understanding what i do…

Work at Chapters has been pretty brutal this month. Considering there are only three of us merchandisers in the store, getting the work done meant we were pretty much bending over backwards.

[ In case any of you don’t know what I do as a merchandiser:

1) I take care of all the displays in the store. By that I mean making sure all required titles are on each display, filling displays with properly themed books, and ensuring displays are full and to merchandising standard at all times.
2) We are responsible for displaying all large quantities of books that are received, which can range from 10 to 500 copies of a single title. Multiply that by however many titles come in bulk per day.
3) Because our work covers so much of the store, we are constantly helping our peers locate books.
4) Customer service is a priority for everyone, even when we’re to trying to get our work done without being interrupted.
5) We also help out on cash whenever there is a long line up; we secretly hate doing this because it takes up our time. ]

That’s just the basic job description, although it doesn’t really show the extent of our work. I don’t think people really understand how much work we do until they actually try doing it themselves. Besides speed walking around the store with (sometimes) 20+ books in my arms at a time for 8 hours a day, as well as moving tables and fixtures around the store, we also have a lot of boxes of books to move around in the back room. This is why I’m always physically very tired and also the reason for my bad back pains.

To do the job well, a merchandiser has to have a number of skills. We constantly have to utilize problem solving skills to figure out where we can put all the books, whether it’s by moving things around to make it work or setting up new displays to make room (this is mainly because displays are themed, so we’re restricted in what we can do). We have to be analytical (what titles will move better where?) and be able to foresee the movement of product in order to be most efficient. A lot of it comes from experience. Time management is another skill we must have to get our tasks done in a timely manner because there is absolutely no time to spare; as long as there are customers in the store, there is ALWAYS something for us to do. I won’t even get into the stupid questions and comments that I take in from customers.

So my job isn’t as easy as one may think and the stresses that come with it are not always fun to deal with, but I love merchandising because it’s challenging. A former manager once said to me: “Merchandising is the best job in the store…if you can do it.” I definitely agree.