Sunday, June 10, 2007

You are the Lift Beneath My Feet

Above is a picture of a super monster lift as it was sitting in front of my store a couple of weeks ago. Mine is a two-floor building, with a massive staircase in the middle of both floors. The ceiling at its highest is 32 feet from the floor, and there are 18 powerful flood lights way up there. 18 powerful flood lights burn out sometimes, and the only way to change the bulbs is to get this super monster lift, with its 64 different maneuvering capabilities, into the store.

Three Fridays ago, the hourly workers of the subcontractor of the contractor of the etc., arrived at 8am, the lift was dropped off by a rental company they had contacted, and a team of people took 45 minutes to get it through the front doors. My staff had to offload all the books on all the front of store tables, move all the tables, and move all the other movable fixtures so that the super monster lift could move around to all the various positions in order to get at all the high ceiling lights.

After almost 4 hours (two hours of which we were actually open for business) the workers were changing some of the lower ceiling bulbs when I noticed the high ceiling lights were already blowing out. Ah, yes, something was quite familiar about this scene. I have, indeed, lived through this before. These are the same yahoos who replaced the burnt out bulbs with the wrong new bulbs twice before. Silly me, I thought that communicating everything about the right bulbs versus the wrong bulbs to the proper people in the proper channels would have ensured that this oh-so-repetitive wrong-bulb process would, I don't know, maybe NOT be repeated?

Long story short--Too Late--All the bulbs that were previously burned out now have NEW burned out bulbs. Voila! And it only took 4 hours and a completely disrupted store for this to happen.

I was able to help direct the super monster lift back out through the front doors in a mere 5 minutes. I kid you not when I say there was barely a centimeter of clearance on either side between the wheels and my doorframe. The lift is just that huge.

The guys parked the lift on the cement area in front of the store and promised me it would be picked up that day by the rental company. It sat there for 6 days, with the keys in it. Anyone wanna go for a ride? I don't even want to know what the bill for that rental was. 6 days of renting that thing. I'm glad I wasn't paying for it. I had to call my home office so they could call the contractor so they could call the rental company to come pick it up. Crazy round about way.

So, the store was disrupted, and a huge amount of extra work was undertaken by us, and it was all for naught. But wait, the best part is coming...

When the lighting guys were reparking the lift outside, they squashed a bicycle belonging to one of my employees. No one realized it until she was ready to leave at the end of her shift. I had this young lady take her bike to the bicycle repair shop just down the street where she received a repair estimate that was more than the modest amount she originally paid for the bike at Target. So, I did what any decent person would do...I drove her to the closest Target and bought her a new bike...on my company credit card, of course.

Since all that happened, the lighting contractor has sent me a check for the amount of the bike, my contacts at the home office assure me that all the bulbs and any damaged ballasts will be replaced soon, and my employee now parks her bike behind the store in the parking garage.

There is no moral here, there is no lesson. It's just something that happened, and all I could do was laugh about it. That beats getting angry about it, I suppose.


cencispice said...

As a DM for a retail company myself, I am astounded at how much of my week is spent communicating about light bulbs and broken ballasts.....what a waste.
I hear your pain!

CatBoy AKA Charles said...

It's a very cheerful color.

Jenny Robin said...

Cenci...I'm with ya, sistah!

And just this morning I spent another 25 minutes meeting with the supersupervisor (I don't remember his actual title) with the cleaning company we use. I did a store walkthrough with him because the cleaning crew is not meeting expectations.

Facilities maintenance/physical plant issues are the most frustrating for me, I think, as time spent on them generates no sales and inconveniences customers and/or staff.

Maybe my super power shoes and socks will help now.