Sunday, March 29, 2015
Retailers are often using a handheld PC they use to scan UPC bar codes. The ones I use all seem to be Windows CE based. We use the scanners to check prices, availability, product information, back stock stockroom location, and connected to a portable printer we may print out new price tickets or mark them down with clearance tickets.
Now, I know that this is old technology. We have been using these slow-ass time wasting devices for at least the 4 years I have worked the store. So why the hell even use them? Once a ticket is scanned it will usually take a second or more to spit out a printed ticket. Obviously, these are not multiple processor machines.
But why doesn't business recognize what a piece of crap this system is and replace it immediately?
Think about it. In one night we might have anywhere from 6,000 to 17,000 pieces to mark down, but we literally have to scan many times more. Even if no ticket is required, the devices are still pathetically slow as you wait on what to do next.
6,000 peices to mark down means that I am wasting at least 12,000 seconds scanning everything if I am scanning all the clearance products for further additional markdowns. 12,000 seconds is 200 minutes wasted, every single night that we do mark downs. Now, times 1,000 stores and the corporate entity has just wasted over 200,000 minutes, at bare minimum, 3,333 hours where its employees could be getting more done, or doing other things.
3,333 x 8.50 (min wage) = $28,330.50 of wasted labor every night there are price changes. And we usually have price changes every couple of weeks or so. Sometimes, there are so many products to scan, it takes 2 nights.
And our corporate leadership fails to see how pathetic this system is, anyway?
But, that's not the half of it. There is an official ignorance about product life. Batteries go dead and no one replaces them. I put a sign on a battery saying "Dead Battery" and someone takes the sticky note off and puts it in the charger, but it won't charge because the battery is completely dead and useless. I change the sign to "Useless Battery" and they rip the sign off and put it in the charger, still.
Because of this ignorance, batteries don't get recycled and we wind-up with more dead batteries than we have good ones. This means we spend up to an hour trying to find a battery that works with our handheld PC scanner. Of course, it is more complicated than that. Some batteries will work in certain PCs. So nothing gets thrown out or recycled, and no one knows how to combat this.
Then, when you connect a printer, the PC has to be able to work with the printer. Sometimes they don't work together and you have to trade out printers once you have a PC and printer comination that works.
We tell management about all these issues and more (scanning a QR code by accident freezes-up many of the PCs, and the QR codes are placed right next to the UPC codes), and yet no one does anything. This is a pathetic set of circumstances, and I am quite honestly convinced that my corporate retailer loves frustrating its employees with poor pay, poor equipment, unreal expectations, no real benefits and complete ignorance.
Ignorance is not bliss. It is stupid when it is preventable. Especially in a corporate environment.
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Lately, Google has been penalizing marketing websites by scaring businesses that use them.
I started my own Directory Portal back in 1998 or so, as a hyperlink resources web directory that promoted not only my clients and customers, but also the websites and online resources that I believed in. As it grew quickly I had many requests to list other websites and went ahead and started approving many submissions in my spare time. I wound up discovering new sites and services in this way, as well.
I really enjoyed this and I felt that I was giving back to the Internet community that I felt indebted to. After all, I was making a living and was my own boss and was able to be just a tiny little bit creative once in a while.
I reviewed every single website that I listed, bar none. Eventually, I had to start charging a little in order to overcome the sacrifice, because the time I was spending keeping the service up to date and viable became extreme.
I had started other niche directories that covered my intetests, more for a hobby, but out of my interests in maintaining directories of relevant resources than anything. Eventually, I added forums and other resources, depending on the niche.
But as a self - employed artist and businessman running a design & marketing studio and domain sales/hosting agency, it became harder to keep up and the cost of the software and a premium decent web hosting platform that would handle heavy traffic and support all the bells and whistles of an advanced web directory. Then, as I was experimenting with different software packages, some of my sites were maliciously hacked.
It is really upsetting when you are hacked. My phpBB forum website was hacked and a few different installed link directory packages were also hacked.
It was clear, I had to be very careful about the software I used to run these sites. So I only used premium Web scripts, and these aren't always free, either.
So as I am saddled with premium fees for software, hosting (although I can discount my hosting, it certainly isn't free), and domains; my time managing these resources (backing up the data at intervals, reviewing submitted listings, updating the software, paying the bills, etc...) has also become a premium commodity.
Obviously I need to offset my investments, my time, my work. So I charge a nominal fee to those who are interested in promoting their online resource in a timely fashion in order to offset costs. But I have never made a profit doing so. This doesn't mean that I won't or can't, because I enjoy doing this and it would be fun to make a little doing it.
But now Google is sending webmasters letters telling them that directories are bad and to remove their links. Talk about trying to monopolize themselves. Google is trying to take out all their competition by removing any confidence in our services. Yet, it is not me that is spamming it's customers with advertising, it is Google.
This is a completely unfair business practice designed to cut the little guy off at the knees before it becomes an impact, no matter how small, on Google.
But Google is NOT a search platform, it is a biased marketing engine that shares all its information with the NSA, and perpetuates spam advertising and email.
So, be careful with Google. Google has its own hidden agenda that takes advantage of us all.
I am personally looking for alternatives to all its services... mail, search, ads, monetization, directory services, comparison shopping, smart phones, tablets, streaming video & audio, socialization, everything.