Monday, June 11, 2012

WHY WORKING AT PENCILS SUCKS: THE UNABRIDGED VERSION


Let me start by saying I didn’t hate working at Pencils in the beginning. It was actually enjoyable working Cashier and Easywreck. I started working at Pencils in August 2010, I went in for my interview took the “Tech” test (Which is what they call certifying you for computer work) and got the job. In the beginning we had a great and friendly management system. A talkative but very friendly store manager, a sometimes bi-polar but still friendly Ops Manager, and an awesome young Sales Manager. The first thing I noticed is that I was hired for Easywreck immediately. Well that’s what I went to my interview for. When I asked the store manager he said “Its Pencils policy to keep you on register for 3 months”. That was fine I can kind of understand his point, my last job was stocking produce at a grocery store so I had no knowledge of the register. Well 3 months came and went; I spent my time at register and also working on computers at the same time at the customer service desk. Being a pencils cashier is terrible on a side note. When you’re not being harassed for not getting enough customers to sign up for the god awful “Rewards” program the management is hounding us to sell the terrible PRP and FRP shit, oh and don’t forget the ridiculous expectations to have 10 PRP’s a week and 30 Sign Ups a week. Now that 3 months was up I thought that I’d be getting my Black tech shirt and finally put my knowledge to use! Wrong! Every week I would ask the Store manager “Can I get into tech now?” And he would respond casually “We have to clear it through our district manager”. I was so annoyed. Don’t hire me for something and have me sit in limbo for 4 or 5 months jackass! Anyway January of 2011 came rolling around and I finally found myself an Easywreck! Hurrah! Well not really hurrah. Aside from the SLIGHT pay raise there was absolutely nothing good about working in that department. I constantly had to lie to customers about manufactures warranties to get them to buy “Extended Service Plans” through Pencils which could sometimes be half the price of the laptop. Not to mention the bullshit “Setup” plans that any 13 year old kid could do. That would cost about another hundred dollars. Oh and don’t forget Office 2010 and Norton 360 which Pencils wants us to shove down customers throats. I didn’t like lying to customers so I wouldn’t. I would give them the straight facts (That I knew, not what pencils thought it knew) and let them decide but when a manager would hear me that would seem repulsed by the idea that I didn’t want to sell useless shit to customers. I was never written up for it though only talked to by the awesome Sales manager (he was rarely serious about anything). While working in that department I had the misfortune of meeting someone with the last name “Champion”. He was another Easywreck and had his head so far up his own ass it was crazy. He would constantly let us know how well he was doing and how he knew everything. He was truly a douche, but unfortunately my nature led me to trust him and even consider him a friend which was the worst thing possible. A few months went on at the same pace then came the middle of the year. The store went low com (Which means we didn’t have enough sales to keep normal hours and whatnot) and the awesome Sales Manager left followed by the store manager who was replaced by a pig-faced douche from another store nearby. He had the same attitude as this “Champion” fellow and thought he was the king because his store averaged more Tech money than any other in the district. In this time frame a few new techs were hired and immediately given black shirts. I asked the new store manager (Who I didn’t hate at the time) “I had to wait 3 months why don’t they?). He replied “Change of policy”. That was it. A few months passed by and my “friendship” with this “Champion” guy and his girlfriend evolved. My girlfriend was friends with his and I even sold him a custom built computer that I was getting rid of (although he claims he built it). Anyway fast forward to September. Me and my girlfriend were joking about with “Champion” and his girlfriend and came to an idea that we might move in with each other and split all the bills. By this time “Champion” was an Easywreck expert and was even fuller of himself. We went to look at a place and everything seemed to go alright. Then all of a sudden he decided he would make the rules of the entire furniture placement. My girlfriend didn’t like it and so we called it off. The friendship pretty much ended there. So fast forward another two months of complete bullshit of lying and stealing customer’s money by selling them useless things. Anyway it’s now November in my story and things have slowly degraded the relationship between my manager and “Champion”. One night “Champion” asked me to close the store with him and I agreed. I was closing down the Easywreck counter and doing last checks on computer locks and paperwork and he asked me “What do you really think of Easywreck?” now at this time I still thought he was a decent enough of a friend and I answered honestly. “I think it’s a scam practically, I believe that really do rip people off for plans that don’t cover jack shit. And I believe that we also lie to them and pressure the customers to but stuff they really don’t need”. That was the last conversation we had that month as it was the end of November. The next day I worked, the Pig-faced store manager took me into his office and suspended me for two weeks. I was so confused I asked him why he had suspended me. He said “It’s because you stole information from customers and left computers unlocked when you closed with “Champion, you have two courses of action, right here I have a form you can sign to quit or I can submit this is Human Resources.” I told him to submit it to human resources because I’m human I can make mistakes maybe I did leave a computer unlocked but stealing customer information? That was ridiculous. So two weeks came and went while I was suspended, lost my Easywreck shirt and title, and another Easywreck was fired because corporate found out he had a criminal record (which the store manager did not check for when he was hired) Two weeks came and went and my hours were dropped from 35 to 8 hours a week. I filed for partial unemployment and got it. Nothing ever came out of the case I have asked about it several times and haven’t got an answer. “Champion” left the store to go be an Easywreck expert at the store that the Pig-faced Manager came from and everything seemed to cool down for a while. The original Ops manager left in January which made things worse because she was the only manager who was defending me at this point. I worked only one day a week for a few months. Around the month of April my work days went from one to two. The Pig-faced manager still tries to talk to me about improving the store and sales and I just look away from him and nod my head. I rarely actually hold a conversation with him. I hate this place so much but can’t really quit because my area has a lack of employment right now. So that’s my story. I’m still working at Pencils but hopefully someone will call back with an interview for me.

12 comments:

  1. I wish you luck in your search sir. I worked there for seven years and I am so happy I finally got out.

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  2. Do you think he needs custom built computers to be able to run the program?

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  3. When you can you need to tell Pig Face or Pig Ass to take a long walk off of a short pier. What a useless SACK OF SHIT !!!!!!

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  4. Sounds like you should rename this blog "why working at my pencils sucks."

    A couple of things I think are humorous... First question... Have you ever had a tech support job? Obviously dependent on your area, but hiring a technician to do any service on a computer usually comes with a hefty price tag of at least $70 an hour. So these people you think you're 'scamming' into buying these setups could possibly be saving some money... And then theres the people who could get their 13 year old to do... You really think thats the issue? Any 13 year old can wash a car... But car washes are still in business. Any 13 year old can make a sandwich... But subway is still around. Most times its not really about who can and cant accomplish a task... but more about whether they'd rather do it... or pay someone to take care of it for them.

    Also about plans... Have you ever tried to look at what the plans cover? I WORK AT 'PENCILS' and I buy plans on JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING. Why? Because all PRP (product replacement plans) and FPPs (furniture protection plans) COVER EVERYTHING. And you dont have to send the product in. I bout a FPP on a desk... 2 years later it was warped from me setting my keyboard (piano... not computer) on it... Called them in... They sent me a cash card for what I paid for the desk 2 years ago. Wheres the desk now? In my garage. Still standing. With stuff that wont roll on it. Lets not even get into the hard drives and battery backups and routers and headphones...

    My point is simple... Yeah sounds like your situation sucks... sounds like your manager sucks... Still doesnt explain how the plans are supposedly 'useless'... why the 'rewards' are useless... Theres a girl at my store who sells about 17 plans a week... All she says is "would you like to purchase our protection on that?" to everyone buying an applicable item. No arm twisting... no convincing... no scamming... Just consistently asking. Anyway... I hope your situation improves, but at this point, I think your perception of staples is so bad that it probably wont until you change employers.

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  5. To the above point.. PRP are great its the Technical Support Plans that suck.. Now they did recently change them.. but before you were selling a 2 or 3 year plan from 149-399, depending on price, and basically were paying for an extra year. When you call "Pencils" tech support plan the first thing they tell you to do is call the manufacturer, when its a laptop or printer, and deal with them before they will do anything. Now yes its nice if you get a hardrive failure or motherboard issue after the first year and your covered. But when the competitors are selling one year extensions for 79.99 and lower its hard to convince a customer. I buy pencils prp all the time they are great, but I wont touch their laptop plans. The setups are a rip off.. 100 bucks to turn the cpu on and create restore disk and transfer data.. Problem is people now a days think this is so hard and "pencils" and many other stores profit hugely off this. I had a great manager and of course he left and we got some douche bag in that has a stroke every time a customer says no to plans... its amusing.

    Rewards are great if customers know how to use them.Customers are misinformed on what rewards actually do. They think they get points for every single purchase and bitch when they don't. Not Pencils fault just dumb customers lol.

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    Replies
    1. Honestly, pencil's rewards program is outdated and competitors' rewards programs are more appealing. The customers DO earn points on every purchase and coupons print that day with their receipt. No going online, waiting a month, or needing a $10 earned minimum.

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  6. It's retail..either embrace it or get out. But you won't.. because someone who would take the time to point out and dwell on so many negatives clearly has their own deeper issues. You're probably a lost community college dropout. Get motivated and maybe things will look up for you. Oh, good luck with that interview- I'm sure you'll knock their socks of with your can do attitude!

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  7. Hi,
    I'm sorry to hear that you don't enjoy being employed by Pencils. If there is anything I can do to sooth your burning asshole, please don't hesitate to call my office. In the mean time please keep up the great job. I know our stockholders would be proud to know that we have such dedicated morons in our stores. Please do your best to waste space and continue to eat away at any chance of profitability for the store that you work in.

    Sincerely,
    Demos Parneros
    Www.staples.com
    1-800-333-3330

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  8. Pencils should rename themselves: Pencils The Extended Warranty Store. Nevermind that you just sold a customer a better, higher dollar printer or you just upsold a customer to a better pc, you didn't sell them a friggin' warranty. We ignore the product and sell pieces of paper.

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  9. I work at a Pencils competitor and I know that the attachments for computer sales are more important than the computer itself because we actually lose money on the computer sale. We only profit from the attachments - so, yeah, they're kind of a big deal!

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  10. Stock holders care more about comp sales as witnessed by the tanking of the stock. Without investment the company has little revenue to grow. Pencils is scaring customers away with it's high pressure attachment sales. Pencils is in dire need of topline sales. They need to abdandon any program that is detering customers from entering the store. If a customer purchases only a pc and is happy, they will return to purchase products for that pc. Tracking attachments and pressuring associates at the time of the pc sale is ludicrious.

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  11. I also work at the very same store, that this post is about. Things have actually gotten worse since this associate has left. They now have a gaint @#$&ing douchbag with massively gauged ears and shitty tattoo work up and down both of his arms. The dumb cocksucker calls customers to pick up their machines before they are even. But he is so far up pig face's ass you don't know where one being and the other ends.

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