After a fellow Pencils associate directed me to this blog, I thought I'd like to share my story as well as my current situation. I'd like to begin by saying that my manager is a straight-up hardass, and that's all there really is to say on the matter. He is twice divorced and for good reason. He constantly makes fun of his associates, and commonly makes passive-aggressive jabs at them. I'm not excluded, and as of recent I'm probably his favourite one to pick on. And that's on good days. On bad days he actively looks for reasons to be mad at people. He pushes completely unreasonable expectations for the sales of those god-awful Extended Service Plans (often times totaling half the cost of the computer) and Computer Setups (which, along with the ESP, can total the cost of the computer). Why anyone would want to spend an extra $100 for someone to take the 15 minutes to set your computer up is beyond me, but that's an entirely different story. Being one of the top stores in the company for attachment sales doesn't really help his expectations either.

At any rate, a lot of the time the management will stand behind unreasonable expectations under the guise of saying that it's "store policy" (having to clock in five minutes early, for example). Not only is it completely ridiculous to EXPECT your staff to clock in early, it's a whole different level to punish them for not doing it. I was actually written up for clocking in on time and not early. They looked up every time that I had clocked in over a period of a month and a half, and told me that every time that I wasn't swiped in at least five minutes early, that I was late (keep in mind that our store time is a couple minutes slow; if you clock in at 9:58 according to downstairs, it's actually 10:00 at least upstairs). When I was told that the reason I was written up was because it was "store policy", I actually physically asked to see the policy that they claimed existed. Of course, no such policy existed, but I was reassured that it was still what management expected, so I was still expected to do so. Long and short of it is, I've been looking for other work.

Now, don't even mention the horrible TSP (Team Sales Plans or some shit) that they use as a replacement for commission. For every little accomplishment that our associates make (getting a high survey response, a lot of ESPs, etc.) we allegedly get a certain amount of money thrown into a pot which at the end of each quarter is split up amongst the associates.

Not only have I NOT ONCE seen this "quarterly bonus", but apparently when people do get it it's usually only in the amount of $30 dollars-ish. That's just utter crap. Not only do they push us to sell these completely unreasonable plans, we also have no benefit for doing so aside from the praise of our management whose pockets we've just filled with cash. I don't understand how we have the drive to sell these plans under the guise of "giving the customer what they need" when we have absolutely no incentive to do so. How many times have I tried selling something to a customer to have them get frustrated at how unreasonable the prices are, to have me only agree with them, and then explain that I hate the whole system and am looking for a new job. The funniest thing is, most of the time they completely understand where I'm coming from, and respect me as a person for doing so. Now THAT's earning customer trust.

Oh and even then, all of the laptops we receive are immediately brought to our tech room and set up, under the expectation that we will sell that Standard Setup every single time. If we do, then the customer can walk out with it; if the customer has even half a brain and knows what they're paying for, they don't buy it. Then they have to wait a day for us to wipe their laptop before they can even take it home. Of course, that's only if they want to hold on to their hundred bucks. That's a bait-and-switch if I ever saw one. And then we are thrown to the dogs and have to deal with the frustrated customer who just wanted to buy a laptop and leave, and now has to pay and wait a day before they even get a machine because we wanted to inconvenience them enough to convince them to pay for something they don't need.

I could go on for hours, but I just had to get a lot off my chest because I hate working at Pencils with a burning fiery passion.

A Disgruntled Pencils Easytech Employee