Whew- it has been a very, very long week in my world. I have been burning the candle at both ends and now I am starting to run on fumes. Unfortunately- it's not over yet. I am *almost* looking forward to my infusion next week so that I can get some rest. This has most assuredly been my toughest semester in the 7 years of doing this job and it's running me ragged.
I know- I know- it's not great for me to be going like this- but it's part of the job. I am not sure what happened this year but for some reason I feel like we have been behind since the beginning of "crunch time" and getting caught up has been near to impossible. Our web sales are up quite a bit and that is where we are having trouble getting back on track. They are coming in faster than we can process them. In fact- as we were working all day on Thursday- 106 new orders came in. I stayed until 11pm and we "only" got 95 processed- which means we actually got further behind. That's pretty rough to wrap your head around. What I need is about 48 hours of NO customers in store because that is when we get the most of it done- but that isn't happening. Of course, we want our in-store customers too but it's hard to work on the web orders when you constantly get pulled away. I enjoy working with the customers- especially the freshmen-in the aisle and helping them find what they need- but I walked out on the floor yesterday to check on a book and didn't get back to the order I was working on for literally 3 hours.
The other issue is the phone- which rings constantly from 7am till 9:30 or so at night. If we don't answer- people get mad- but if I would be willing to estimate that 60% of the phone calls are "what are your hours?" and if we let it go to voice mail- the hours are there. The funny part is that when I check messages at the end of the day- a lot of them are "when are you open on X day?"- which means that even when the message comes on, people aren't necessarily listening. It would be very-very difficult to justify payroll hours just to have someone answer the phones, especially since most of the information is there. That is very frustrating.
Now crunch time has devolved into "go-time". I have no choice but to finish everything this weekend because classes start Monday. That is why though it is only 5:45 and we don't open till 10- I am heading in as soon as I finish this cup of coffee and I will stay until. I am not doing this alone- I have asked for any extra people to come in that can during our open hours- and I will have them concentrate solely on the web orders while those of us who are scheduled can work with the customers. Hopefully at minimum we can get all of the orders pulled and as many processed as possible while I have people there with me. Pulling and prepping them is equally as time consuming as the actual processing part and for me- that is where I need the most help. While I do have to lift and move every order that I process- pulling and packing them is just added stress on my already tired joints and muscles so if I have my team of kids pull and pack- it helps in the long run.
So what have I learned? Well- since our web business is only going to continue to grow next semester I am going to take a cue from the bigger stores and change the web processing hours. One of my fellow managers comes in when the store closes and works till midnight or later. That may be where we are next semester. I am also going to insist that every deadline that I establish be met- that was a real issue this semester- and if that means that I have to nag and remind and start coaching people who don't meet the deadlines, that is how it will have to be.
I will have more time to deconstruct where we went wrong after Labor Day- until then, I will keep on going and make adjustments on the fly. I am just grateful that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.