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Pretending You Care: The Retail Employee Handbook Paperback – October 16, 2007

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Paperback, October 16, 2007
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Pretending You Care: The Retail Employee Handbook + Retail Hell: How I Sold My Soul to the Store + Return to the Big Fancy: A Riotous Descent Into the Depths of Customer, Corporate, and Coworker Hell
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion (October 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401308902
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401308902
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Norm Feuti is a Massachusetts-based cartoonist and, with 15 years experience as a department store manager, a retail veteran. He has worked in stores such as Bostonian Shoes, Learningsmith, and Michael's Arts and Crafts. His comic strip "Retail," on which the book is based, is syndicated by King Features and featured in 20 newspapers nationwide.

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Customer Reviews

I also enjoyed the comic strips throughout the book.
Any critics of this book HAVE to be some of the customers that Retail employees usually have to deal with.
I have read this book over twenty times now, and every time I find something else to laugh about.
K. Hambek

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jane Harrison on October 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
I started with high expectations for this book. I was a fan of the Retail comic strip and assumed that it would be mostly a collection of comics with a few "retail hints" thrown in. But no, this is a full blown retail manual (with comic strips as illustrations). And it is AWESOME. Beyond my wildest expectations. Here is why:

1) If you have ever worked in retail, you will feel like this book completely understands you. He rants about the "customer is always right" mindset and how it is actually training people to be insufferable jerks.

2) This book has detailed practical advice, and it isn't sugarcoated. He tells you how to get hired, fake product knowledge, deal with each specific type of problem customer, prepare for the visit of the district manager, and come up with a customer exit strategy so you can actually take a lunch break. There is even one part where he writes out some good phrases to use if, as a manager, you ever have to write a B.S. "action plan" on how to increase sales. He suggests keeping a couple of action plans on file so you don't actually have to do the work when the time comes. The district managers don't read them anyway.

3) It is hilarious.

If you have ever worked in retail you need to own this book. Norm Feuti will be your hero too.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Tara on October 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
I became of fan of the Retail comic strip a few months ago, and instantly loved it. I got this book thinking it would be a collection of strips, but it's actually a real guide to working and surviving in the retail world. For anyone who's worked in retail before, this book is a must read. You'll recognize everything, the good, bad and ridiculous. For those who haven't have the "pleasure" of working in retail, you probably won't believe some of the stuff in here, but sadly, all of it's true.

I can't recommend this enough, especially with the crazy holiday season that's starting. It might just help you get through the day.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. Cluney on December 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
The day I bought this book, everyone who saw the cover took paused and smiled, whether it was the girl behind the counter at the bookstore or the Italian guy doing stuff on his laptop next to me on the train ride home. Feuti is talking about something everyone deals with but hardly anyone actually talks about: the life of a retail worker.

Although his main thing right now is apparently being a cartoonist, he's a surprisingly engaging writer, and he presents the world of retail in a way that's engaging, human, and honest. He pulls no punches, and presents a very realistic view from the sales floor. The book covers every imaginable aspect of retail, from getting hired all the way to stores going out of business. He puts inane corporate policies, incompetent holiday help, and obnoxious, irrational customers in their place. It's not always a funny book (though there are some laugh out loud hilarious parts here and there), but it's so full of humanity and truth that I couldn't put it down.

I am not joking when I say that I think the world would be a better place if more people read this book. In particular, I think everyone who works at a corporate office of a retail chain (especially those who've never worked a day of retail in their lives) needs to be forced to read it, RIGHT NOW.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on October 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
Feuti's "Pretending You Care" begins by exposing the three most often mentioned "benefits" of working in retail:

1)Employee Discounts: Feuti says the typical employee discount (20-30%, but not covering sale merchandise or clearance items) is about the same as that offered to the public via coupons and sales.

2)Working with People: This includes not only the nice people you know, but also those on daytime "reality" shows such as Jerry Springer, Dr. Phil, Judge Joe Brown. etc., as well as those featured on the 11:00 P.M. news.

3)Flexible Hours: This means you'll be working Friday and Saturday nights, and maybe even have split shifts (travel to/from work twice a day).

Feuti also identifies special problems that one wants to avoid when seeking retail employment. These include carding for cigarettes and alcohol (potential violators often become abusive), stores relying on selling high-profit extended warranties (often linked to quotas that must be met to retain one's job), dealing with "rewards" cards (extra time required to enter data and wait for shoppers to find their card), as well as getting tapped to clean public restrooms (if your store has them).

He then goes on to explain the underlying logic behind application questions and strategies for responding to them - eg. you greatest weakness (Feuti says "Kryptonite" has worked well for him), greatest strengths (don't say "Working with customers"), and a list of psychological profile questions that are supposed to trip up the unsuspecting drugger or thief.

Then, its onto understanding the real purpose and message of the Employee Manual, etc.

Actually, if I ever had any thought of working in retail, Feuti snuffed it out for me - an experience I don't need or want.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Adam Richter on December 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
Oh, how I wish this book had been around years ago, before I started my first retail job with no idea of what to expect! While the rushed, sink-or-swim "training" I got on the job and the slick videos I watched were sorely lacking in usefulness, "Pretending You Care" would have definitely reduced my confusion and aggravation enormously.

This book is an absolutely realistic take on the retail experience which will educate new employees and amuse seasoned veterans. Instead of the familiar corporate propaganda about how to kiss up to customers, author Norm Feuti focuses on the flip side: namely, despite your best efforts at working hard and being nice to customers, you will often get nothing but abuse in return. The difficulty and unpredictability of dealing with the public is the book's main recurring theme, and for anyone thinking of a career in retail, it really can't be emphasized enough: you WILL have to serve a lot of hostile, shifty, or just plain crazy people on a daily basis.

However, there's more to the book than just that. Feuti gives the reader an in-depth breakdown of the entire retail experience, from the initial job search onward. Using his own experiences in retail as a guide (even including several "horror stories" from his various jobs), Feuti explains how to avoid being disliked by coworkers, how to advance into management, and how to deal with stressful events such as annual inventory. He provides lengthy breakdowns of the typical types of customers and coworkers that a retail employee will have to cope with as well. All of this is done in a knowing, sarcastic tone which is sympathetic to the low-level retail workers who are on the "front lines," the ones who get plenty of blame yet little reward for their efforts.
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