sam’s Club does not miss scanning a box of $3 something vinegar and catching you at the door!  WIN/WIN!

I am going to state the even MORE obvious for you Sam’s Club:  Making customers take all items out of the cart is not only going to delay the check-out process (while simultaneously causing back injuries), it is going to delay the whole efficiency concept of getting in and getting out quickly.  Lines will be longer and go more slowly, thus causing a parking and cart-shortage problem.  It won’t be efficient any longer and people will stop shopping there. (at least the people you WANT shopping there) And so goes the yearly membership fees.  I know I won’t do it.  WHY?  Because to me, time is money.  I will pay MORE for something if it is more efficient in the long run.  Think about this policy change. PLEASE. It is NOT a good idea.

Okay, that concludes my advice to Sam’s Club.  Sidebar: I started my own business and if you would like a FREE t-shirt, then give me the size you need.  First run will be in sapphire blue and I am finalizing the logo today (even though I am completely not feeling well).  Preliminary looks AWESOME! WHY did I decide to start my own business?  Simple: I want to wear what I want each day and have rules that make sense!  🙂  Submit your sizes and I will give you a FREE t-shirt. First order this week, so let me know quickly if you want one!


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