Sunday, January 25, 2009

Monday, December 29, 2008

On the job

Jennifer A. Foley, Front-End Manager / Human Resources, Klem’s, Spencer

What do you do?

“I started off as a cashier, and it has always been my primary main position throughout high school. I used to come in one day a week when I was in college and work in the office. After I graduated, that’s when I got the promotion to do what I do now. But it’s always been just cashier. Now I’m the front-end manager because I know the systems inside and out.”

What do you do in human resources?

“I help out with some of the insurance work and I process our payroll.”

Have the ice storms, snowstorms and bad economy hurt business?

“You’d think with the weather that we’ve had it would get slow, but we were busy this weekend like you never even would know there was snow, what with it being the last weekend before Christmas. We sell snow blowers, so actually we were very, very busy. Our generators flew off the shelves in an hour.”

Is the day after Christmas usually the busiest day of the year for you?

“It’s very hectic that day in different aspects. In one way we have people coming in with exchanges, like things they don’t like. Almost everyone who walks in the door has a return. At the same time, they always buy more, and we sell so many gift certificates during the Christmas season that everyone comes in to use those. So actually, it is a very busy day. “We have six registers that are all up and running. We don’t have anyone new so we’re pretty able to control the lines. “The day after Thanksgiving we do everything in the store 20 percent off. We consider the day after Thanksgiving the start of the Christmas season. But in the spring, right when people are starting to care for their lawns, are the two busiest times of the year for us.”

Has Internet shopping like Amazon cut into your business in the last 10 years?

“No. We have shop online, too. During the Christmas season we have a lot of people who choose to do that, too. I don’t think it has hurt us in any way. We stand pretty well on our own.”

What are the top items that people want to exchange or return?

“Clothes. Get a different size or whatnot. And shoes.” What has been the big seller for you this season? “We’ve just added a line of higher-end clothing. We sell Columbia, Merrill shoes. We stepped up the game on clothes. Our clothing sells very well. We have Izod and Woolrich, so those brands do very well.”

What is the best part of your job? “I really enjoy the cashiers. I think they’re a great group of girls. I give them advice. I’ve been through it all. I’ve been to high school. I’ve been to college. So, I help them out. I like meeting people. Because I’ve worked here so long, I know so many people that shop here. I like to see people I know a lot.”

What are the biggest hurdles being a cashier at Klem’s? “Scheduling conflicts. Making sure we’re fully staffed. It’s especially tough this time of season because four of them could have a Christmas party on the same day. You can’t tell someone they can’t go to their family Christmas party.”

Do you have staff turnover? “With cashiers we don’t have that much turnover. If anything, it’s because they need to go to college.” What is the most challenging part of your job? “When the store is just busy. You’re literally running around all day. It’s not even challenging, as in hard. On busy days it’s just tough to do one thing and knowing you have 17 other things that you have to do right after. It’s not tough, it’s just busy.”

As a cashier or front-end manager have you witnessed shoplifting?

“Yes. But we’ve just added a new security system to the store, so theft has gone down a lot. Cashiers have witnessed it, but we’re always well staffed on our floor, where they normally would be the ones to catch it first.”

Is this the only job you’ve ever known? “No. I’ve been a nanny. I’ve been a waitress, a swimming lesson instructor. Through college, I’ve always had more than one job.”

Compiled by: Correspondent Richard Price

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