Are you that guy?

Earlier in the season, I received a phone call that must have made sense to the other guy, but left me completely bewildered. The phone rang and I answer with our standard greeting.

Earlier in the season, I received a phone call that must have made sense to the other guy, but left me completely bewildered. The phone rang and I answer with our standard greeting.

The guy asked "Hey, were you that guy who helped me the other day?"

Bewildered, I asked what the call was in reference to.

"You know, the T-shirts that I ordered from you".

Since I hadn't worked the past 3 days, and definitely didn't remember ordering any T-shirts for someone I felt safe in replying "No sir, that must have been someone else".

"Okay", he responded, "Well who was the guy who helped me?".

"I'm not sure, could you describe him for me?" I asked.

"How should I know what he looked like? I ordered them over the phone, but I want to know who the guy was who I talked to".

Now, I'm not a mind reader, but apparently he must have thought I was. When I told him that unless I had some way to identify who it was who helped him then I'd have to put him on hold to find the order in our book, his voice clouded over and he started in on the tirade that anyone who has worked in retail knows -- the one that begins with "I want to speak to your manager!".

I was happy to oblige, but only after asking him if he could remember even a part of the persons name. My luck didn't change, as his response was "No, now tell me who all works for your company!".

At that point I had to give the phone to the manager, because I was bent over laughing at the idea of having to go through our entire company roster for this guy.

-- Steven Sickinger, Massey's Professional Outfitters - Baton Rouge, LA

Through July 1, retail sales staff answered the contest call to submit a story of survival and perseverance in the face of challenging customers. The story titles with summaries that made the first round of qualifications are listed below, and each is now in the hands of our judges to decide on the top 10. You can read each story in its entirety by going to the contest landing page -- click here.

Ten lucky story writers will each win over $1,000 in product prizes based on the contest judges' votes. Here is where you come in! Of those 10, one will be named the grand prizewinner, cashing in on a trip for two to Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2007. Three others will be named official "honorable mentions," and in addition to the valuable prizes, each will receive a gift certificate that can be redeemed toward attendance at an Outdoor Industry Association-sponsored event, such as Outdoor University, Mountain Sports Festival or the OIA Rendezvous. The grand prize winner will be announced at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006. We will determine the grand prize winner and the three runner up winners based on popular vote (sorry judges) -- those among the top ten receiving the most votes win, it's that simple. This is for store pride, for knowing you have a winner amongst you, so vote as often as you like. Tell your friends. Tell your friends friends. Tell your dog -- but only if he can work a computer keyboard.

Deadline for voting is August 1, 2006.Click here to register your vote now!

Did you miss out on this year's contest? Bummer, but no worries. If you haven't already done so, outdoor retail staff can get ready for next year by activating a subscription now at Then, watch your SNEWS® for announcements calling for our next contest entries and get ready to be a winner.



Lear Jet Guy (Grand Prize Winner)

Seth came into work and told me last night’s nightmare. I’m not overly concerned, as Seth is young and still highly impressionable. It was him, he said. Taller, better looking, much better dressed—but it was him. Bob! he shouted. Bob! It’s HIM! Lear Jet Guy! He sidles into the more


Where Are the Parents?

“Rule #1 for retail customers: No amount of apologizing you can do in defense of your children’s behavior can compensate for the effort you should have put towards actually watching them in the first place,” a knowledgeable employee explained on one of my first days of work. It more


What do you mean you don't carry REI?

I was entertaining myself one day by cleaning up after customers who enjoy remerchandising product in less than conventional ways when a woman approached me and asked if I worked here. I replied in the affirmative. She wanted to know where the REI "jogging suits" she had seen more


Can you tell us where we are?

A favorite part of selling cool outdoor gear on the floor, is selling products I know and love by owning them myself. I also enjoy sending people to interesting places ( usually off trail ) that I also know and love ...often I can combine the two.I had sold a Magellan GPS to a more


Hosed by a Clown

In my 20 years of owning a bicycle shop I’ve seen my fair share of people requesting crotch-sprocket bearings, gear boxes, and toe-clap strips. So I never really know what each day will bring. A young man came in wanting to purchase our demo bike. He seemed like a normal guy, more


I Should Have Known (Top 10 Finalist)

“Excuse me, but would you answer a couple questions about GPS’s?” the middle-aged man asked. “Sure”, I said. What I was thinking though, was “damn, not exactly my strong suit!” I looked around trying to be as casual as possible, hoping I’d locate a staffer who had more more


Somebody Made a Stinky

It was a chilly, damp spring day with the threat of rain in the forecast. I had just returned from my lunch break when I greeted two women with four kids in tow. Three of them were chatty 5 to 6 year olds. The youngest child, a toddler, was the quiet one. But that didn't last more


Thank you for registering your vote for best story in the SNEWS Retail Survivor 2006 Writing Contest!

Thank you for voting! Your friend thanks you for voting -- unless of course you are voting for yourself, and then pat yourself on the back and say a hearty, 'thank you to me!' While the judges determine the top ten, your vote will help determine who, of those top ten, wins a more


Two Scouts v. My Bladder (Runner Up Award)

Fact: Earlier this morning I drank two Nalgene bottles of water, a Donald Duck orange juice, and a large cup of coffee. Fact: My bladder is the size of a small kiwi. So with these two important facts in the back of your head, let me describe my situation. The store had been more