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

4.6 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion (October 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401308902
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401308902
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Paperback
I have read this book over twenty times now, and every time I find something else to laugh about. This book is witty, clever, and so painfully true that anyone who has worked in retail should have no problem giving it 5 stars.
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.
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