Keeping It Brand, Part 13

f2d27“‘Do you have any of those 99 cent eggs?” the woman asked me at 8:15 this morning. I knew her. I had seen many like her yesterday in the afternoon when we first ran out of “those 99 cent eggs.” Honestly, I’m embarrassed to tell people that I don’t have what they’re looking for, especially when what they’re looking for is one of the biggest tenets of the holiday that is coming up soon. But it sometimes happens, and I have to do what I can to make their shopping experience as good as it can be regardless of the absence of eggs, or whatever else happens to be missing.

So what did I do today to help those guests who were disappointed over the lack of eggs? I gave them discounts on other products they wanted to purchase. I labeled and brought clearance products out of the back room and re-merchandised them in the egg section. But the first thing I did was to sincerely apologize, and an honest apology can go a long way toward repairing hurt feelings, in retail and in life.

Funny how working in retail gives me more of a perspective on real life. We spend so much time before the store opens making sure everything is ready for a full day of sales. The floors are cleaned, the windows and bathrooms too. The food is put out and faced off so it looks fresh and full to even the casual eye. The endcaps are also faced off and filled with product to influence even more sales. Money is placed into the registers in preparation for making change, smiles plastered on the faces of the employees to make it all seem more hospitable.

Today was one of those days where everything worked like a machine. Continue reading “Keeping It Brand, Part 13”


Keeping It Brand, Part 12

Toys, toys, and more TOYS.

T’is the season once again, when hordes of people descend upon retail establishments, searching for the latest and greatest in electronics, entertainment, toys, and games. These kindly folks are given lists by their diligent children, or grandchildren, or nieces, or nephews, or godkids, lists of items for Santa to bring them. These items range from beats by dre headphones, to BMX bikes, to Lego Chima, to Monster High dolls, to basically anything else you can find on the shelves with a price tag on it. And each year, the “must-haves” are different. This year’s “must-haves” were:


  • Playstation 4
  • Zoomer robot dog
  • Doc McStuffin’s Checkup Center
  • Razor scooters
  • Logo Party board game
  • Lego Friends sets
  • Our Generation dolls and accesories
  • Rubber band bracelets
  • Crayola Crayon Maker
  • Flutter-bye dolls

I know they were the “must-haves” because of the plethora of phone calls to the store from 8 o’clock on every morning since November 12th, asking for the availability of said items. That’s of course in addition to the people wanting bungee chairs, rocker chairs, microwaves, Kitchen-Aid attachments (and mixers), vacuum cleaners, Keurig machines, and beer making kits. It honestly blows my mind the sheer numbers generated by a retail store just in that month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Numbers of guests in the building on any given day, at any given hour. Numbers of guests through the checkout lines. Numbers of average items in each cart. Numbers of dollars spent on those items. Numbers of team members assigned to the electronics, entertainment, and toys areas of the store on any given day, at any given hour.

So THAT’S what Zoomer looks like!

And this year I was responsible for two major areas of the store for the holidays: perishables, and TOYS. Now, if you’ve been following this series, you’ll know that my primary job at Target is the perishables assistant, meaning I am responsible for making sure all of our fresh food is indeed fresh, that it’s full on the floor, and that an order goes in systematically so we can maintain the other two. I think many people forget in the maelstrom over in electronics, entertainment, and toys, that food is a huge seller this time of year as well and helps to maintain the other areas of the store. Anyway, though, I was asked this year to expand my talents and take over the daunting task of also maintaining Toys. Continue reading “Keeping It Brand, Part 12”

Keeping It Brand: Part 11

Carrie Underwood? Yes, please.

I could’ve sworn I saw Carrie Underwood in Target today. You know how it is when you think you recognize someone but you don’t want to be stupid enough to call their name, only to realize it isn’t them when they don’t even turn around. Or worse yet, when they turn around and you realize it isn’t who you thought it was. Now, I’ve never met Miss Underwood before, so it was definitely possible I had made a mistake, but I wasn’t willing to give up on the dream just then. So I followed her. And I know what you’re thinking, but it wasn’t like that at all. I just didn’t want to embarrass either of us when I inevitably yelled, “Carrie!” as if we were old friends. But it wasn’t her, I found out when I caught up with her cart. I was glad I didn’t yell out or ask for her autograph. Close call. I did say hi, though, because I say hi to everyone who walks into my domain, and she smiled at me, so it wasn’t all bad.

If you didn’t know, I work at Target, where we all wear red & khaki and hopefully smiles as well. I have stories I could tell you every single day, tales from work that you wouldn’t believe actually happened. Today was no different. The following are true quotes from guests who I talked to while they were shopping in the store:

“Is there a bathroom in every department?”

“Do you guys carry shrimp rolls, you know, like at a restaurant?”

“What happened to all the pools?”

“Do you still have real books here?” Continue reading “Keeping It Brand: Part 11”

Keeping it Brand, Part 10

*I work at Target. You know, the store. And I’ve worked at Target for the past ten years, on and off. During my experience at Target I’ve learned so many different things about the store, about people who work there, about people who shop there, and how it is so much different from all the other retail stores out there. We aren’t employees; we are all team members. And we don’t serve customers; we serve guests. The biggest difference is the culture, the language, and the atmosphere of the store, which I’ve expounded about in this series. It’s all about Keeping it Brand.

I told someone about the coupon faeries the other day at work, and they looked at me like I had just grown three additional heads. Then a new team member asked me to help her with a guest who needed to find something. Later on that same day I had a rousing discussion about the new signing we had gotten in to highlight the summer experience (even though we’re setting Back to School within the next couple of weeks). Those are the discussions I love to have, with guests, with fellow (and female) team members, and with other people about the experiences I have. Continue reading “Keeping it Brand, Part 10”

Keeping it Brand, Part 9

Well, if you didn’t know by now, I work at Target, one of the largest retail stores in the world, and the biggest message the store has is all about keeping it brand, making sure we are always representing the Target brand of consistency, attitude, and efficiency. Being fast, fun, and friendly, that’s the Target way. Don’t worry. I’m not going to sound like an infomercial. This intro was just for all those who haven’t read any of the previous installments in the series.

So, I’ve noticed for a while now that coupons seem to be popping up all over the store, and at first I put it off as people being sloppy, dropping them inadvertently, then walking away without realizing it. Then, though, I started looking more closely at the coupons, and I realized they always showed up near the items represented in them. For example, I found a coupon for nail polish in the Maybelline section (don’t ask me what I was doing over there since I’m a food specialist). Then I found one for bacon between two packages of bacon (I was checking for dates, okay?) and I knew there was a pattern to what had previously seemed random. Finally, I took a look at the expiration dates on the coupons I found (this was my new experiment), and it hit me like a sack of potatoes. All of the expiration dates I found were within a week of me finding each one of the coupons.

Then today I talked to a colleague (I don’t get much interaction with my colleagues while I’m going about my regular day but she happened to be nearby) and I posed the question to her about the coupons appearing like they did. She laughed at my naivete, telling me this wonderful tale about people known as coupon faeries. Now, if you happen to be one of them, I want you to know she was only laughing at my stupidity, not at you being a coupon faerie. As a matter of fact, she had known about the existence of coupon faeries for a long time. Apparently it’s common across this thing known as social media that I somehow seem to miss (but I somehow always catch the annoying goat videos). These are people who leave coupons in stores on purpose on or near the items on the coupon for others to notice, pick up, and use. I suppose it’s a sort of “paying it forward,” good samaritan work designed to gain a rung or two on the good citizen ladder. And I think it had been a long time coming. If you’re not going to use a coupon, why let it expire and then throw it away? Now, if only I could catch one of these faeries in action!

Speaking of coupons, apparently the ultimate couponing shows are back on the air because I have seen an awful lot of people in the store lately with these huge binders full of coupons and with a mission to complete. And don’t hit me, but every single time I’ve seen one of them, they’ve happened to be ladies. Now, don’t tell me it’s because ladies are the ones who do the shopping. I see plenty of guys in there by themselves doing the shopping and none of them have the binders. Maybe they don’t like the idea of the major fashion accessory and they’re hiding coupons in their parka pockets instead, but regardless, I don’t see them with coupons. The ladies I see sporting them know exactly where everything is, exactly how much of each product they will get, and they know how to double up on those coupons. Then they get to the check lanes and they hand the cashier about 30 coupons for their 10 products. One time I even saw someone get back money after one of these transactions. I have to say that if you’re going to spend so much time out of your life finding, cataloging, and bindering (word?) these coupons, happy trails to you.


Keeping it Brand: The Archive

Keeping it Brand, Part 8

As a Target employee, I have many interactions with my fellow workers on a daily basis that help to uplift me in my job. However, as an area specialist, I don’t see those other team members nearly as often as I will see guests, who ask me many questions, some of which are very interesting, and some of which I don’t know the answers to, but I find them. This edition of Keeping it Brand is all about the guest experience, my stories.

First off, I am a food specialist. My particular area is perishables, so we’re talking about food that has a very short shelf life, so I have to keep them up. In no way am I a specialist in other parts of the store, but during the course of my day, I find myself many other places where people ask me questions and where I have my interactions with guests.

** I was passing through Entertainment when this security guard stops me. She was probably about 5 feet tall, so I towered over her, and I had been pushing a cart full of frozen items for the bakery table. I braked my cart, parked it next to Toys (there’s a juxtaposition for you if you choose to see it), and went over to the CDs to help this lady. She said she was looking for the “new” Ludacris album. Now, I might not be the biggest Luda fan, but I didn’t think he had a new album out, and I told her this. She then proceeded to rap (for a solid minute) in the Ludacris style, apparently what she had heard, a testament to me being wrong. After the minute was up (and I tried not to laugh — I think I succeeded, maybe), I did an exhaustive search, but we found nothing. However, I did manage to sell her on the latest R. Kelly (without any singing, thank you very much).

** I was passing through Furniture (I told you these interactions happened all over the store), and this older lady stopped me to ask about vacuum cleaners. Now, I am an expert on the vacuum cleaner that we have at home, but that’s a Dyson Animal (I know, we’re cool), but that’s about it. I tried my best, however, reading the features from the box to the lady, who had misplaced her reading glasses. In the end, I ended up selling her on the model one step up from the one she had come in for, rang it up for her, and personally took it out to her car. She tried to tip me for exemplary service, and I told her I was just doing my job, thank you very much, but I couldn’t accept her tip. That’s all part of the Target service.

** Speaking of checking people out, I was on the registers once (again, not my job, but we do backup when needed) when it was really crowded, and this couple comes through my lane, a couple of regulars actually. Side note: A Target “regular” is someone who comes in so often, and so… regularly, that I recognize them on sight, and on some occasions, we are even on a first name basis. Anyway, so these regulars were ones I had always encountered over in the Market area, and they started when they realized I was on the registers. The lady asked me, “Wait. You’re not a regular cashier, are you?” To which I replied, “No.” Then she said, “So, why are you up here now?” And I told her that when the lines start to get long, we call for backup, and anyone on the sales floor can be drafted into service. She said, “That’s why I like coming to Target, the little things like that.” It made my day.

** I’ll leave you with a story from my area of expertise. Every morning I have a routine I do, making sure we have the freshest produce, dairy, meat, and bakery items we can possibly have on the shelf. Well, I was deep into my routine the other morning when a guest came in looking for tea. I knew exactly where the tea was, so I began walking her toward the aisle. She had stopped walking, though, and asked me if I could just point her in the direction because she had to pick up some toothpaste first, but she wasn’t sure where that was either. It turns out she had never been in our store, or any Target for that matter, so I dropped my routine right then and there, and I became her personal shopper for the rest of her trip to the store. She was so amazed that I would stop my whole routine as if it was nothing, and help her out like that. We found all of the items she needed in record time, and as she left the store (I rang her out personally as well), she looked back at me, smiled, and said she would be back soon. I honestly think that Target, because of that experience, became her store of choice. And I hope she enjoys those black bras I helped her find, too.

Keeping it brand. It’s not just a slogan. It’s a culture.


Keeping it Brand: The Archive

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