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Pretending You Care: The Retail Employee Handbook Paperback – October 16, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
I can't recommend this enough, especially with the crazy holiday season that's starting. It might just help you get through the day.
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.
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.Read more ›
As a retail veteran myself, I could easily identify with many of Feuti's stories, actually saying aloud, "ME TOO!" His chapter on problem customers was especially humorous, with 50+ pages detailing the different types of customers one is likely to run into in a retail environment and how one should deal with them. These customers range from Boomerang Buyers (people who buy stuff and then return it the next day so they can buy more stuff) to Dumpers (people who leave trash all over the store) to Space Invaders (people who have no sense of personal boundaries). Feuti's brilliant ideas on how to deal with these customers are tried and true - I have tried them at my retail job, and they are true (especially helpful is Feuti's "Grab and Block" Technique, helpful for dealing with Space Invaders).
There have been a few comments regarding swearing in this book. I am of the opinion that Feuti uses swearing very minimally, and always to make a point. He uses the "F-word" in one instance to show how getting a customer to swear at you will allow you to kick them out of the store, and again in a story about the worst experience he's had with a customer (this time, the swear word came directly from the customer's mouth). This is not one of those books that uses swearing simply for the sake of using it, nor superfluously just for fun.
I recommend this book to anyone who ever has or ever will work in retail - at the very least, it'll give you a good laugh and a few "ME TOO!"s.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Expected a collection of the comic strips, but it was a book of Feuti's retail experience instead. Using some of his "Retail" strips as highlights and further points of... Read morePublished 8 months ago by echopapa
If you work in retail you have got to read this book! I have been a long time fan of the cartoon and have often clipped it out and taken it into work where we all got a laugh out... Read morePublished 10 months ago by catherine atkins
LOVE this book!!! It's the second funniest book on retail out there (I just wrote one, so I have to rank that as #1 :) Norm Feuti TOTALLY gets the world of retail and what we... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Macy May Marcus
true to life perspective. anyone who has worked retail will totally relatePublished 13 months ago by leela
Loved this book! Read it before and gave the book away and never got it back so I bought it again! This is a must read for anyone who has ever worked in retail or anyone who could... Read morePublished 17 months ago by J. Formichelli
Great read! Deja vu for any retail employee, past or presentPublished 19 months ago by Stacie Myers
After a year away from the retail world (where I worked for close to five years), I wanted to find a book that confirmed my own strange experiences in that profession. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Zachary Koenig
A humorous account of life as a retail worker, with many tips on how to survive and get ahead. Drawn from the author's own experience. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Brett Bydairk
Couldn't put it down. You can randomly open to any page and start reading. A lot of the backroom stories about inventory companies, different levels of management, good and bad... Read morePublished 22 months ago by proczach