The Making of a Great Retail Store: Here Comes the Axwoman (Case Study Restaurant or Retail Store #7)


I had a good start today and the weather cooperates so I have not needed a jacket for the past week or more. The trip up to San Francisco was smooth and hardly anything going on here. That was until I was eating in Chinatown when I got a text message from a friend and it was brief: So and so fired me today. It was expected as possibility but never happened for the obvious reasons to anyone who has management and understands the little details that go into any major decision and its implementation. It is much easier to decide on doing something that is perceived as good or bad (hiring or firing) than to actually complete all the necessary steps and get it done right. I did not expect this to ever happen because an intelligent manager (in this case the manager of a manager) would know in one’s gut what a bad move this can be.

Retail business has not been good and that is not a secret. The fact remains that Internet killed too many retail places and some who have survived have a very hard time mostly because the market has changed completely. Retail electronics is no different than other retail stores. People do not shop as they did before and the market has completely changed on the customer-side. This is a most important factor in determining which way to go with one’s business and how to change to adapt.

More intelligent firms realized the hardship of adjusting to this new world of electronic retail and closed shops or eliminated retail stores and resorted to online only business. Others who were able to survive enough to save face chose to go on with the old business plans and business models while figuring out how to change and adapt realizing their own incompetence and the inability of many corporate cultures to accept and allow change for the better. In an old American corporation (especially one based in a ghetto state such as Texas), the bosses are very important. One of the first things I was taught about the corporate culture here was that the executive branch are offended by nothing more than someone besides one of them actually dare to think one knows something that is correct and applicable. They know all there is to know and make all decisions and the routes for input or feedback are nonexistent. That works well in States where employment is always a hard thing to acquire and people are slow to change with the rest of the world. The final result is a company that is run by huge egos that know no wrong and can do no wrong. The rest of the world are just there and these folks run their part of it. Let not doubt any part of that.

The market changes resulted in the need for changing products and services to match the new market. It is not a secret that Generation Y are here and have already made themselves known as one of the worst generations of Americans ever to live in this country. The only thing that is a true warning for the rest of the country is their numbers of 100 million plus replacing the 45 million of Generation X whom have to get out of the way. That is the spirit of Generation Y. They are here to have fun and consume. They spend like there is no tomorrow. And there is extreme shortage of jobs for their numbers which is no problem. The solution is to push everyone else out of the way and get the jobs for as long as they are good and move on. It is great to be young. America is prejudice against everyone based on race, color, nationality, age, sex, weight, appearance, how one speaks or walks or eats or whatever. This is the nation of conformity. One has to find out how to do things to fit in America or life will be hard. America has no room for non-conformers whom refuse to join in or simply cannot. God forbid one gets old in a country where the number of young folks has increased many times and age automatically disqualifies one from being able to conform. Once old, an American is no longer entitled to a fair life chance with the arrival of Generation Y more than anytime in the past. The problem with the retail store business is not one of age but that of what Generation Y wants.

Doing business in a world where other companies have died out is difficult. What is also difficult is that if the business model is 100% dead and no chance of changing (because of the good old southern corporate culture as mentioned) to adapt to the real needs of the new market, there is no chance left but by faking it. And how do you fake it? That is not difficult because everyone does it to some extent. If Generation Y are many and young, then change the staff into young folks. That is easy but what if people who have been around for ten or twenty years won’t leave? Then the company will hire a wiseman (who is obviously an executive or would not count as a person) with the great mission to travel the nation and fire them all. He is the CTO of the corporation or Chief Termination Officer. His job is to get rid of everyone. I am told his personal philosophy is they are all ‘garbage.’ His job proved to be much much harder than expected and junior axmen and axwomen were recruited for this great task of most importance. Another personal touch is the strong leaning toward firing of minorities and hiring of white people. That has some of the Generation Y thinking in it. Generation Y are beasts and do not think as humans do. They are results of being raised by Internet. This article is no place to discuss their traits but for short they are terrible folk and nothing a mother or father would be proud of. One of their main characteristics is they want everything that is cool, hip and in. That is the foremost priority in making decisions. It is cool and hip to shop at a place that has cool and hip people working there so let’s ax them all and put some AMERICANS in there. Generation Y only understands reality in terms of a few signs such as age, appearance, brand and so on. That is the magic formula. Retail business is bad and everyone is gone. The old business model is dead but nobody knows because it was so crappy that nobody knew it existed in the first place. What to do now? Let’s pretend it is alive which means selling same stuff as other retailers for extremely high prices and pretending we are cool and hip. This is the new spirit. The removal of the staff proved too hard. One important thing they had completely missed out was in a bad economy people hold on to their jobs and even fight for them. The good old training time spent (as all of you whom have managed people know) on preventing violence would have paid off here. Some people leave and others fight with a venegance. Every manager knows to handle staff with care and especially not be abusive. The CTO has brought the new spirit promising profits in the world of Generation Y and he is so good (as all our executives are) that in his realm of firing everyone nobody can retaliate but only take so much abuse until gone. The removal operation is definitely racist (though the media is controlled by special interest and would never give any attention) but also dangerous. Innocent people will walk away as my friend did today but many others retaliate. I think 50 is a fair number for the breakins, robberies and other violent problems as result of this policy only in 2010. And did they change? Of course not. Remember our good executives know all and nothing that happens outside of the boardroom and their offices has any impact on their greatness.

Personally, I think one more factor is to consider and that is Obama is a piece of shit. Americans no longer believe in racism as a social problem. Ever since the grand failure of American society (the election of one of the most worthless Presidents) by choosing Obama (whom stands for none of what his election had hoped for), American media has ended its great coverage of racism in America. How can Obama be an effective President if we have as much racism as we did under Bush and others? There goes the racism coverage and who would believe we have a racist society in a country that has a black President? Everything is as usual. The whole country is run by a bunch of lies and we just lie about the whole thing. The victims of racisms are here as all the other victims of life in America and now they are forgotten also. Nobody believes in racism unless it is big in the media again and that will be the end of Obama for he will have to take action and will be obvious how ineffective is even if tried his best.

American market has changed once again and many businesses are victims of these unusual changes. Many years may go by before the changes become commonplace and everyone understands and recognizes them enough to function effectively. In the meantime, there will be as much wrong taking place as any other time. As business owners and operators, careful is the word in dealing with the overall problems of the new market. We are amidst great changes in economies and generations and surprises lie in wait for many decisions. Liars and fakers will fare better than most of us because they control reality (its impression of) for those involved but the honest folk and business operators need not suffer too much if going slow and being careful with changes and making major decisions. It is important to understand no help is available. A bad decision can result in 100 times a disaster compared to nothing that could happen only a couple of years ago. The same employee who a couple of years ago did not care about the job, the work, the boss and getting fired is today part of a small or big group of friends of associates with the same pressing hardships of being employed between two generations in a very bad economy. Today, this person will easily react with violence, hostility directly or through associates and whomever and that is only one problem the business owner can face. A long term solution for our case study problem discussed here could be to ban companies from operation in other states (sounds like end of Capitalism) if they cannot understand local culture and manage everyone as if in their immediate community. That will never happen in America but faking and lying will be available to solve our problems.

*This post belongs to this week’s edition of Wine by Cush Magazine blog and published early in World of Cush also.

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