To Shut Down or Not to Shut Down? That is the Question.

Everyone seems to have a difference of opinion on what SHOULD happen, and what WILL happen in the future. Its interesting to me that with numbers on the rise, less people are complaining about a possible shut down and more people are complaining that in fact we are not shut down yet. I feel like it was more of a divide before… half of everyone I came across thought COVID was fake and the masks are unnecessary whereas the other half were warning me to stock up on rice and canned foods to prepare for the worst come election time. I think a lot of the people in the first camp thought that COVID was something democrats made up to cause panic based on what they’ve said in the media and what I’ve been told. Coming out of that denial must have brought about some harsh realities because now it seems that there are more people leaning towards a shut down than not, though despite it all there are still some people who refuse to believe any of this is happening and still gripe about having to wear the masks.

Me, I’m kind of somewhere in the middle of the road. I need the money, so I need to work. But luckily with Justin now working at UPS, COVID has pretty much guaranteed him a job now that he’s been promoted to a full time position. There is a possibility that he may be let go or reduced in January, but with COVID on the rise and more people ordering things from home, that isn’t likely to happen. So if I couldn’t work but Justin could, we could get by but we’d have to cut back on a lot again. I know though that a lot of people are in bad shape now, and could be in worse shape if that happened. We could through it by cutting off extras and reducing our grocery budget… Might have to even take a credit hit and skip a few payments here and there, but too many people wouldn’t be able to do that at all. They’d lose everything if they haven’t already.

So yeah, I need to work. I need my company to make money so I can keep my job. If we got shut down again, I don’t know that my company would make it a second time quite honestly. But at the same time, we aren’t an essential business. We sell clothes at the mall so people aren’t coming out to shop. That, and they are worried, so they don’t want to spend the amount of money we need them to spend to combat the fact that we are seeing less customers than we were before- the amount of money we need to make to break even at the very least. And we have to make phone calls to try and entice people to come in to the store- it’s part of the job… and a lot of our customers say well, you know, pandemic. Yeah, I know. Me too. And I tell them I can order things online for them if they call me so they can support our store from home, but they don’t call. Some do, most don’t. You’re trying to save money and stay safe at home and I don’t blame you for it. I’m trying to provide for my family too, and calling you is how I do that. So, I’m sorry.

I guess I’m kind of reflecting this morning because I was writing the January manager’s schedule this morning. Payroll doesn’t release the budget but one week at a time, usually 2 weeks out. Sometimes 3 weeks out which is especially good for planning, but sometimes only 1 week out if the company really isn’t quite sure what it’s going to do yet. But at the very very least, I know I need a manager to open the store, and a manager to close the store. So I can put those shifts in ahead of time and it wouldn’t be much trouble to trade a day here and there if something came up and someone couldn’t work a day. There are a few days in the month where the hours are short and you only need one manager coverage, or someone might request off and I pull a longer day which is also fine.

And I know my part time assistants, Jess and Barb, should work a minimum of 4hrs per shift. So I can do my manager’s schedule a month in advance with myself working a 38hr week… I’m supposed to work 40 but I can get by without getting yelled at if I work 38. I choose to work 38 because two of my hours can go to one of the sales associates. I don’t need two hours of pay, and when you have barely any hours to support your team, every hour counts. I’d give them more of mine if I could.

Anyway… it’s pretty much plug and play from there. I put in shifts I am required to work, plus the days off everyone chose for themselves, plus any additional requests if I can. Then I plug in shifts to make it balanced… making sure we have equal amount of closing shifts, or if not I make sure I take the extra because nobody wants to close. Making sure Jess’s shifts will be balanced with her other job. And I make sure that Barb and Jess are both working the minimum required hours to qualify for a bonus IF we were to qualify which is doubtful, but ya never know. So basically, the schedule for myself, Barb and Jess is done through January and then when the company releases the payroll budget I can add on Krissy and Carol depending if I can afford them after all the necessary bases are covered.

And I was just thinking… I need to hire someone so I don’t have to work Barb every single Saturday even if she doesn’t mind. I need to hire someone because Jess only wanted to work 1-2 days a week, but I have her on for three. But then… I don’t even know if my store will be open in January at this point, or if we will even exist. Will someone invest or buy my mall to pull it out of bankruptcy? Will my state shut down since we’re going in the red for COVID? My governor is fighting like hell not to shut down which is pissing people off, but he isn’t beyond it. My governor isn’t beyond anything. People had a laugh because he didn’t vote for Trump or Biden… evidently he wrote in his vote for Reagan. Okay… I can see you are trying to make a vote here, but Reagan is dead, and you are not helpful. So all bets are off with this guy.

The next 7 weeks could be a game changer one way or the other because retail and retailers in general depend on the Holiday season so much. January is clearance/return season… so you have to really win in November and December in order to provide cushion for a tough January. February, March, April is tax return quarter, so you can get ahead a bit there but you are then at the start of a brand new year. The fiscal year in retail ends in January. Even if my mall comes out of bankruptcy unscathed, will my store? There’s always jobs to be had. I just don’t want to have to find another one when I’ve finally found a place that feels like it could be my forever home. But a job is not a home. It’s just a job, at the end of the day. I know a lot of retail employees that jumped ship and went to Amazon. I see them on LinkedIn talking about how happy they are in their tee shirts, jeans, safety sneakers, hard hats and protective helmets. I’m not saying I wouldn’t, but first of all, my hair does not hat. It just doesn’t. It’s too big. But besides that… I think I’d be heartbroken to go from making women feel beautiful about themselves, and making team mates feel empowered and esteemed, to pushing boxes down a fulfillment line or whatever they do.

Truth- you will do a lot of things you said you’d never do when you run out of options. I’ve been there. There was a time when Reign was 1yrs old… well, likely 1 and a half or 2, and I was living with my boyfriend in Ohio. Moved out there on good faith and a whim. I came home one day to him signing papers to move out- so he left me there with an apartment, my baby, no car, no job, no means to help myself. But I figured it out, and I did a lot of things I said I’d never do. But I figured it out. I’ve been to that place, I just don’t want to go back there.

Anyways, I need to go to work soon so I’ll see ya’ll later! Have a great day.

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November 19, 2020

I understand the case for both options.  Left in Ohio?  Oh my goodness that sounds just criminal of him to do that.

November 19, 2020

Hope you had a great day yourself!

Having been basically abandoned more than sucks…and yet, here you are swimming and not sinking.  Have been.  Very likely will be.  You’re a survivor and that’s an awesome skill in this insane world.

At least Justin is at the full time part now, so that cushion is there for the short term.  That’s gotta feel bette and a touch less stressful.

I really do hope the chain makes it through.

Hope you had a great one!

November 19, 2020

Omg, I always say the same thing about how lack of options for you to function. It’s prob how I’ve gotten by as much I have…

And omg, you are a fucking fighter. It must be a good feeling to know you have that in you. They used to jokingly call me the cockroach at my office bc I always seem to survive. Lol.

I am afraid of the uncertainty that comes with another shutdown bc financially we are not in a great place….but it’d be worse to have this pandemic just keep getting worse. So I tell myself that we will figure it out… And hope I’m right.

I just picture you perching the hard hat on top of your hair. Lol.

How do you type these lengthy, well-written entries on your phone? Props, man, props.

November 21, 2020

@thecriticsdarling

A cockroach eh? I feel like that is both a compliment and a not compliment. I would have to thank them but also feel conflicted with that one, hah!

Yeah, the shut down makes me realize that I’m a selfish person. I don’t want anyone to be sick or lose their homes, or worse… but I need them to come buy things even though I also do not want to venture out and spend money on shit I don’t need. Come everyone to my store… socialize and buy. Try on these pants that a dozen people tried on before you. But I will not do those things myself. I will go straight home (or maybe to the grocery- necessary evil even when not a pandemic).

I blame the government. To have a job or not to have a job? Gotta have a job, there is no support otherwise… And I’m not qualified to do anything worthwhile so… listening to other people’s worry while I deposit their check is the best I can do. Makes me a terrible person. …Oh yeah? You’re worried about your son who is a police officer in the riots? I’m so sorry. Oh yeah? Your 99 year old Grandma is covid positive and is in the nursing home so you can’t visit her? I’m so, so sorry. That’ll be $87.58. Are you sure you don’t want to open a credit card and save 15%? Sign here. Scummy.