In my previous Retail Management career I was a Store Manager for a branch of Choices UK when that went into administration in 2008 and a Store Manager for Hawkins Bazaar when that went into Administration in 2011. It’s not nice, its uncertain times and you get filled with emotions. What if I lose my job how will I pay bills, mortgage/rent, get a new job. What about all my staff that work under me, how will they all get jobs, how will they pay their bills, will they even get the pay there owed? They looked to me for answers and the bottom line was, I knew as much as them.
On top of that was anger. Why had the companies operations teams not give us some notice? (Obviously afterwards you understand they can not slip that they are in trouble as creditors may close the doors but both times I found out from customers before the company). What about all the hard work we put in, the effort? What about my friends and colleagues that I work with, if we close we will probably never work together again.
What has encouraged me to write this blog article is from my experience I remember how hard it was to pick myself up and carry on through these time, to comfort and motivate a team while worried about their jobs, their pay as well as your own.
What sticks out most when I think about my experience through these difficult times was how nice people can be, but unfortunately how selfish people can be.
Both times I had no ends of regular and irregular customers coming in just to offer words of comfort, let us know they were thinking of us and hoping for the best, and these were so so welcome.
But both times there were rude, uncaring selfish people, and its these people I ask to have a little consideration.
I remember with Hawkins Bazaar a woman walking in, smirking and saying I need to spend my gift vouchers now before you close your doors, just heard you have gone bankrupt. This was literally a few minutes after the staff and myself found out. This was followed by many more incidents throughout the day such as, “Whats going cheap, your closing aren’t you?” Or when they got their total price of their order, trying to haggle the price. Or comments such as pointing out the refund policy and then saying you wont be hear in 30 days. At this point we had only just been told we were in administration never mind anything else such as closing stores, losing jobs etc.
Very similar situations arose with Choices UK. I even remember one person coming in just to tell us she heard on the news we had gone bust proud to be the one to tell us. That is how myself and the staff found out. Imagine how hard that is?
All I am saying is, please have a thought for the staff and show some compassion. If BHS end up doing a stock sale or closing down sale by all means go, but remember these people could be losing their jobs so please spare a thought for their feelings.