I don’t want employers to see my high school fanfic, coworker spends his day on magic and politics, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. I don’t want employers to see fanfic that I wrote in high school!

I have a completely unique name, so a Google search for me will produce only results relevant to me. I’m old enough that most of these are innocuous, but I have one ridiculously bad result that’s haunted me for over a decade — a fanfiction story I wrote in high school (circa 1999) under my real, full name, before I knew to use a pseudonym. It’s archived at a defunct Angelfire site and the owner never responded to my attempts, 13-14 years ago, to get it taken down. A more recent DMCA request to the host had no result either, and Google won’t let me remove the result since I don’t own the site myself.

It’s fanfiction for a show that went off the air more than a decade ago, so though there’s no date on the page, I have to assume anyone who runs across it can figure out it’s very old…except I work in the conservative legal field and it’s hard to trust that anyone in HR would see it that way (or believe their clients would either). I’m fortunate that it isn’t explicit erotica, but it’s a romance story with mentions of sex, and it’s definitely not the kind of thing I’d want a potential employer seeing even knowing I was a teenager when it was written.

As far as I can tell, my only solution is to get a Twitter with my real name or unlock my Google+ account, and try to flood the search results with more relevant/recent results that are actually professional. I’ve been able to find employment in the last 17 years, obviously, but I always wonder about applications I’ve sent which might have been affected by this search result. Is this truly something that would have been (and still could be) an immediate deal-breaker to an employer?

It’s from nearly 20 years ago! Even if it’s not dated, the fact that it’s on an Angelfire site is going to make it clear that it’s really old. And it’s highly, highly unlikely than anyone is going to read enough of it to even learn that it’s a romance story with mention of sex (no offense to your story, which could be a masterpiece; it’s just not what we’re looking to spend time on when googling a candidate). I think it’s probably a non-issue.

That said, which page of search results does it appear on? If it’s on the first page, I’d do a little bit of search engine management by creating enough other search results that it gets pushed onto the second or third page. (Twitter is one way to do that, but not the only way! Anything that gets attached to your name will probably push this down in the rankings.) If you do that, I think you can permanently not worry about this.

2. My coworker spends his day on magic and politics

I work in a small company with roughly 20 workers at our main office. There’s a gentlemen (and I use that term loosely) who has taken more than his fair share of liberties. He spends the majority of his days watching political satire videos, watching Rush Limbaugh, or watching videos on magic, his new hobby. He leaves copies of various magic and political documents on the office printers, which get mixed up in our printed documents. Three of us have to pick up his work in addition to our already busy schedules. In addition, we’ve document multiple abrasive emails where he offends and degrades our team. We’re all past the point of offended and angry and have brought this complaint to management numerous times. The gentlemen happens to be in his 70’s and we’ve been told he’s in a “protected class,” even though the president of the company can demonstrate insubordination from our coworker on numerous occasions and says he can’t do anything due to his advanced age.

Is this so? Other than leaving the company, what can we do? My colleagues and I work very well together, but the distraction and the extra work are at the point of walking out the door.

No, it’s not true. It’s true that it’s illegal to discriminate against people for being 40 or older, but that means that an employer can’t make adverse employment decisions (like firing him) because of someone’s age … but they can fire him because of performance, attitude, laziness, or any of the other issues in play here. Discrimination laws don’t say “you can’t fire people protected by these laws”; they just say that someone’s age/race/sex/religion/disability/etc. can’t be the reason for firing them.

So they could absolutely deal with this guy if they wanted to. They’re just choosing not to.

As for what you can do about it, your options are limited. At a minimum, you and your coworker should probably could agree as a group that you’re going to stop covering his work and let him deal with the consequences. You could also talk to your coworker directly and repeatedly and tell him to start pulling his weight and stop leaving magical documents on the printer. If you wanted to, you and your coworkers could complain enough that it becomes more of a pain for the company to continue not dealing with it. But really, you’re working for a company that doesn’t care that this guy is spending his day on magic and politics (what a combination!) and leaving you to pick up the slack.

3. New manager wants us to revisit decisions made by our old manager

Our team has a new manager, John. The old manager, Jane, left voluntarily for legitimate reasons. I’ve been doing things according to decisions made by Jane, even if I didn’t agree, because that was the management instruction, e.g. we have to fill the requisition form in before we write the check. But when questioned about some of this by John, he says things like “Jane doesn’t work here any more, so we don’t have to do that” and seems annoyed / frustrated by me constantly bringing up Jane as the reason for doing things a certain way and seems to perceive me as a bit of a “stick in the mud.”

My response to John is that if someone leaves, I don’t automatically revisit/question all their decisions as an agenda item. Surely those decisions were made as part of the management structure of the company as a whole, rather than by Jane in a personal capacity?!

Who is right in this situation, and how can I be less of a “stick in the mud” without coming off as having no initiative / lack of learning by asking John about every little thing?

If you’re saying this stuff in response to John specifically asking you about why you do something a certain way (as opposed to bringing it up on your own), it’s a pretty reasonable thing to say — “this is how we’ve been asked to do it.” That said, it sounds like it would help to modify it a bit and instead say something like, “This is how we were previously asked to do it, but I’d be glad to do it differently if you’d like.” That way you’re conveying that you’re not stuck in the previous ways of doing things and are happy to make changes (which might be the part he’s not hearing from you so far).

But it also sounds like John is saying that he doesn’t want you to continue doing things the old way just because Jane asked you to — he wants you to think about it for yourself and propose an alternative if you think there are better methods. Since you mentioned that you disagreed with some of Jane’s decisions, why not go to John with proposals for better ways of doing those things? You could say something like, “I know you’ve been interested in improving some of our processes, so I wanted to suggest a couple of additional changes that I think would make us more effective — specifically, X and Y.” If John has been worried that you’re wed to old processes or not questioning whether they’re the best way to do things, that would help counteract that impression pretty well.

4. My store wants me to be pushier about getting people to sign up for a credit card

Recently, the chain retail store I work in has decided to start pushing the store branded credit card more heavily, “encouraging” everyone working the registers by running nationwide contests and featuring big sellers in newsletters. Because of my own problems I’ve had with branded credit cards, I don’t feel comfortable asking anyone up sign up for one until they speak with some sort of financial advisor.

But during my last shift it was hinted at that if I don’t try harder to get more credit card applications, I might be let go. I was told by one of my managers that the most successful people in my store just don’t take no for an answer and continue to push people even after being told no multiple times. My anxiety is being pulled in all directions. I can’t lose my job, but I don’t want to feel responsible for someone having credit trouble because of me. Any advice on what to do in this situation?

Ugh, yes, these policies aren’t at all uncommon, despite being obnoxious and annoying a huge number of customers. (I’m guessing that companies who make their salespeople be so pushy must have data showing that it pays off for them, but it’s certainly coming at the expense of a lot of irritated shoppers.)

Anyway, it sounds like you might have a fundamental ethical difference with your employer about his, and you might need to decide if you feel strongly about it that you’re willing to risk your job over it. Before it comes to that, though, talk to your manager and find out what the requirements really are. If it’s truly a requirement of the job, that’s info that you want to have as you decide what you are and aren’t willing to do.

5. Do I need an objective and “references available upon request” on my resume?

I was recently let go from my job of 24 years due to a buy-out. I don’t know if I should mention that in my resume “Objective.” I am no wordsmith and would like help with what to write for my objective. Also, when it comes to references, do I add, to the bottom of my resume “references upon request”?

So, resume conventions have changed significantly in 24 years! You shouldn’t put either of those things on your resume now. Objectives, thank god, have gone the way of the eight-track, and are no longer used. You occasionally still see one, but they really date a resume. (Here’s why.)

And you definitely don’t need to put “references available upon request” on your resume, because it goes without saying that your references are available upon request; it would be really odd if they weren’t. (More here.)

Here’s a walk-through of how to structure a modern resume.

{ 384 comments… read them below }

  1. Mags*

    I have been known to leave my products on the counter when sales people are attempting to up-sell me (ahemTeavana) and have exactly zero tolerance for pushiness. I’m already giving you my money for goodness sake! And I greatly respect employees who are willing to stand on principle against these policies. But… that said, you shouldn’t put your own financial welfare at stake because of a hypothetical situation. If people are going to rack up credit card debt, they are probably going to do it with or without your help. Do what you can to keep your job while actively looking for employment at a less sleazy company.

    1. Lyssa*

      I stopped going to Teavana because of the pushy sales people. I might be OK with it somewhere else, but for goodness sake, it’s a tea shop. Pushiness is exactly at odds with the experience that I want to have while shopping for tea.

      1. Bowserkitty*

        They seem to have gotten better but I always hated going in there and it felt like I was being followed by their salespeople. Just let me look at things in peace!

        1. Kelly L.*

          Bath and Body Works. I have no idea how they manage to have 3-5 salespeople following you at once, but they manage it.

          1. Bowserkitty*

            UGHHHHH. Yes. They’ve seen me in there before, they know I’m familiar with their products! I don’t need suggestions.

            1. Teapot Project Coordinator*

              Like, no, let me sniff candles in peace. We both know I’m getting 2 for $22(or is it $24 now?)

        2. Purest Green*

          Every Teavana shop I’ve been to was little larger than a walk-in closet, so I don’t understand why they instruct the salespeople to take up space by hovering near customers at all times.

          1. Bowserkitty*

            This! Not to mention there’s breakables all over the place so I don’t know how they manage.

      2. Bibliovore*

        I thought it was just me! Thanks for validating my Teavana negative experience. I never went back again.

        1. LabTech*

          Same. My first time there I asked for their smallest size tin, and they gave me two sizes larger – most of it ended up in the trash!

          1. Jill*

            Ugh. I went to TEavana once in search of some chai. The salesperson excitedly tells me about this great blend he concocted and held up three diffrent chais, one by one for me to smell and asked, “You like?” after each one. I had nodded yes. In a dizzying two seconds, he had whipped up a blend of 2 cups worth of all three and rang it up. It came to a staggering $49.50.

            Which I paid. But not after he showed visible irritation that I wouldn’t buy a tin for it.

            And than I got mad at myself for letting him bamboozle me into buying something a) that I never actually asked him to make and b) without giving me a chance to ask quesitons….like the price of chai, which, now I know is pretty pricey. Never again at that store. Never again. Worse yet I’ve had that tin for about 2 years now. I’m afraid to use it. Stupid, I know. But $50 for tea????

        1. KarenD*

          Honestly? Not missing much. It’s very run of the mill tea that they put fancy names and huge markups on. And for all the ways they threaten you with teapocalypse if you don’t buy their fancy $12 tin to store it in (and make catbuttface when you pull out your own empty tin, even one that has their name on it) they handle the tea very roughly themselves. The last time I got green tea there, when I got it home I found that most of the bag was basically tea dust — the little “pellets” had been smooshed and broken.

      3. Young'n*

        Huh. I hate pushy sales people and never had that experience at teavana. The sales people at my store managed to suggest and sell with out being pushy. Most stayed behind the register after the perfunctory do you have any questions about our products?

        1. Lissa*

          I know their ownership has changed a few times recently — I had some friends who used to work there who all ended up quitting in the last couple years due to bad management/issues…

      4. INTP*

        I employ the same body language tricks just walking outside the Teavana store as I have to do when walking by Dead Sea kiosks or the guys selling trinkets by the Eiffel Tower or obnoxious men insisting that I thank them for the vulgar “compliment” they shouted at me from the street. Eyes straight ahead, do not flinch or avert your eyes or give any indication at all that you have even registered the existence of the person yelling at you to try a free sample of tea. Do not alter your walking speed at all. If they stand directly in your path, gently nudge them away without looking at them.

        Sounds super harsh by American standards, especially living in the Midwest and now the South, but at this point I rarely even get spoken to by the Dead Sea or Teavana people unless there’s no one else in the vicinity.

        1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

          Dude! Those Dead Sea kiosk folks are the worst. There is also a hair straightener next to them and the both invade your personal space and shout at you.

          I drive across town to go to a different mall because I can’t stand the kiosks at our indoor mall.

          1. Ghost Town*

            I have stick straight hair, naturally, and still get harassed by the straightener people. Even saying things like “I don’t use a straightener/make up/curling iron/whatever product you are selling” won’t save me. Completely ignoring them is the only way.

            1. many bells down*

              Oh, those guys are the WORST. I have curly hair. I don’t straighten it. And if you have straight hair, they want you to curl it.

              I’ve had them block my path trying to get me to sit down for one of their (total ripoff) straighteners. HATE those guys.

              1. Renee*

                I have curly hair that is obviously styled to be curly. Why would I want it straightened? I also have a Deva cut now which means the ends are not even the tiniest bit even because each curl was cut independently (not sure yet if the cut is overrated, but that’s what it is right now).

              2. Renee*

                And after looking at your link, I’m bummed you don’t live near me. We could totally hang out.

          2. Stranger than fiction*

            Ha, the kiosks. This is one area in which Im glad people see me as unapproachable because they never bug me for some reason, unless I’m with someone else.

        2. Bowserkitty*

          I do this too, but I have to admit my heart beats faster knowing they’re about to come after me as I walk past. I hate confrontation, and even the act of ignoring them feels like a form of it to me.

          I’ve seen memes calling them “pop-up ads” of the mall. LOL

          1. many bells down*

            I’m going to get myself in trouble with one of those kiosks that sells remote-controlled drones/helicopters because I am TERRIFIED of helicopters and if they buzz me I’m going to murder a toy that probably costs $300.

      5. Lady Blerd*

        I no longer take a sample cup anymore at Teavana because you get dragged inside to smell their tea. I have no problem saying no but they do a Jedi mind trick that I haven’t been able to resist yet. So I just walk by.

    2. brightstar*

      I went to Teavana for the first time last week and was immediately put off by the pushy sales folk. I went after work and was greeted with “AREN’T YOU LOOKING FANCY TODAY!” (I had a black skirt, flats, and a blouse on) and they wouldn’t get out of my face. I ended up leaving without buying anything.

      1. JessaB*

        I have never been to Teavana, but they just lost me as a potential customer. Tea is definitely one of those things that you do NOT expect to be pushed about. Tea in all its glory is about relaxation and unwinding. Just no. I mean I expect insane pushy when buying a car, or a credit card upsell if I’m at Kohl’s. But TEA? Nope nope nope.

        1. Kyrielle*

          I used to love a couple of their teas so much I would put up with it, but when they discontinued my favorite, I was finally able to walk out and not go back in. It’s definitely NOT a relaxing shopping experience once you’ve decided to buy – they will waft additional teas at you, try to upsell you on more / different teas, try to sell you tea cannisters and brewing devices when you were just buying tea, try to sell you prepared tea to drink on your way out of the shop….

          For that matter, unless they’re very busy, they’re also pushy if you just drift in and sample the teas. I think the breaking point for me was a sweetened iced tea sample, where the woman talked how wasn’t it lovely and fruity? And we could easily buy some. And I realized she was *meeting my 7-year-old’s eyes* not looking at me. She was selling tea (that would in fact not taste exactly the same because there is no way I’m sugaring it that much) to my young child. No. No, no, no.

          1. Kobayashi*

            I have a Teavana at the local mall here I’ve visited about three times and was never annoyed by pushy sales people. Lucky, I guess! They’d ask “anything I can do?” or something along those lines or ask if I wanted to try one of their samples by the door, but that’s about it.

        2. Former Diet Coke Addict*

          Can 100% confirm the employees there hate it too. Employees there get rated on how many things they manage to upsell, and managers make up the schedules by determining who upsells the most things, so pushier = more upsells = more shifts = more money. Every single person in the equation HATES it (the customers, the employees, the managers) and it’s awful. Just a terrible system.

          1. Little Missy*

            One of my former colleagues used to go in on Sunday nights to restock shelves and Bath and Body Works, and she said they had a similar incentive system for scheduling–the more you sold/upsold, the better shifts you got. Thankfully they don’t have a store credit card. maybe I shouldn’t have said that aloud. Might give them ideas. . .

        3. Liana*

          Oi. I’m with you on this. I’ve never been to Teavana before in my life, but I have zero interest in starting now.

          Victoria’s Secret is also really bad at this, I’ve noticed – it’s gotten to the point where I avoid shopping there if at all possible, and I buy all my bras/underwear online.

          1. Kai*

            Yep, I was just at VS last weekend and they were SO pushy. And it makes the lines move so much more slowly when the cashiers are trying to get you to sign up for a credit card–super noticeable when it’s busy and a lot of people are trying to check out.

          2. Qmatilda*

            VS: I’ve actually told their sales people that if one more person asked to help me I would leave (There had been 3 attempts in less than five minutes already), and when it happened. I walked out notifying the person I could identify as “in-charge” of why. Haven’t been back in.

          3. Elizabeth West*

            I went into our VS once and nobody even looked at me. I tried to find someone to help me, and there was no one. Walked right back out again.

            Sephora has good people–they try to help you but don’t glom onto you. I went in with a gift card and ended up coming out with some very yummy perfume. :)

            1. pope suburban*

              I always end up feeling crowded in my local Sephora. They’re not bad people, and they’re not trying to make me buy any particular thing, or buy more of a product, but I don’t need to be asked if I need help every two minutes. I am an adult, and if I need to know whether something is in stock, or how something has been reviewed, I will find someone and ask. It all feels a bit like being babysat to me.

          4. neverjaunty*

            Their stuff is overpriced anyway (and their high-end outfits are terrible quality), so you lose nothing shopping elsewhere.

            1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

              I started buying my bras at Macy’s and Nordstrom and it’s amazing how much longer they last and how much better the quality is!

                1. SG*

                  I always go to Town Shop here in NYC because the salespeople are geniuses and not at all pushy, but I’ve been getting my bras lately at ThirdLove online and they’re AMAZING. Had to stop and plug for them because honestly they are insanely comfortable.

        4. Lemon Zinger*

          My friend worked at Kohl’s for a while and quit because she couldn’t stand the requirement to push the credit card.

          1. Stranger than fiction*

            You know, my Kohls isn’t pushy about it. They ask, I say no, and that’s it. In general, in my experience at least, it seems if you just say no thanks, but don’t give an excuse, they’re more likely to drop it. I used to qualify it with something like ‘oh no, I had a bankruptcy several years ago and now I’m credit card free’ or ‘yeah but the interest rates in those are high’ to which they always have an answer, like ‘well you can always cancel it after you get your discount’ to which I’d say ‘well that’s just one more thing I have to remember to do’…so just a “No” has worked wonders for me.

            1. TG*

              I wouldn’t go into Kohl’s for several years because the pushiness of the cashiers to upsell really annoyed me. I went back this past Christmas because I got a gift card and will occasionally venture in, but I’m still wary.

      2. Josh S*

        Talk of tea makes me sad. The city I live in has a great Chinatown neighborhood. There was a fantastic tea shop there with looseleaf tea — great quality and remarkably cheap — run by an older Chinese man who had been in the business for decades. Every kind of tea you can imagine. Rich. Much of it at a fraction of the price of mainstream teas (think $20/lb for the high-end….and your usual teabag holds about 1/8 of an OUNCE).

        Last time I stopped by to get some lap sang sou chong, there was a small sign on the door saying he was retired. I haven’t found a replacement yet, and I’m watching my tea stash dwindle… sadface.

        1. azvlr*

          I really like Upton Tea uptontea.com. The sell many varieties of the same style of tea (for example, they have three different Lapsang Souchoung, several Assams, many Darjeelings, and on and on), you can leave a review for the tea, they have samplers, and their delivery is very fast.

          Through process of elimination, my co-worker and I discovered we both like Keemun. Now we are on a quest for the perfect Keemun. We drink a lot of tea!

          1. BronxRosie*

            Harney & Sons — family owned with many different kind of teas. If you like tea from Chinatown, they have some that are very similar. They are not inexpensive, but if you get on their mailing list, they have a lot of specials (and I wait for the coupon!).

        2. starsaphire*

          World Spice Market has a nice selection of teas. I’ve been shopping online there for over a decade.

          For serious variety and traditional Chinese medicinals, though, we use Vital Tea Leaf (the original, in San Francisco) and we order online from them all the time. They’re amazing. :)

          1. starsaphire*

            Correction: World Spice Merchants. My error; I have them bookmarked, so haven’t needed to Google them in a while!

        3. Bowserkitty*

          I’m hopefully headed to this place called Gong Fu (look them up, they have a good online presence!) this weekend for the first time. I’ve heard nothing but great things.

        4. Mags*

          Hi, definitely try Yunnan Sourcing (.us and .com sites) for the absolute best Chinese tea available., seriously. You will have to order online, and the .com site ships from China so it takes quite some time, but you will absolutely not regret it. People are always stunned to see how incredible good quality fresh teas are.

    3. Karo*

      I was tempted to do that at Old Navy the other weekend, but I really needed jeans and also it hurts that cashier’s numbers if I don’t sign up for one. I should’ve split up my order into multiple so I could really drag her numbers down. (I’m not normally this vindictive but it was getting ridiculously uncomfortable. Like, she was worse than the rep when I was trying to cancel my cable.)

      1. Anxa*

        I have a family member than signed up for an on card while on some medication and we are still under the crunch. There’s no gap or br near us either, and really there are so few things at on I could use.

      2. Pennalynn Lott*

        My worst experience, so far, was at a JC Penney’s where the cashier actually launched into a long, sad, song-and-dance about how much money he’d lose out on if I didn’t sign up for a credit card. I was like, “That sucks, but I’m just here to pick up my online order. I’ll be happy to send a note to JCP Corporate, though, about how awful their pay structure is, if you’d like.” He kind of gagged and blanched.

        I get that there’s waaaaay too much pressure on retail employees to push things on their customers that aren’t to the customer’s benefit, but making it into a personal sob story? So that I’d sign up for an unwanted line of credit (thus impacting my credit score), all so some rando guy can win a contest? Um, NO.

    4. Bowserkitty*

      UGHHHHH this. I considered working part-time at VS for a while but when I found out all Limited brands force you to push their respective store cards I changed my mind. I too am one of those who is more inclined to leave and not buy anything in general if I’m pushed beyond one or two questions. I wish the corporate companies would ease off because I feel bad for the employees.

      Back when I worked at the bagelry there was a certain time of year where we had to push a coffee mug that would allow for free coffee/soda refills all year. When I received low marks on that, I protested because not only are people not expecting to make a $100+ purchase when they come into the store for their coffee, I wasn’t even making commission on it.

      Boss didn’t care, naturally.

      1. Liana*

        Ughhh VS is the worst. I’ve actually switched to shopping online (at a totally different store, not VS) because of their pushiness. It’s awful!

        1. Chloe Silverado*

          I used to work at VS part time while I was in college. When I started working there, the store manager encouraged us to sell but if someone clearly didn’t want assistance, we were allowed to leave them alone. She was replaced with new managers who gave better shifts to employees who got more credit card applications and badgered us over our headsets to bother customers who didn’t want help. The last straw was when I received a bad performance review that was based on about 20 minutes of performance and my interaction with 1 customer. A manager asked me to repeatedly approach the only customer in the store and suggest she try various products and apply for the credit card. I spoke with the customer 3 times, but stopped when she stated she would leave without making a purchase if I continued to bug her. 15 minutes later, the manager came up to me with a written performance evaluation saying that although I was generally a good employee because of that 1 interaction she had to include that I was insubordinate, had poor selling skills and was not customer focused. I quit a week later.

          1. DeskBird*

            I hate it when they ask you to go bother people. I worked at Pier 1 in collage and the worst part of the job was when they assigned you to go around and ask if anyone needed ‘help’ 99% of the time no one needed help, and 85% of the time they were annoyed to be asked. I wasn’t surprised – I hate being asked that too.

            I also hate when they hover by the door to ask you what you need before you have a chance to even look around. They always look like hungry tigers – and I will sometimes pass on a store at the mall if there are no other customers and the sales person looks too eager. I know I will get bugged the whole time i am in there and it isn’t worth it.

            My dad used to work at a furniture store where the sales people would all wait around the door to pounce on anyone that came in. Dad told me one day that corporate changed the policy that they were not allowed to wait by the door because it put people off so badly. They still did it – but after that whenever someone came up to me as soon as I came into the store to visit my dad I would I tell them they weren’t suppose to do that and quote the corporate policy at them. Which must have been surprising coming from an eleven year old.

            1. Mononymous*

              OMG the furniture stores! My husband and I once went to a big corporate furniture store to look at bedroom sets. Of course one of the salesmen in that department pounced as soon as we paused for 5 seconds in front of a dresser, but when we told him we were just browsing he backed off–sort of. He kept following us from about 15-20 feet behind us, but every time we looked back, the guy pretended to be doing something else even though it was totally obvious he was tailing us waiting to make a sale. We found it hilarious! We’d walk to one bedroom set, look back–the guy was fluffing pillows. Walk to the next, look back, and he was polishing a dresser. Next set, he was straightening a stack of sale flyers. We totally would not have been surprised to look back and see him in a trench coat, fedora and sunglasses skulking behind a potted plant!

              (We did not buy from him. Though funny in its obvious-ness, his behavior was also seriously annoying. Turns out in that store the salesmen weren’t allowed to leave their assigned departments, and clearance was a separate department across the store–we found a clearance bedroom set that was exactly what we wanted, all-in for the price of just a bed frame/headboard alone upstairs. Ha!)

                1. Mononymous*

                  Seriously! Lol

                  I swear at one point, we didn’t give him enough time to find a legit-looking task as cover, so we caught him actually staring up at the ceiling as if something up there was completely engrossing. He must have been new at that job.

              1. Kelly L.*

                There was a saleswoman at Express, back in the days when I fit anything at Express, that I swear could teleport. Or there were a hundred of the same woman, like the dog in Looney Tunes. I’d go over to the pants and she’d pop up. “Can I help you find anything?” I’d go over to the dresses. “You finding everything OK?” Tops. “Let me know if I can help you find anything!” I literally don’t know how she was moving so quickly around the store, because I didn’t notice her actually following me.

                1. DMented Kitty*

                  There’s actually secret portals in the middle of those dress racks. Why else do you think kids like hiding in there? ;D

            2. Not the doctor*

              At the CVS near my office, they have someone stationed at the door to say, “Welcome, is there anything I can help you find today?” The thing is, when I go to CVS, I know exactly what I want and where to get it. So I breeze into the store and I’m already halfway down an aisle as I hear the greeter’s voice trailing behind me. I really don’t like being accosted as soon as I walk into the store.

              1. Mona Lisa*

                Ooo, but it’s something we’re taught to do from the earliest days of retail career. I used to work at Borders, and one of the first lessons I learned was to greet every single customer who came into the store. At my current job, it’s actually a question on the customer service survey.

              2. pope suburban*

                AUGH YES THIS. I’m an introvert who is, unfortunately, stuck in a people-facing position. Surface acting sucks the life right out of me. On busy days, or by the end of the work week, I have withdrawn every last metaphorical penny from my “slap a smile on and talk to people” bank. Then, lo and behold, the second I need to set foot in a shop, this kind of thing! And it’s moderately horrible, because I don’t want to be rude, but I also don’t want to be forced into yet another social interaction where I put on my happy face and do the dance. Not that I’d be mean or rude to people, but I’m tired and I want to just excuse both myself and the employee from the absurd retail rules so we can both have a moment of peace where we don’t have to be “on.”

              3. Christine*

                You are taught to greet customers when they come in the door so that they know someone saw their face to prevent shoplifting. “Hey there, I know what you look like, don’t steal anything.” I want to be left alone when I shop.

                1. pope suburban*

                  That…that somehow made it worse. For everyone involved. Corporate policies can be very depressing.

            3. Windchime*

              I hate it when they meander around behind me in Pier 1. I just want to snoop around and see what’s new. If there is something specific I am looking for, I will certainly find a salesperson and ask. I feel like the actively are discouraging people from browsing, which seems counter-productive.

            4. Lemon Zinger*

              Furniture stores are the worst. My boyfriend and I went into a mattress store and were harassed by the owner so badly! We left as soon as we could.

              1. Paquita*

                My mom and I went looking in a mattress store years ago. Walked in, didn’t see anything and walked out. The one salesperson was with another customer at the time but we didn’t need any help. When we walked back out the door he CHASED AFTER US INTO THE PARKING LOT. Sorry, not buying from you.

      2. Koko*

        When I worked at a pizza place I always just treated upselling like any other part of the script. “Would you like to add breadsticks or soda to your order?” I would ask once and if they said No I would just move on, I didn’t actually try to sell the sides, I just read the question the same as I read, “Thanks for calling Your Local Pizza Place, this is Koko, will this be carryout or delivery?”

        Interestingly I read something a while back about how people spend more money when they order food online, partly because the online ordering system is better at upselling drinks and sides than human employees, who are often so uncomfortable with selling that they won’t even ask.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          We had to do that at the cafe in CA. “Would you like a pasta salad with your sandwich?” I asked because I was supposed to, but if they said no, I dropped it after that. I hate when people push me; I wasn’t going to do it to them.

          1. Chinook*

            This type of upselling is so ingrained that, when I was teaching ESL in Japan, one of the chapters in the textbook for beginner English was called “Do you want fries with that?”

          2. Stranger than fiction*

            Yeah I’ve had to do that working at restaurants too. The key for any of this is exactly that – ask once then drop it before you annoy your customers.

        2. Sarah*

          Yeah, I used to pretty casually add on the “do you want x to make it a combo?” at the coffee shop chain I worked at. But I only did it because lots of people would assume they had ordered the combo when in reality they had not, and it made my life easier when people weren’t coming back to me 5 minutes later and demanding to know where the hashbrown they never ordered was.

          I was training a new guy once and the area manager happened to be in the store. He “demonstrated” upselling to the new employee by badgering a customer two or three times to buy a donut with his coffee – and it completely failed. The customer was visibly annoyed and left with only his coffee. The area manager acted unfazed and was telling the new guy, “See, that’s how you do it!” As soon as the area manager left, I turned to the new guy and was like, “Aaaand I’m sure you see that’s why we do not do that.”

          1. Bowserkitty*

            I can understand upselling a drink, but a donut!? damn. That’s a HUGE afterthought.

    5. Lion*

      I do this too! I totally get that employees have to do this so I’m not unreasonable but after I’ve said no twice and then also sort of given a warning type of message like “I said no, please don’t ask me again” I’ll walk away if they ask me again (this can vary depending on how pushy they are being). I once had a sales guy follow me out of the shoe department at Macy’s after I did this, trying to apologize and get my sale back, but he was incredibly rude so that obviously didn’t work out well for him.

    6. OhNo*

      I wonder if there is any free thing that OP can push instead of the credit card? It doesn’t help much on the customer end, but it might help with the ethical issue they’re having, while still making them look good to management.

      I know when I worked for Major BookStore, I was required to offer the paid version, but I only ever pushed (as much as I did push, anyway, which wasn’t much) the free clubs or email lists. Management was happy because it looked like I was really trying to sell the customer on something, and I didn’t have to feel bad about trying to make the customer pay for something that simply wasn’t worth it.

      1. Poohbear McGriddles*

        The store probably has an arrangement with the loan sharks… I mean credit card companies. GE Capital used to be a big one. They will sometimes offer “90 days same as cash” deals. The catch is if a payment is late then the interest is retroactive.
        Stores also know that people will spend more when they can buy now and pay later. At least, that is what the consultants tell them.

    7. penny*

      I was at a little market/ fair where vendors setup and the Tupperware lady was so incredibly pushy all I could think about was escaping. I like Tupperware and was actually considering buying something until she wouldn’t leave me alone and trying to push items on me I didnt want.

  2. Amy Farrah Fowler*

    To OP4, I feel your pain. There is one retailer that gets kinda pushy with me sometimes. Several years ago I had serious hassles with their store card (when my mother who had a card as well made a payment, they applied it to the wrong acct and charged all kinds of late fees. It was a fiasco and needless to say we both cancelled our cards). I still shop there because they have cute clothes, but whenever they don’t take no for an answer the first time, I launch into the story of the issues I had and hope it discourages other customers in hearing range from opening a card as well…

    1. Audiophile*

      Wow, that sounds like a huge mess. Do you have the same or similar sounding names?

      I’ve worked retail and unfortunately been in the position of having to push credit cards on customers, one store made it a competition between employees. I actively stopped participating the day I had a Latino customer applying for a store card and another customer berated him while he did. I felt awful, attempted to call management or security and unfortunately no one came quick enough to stop the situation, the rude customer eventually went to a different register.

      1. Emelle*

        I had issues with the CC sign ups at the register because it grinds everything to a screeching halt. I could crank people through a line with good customer service, or I can stop everything and piss off my line by opening a line of credit. Guess what? I choose to get people through the back to school line with a minimum amount of wait inflicted by me.
        One store I worked for in high school actually dinged you if the credit line was rejected.

        1. Bowserkitty*

          What!? How is that your fault!?

          And I agree, I hate it when people in front of me sign up for a card…

          1. Windchime*

            Me, too. I just want to buy my shampoo and get out of there (I’m looking at you, Target).

            1. beachlover*

              seriously! I was in Target the other day and the cashier was trying to get a guy buying a single soda to sign up for their “debit” card. The guy was on his lunch and just wanted the damn soda!

              1. Poohbear McGriddles*

                But he could have saved 5%!

                Penalizing the employee because a credit application is rejected can’t lead to good things. What happens when the employees start “profiling” customers to determine who to offer it to?

        2. Audiophile*

          I’ve never heard of dinging the employee if a customer’s application is rejected. That’s ridiculous. What does that accomplish? I’d be even less likely to push people to sign up for credit cards.

      2. Petronella*

        I don’t understand this story. A customer berated another customer? Why? For applying for a store card? For falling for your sales pitch? Who was Latino and what does being Latino have to do with the story?
        Anyway, everyone I know who works or has ever worked in retail, myself included, avoided mentioning the store card. It’s just the worst upsell to try to do and makes customers the angriest.

        1. Loose Seal*

          My take on this story is: There was a customer who happened to be Latino who was in the process of applying for the store card. The customer behind was rude and/or loud enough that the cashier (our poster) tried to get security to come over to deal with loud and/or rude customer.

          I assume that the ethnicity is important to this story because the loud/rude customer was using his ethnicity in none too great a way when commenting that they were being delayed. Or there was a language barrier that was making the original transaction take longer than usual.

          (I am having terrible lag right now. Apologies if this double-posts or if the poster comes back to clarify and I shouldn’t have commented.)

          1. Audiophile*

            Loose Seal, has the story correctly. I should have added more context, sorry.

            The Latino customer was applying for a credit card and the rude customer, not Latino, berated him.

            “You’re probably here illegally. Go back across the border,” were just some of the ride things hurled at this guy.

            I attempted to get someone to intervene, security or management, but no one came fast enough. I was certainly uncomfortable by the exchange and I could tell the customer was too. The rude customer eventually went to a different line.

    2. Xarcady*

      I have a part-time retail job and we have to push the credit card, as well. There’s a “goal” of opening one card for every 40 hours you work. I have yet to meet that goal, but open just enough of the cards to keep the managers off my back. I think I am the poster child in the store for “associate who can’t open credit cards.”

      I ask every customer *once* if they would like the card. Some people really want it. Some people want the discount they get for the first few days the card is open, especially if they are buying something expensive. I open one or two a month, and everyone is happy.

      The stores make huge amounts of money from the cards. They aren’t going to stop wanting more customers to have them.

      One thing that helped me was that management can track how many transactions were done with the store card–you don’t get dinged for not opening a card on those transactions. So I encourage people to use their card when they already have one–they get more shopper points, they get more coupons the more they spend, they get pop-up electronic coupons on the key pad. That brings my “failed” attempts down quite a bit, from, say, 44 on a busy day to about 20 or so.

      1. cataloger*

        I had a friend who worked at a jewelry store where they were required to get three credit card applications per week, or they’d get written up! When she wasn’t getting enough applications, she’d ask friends and family to come in and apply (some did, most did not) which I’m sure was just fine with the company too. Ugh.

    3. Lowercase holly*

      I always feel bad for the salespeople because I know it’s management wanting them to do it, but hell if I want a store card ever. Sorry, #4, that’s a crappy position to be in.

      1. Kelly L.*

        Yep. #4 is a large part of why I do a lot more internet shopping now. And of course, with every bit of market share the brick and mortar stores lose, they get more panicky and thus pushier, and it’s a vicious cycle. PLEEEAAAASE, companies, stop doing this. No one wants it.

      2. Koko*

        The Amazon store card is pretty awesome – you can choose between 5% back on any purchase, or 0% financing on purchases over $150.

    4. SophieChotek*

      I don’t have to push a credit card, thank goodness, but coffee-shop where we work, we’re always supposed to push our store loyalty card (free), our promotional coffee (expensive) and try to upsell on size (drink) and/or get customer to buy food item. We’ll get downgraded on our reviews if we don’t. (As lowercase holly said, it’s management/corporate forcing us too. One of my friends got in trouble with corporate for not asking everyone, even when he said, “but it’s the same person I see every morning at 8am for their Fancy-Named-Coffee-Beverage, they probably have not changed their mind since yesterday!”…)

      I hate it too — I am one of those people that I know what I want when I come into a(nother) store, and don’t want to waste others people’s time while I forced through my own company spiel.

      I just say it and move on…maybe if you just asked (once) and didn’t keep trying to push person after it that would satisfy?

      And like Xarcady said, similarly, our registers track how many transactions are made with store loyalty card and how many pounds we sell each week of promotional product, so as long as we do reasonably well on those scores as a store, we generally don’t get yelled at too much by our individual store managers….

      Sorry — I feel your pain — it’s really hard to sell something you do not believe in!
      I applaud your ethical concerns….

      1. LQ*

        When I got into my coffee shop and I get a please tell us how we are doing survey I always always say that they were good BECAUSE they didn’t push me past what I usually get. I don’t know if it helps but I really try hard to be like THIS IS GOOD!

        1. SophieChotek*

          At least at my store — maybe/maybe not.
          Corporate only looks at our aggregate score; if they bothered to read our comments they’d realize why we got downgraded half the time had nothing to do with us but corporate policies…
          But it might still help, though, because if corporate manager yelled at us for pushing sales, our manager could point out that in feedback surveys our customer disliked it

          On the other hand, corporate decided to get rid of this really popular drink
          And a loyal customer that came in almost every day was super upset we got rid of it
          So every time she did a survey when she got to the “Did you have a problem on this visit” she would put “Yes” and explain that she was upset Coffee-shop got rid of her favorite drink (which we could not make, even if it was not on menu, as they took that specialty product needed for it)
          But that hurt the store’s overall feedback score, but our manager had to deal with it — all corporate cared about was that a customer experienced a problem, but would not look at the reason (it was u to the manager to fix)
          So since we know who it was…we finally asked loyal customer to stop doing that…which in theory we weren’t supposed to do either, because we aren’t supposed to manipulate scores, all we can do is point out survey and ask them to take it…

          overall though, give the feedback deserved — at least at my store, we read do actually read the comments….

          Two sides to the issue, I guess…

          1. Kelly L.*

            Wait, corporate demanded your store “fix it,” without even seeing that it was a problem that couldn’t be fixed on store level? That’s…wow.

            1. SophieChotek*

              Yes silly I agree–
              the underlying assumption with the survey seemed to be that people would complain about bad service/drink being made wrong (Did you experience a problem on your visit?) not about anything like “you took away my favourite drink” or “you raised your prices again”) — so when people complain about things like that to me when I work, I tell them to write corporate — because it doesn’t help us (actually it hurts us) if they just complain about it in their suevey

              1. Mona Lisa*

                This happens on our surveys, too. There’s a question that says something like, “If the item you wanted was not on the floor, was an employee able to locate it in the stock room for you?” It’s a question that sounds like it’s positive and about good customer service, but it actually counts against the store because it means that they didn’t have a particular size on the floor for whatever reason. The reason could be that they haven’t done replenishment for two weeks or that a two people of the same size bought the same shirt already that day, but if the item isn’t on the floor, we get dinged for it. Many people answer that question “yes” even if it’s not applicable because they think they’re being helpful.

                1. SophieChotek*

                  Good point. I don’t think I’ve ever had a survey from a retail clothing store…but good to know — because I would likely think the same thing — it wasn’t in front, but associate took time to go to back and get one for me.

                  So silly…if it’s not on the floor because you just sold two…
                  Or because Corporate messed up your order and didn’t send you what was ordered so of course you’re out….

                2. Petronella*

                  You know what, if I feel so strongly about a part of my customer experience that I actually take time to do the survey, I’m going to be honest. I’m sorry if someone in head office seeing my comment gives the store a hard time about it, but that’s the point. There’s a problem and customers have a right to comment about it. I’ve been a retail manager and I know what it’s like to be berated by head office but I didn’t expect my customers to cover up for me or not report what they perceived as bad service. Having stock in the back but none on the floor *is* a problem that rightly annoys customers and hurts sales. Discontinuing a popular drink *is* a problem and I applaud the lady who mentioned it on every single survey. What else should she have done?

                3. Kyrielle*

                  Petronella – I agree the customer was right to report it, but what else could the store have done? Corporate did not read the survey comments, they just told the store to go through and fix them, and weren’t willing to listen to the store saying that corporate policy changes (removing the drink, and removing the product used to make the drink so it couldn’t even be made “off menu”) were the issue.

                  I mean, yes, she has a right to complain about it on every survey. But if the store has told her it cannot be solved locally and corporate is ignoring the feedback about what the *actual bloody issue* does, can you blame store workers from wishing the surveys would just stop, as corporate gets on their case over something that is out of their hands because of corporate?

          2. Ghost Town*

            Honestly, when I get these surveys, if I bother to answer them, I just give straight 5s, 10s, whatever the highest rating is, and claim no problems (unless it was really bad, or I’d had the same one many times – but the complaint would only appear on one survey and I’d give glowing ratings the rest of the time). My husband recently worked in retail (assistant manager) and anything less than a 10 was a fail. Even on only one question. If it wasn’t a completely perfect score, it dinged the employee/store.

            So many people know that. I know we aren’t the only ones to artificially inflate scores when giving them. Does corporate really think they are getting honest feedback?

            1. Kyrielle*

              And conversely, if corporate thinks they’re getting honest feedback, then they’re being unfair, because if I treat those scales as honest, then a 3 (out of 5) means I’m quite content with the transaction. If I treat them as honest. As it is, how am I supposed to differentiate “this was a fine experience, I am quite pleased and will be back” from “seriously, your employee didn’t have to go to this much trouble, holy whoa that was awesome”?

              Silly corporate decisions. :(

        2. JB*

          This. A few of the stores I shop at give links for surveys, or they send them to me via email. If they ever ask if I was up-sold or asked about getting their CC, I always say no, and then how much I love it that I wasn’t. If a manager asks me if I want help (and I don’t), I will tell them that I don’t like being hounded or swarmed–nicely of course.

          Just like you, I hope that the constant “back-off” will finally get through.

      2. Loose Seal*

        This happened to me when I worked in a branch of a major Southern bank. We had to ask every customer every time if they wanted to open another type of account with us. (In banking, the more accounts the customer has under your roof, the less likely they are to close their accounts and leave if they get angry at the bank.) That policy was probably fine in the Atlanta and other large city branches because they probably saw lots of new people each week. But I was at a very, very small rural branch where we saw the same one hundred customers every week. And most of them were just dropping off the business deposit and didn’t have the ability to sign the store up for any new accounts. Plus, I felt horrible because our cheapest checking account charged an $8 fee a month back then and I knew these people didn’t make enough working at the convenience store or whatever to lose that kind of money just so I could get an upsell point.

        OP, I’d start looking for another job unless you start getting the impression that your managers are just saying the words corporate wants you to hear but aren’t terribly interested in losing a good employee over lack of customer cards.

        1. Anne (with an "e")*

          Loose Seal, I wonder if that is my bank which is based in Atlanta. I live in a smaller city where many people know each other. I have noticed that I have been asked to open more accounts; but, after declining a couple of times (on a couple of different different visits to the bank), I haven’t been asked anymore. Every single time I use their online banking system I get popup requests to open more accounts with them also. If I want to open another account, I will. I don’t need to be asked. However, it does not really bother me to be asked. The popups don’t really bug me either. I just x out of them, or click “No Thanks” and go on with my life. It’s no biggie.

      3. Pearl*

        It’s terrible that they’re expected to upsell regular customers. On the mornings I do get coffee, I’m always extremely impressed that the cashiers not only recognize some regulars but also have their coffee order memorized. And those customers always seem very happy to hear “Hi Jane, medium with cream but no sugar?” or whatever.

        I do wish I’d get more surveys after the times I buy coffee. I always rate 5/5 out of what applied to my visit (usually not food, but everything else). One of my friends worked for Giant Coffee Chain and said that anything less than a 5 was basically considered failing, at least at her location.

        1. SophieChotek*

          At my store [Giant Coffee Chain] too…it’s perfectly absurd that only a 5 is considered good.

          Personally I think that is absurd… to me a 3 should be average/met expectations…and a 5 better be for good service — like we had your drink ready for you before you got to the register because we looked outside and saw you parking your car. But that is the way the survey metrics are skewed

          I appreciate you do surveys — it does help! (And we get rated against all the other stores. Every month a list is published of all the stores, the top in district, top in state, top nationally, and we get different lists — survey scores, # of lbs of coffee sold, overall sales total, # of people who used our loyalty card, etc., etc. — so it actually matters to us if you do the surveys

          That said, if you’re really impressed, it’s more likely to stand out to corporate/manager if you write store manager directly (often via corporate)!

          1. Kelly L.*

            Right! In a sane world, 4 is a B, it means “good,” it’s not failing! You should be able to rate something with 4s if it was just generally good and not mind-blowing. If everything is mind-blowing, nothing is.

            I think the same thought has crept into some author circles as well–sometimes you’ll hear about an author going ballistic on a reviewer for giving them a 4-star review. 4 stars is good! Every book can’t be five, or else we start wanting a 6 for the truly amazing.

          2. Mabel*

            All of these comments are making me never want to work in retail. In addition to dealing with the public, you also have pressure from management to do things that sometimes go against common sense. I’m always super-friendly to clerks, baristas, cashiers, salespeople, etc. because dealing with the public is not easy.

          3. LQ*

            It is super absurd. And 5 has come to be the only acceptable thing. But it makes it hard to say. The fabulous person checked to see if I wanted it to go and got me everything and handed it to be before I even paid because they know me and are very polite and quick and helpful! If ok is a 5 then how do I say HOLY WOW AWESOME?

        2. LabTech*

          Oh gosh, the gas station I used to go to for my morning pick-me-up would try to upsell me with “Are you suuuuuure you don’t want another? It’s buy one get one free!” every. single. morning. Before I’ve had any sort of caffeine. And even try to condescendingly explain that I would be saving money that way. So I saved money by buying in bulk at the grocery store.

      4. bridget*

        Ugh! In my opinion, the BEST thing a coffee shop can do for my loyalty is remember my order. At my favorite coffee shop in my last city, Amanda started my order (on the low end of the price range) when she saw me get in line, and it was ready at the counter by the time I was ready to pay. I went to that coffee shop every damn day, even when I didn’t really feel like coffee, because it was a nice ritual and I really enjoyed saying hi to her every morning. (Yes I know she’s nice because it’s her job to be, but I was also a nice customer back). If the barista knew I ordered the same thing every day and STILL tried to upsell me, it would have the opposite effect.

    5. Zinnias Bloom*

      Target and VS are the worst offenders when it comes to pushing credit cards. I had a 10 minute discussion with a cashier at Target about why I don’t use credit cards and why I don’t believe in debt.

      1. Kyrielle*

        These days if I try to have the “I don’t need another credit card” discussion at Target, they try to upsell me on how I can get a *debit* version linked to my checking account.

        Because I totally need a second debit card. Except I do _not_.

        I’ve started telling them I don’t need one more card to keep track of. Or just ‘no’.

        1. ThatGirl*

          Yeah, we have credit cards, I have nothing against credit, I just *don’t want the Target card*. And I don’t need or want a debit card. I even worked at a Target for about 6 months and hated pushing it on people.

          1. Bibliovore*

            wait for it! So I sign up for the Target credit card making the cashier’s day. Spend a big pile of money the first month because we just moved and needed EVERYTHING. The next month I buy nothing and Target charges me a fee for NOT using the card. What the what? Canceled that day.

            1. Episkey*

              That’s bizarre! We have a Target card and have never had that happen! I actually love the Target cc, because I shop there a lot and you can double discount down by using Cartwheel + credit card.

      2. S.I. Newhouse*

        The Target near me just got self-checkouts. I am very conflicted about them because I know those machines are putting someone out of a job, but it eliminates the credit card upsell, gets me out of the store much faster, and is just so much more pleasant overall.

          1. Aurion*

            I find self-checkouts are usually more painful when it involves things on a scale (e.g. produce) or if the packaging is a little odd. Without a scan gun it’s often hard to scan the barcode if the barcode isn’t completely flat, or if it was a barcode on an egg carton (which always refuses to scan).

            But I think most things in Target have nice, neat barcodes. For those? Hell yeah, self-checkouts. Also, customers have to pay attention more often because they can’t claim the cashier told them something wrong.

            1. DMented Kitty*

              Target has very efficient self check-outs. I think the ones in platform scales work much better than those larger ones that involve conveyor belts. We had a very horrible experience at a grocery store (not Target) and decided we’re fine with the self-checkout lane since all the other lines are quite busy. Wrong move.

              Took five minutes to scan each item, then the conveyor belt tried to decide whether the item is on it or not, then I have no idea why — it would go on reverse. I was waiting to bag each item at the other end when – oh no, why is the food going away from me? The line next to us went through three or four customers before we finally was able to wrap up our purchase. Told the manager manning the self-checkout to have someone look at the terminal because it’s being temperamental. It’ll be a while before we try self-checkout at that store again.

        1. Temperance*

          I look at it this way – I pump my own gas happily to make it a quicker transaction. I don’t have a lot of time to run errands etc. I see this similarly.

        2. Katie F*

          I worked at a couple of different retail spots that had self-checkouts, and they were just gigantic theft machines. When one of the stores disabled their self-checks for six months, our inventory loss dropped by nearly 30%. 30% of our shoplifting was apparently people “using” the self-checkouts.

          It made me really conflicted about them, because I’m a big ol’ introvert and sometimes just want to check out my box of pizza and ice cream all by myself without having to interact with anyone, but at the same time I realize how horribly and constantly misused they are.

        3. Windchime*

          OMG, self-checkouts are my hot-button issue. I’m already coming into your store and buying things, now I have to do the work of ringing up my own order? I DON’T WORK HERE!! What’s next; are you going to ask me to stock the shelves and trim the vegetables in the produce department?

          1. Panda Bandit*

            That’s my reason for not using the self-checkouts, too. This is work for an employee. If I have to ring up my own stuff they should be paying me.

        4. LQ*

          I always use the self checkout. My grocery store seems to have put more people in the deli and produce and cheese departments since they introduced the self checkout. I hope I’m not putting someone out of a job. But it means I can go to the grocery store without talking to a single human being and it is glorious. And I’ve gotten pretty good at the machine so I’d say at least 75 maybe 90 percent of the time I don’t need help.

          (Though I can see how they would be huge problems with theft.)

          1. Loose Seal*

            If it makes you feel better, our large grocer said that they are able to hire more employees because of using the self-checkout machines. And I know enough people that work there who have agreed that there seem to be more people on staff. So I guess they actually can be used for good things.

        5. Bowserkitty*

          The only time I don’t use them is when I have a cart full of stuff or I know I’m going to get a $5 giftcard from buying certain items. I also thought, until recently, that you couldn’t use Cartwheel at the self-checkouts but had a friend disprove that.

        6. themmases*

          I have mixed feelings about them too.

          I don’t really mind interacting with the cashier or anything, but I was a cashier for many years in school and I was great at it. Years later, I am still faster than a lot of the cashiers at the Jewel by me, even with produce. In a very busy urban store, the time savings can be significant. I also love getting in one line for 4-6 different registers– stores should really handle them all that way.

          But Jewel provides a bunch of (low-paying, but still) union jobs right in my neighborhood. I didn’t enjoy it when they took out the self checkouts, but I was happy about it. Most of my neighbors have no business using a self checkout yet continue to do so… Those things have been around for years and they still can’t do it. In contrast most of the Jewel employees were effective on an express line within a few weeks.

        7. Talvi*

          I like the self checkouts – it makes it much less awkward to pack my grocery bags just so. (I have stood at the end of the checkout and repacked my grocery bags before. I don’t have a car; I walk home. If the cashier packs the grocery bag really illogically (even when I put it on the conveyor belt in the order I want it to go into the bag!), I need to repack it to make it comfortable and sensible for walking 15 minutes…)

      3. BeautifulVoid*

        This comment made me think “Hmm, I didn’t think Target was all that bad about pushing their store card”. Then I remembered I make sure to go to the one with the self checkouts. :D

      4. Artemesia*

        I like Target and shop there but they had a huge security breach on customer credit card data — I would never get a store related credit card but even if I would, not at Target. I learned the evils of store credit cards from my parents who explained to me how the Sears ‘revolving credit card’ scammed customers.

      5. Lindsay (Not a Temp Anymore)*

        When I worked at Target in college, we HAD to get a card in order to use our meager discount. Talk about valuing your employees…

        Still love the store. Hate the politics.

        1. Lia*

          Same here, when I worked for Carson Pirie Scott (Chicago department store chain). If your credit was too bad to qualify, they gave you a sort of gift/debit card that you had to pre-load with money to then use your discount!

        2. SophieChotek*

          Oh yeah, I forgot that — I worked at Target in college too…but the discount was better than nothing…ugh…still annoying though

      6. Jadelyn*

        The key – speaking as a former retail associate with another major chain that was unbelievably pushy about store credit cards (plus-size women’s clothing, initials LB) – is to not offer ANY reasons or excuses when you say no, because they are literally trained in scripts to counter every possible reason. If you just smile and say “No thanks!” and if pressed add “Because I don’t want one”, it acts like a glass wall that they can’t get traction on. I do make sure my tone is warmer than usual and that I’m smiling at them, because I know how wearing rejection gets and I don’t want to be hurtful, but this is a situation where “No is a complete sentence” works wonders. If they continue to push, I’ll say something like “I used to work retail, so I know you have to try to sell that card/program/whatever and I don’t hold that against you, but I’m not interested and not going to change my mind on that, so please let it go.” I’ve never had anyone push past that point.

        I remember once back in my retail days when I got scolded and narrowly avoided being written up for a situation in which I’d asked a customer about the store card, they responded that they were in the process of trying to buy their first house and needed to not have anything that could possibly mess with their credit score the way a hard-check (like when you open a new credit card or line of credit) will until after the mortgage was approved and signed and whatnot, so I backed off and instead wished them luck and preemptive congratulations on their first home. My manager came out of the woodwork after they had left and tried to tell me I should’ve countered with various scripts, which I responded to with utter incredulity…like, I’m sorry, you think I should have tried to damage someone’s chances at BUYING A DAMN HOUSE so that we can open one more piddly $500-limit store card? What is wrong with your priorities??

        We were expected to get at least one credit application per shift we worked. So if you worked three days in the week, if you didn’t have 3 applications by the end of the week, you were considered behind goal. At the end of the month, if you hadn’t made your quota based on shifts worked, you had to attend a mandatory conference call “training session” – regardless of whether you were scheduled to work that day or not, and if not, they didn’t pay you for that time. I was not remotely sorry when that store closed and I got laid off.

        1. Xarcady*

          Oh, dear lord, the scripts. When I was really not opening any cards for a couple of months, it seemed like every shift, one of the managers would come by to quiz me on what to say to the customers’ objections. I had all the scripts down pat, so they were confused about why I wasn’t opening more cards.

          Duh. The customers were just saying no. There’s not a lot to respond to that. All those scripts I memorized? Completely useless.

          1. Jadelyn*

            I once snapped at a regional manager who was trying to climb up my ass about us not selling enough bras one particular night during a big promotion deal, “Nobody who came in was buying bras. We asked. We offered. They said no thanks. What were we supposed to do, hold them hostage until they agreed to buy bras?”

      7. Papyrus*

        I actually like the Target debit card, since I go there all the time, and it saves 5%, which really adds up. However, I did it on my own time, online, where I could read the fine print. I don’t know why anyone would make the decision to sign up for a credit card without making sure there’s no insane catch or interest involved.

        Plus, it takes forever. I was stuck behind someone signing up for a card, and I just wanted to sink through the floor. Lines at Target are already so slow, it does not need anything extra halting the process. Just take the pamphlet and go home!

    6. Church Dancing Honey Mustard*

      My husband used to manage a retail store devoted to a particular item of accessories. Towards the end of his time there, they got a branded credit card and had quotas they had to make each week. He hated it for a multitude of reasons.

      I’m always very pleasant the *first* time a cashier asks but if it goes beyond that, I go into how I don’t believe it debt and have no credit cards and pay for everything with cash and how I follow the Dave Ramsey plan. That usually shuts them up. I haven’t had to do that much because most of the time they’ve only asked once. This is one of the reasons I do so much Internet shopping.

    7. INFJ*

      Ditto. Me with Macy’s. Horrible experience with their card, and actually stopped buying there for years because of it. Now that I’ve gotten over the rage, I sometimes shop there and get asked if I want to open a card: I can’t help but laugh when I say no. What I want to say is, “hello no, not in a million years!”

      1. Jadelyn*

        Ugh, Macy’s cards…Macy’s screwed up my credit pretty badly a few years ago by lying to me about posting dates for payments – I was paying off the card in-store, they promised it would post the same day, it didn’t, but because I thought it was totally paid off I didn’t think about it again until a few months later when I got a call from collections saying that I hadn’t paid my bill. Turns out it hadn’t posted, I’d gotten hit with a late fee without knowing it, and it just sat there gaining interest on that late fee for several months. I will absolutely NEVER have a Macy’s card again. I’m still trying to fix my credit score after that shit, turns out having an account go to collections does Really Bad Things to one’s credit score.

        1. LD*

          You can fight them on that. It’s time consuming and not necessarily pleasant, but it can be done. DLTBGYD. (Don’t let the b….. get you down.)

    8. N*

      I was in that boat once OP4. What worked for the best salespeople at my store was simply saying, “Can I get your email address?” as they checked people out and then signing them up for the company credit card/rewards card that way. Is it ethical? Eh. I stopped working there because it also made me really anxious and just felt gross, but you could try that strategy if leaving isn’t an option.

      1. Ife*

        I’m pretty sure you can’t sign someone up for a credit card without a lot of personal data, like SSN and date of birth, which you can’t get just from an email address. And even if you had that data, it’s probably illegal to sign someone up for a credit card without their, you know, consent. I would certainly throw an epic shit-fit if a store signed me up for a *credit card* (rather than rewards card or something like that) without even asking.

        1. DMented Kitty*

          I’ve asked a few cashiers why they are asking for my email, most of the time it’s for future promotions/coupons or the option to send you an emailed receipt. I don’t think an email address is enough to create a credit card account.

          This is why I have multiple email addresses — I give certain people my ‘formal’ email for serious stuff, I have another for any promotions I might be interested in (or accounts requiring transactions that they might sell to other vendors and may get spam), and another email account that I rarely check because they’re there for just straight-out spam. I’m glad Google is a lot better with filtering out spam now.

    9. Rebecca in Dallas*

      This was one of the things I hated most about being a department store manager. Its a trickle- down effect, the pressure comes from corporate all the way down. And I get it, it’s a good way to get more revenue. The store isn’t paying the fee that they normally would if the customer was using a Visa or MC. A customer who has a store card is going to shop at that store more frequently and spend more each time. But I agree, if someone says no, that should be the end of it.

      Of course the great irony was that the store’s founder was deeply opposed to credit. I still think that a big part of the reason why I was on the chopping block when it was time for layoffs was because I didn’t push credit the way a lot of managers did.

  3. Thomas E*

    1: Personally, I’d not flood the internet with social media. Instead, I’d find blogs and forums on your professional area and write good guest posts / forum posts / articles etc. I might even make a professional video tutorial on youtube.

    Basically, replacing bad old content with professional content that an employer would be interested in.

    1. Bluesboy*

      This is definitely the way to go if you have time. If you don’t have time you can do it in a smaller way by writing reviews on Amazon for books and material relative to your job. 5 minutes per review is all it takes, it pushes bad results down the search results and shows an interest in the profession with just a fraction of the time it takes to really write good quality posts and articles.

      Your advice is definitely better than mine, it’s just that personally I struggle to find the time to do that (also you obviously need to make sure that you are careful what you say if you’re in an industry where people have strongly different opinions).

    2. SophieChotek*

      Not sure about this, but if you haven’t got an active LinkedIn Profile with full name — like maybe if you add publications or conference papers/presentations that would also help push that to the top. Research Gate and Academia.edu I think have similar pages, as do professional societies–those might all be options that would be more “professional” and probably would not take too much time…

      Also answering questions under quora might help…though I am not sure that’s really the best way to go! — but if you write “good” answers (similar to Amazon reviews)….(actually I find that rather disturbing that the few random questions I have answered on quora come up on the first page…anyway…)

      1. OhNo*

        I signed up for Academia.edu when I was in school, and even though I don’t have anything uploaded there, it did push some less important things off the front page. I think it could be beneficial to get an account there even if you don’t have anything to upload. You can follow people in your profession and demonstrate your interest in professional development.

        Also, a huge +1 to professional organizations. I didn’t even realize that when I became active in a local org that it would change the Google results for my name, but my god. The number of results for my name now makes it look like I’m amazingly active in the profession, even though all I did was serve on a board one year and do one presentation.

    3. Rat Racer*

      This is better than my advice, which was to run a bunch of foot races. That’s basically all that shows up when you google my name. Hooray for 29th place in a 5k in Bakersfield circa 2003!

      1. Libby*

        That was going to be my advice! My results are mostly local races.

        Apparently there is a woman with MyFirst MyMaidenName now who is an indie singer, so I’m covered for all my youthful internet indiscretions, you have to go multiple pages back to find anything related to me.

    4. AMT*

      Conspiracy theory: the whole reason Alison writes this blog is to cover up some horrific Harry Potter/Star Trek crossover fanfiction from her dark teenage past.

    5. themmases*

      This is what I would do/have done too.

      Usually when I’m Googling someone for a professional reason, I am only looking for a handful of things and when I find them, I’ll stop: LinkedIn, some kind of bio on their company or professional organization website, a personal website/portfolio/somewhere they host their resume, or maybe something that is half personal half professional like a Google profile or a blog.

      I think if the OP can have those things, a) they will probably push the fanfic onto page 2 or 3 where no one will go; and b) they will tick all of the boxes of what someone was probably looking for, so they won’t look at other stuff no matter where it is.

  4. Dan*


    TBH, credit is like any other “tool” we have in this country — there are responsible and irresponsible ways to use it. I’m a very heavy user of credit, and don’t need a financial advisor to open a card. Let me be very honest with you: People aren’t going to have credit trouble because of *you*. No more so than people have trouble with gambling because of the convenience store clerk or casino, or alcoholics have trouble with alcohol because of the liquor store owner.

    I’m a data analyst for a living, and I actually have very real problems with the way most chain retail and restaurant companies are implementing “data driven” business approaches — particularly the ones that involve an “in your face” approach with customers. (My objections have to do with the fact that quality of data changes when it becomes a less-than-voluntary activity.) In this case, I’m assuming OP works for Target. I’m sure the early days of the “save 5% with Target’s credit card” saw a lot of “engaged” customers — these were people who were already frequent shoppers, and probably spent even more because they were “saving” 5%. But it’s a fallacy to assume that current and future sign ups will spend at the same rate, because we aren’t already engaged customers.

    Anyway, I have to listen to the Target pitch every time I walk out of the store. I’ve dealt with it, as a simple “No thank you” has sufficed. However, if Target is going to make their employees become more pushy, I’m going to have a very candid talk with the manager about whether I need to take my business to Wal Mart or just shop more on Amazon, because I will never sign up for the Target CC.

    And why won’t I sign up for the Target credit card? Two reasons: 1) It’s not rewarding enough and 2) the major players in the loyalty credit card program are starting to crack down on those who sign up for too many credit cards. I won’t sign up for a credit card unless the bonus is worth at least $400 — and that’s just the upfront bonus. I maybe spend $1200/yr at Target, so I’d be “saving” about $60, meaning it will take over 6 years to achieve my threshold. As for 2) Chase is now rejecting people who have opened 5 or more accounts in the last two years. Chase is a heavy player in the miles and points game. This means that an account “approval” actually comes at a cost, and Target is nuts if they think $50/year is enough compensation.

    Anyway, if I ever get a pushy cashier, and particularly one who claims their job is on the line, I’m going to have a nice long talk with the manager about where I should be doing my shopping. And yes, I’ll be nice to the cashier.

    1. Audiophile*

      I worked at Target, back in those “early” days. I never applied for the card, but I didn’t really push them on other people either.

      I never really broke down the math on the “savings” but once you do, boy is it not worth it.

      1. Mona Lisa*

        At my old store, my manager would ask every time I made a purchase if I wanted a card with this little smile on his face. It bugged me because he knew that I wasn’t going to get it, and I had explained why several times. I get cashiers at other stores within our brand who ask me about getting the card, too, and if they get pushy, my response becomes, “Look, if I’m not going to sign up for the card and give my own store the credit, there is no way that I’m going to do it for yours.”

    2. Xarcady*

      I completely stopped shopping at Filenes, an old-time Boston chain, now Macy’s, because they forced their salespeople to ask at least three times each and every sale. Just way to pushy for me.

      1. Lynn Whitehat*

        DSW shoes asks me 5 times every time I buy shoes there, no joke. In case I have mid- stage Alzheimer’s and forgot I just said no 4 times?

    3. AthenaC*

      “Credit is like any other “tool” we have in this country — there are responsible and irresponsible ways to use it.”

      As a fellow heavy user of credit, I completely agree.

      Also, very interesting info about the cost / benefit to different cards. I had no idea!

    4. One of the Sarahs*

      I don’t know what it’s like in the USA, but in the UK, storecards are not recommended as good ways of credit, unless the owner pays the full balance off every month, as in general they have a higher rate of interest than bank credit cards. And if a person has more than a certain number of credit + storecards, it lowers their credit score, so I am completely on the side of the retail employees who don’t push them on customers.

      1. Loose Seal*

        They aren’t recommended as good ways of credit in the U.S. either for the exact same reasons. But the stores are making enough money on them to risk alienating some customers. I’m sure it will continue to be a problem for some time to come.

        I once had a cashier ask me in response to my “No, thank you,” if I didn’t want to save any money that day (a response I’m sure she was taught at a regional corporate meeting). I gave her my most brilliant smile and said, “Oh no. I much prefer to pay full price whenever I can.” I watched the confusion on her face the rest of the time she was scanning stuff for me. I could practically see her thinking, “She *wants* to spend more money? WFT?” I did feel sorry for her being in that position; she probably needed to work and was doing what she was asked to do by her boss. But I needed to buy my damn toilet paper without having to listen to a spiel that certainly benefits them more than me.

        1. Amber T*

          After opening a new account with a different bank, I was closing a savings account with an old bank but leaving my checking account open. I was discouraged left right and center by the bank manager, with her final argument being “I guess you don’t like saving money.” Like you, I just smiled and said, “Nope, I hate it.” Helpful hint to management of service/retail – if you’re trying to sell something, don’t ridicule your customers for something stupid (not that I think anyone on this forum would).

          (And, I’m apologizing in advance, but this is the first time I’m seeing your username, so obligatory WATCH OUT FOR THAT LOOSE SEAL! I’M NOT AFRAID OF LUCILLE joke.)

        2. Grapey*

          Sources that give advice to people seeking financial literacy tend to not start off with the nuance of how credit scores work, and assume that those looking to establish credit can’t afford to pay off multiple store cards in full every month. So the general advice out there tends to be “omg store cards are bad”.

          However if one DOES pay in full every month, having revolving credit will have a very positive effect on your score once the initial ding from the hard inquiry passes.

          That aside, I hate it when cashiers (actually their corporate overlords as you mentioned) assume the general public is so dumb as to fall for the “you don’t want to save money?” spiel. I’ve had that pulled on me at Macy’s and I just left the thing I was going to buy at the counter and said “You’re right, I’ll save money by not buying this to begin with.” (said kindly, since I figured the cashier was just following orders)

          1. Lynn Whitehat*

            I once called a financial planner and made an appointment to discuss investing with him. Then I was invited skiing with my boyfriend (now husband). So I tried to move the appointment a week later. The financial planner tried not to let me change it, “if you don’t want to increase your wealth right now, I GUESS that’s your choice.” Boyfriend’s brother is a financial planner himself, and nearly sprained something twist in around in his chair when I told him this story. “You called him? No one ever calls us! And then he PUSHED TOO HARD?”

        3. Ife*

          Excellent response. “Do Not Engage/Do Not Say Yes” is my motto on those things tactics too. It’s very hard to argue with a repeated flat “no.” My fiance still likes to explain his reasoning behind saying no, and he gets drawn into long conversations about the merit of X Product as a result.

        4. Marzipan*

          When they respond to my ‘no thank you’ with ‘You could save 15% if you take out the card today!’ I always point out that I can very easily save 100% by just not buying whatever I’m at the checkout with. It ends the conversation fairly quickly.

      2. Grapey*

        Same way in the US.

        However, it’s a common fallacy that having a lot of cards lowers your score. Hard inquiries lower a score – this occurs during the approval stage of applying for an account, so attempting to open like 5 different cards in a short time span will tank your score. If you have low utilization (credit used divided by credit granted) and have had the cards open for a long time, it does far more good for your credit score than not having any accounts at all.

        Basically lenders just want to know you have a history of paying things back. A lot of NEW accounts don’t show that history which is why inquiries tend to ding scores.

        1. One of the Sarahs*

          I used to work in a UK bank, where definitely having more than X cards lowered one’s score. Multiple applications do, but so does having certain numbers of active credit (although so does having NO active credit!). Obviously different institutions have different criteria, but I’m speaking from experience here.

      3. AthenaC*

        I don’t carry a balance on any of my store cards, but having the card tends to be worth it for the extra savings you can get. Like Kohls – once or twice a year when we get a 30% off coupon we will go raid the clearance section for clothes. If you work the system and don’t carry a balance you can do really well with certain store cards.

        1. Amber T*

          I agree. I have store cards for Kohls, Target, and VS, and they all get paid off immediately. I think I shop at VS maybe once a year, after they’ve bombarded with enough coupons to make it worth it.

        2. Rebecca in Dallas*

          Yeah, I have a few store cards for places where I already shop often. It’s a good way to get advance notice of sales, extra coupons, etc. I don’t carry a balance on them.

    5. CeeCee*

      Target is the one I struggle with most. They pitch that the card is like a debit card and I politely decline. Then if I go to pay using my debit card, I’ve gotten “Why wouldn’t you go for the card. You’re using your debit card anyway. Think of the savings.”

      On more than one occasion, I’ve had to sternly tell the cashier that I said I wasn’t interested.

      There is one particularly pushy cashier I always try to avoid because I’ve literally had to stop her mid – pitch #3 and ask her, kind of rudely actually, if she understood what “I’m not interested, but thank you” meant. … *not proud of that one….

      1. JessaB*

        It’s bad enough pushing a store card on someone that is an actual credit card. There is no way in the UNIVERSE that I will connect some other company’s system to my debit card. And if I have to move money over like it’s a gift card, I have no reason to bother. Heck no. I don’t trust especially Target, they’ve had two breaches.

        1. CeeCee*

          I’ve gone off on that rant at a cashier before. (I’m obviously not the greatest consumer, but when people get pushy I tend to push back.)

          After asking me multiple times, I flat out said. “I’m fully aware that your company is gaining quite a reputation for security breaches. I have no interest in participating.”

      2. Jubilance*

        But the Target REDcard DOES have a debit option – so they aren’t lying to you. They offer both a traditional credit card and a debit card that is linked to your bank account but gives you 5% off on all purchases. If you aren’t interested, that’s fine, but they are giving you the true story.

        1. Bowserkitty*

          Agreed with this – it might take a day or two to come out of your account but I’ve done really well with it, and I don’t think I spend any more or less as a result of getting the card. But only the debit one.

          1. Bowserkitty*

            (I mean to say I haven’t been more inclined to BUY BUY BUY as a result of having the card.)

          2. ChrysantheMumsTheWord*

            I actually like it because I live in a state with a 5% sales tax so it saves me from crossing state lines to a store without sales tax. ;)

        2. Qmatilda*

          Another vote in favor of the Target Red Debit Card. It is literally connected to your bank account and comes out a day or two later. my 5% savings have been very nice over the years I’ve had it.

          1. JB*

            Me too. By the time you stack coupons on top of the 5% at Target, it adds up to a fair amount of savings.

            I actually have two checking accounts, one that my bills come out of and that I never carry the card for, and a “spending” account that my Target and Nordstrom Debit accounts are linked to and that I use for any non-recurring type stuff. I’ve never had any problems, but if I did the account could be closed without a lot of headache since they only things it is tied to are those two cards.

          2. Dan*

            TBH, what you like is what I hate. Back in the day before I had much credit established, I used my debit card. I once had the debit card compromised, and my bank account was wiped out. Imagine my surprise when three transactions in a row were declined, I checked my balance, and it was negative — somebody made three different transactions totaling over $800. I got my money back within a week, but when you got bills to pay, that week was too long.

            To this day, ain’t nobody gets their hands on my debit card, except the ATM machine. I’m not willing to take that risk. As others have noted, Target has been the victim of two breaches. So no, Target especially won’t get their paws on anything with a direct connection to my bank account.

            1. Jinx*

              I’m the same way. I’ve never lost any money, thankfully, but I’d much rather risk fraudulent charges on a credit card than the theft of actual money. I use credit cards for everything and pay them off immediately.

              As a side note, my husband and I were involved in one of those Target breaches. Our bank cancelled our cards as soon as they found out, but we haven’t really cared for Target since.

      3. BronxRosie*

        Pier One is my pet peeve. I stopped going in there, even though I like their stock. The sales people follow you around and ask you a zillion questions. Sometimes, I am just buying a small item — a candle, a coffee mug for less than $10 and they are pushing their credit card at you for a 20% savings. I know it is not the salespeople’s fault, but it makes it an unpleasant experience.

      4. Anon Moose*

        From experience: Its linked to your debit card which is linked to your checking, which means when everyone’s security is breached it means that its a HUGE pain in butt to get it all changed and protect yourself.
        Props to Target for offering free monitoring to those affected a few years ago, but yeah, NOT DOING THAT AGAIN.

    6. JessaB*

      Also nowadays with the major card breaches all over town, I’m highly unlikely to open a new card ANYWHERE except with a major bank that has the backing to fix issues immediately. I don’t actually have a credit card right now, but when I’ve an issue with my debit card, I can get a bank officer on the phone and they’ve fixed it while I was talking to them. If I wanted a new CC I’d get it from them.

      1. J.B.*

        I have a credit card that gives me points. I will use that credit card over a store card any day. Although they weren’t super on the ball when it was stolen, I got the money back. It certainly wasn’t on my debit card!

        My credit union on the other hand, called me as soon as someone tried to submit questionable transactions. I love my credit union. They never push stuff either.

        1. Jadelyn*

          +100 for credit unions – I’ve banked with one since I left college, and am now working for another CU, and I will never ever go back to traditional banks.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        Same here. I can’t get a credit card but my bank card is better protected. My bank sent me a message after the Target Black Friday breach (I had actually been in the store that day looking for a child’s present) and replaced my card quickly. I didn’t have to do a thing. Would the store have been that responsive? Doubt it.

    7. Mike C.*

      Agreed, thought their ability to predict pregnancies through coupons is rather uncanny.

      1. Bowserkitty*

        I used to think that was wild but now it’s silly – I bought some things for my baby niece after she was born and now Target thinks I have kids…

        I have cats!

        1. Elizabeth West*

          You can make this work for you, Bowserkitty.

          Get them some baby clothes.
          Dress them up.
          Put pictures of baby cats on mugs and t-shirts.
          Sell them online.


              1. Bowserkitty*

                You should have seen his face when I tried wrangling him into a Santa suit once. His eyes were completely dilated and he looked betrayed. LOL

                1. Jadelyn*

                  OMG that is a cat that is regretting every single one of his life choices that led to that moment.

      2. Jax*

        Target sent me a big “Congratulation’s on your new bundle of joy” flyer once. My boyfriend got the mail and when I got home he showed it to me and said “uh…do you have something to tell me?” I have no idea what I bought that led them to think I was pregnant (I buy shoes and cat food there) but that was 2 years ago and still no pregnancy.

          1. leukothea*

            My friend who miscarried received boilerplate “Congratulations on your new baby!” emails around the time the due date would have been, based on some type of data harvesting based on shopping or browsing she’d done early in the pregnancy. She was devastated.

            It’s not in the company’s interest to send this kind of message unless people have specifically requested them.

        1. Yeah*

          I kept getting those stupid flyers and coupons for MONTHS after I miscarried. It was salt in the wound every single time, particularly because I was dealing with fertility issues on top of it all and I couldn’t just get pregnant at the drop of a hat.

          1. Loose Seal*

            I’m so sorry. That happened to me too. As if the anticipated date wasn’t already burned into my brain. Those were some weepy months on my therapist’s couch.

    8. Pen and Pencils*

      I worked at Target in high school, after the new age limits on credit cards were set. I was 16, you can’t get a credit card without a parent co-signing until something like 18 or 20. I was repeatedly given lower scores on reviews, given “training sessions”, and told I would be fired MULTIPLE TIMES for not having a target card. Why they couldn’t understand that even if I wanted one, I couldn’t get one legally is still mind boggling to me.

      They also gave me poor reviews for not having enough availability for shifts, but I couldn’t open it up further because once again, I was in highschool and shocker classes are during the day at times I cannot control. I also had a manager tell me that I would be fired if I didn’t give to their United Way campaign. They also scheduled my first day of work on Black Friday, never gave me any formal training, and then discovered 5 month later I had never taken the test to be able to sell alcohol. I had been selling alcohol for 5 months without knowing that you aren’t allowed to check IDs until you were 18. I eventually ( a year later) quit the week before Black Friday and told them to shove it. If I had known any better at the time I should have sued them.

    9. bridget*

      I’ve recently hit my 5/24 max for Chase signup bonuses, but I stretched it out pretty far by being *very* selective of the other cards I signed up for (and making sure my husband didn’t add me as an authorized user on any of his). Sorry competitors, you’re going to have to up the ante considerably to let me give up on a potential Chase signup.

      1. Dan*

        The loyalty game fascinates me. It’s a very competitive space, and we consumers need to understand just how much power we have.

        1. bridget*

          Definitely. And I get an extra thrill because the credit card companies’ whole business model is set up to take advantage of ordinary people and squeeze unearned dollars out of them. I’m not sure I can really do anything about that in the short term, but I like that individual people can use that system to take advantage of the credit card companies right back. I’ve received thousands of dollars worth of benefit and the credit card companies haven’t seen a dime of interest from me.

          1. Dan*

            Same. My primary bank tried to pitch me on their proprietary program, and I just looked at the banker and said, “The cards I use take me to Europe in business class round trip for free, and got me 20 nights in hotels without paying much more than $200. Can your card help me do that?”

            She looks at me and stammers out a “No.”

            Thanks, but no thanks!

    10. themmases*

      I agree with you on all of this. There is lots of data about purchasing decisions that I think stores aren’t collecting (e.g. people who avoid the store or leave to avoid sales pitches) or are using inappropriately (like the stories elsewhere in the thread about policy-related survey complaints being kicked down to stores). Stores love these cards because they function as a loyalty program and are profitable in themselves… They are basically double-dipping by financing their customers’ purchases of their own products. But they can’t, or at least don’t, measure all the people they’re turning off.

      I never use my debit card at Target, only credit. Every dollar I spend on a Target card is a dollar I don’t put towards cash back on my own credit card that I could have spent and earned wherever I wanted. Even though I don’t carry a balance, 5% at Target really does not compensate me for that. I used to work at Target and would only ask about the card if my boss was standing right there. At the time employees got 10% off all the time, and our customers got 10% for signing up and again every $1000 they spent. I knew I was asking people to sign up for a worse deal than they offered their minimum wage employees.

  5. irene*

    selling credit cards was one of my least favorite things about working retail, and it completely soured me on any kind of sales-adjacent job. even volunteering to encourage donations to a very worthy nonprofit made me feel skeevy, because the methods were so similar to the credit card upsells. (how did i last for 6 years?)

    i feel so guilty now, too, when i go out shopping because i remember the pressure on me to sell the cards, and when i say No to the salesclerks about giving my email or signing up for a card, i know that i could be helping their numbers but i’m not (especially when the clerk has been very helpful). there shouldn’t be any guilt! and the clerks shouldn’t be required to be so pushy!

    i’d guess that at least 2/3 of any credit card sign ups, the customer had planned to get a card already for whatever reason and the remaining group were wealthy or imagined they were wealthy and didn’t have to care what they said yes to.

    (I ESPECIALLY hated the gamification of upsells, and when my boss at an admissions desk instituted a goal of 3 annual passes upsold per shift with a prize for the people who met their weekly goal, i about rebelled. i think that was the first time i seriously considered walking out of that job, which i otherwise loved.)

    1. Mike C.*

      Let me guess – first place was a new car, second place a set of steak knives and third place was your job?

  6. Elizabeth the Ginger*

    OP #4, you’re inspiring me to write (or tweet…) to corporate next time I get a credit card pushed on me at a store. I can live with the initial offer because they’re so ubiquitous, but anyone who keeps asking after my “No, thanks, not interested” bugs me. I know it’s not the cashier’s decision to be pushy, so I turn them down politely – but now I feel inspired to push back towards those who actually do make the decisions.

    1. Bowserkitty*

      I was just thinking the same thing. I’m tempted to go to every store website right now and send in feedback.

    2. Cayenne Pepper*

      My thoughts exactly! The next time it happens to me, I will go straight to the company’s Facebook page and share my thoughts.

  7. A Signer*

    #4, I worked as a cashier at Kmart during the recession and was told the same thing as you. I just couldn’t pressure customers to sign up for a card with such a high interest rate and annual fee during the economic turmoil of the time.

    One day my manager asked me if I asked every customer to sign up for the credit card. I answered honestly. He asked me why not (a secret shopper had caught me not asking) and I explained my ethical issues with doing so. I wasn’t written up or fired and I was the only employee in my cohort to receive a raise that year, but I was moved to the apparel department a month after that conversation. It turned out to be a win-win situation–I worked there for two more years before college, where I restructured our lingerie and jewelry departments and increased sales but didn’t have to do something I wasn’t comfortable with.

    If you know your manager is a reasonable person who would like to keep you on the team, it might be worth it to just level with her. I’d also keep in mind whether there are any openings in other departments that might suit you. It could be a good compromise.

  8. caryatis*

    OP#4 is presenting a false dichotomy. There’s a middle ground between being ultra-pushy about the credit cards and completely refusing to mention them (“I don’t feel comfortable asking anyone [to] sign up for one.”) You probably do have to start asking people to sign up, because it’s part of the job and just refusing to do it looks very bad. But that doesn’t mean you have to go to the other extreme. I would start asking people if they want to sign up, accept “no” if they say no, and see if that’s enough to satisfy management.

    1. Bluesboy*

      Yes, I noticed this. Maybe it’s the wording, but “I don’t feel comfortable ASKING anyone…” strikes me as a little weird. Why exactly does she feel she can’t give me the choice of making my own financial decisions?

      You ask. I say no. You say “thanks anyway!” and we’re done. Or, you ask, I say “please, tell me more”. You tell me more. I make a decision, as an adult, to sign up or not sign up.

      Your company is insisting that you push, even after being told no multiple times. I sympathise, really. But if you at least start asking you really aren’t doing anything wrong morally by letting me choose for myself, and you show management that you’re at least making an effort.

      1. anon again*

        I agree that the OP should start asking each customer about the cards, as that may go toward helping to show she’s trying. But that may not ultimately help in the long-run. I worked as a bank teller where we all had goals (read: quotas) for how many products we needed to sell each month (debit cards, CDS, etc.). Our performance evaluations were almost solely about our sales progress and staff were put on probation and denied raises for not meeting their goals.

        Unfortunately, the OP does need to determine if she feels strongly enough against this aspect of the job to make a change. As one person already mentioned, that could be switching to a different department in that store. Or looking for a different employer or industry. As long as retailers think these pushy tactics work, cashiers will be expected to have this as a component of their job at some places.

        1. Bluesboy*

          You’re absolutely right, I’m just saying she should at least try asking if she has an issue with being too pushy. It’s worth a go, the company might accept it. As you say, she can also consider changing department or company, but if the company accepts that she’s making an effort that would potentially buy her more time to find something appropriate or another solution.

          If the company doesn’t accept it as enough she might need to leave anyway, and I could understand somebody making a moral stand about pushing people to risk getting into more debt. But I can’t see why she won’t even ask the customer if she’s interested (assuming caryatis and I are reading her comment correctly).

    2. Jubilance*

      Agreed. There’s a big difference between asking once and asking 5 times. I’ve worked retail and had to ask people to sign up, and I’d always ask once and be one with it. Once I got pulled aside because I didn’t ask a Secret Shopper, but the person was buying a $10 tank top! Who wants a 10% discount and a credit card for that?

  9. Stephanie*

    #4: Yeah, I hated this when I worked retail. Our cards had a 25% APR – the manager even told us to cover up the APR when presenting the application. I was just working at the store during Christmas break from college (and was one of the better cashiers), so even if I did get fired, I just lost my winter break fun money. I felt bad for people whose livelihoods depending on hawking those damn cards.

    1. Audiophile*

      That is shady.

      Anytime, I apply for any credit card, I make sure I know the APR. And store cards are always the worst. plus despite what many people think, they don’t really help your credit profile.

      1. Grapey*

        Why don’t they help a credit profile? In my experience they’ve boosted mine. (Or at least haven’t had a negative affect other than the initial inquiry.)

        1. Bowserkitty*

          Same, they keep raising the limits on mine which means I have thousands of available credit and a better ratio of usage, leading to a better score.

          1. Stephanie*

            Yeah, I got a store card when I worked at a store. You got your employee discount via a store credit card or debit card (you got the latter if you didn’t qualify for the credit card). It had a super low limit (like $100), so I always paid it off. I don’t shop at that store very often anymore, but even with the ridiculous APR, it’s good to keep it open since it’s been open a decade.

  10. Stephanie*

    #2: Magic and Rush Limbaugh videos – this guy sounds delightful. Your managers sound like they’re being wimps and just hoping this guy retires before they have to deal with the problem (or hope he makes the problem disappear with his magic tricks).

    1. Joseph*

      Hey now, credit where it’s due: He’s managed to conjure up a way to get paid for doing no work while convincing the audience that he’s unfireable.

      Forget sawing a person in half or pulling rabbits from a hat, THIS is real Class A magic.

      1. Gazebo Slayer (formerly I'm a Little Teapot)*

        My immediate thoughts on #2 all came from playing too much Dragon Age.

        More seriously: people like your boss harm people who actually deal with real employment discrimination – because they make discrimination laws look like they exist to protect terrible employees and give “special rights” to people in a particular category.

        Also: is this guy watching Rush Limbaugh with the sound on? Because considering the rampant misogyny, racism, etc. being constantly exposed to that is going to be really unpleasant for other employees, especially people in the categories that Rush and his guests degrade. I know that if I were working in such an environment, I would feel it was hostile to me. If your boss is so concerned about discrimination complaints, maybe he should think about that.

        1. JessaB*

          Yeh but Gazebo you’re right. Limbaugh is a potload of stuff that makes for the actual legal definition of hostile environment to women and minorities (both race and religion.) You play Limbaugh at volume and I totally have a case for you trying to run me out of the building (I hit a LOT of the categories that Limbaugh bashes regularly.)

      2. Koko*

        I’m so baffled by how the manager thinks he can’t fire him. Does he think nobody over 40 ever gets fired??

  11. Seal*

    #2 – Alison is correct: the key is to focus on this guy’s performance, not his age. A decade ago I inherited an employee in his 70s who preferred to sit around chatting all day rather than work; when he did decide to “work” it was generally to do something that either didn’t need to be done or was exactly the opposite of what I asked him to do. Although I was told he had been talking about retiring for years prior to my arrival, he never followed through with it because he had no reason to; until I got there, he had a pretty good thing going. Who wouldn’t want to get paid to sit around talking to whoever would listen?

    The solution was to rewrite his job description, which had not been done in many years, and hold him accountable for the work he was supposed to be doing. He was offered training to get his computer skills up to speed (his previous supervisor had allowed him to get away with minimal computer use; ridiculous, given what someone in his position was supposed to be doing). He was also given a timeline, including when the new job description would go into effect and when he was expected to finish computer training. All of this was in consultation with HR, who assured me that if he couldn’t or wouldn’t do the work he was assigned that I could take progressive disciplinary action, including firing him. Fortunately, when I presented him with his new job description and timeline, he saw the handwriting on the wall and set a date to retire. Once he was gone, it was as if a dark cloud had been lifted from our department.

    1. Christy*

      Go you!! I’m so happy that you did the work to get him out of there. On behalf of everyone who’s ever had the terrible employee who isn’t dealt with, thank you.

    2. AMT*

      Yes yes yes! Thank you for actually putting in the work to get him out of there instead of forcing everyone to put up with his nonsense. I wish every manager I’ve worked with was that assertive. We need to airdrop some kind of AAM manifesto into dysfunctional workplaces: “Attention! No one is unfireable, and it’s not illegal to fire someone for not doing their job! [Insert description of what ‘protected class’ actually means.]”

    3. PT*

      That’s a good one, in that it also gives the employee the opportunity to actually improve.
      I had a manager who did essentially nothing for years, and in the end was asked by his manager ( a C-Suite VP) to have a talk with MY boss about how he wasn’t delivering and how it was impacting me. Most awkward conversation ever, although a good learning experience. I no longer work there.
      When I was in grad school for nonprofit management, my fundraising professor told the class that every organization has someone working there who has been there forever and doesn’t do anything but no one fires them because they are nice and need the job. “Get rid of those people,” my prof advised. “Your organization doesn’t exist to give them a job, and they are hurting your organization and your mission.” I always remember that.

      1. De Minimis*

        I think my current workplace may be the first that doesn’t have that person…or maybe it’s me! Except I haven’t been there forever.

  12. Joanna*

    Question asker #1 could also consider publishing some pieces related to their profession on Medium, a free WordPress blog or similar, ideally with their name in the username and prominently on the page. That not only will help bury the bad link but show they are knowledgable about their field

  13. Nursey Nurse*

    I think the upper management of businesses like OP #4’s employer are nuts to be forcing employees to push their credit cards so aggressively. I get irritated at sales pitches and extremely irritated at aggressive sales pitches. If I shop routinely at a store and they start pressuring me to sign up for a credit card every time I go in, I’m going to start shopping at a different store. I can’t imagine I’m the only one who feels this way. Consumers today have a ton of choices. Almost every brick-and-mortar store has at least one brick-and-mortar competitor, and on the rare occasion they don’t, the customer can just order what they want from Amazon. They’d have to be making a lot of money off those cards to make up for the loss of customer goodwill they would experience.

  14. Seal*

    #3 – Don’t assume that decisions that Jane made were based on company policy; John may well be following a mandate to clean up the messes she made by implementing her own policies or making questionable interpretations of accepted practice. As her subordinate, you may not have been privy to what went on behind the scenes with Jane and her supervisor, or for that matter with John and his supervisor.

    When I took over a department run by someone like Jane, I had to rewrite every single policy and procedure and clean up numerous messes she left behind. It turned out that Jane hated her job and thought that asking for advice or assistance made her look stupid, so she made things up as she went along. Most of the employees who had previously worked for Jane were thrilled by the changes, but one employee just could not understand why things couldn’t stay the way they were. Even after several years and numerous explanations why things had to change, this one employee still occasionally says “but that’s how Jane told me to do it”. I’m resigned to the fact that I’ll be hearing variations on this phrase until my employee retires.

    1. Liane*

      Granted John didn’t write Alison, so she can’t advise him, but maybe John isn’t being as clear as it sounds like you were. Whether that’s the case or not, OP, the “Because, Jane” answer is both annoying and not going to help either you or John.
      If John hasn’t been clear, you can ask him if he is wanting to update policies and wants the team involved, or is he trying to learn? Either way would he like you to document procedures so he can see what and how the department does its work. Knowing how things are is essential if they are to make effective changes.

      1. J.B.*

        Yes, I’m thinking that John wants to change things but really isn’t explaining clearly. The other possibility is that he wants to change to be different and prove he’s in charge. In either case starting to document and proposing specific changes is the way to go. In the best case you will look like a champion of change and get to streamline things. In the worst case John may push back and tell you he wants it his way without giving specific guidance as to what he wants. The worst case would not necessarily be pleasant at first. However I think if you do persist a pattern will eventually become clear.

    2. LQ*

      Sometimes it isn’t that the Jane’s are bad but that they had different tools, or instructions. I came into a process once and everyone just said that was the way it had to be. It couldn’t be different. A couple people told me it was required by law.

      I was a little judgey face that pink paper was required by law.

      Finally one person told me the real story. A long time ago someone had extra pink paper and so printed this thing on pink paper so it would stand out on his ultra messy desk.

      Telling that story made everyone way more happy to change the process. But only one guy knew that was the actual reason. Not a good reason, just a messy desk and extra pink paper.

    3. MissDisplaced*

      I’m going through this a bit myself. Being on that end, I must say that you have to tread lightly or you risk coming off as “Well, Jane and everyone else was doing everything all wrong.” type vibe. Which may not be the case.
      Plus, in the case of software and tools, yes New Manager may have good ideas and want to bring /use things used at their previous job. Nothing wrong with that, but realize that employees got used to using something else. And that might not be wrong either. Don’t automatically assume what you bring or want is better.

      I have New Boss, who seems OK, but he is running with this mentality of “I’ve got to change EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW” and often without giving consideration that some things really are fine as they are–or at least don’t need to change immediately. It’s not fun, especially in the middle of busy season to be making changes. That is not how you make your mark as a manager and Rome was not built in a day.

  15. RetailAnon*

    OP 4 maybe you could fit in how easy it is to make a payment/recommend they pay off the credit card at the register after each transaction? When I worked at a retailer that heavily emphasized getting credit card apps I would ask every customer if they had one or wanted one and tell them how much money they would save opening one. And then if they seemed on the fence I’d tell them it was a pretty fast process and they could make a payment right after I wrong them out. So that way I was pushing the benefits without suggesting someone carry more of a credit card balance.

    1. Overeducated*

      My mom does this with a store card. She literally pays it off at the register with a debit card immediately after using it to get the discount. I assumed this annoys the cashiers because it makes transactions take longer, so I am glad some like you understand and even help customers game the system.

    2. Bowserkitty*

      My friend did this with her VS card – immediately after making the payment she’d write a check and hand it to the cashier.

  16. nofelix*

    #3 – Repeatedly hearing “we do X because Jane told us to do X” would be really annoying. John is trying to find out which policies are worth keeping and which need to be improved, so he needs to hear enough from you to help make those decisions. If you don’t know why Jane decreed X then the next best thing is to tell him the pros/cons you’re aware of. Does this policy create a bottleneck, does it comply with regulations, does it avoid problems down the road?

    1. Joseph*


      If you flip this around to John’s perspective, it sounds really irritating to keep hearing “we do X because the last manager preferred it”. I’m not Jane, what do I care about her preferences? I was hired to run the department and improve our overall profitability/efficiency/performance/etc. Bluntly, I don’t really care if you got this process from Jane, came up with it yourself or a management book – all that matters is if it works well.

      Now if you tell me “we do X because it doesn’t make sense to change due to reasons Y and Z”, you have my attention.

      1. JessaB*

        The flipside of this is that John is the manager, if he wants to know why, he can articulate that too. “Jane set it up this way,” is a reasonable response. The answer to that should be “Well does it work the way Jane did it or should we work on changing it?” If you’re hired to run the department then run it. If you see something you THINK is inefficient and the worker says “Company handbook,” that’s one thing. If they say “Jane,” you know that if you don’t like it you either have to change the company (harder) or Jane (easier.)

        If the worker doesn’t know why you’re asking, the answer “I was taught to do it this way,” is reasonable. If you keep getting that and you don’t like it, then you know that the way the worker was taught is bad, and you want to change things, so go CHANGE THEM. You can always ask “what about if we do it this way.”

        1. Sparkly Librarian*

          Yes; it seems that if John would be frustrated to hear “Because Jane” in response to his question, he ought to ask a different question, like “Why SHOULD we do things this way?” or “Is what you’re currently doing working for you/the department?” or “I think we could try it this way instead; do you anticipate any problems with that?” From the description we got, OP is answering the actual question John is asking, which shouldn’t be frustrating in itself.

          1. starsaphire*

            This, this, this! It’s totally on John to be asking the correct question. Not asking the same question over and over, getting the same factually correct answer, then snapping at the OP because he doesn’t like the answer.

            John needs to manage properly, and the first step is to ask the questions that will elicit the information he needs.

        2. disconnect*

          THIS SO HARD. If your people aren’t doing what you want, YOU have to tell them to change. They can’t read your mind.

        3. LBK*

          But John’s new. He’s relying on the expertise of the people in the department to figure out how to fix Jane’s broken processes, and “Jane told me to do it that way” is a useless answer in that endeavor because it gives you no information about whether it should continue to be done that way. Even if it’s the right answer, I would expect that someone would naturally elaborate beyond that if they think it shouldn’t be done that way – I wouldn’t expect that I would need to prompt a good employee to think critically.

          1. LBK*

            And to expand on that last statement – good employees generally don’t need to be prompted at all when it comes to process improvement. The best employees are always actively seeking out ways to do things better, so I would say John shouldn’t even have to be asking these questions. Now that Jane is gone, you should be going to him and saying “You know, we used to do process X because that’s how Jane liked it, but I’ve always thought it would make more sense to do Y. Can I try it out and see if that works better?”

          2. neverjaunty*

            Exactly this. “We do it this way because to get result A, we need to use process B” tells John why they use process B. Saying “Jane told me to do it this way” means that the employee has no idea why they use process B other than a former manager said so.

    2. EleanoraUK*

      This was what I was thinking – John wants to hire WHY you’re doing it a certain way, and the reason needs to go deeper than “because Jane said so”. It’s the difference between that and “We found that if we processed these weekly rather than bi-weekly, customer complaints and ad-hoc requests went up dramatically, which cancelled out the time we were saving.”

      1. Kyrielle*

        Agreed, but OP may not *have* that data. “Because Jane said so” may be literally the only answer they have, especially if they’ve never seen it done any other way.

        1. neverjaunty*

          Sure, but then the answer really is “I don’t know, that’s just how Jane told us to do it”, which is very different from “But I don’t want to change the way we do things. Why? Because Jane had us do it this way.”

          1. Kyrielle*

            But I’m not clear from the letter that OP is *saying* the first sentence. It sounds like OP is being asked why and saying that it’s because Jane said to do it. (Subtext: I have no idea, I’m just doing what I was told. Because if I had an idea I’d share it.)

            It does sound like OP’s new boss is hearing it the way you are, so OP clearly needs to find other ways to deal with this, but I think the confusion may come from the assumptions about what’s being said. If I do X because Jane told me to, and I have no idea why Jane told me to do that, just that I was told to do it (maybe even after I questioned it), then the answer to “why are you doing X?” is “Because Jane told me to.”

            And if my boss then said, “I’d like you to try doing Y instead” – I’d say “Sure thing!” unless I had concerns about Y, in which case I’d politely raise them (once, and then just like with Jane, I’d do what my new boss said).

    3. One of the Sarahs*

      Definitely this! As Alison says, going to John and asking if they can look at the policies as a batch is so much the best way forward – AND has the added advantage of stopping this cycle!

    4. hbc*

      Yep, I’m guessing John wants to hear something along the lines of “Jane told us to print this on goldenrod so it would stand out in the file. Personally, I don’t think anyone ever looks at the paper after it’s been filed and I would be happier making it more legible on standard white, but I’m fine either way.” Even “I don’t know why Jane told us to do it that way” would be more informative.

      1. JessaB*

        I think the point is however, that if Jane’s policies are as bad as we think they are, she also probably discouraged any kind of pushback. So John is coming into a place where active questioning of boss is not on the table. John needs to deal with that and make it clear he wants information. The OP is not a mindreader and too many workers have been burnt by “OMG Jane was awful, please change everything,” and then hearing “What are you on about, Jane was marvelous, you’re such a complainer.”

        John has to make it SAFE for the employees to come to him with changes.

    5. Mike C.*

      It sounds like John is asking one question and expecting the answer to something else entirely.

    6. LBK*

      I agree. My department is on the tail end of going through this exact situation – we had a Jane who ran the department for 20+ years and basically never explained the rationale for anything to her employees. It was always just “do it because I told you to, and if you ask me why or disagree with doing it that way I’ll write you up for insubordination”. She’s been gone for a few years, but we still run into things occasionally where the answer is “I don’t know, Jane told me to do it that way 10 years ago so that’s the way I do it.” That may genuinely be the answer to the question, but it’s frustrating to just have the conversation stop there because it shows a lack of proactive thinking – Jane isn’t here anymore, so if something doesn’t make sense and the only reason we ever did it that way is because Jane said to, we don’t need to do it that way anymore.

      I know that there’s some element of workplace PTSD here, and that it can be tough to break out of a mindset where thinking critically is a punishable offense, but I don’t want people on my team who are just pushing buttons without actually thinking about what they’re doing. If you can’t switch your way of thinking over to one that’s more proactive, you may not survive the transition (many people in my department did not).

      That brings me to the OP’s actual question: My response to John is that if someone leaves, I don’t automatically revisit/question all their decisions as an agenda item. Surely those decisions were made as part of the management structure of the company as a whole, rather than by Jane in a personal capacity?! I think you absolutely should revisit those decisions especially if you thought they were bad ones at the time. I also think your assumption that whatever Jane put in place must have been right is a faulty one. Managers do illogical stuff all the time, and Jane no longer has any authority at your company. John is in charge now, and if he’s granting you the authority to fix the processes Jane put in place, you should be running with that. This is a phenomenal opportunity to make your mark on the department and stack your resume with impressive process improvements and high-level directional decisions about your department. Why would you squander that by just leaving every answer at “because Jane said so”?

      1. neverjaunty*


        I wonder, OP, if you’re feeling a little resentful that John has stepped into Jane’s shoes and protective of your image of her as a manager?

        1. MissDisplaced*

          Could be… but what if Jane really wasn’t a bad manager?
          I don’t read anything here to indicate that, except that OP said they didn’t always agree with Jane, which doesn’t necessarily make Jane bad.

          I realize new managers often come in with a “change the world and make my mark” mentality, which may be justified, or may not be. I’ve seen many a new manger undo a lot of good that way.

          1. LBK*

            I definitely agree that some new managers change things up just for the sake of doing so, but it sounds like the OP herself had reservations about some of the ways Jane used to do things. Also, if she can’t provide a better justification for why those things are done that way beyond “Jane told me to do it that way,” that doesn’t exactly give her ammunition to say why they shouldn’t change to doing it John’s way. If she had the wherewithal to explain to John why his new way isn’t good, then she’d be able to defend the current process more robustly.

    7. Hlyssande*

      Sometimes it really is the reason, though.

      When my former supervisor made an internal transfer, the manager asked us many questions about current processes and why we did certain things the way we did and…the answer really was ‘Because Jane…’ for a lot of it. I suppose that’s partly on us for assuming the things she rolled out that we’d been doing for years had his blessing.

      It was frustrating for everyone involved, that’s for sure.

  17. nofelix*

    #4 – It may be worth looking into two things:
    a) are there regulations regarding selling of credit cards that you should follow that precludes too much pushiness?
    b) whether customers immediately cancelling the card affects employee quotas.

    I had a job once where we were being told by our bosses to push really hard to sell contracts. I found out that the customers who were being pushed very hard often ended up cancelling soon after signing up, and questioned how this affected our quotas. It turned out that while our bosses had been giving commission on ‘contracts sold’, they should have been paying out only on ‘contracts over 6months’, and when factoring this in many of the successful sales people were actually doing pretty badly.

    1. Joseph*

      Outside of possibly California, there really aren’t any regulations on this AFAIK, under the theory that if it really gets too pushy, you could flatly refuse and decide not to shop there. Regulations on credit card companies are (quite rightly) focused more on consumer protection once you have a card since that’s when they could really screw people over.

      As for (b), the numbers for a local cashier or manager in Massive Chain Retail are so far removed from the “Customer Retention” department that it’s unlikely customers canceling the card goes on their stats. Quite frankly, it’s possible that the store/shift manager would be unable to check out the retention rates even if he wanted to.

  18. L N*

    Fanfic – as an author, I submit DMCA requests to Google all the time for book pirate sites. It didn’t matter who owns the site, it matters who owns the IP. It’s true that fanfic is a legal gray area in this regard, but if this is causing you a ton of anxiety, it’s worth doing, and your writing is your writing. If you’ve withdrawn permission from the sites owner to display it (presumably you’ve sent them a dmca already, if not, do that first) they’re legally obligated to pull it. You can submit one directly to Angelfire as well. Most reputable companies will act quickly on takedown notices to remove the content, because it’s in their best interests not to get into a fight.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I actually had some back and forth with the OP before publishing this about the DMCA process and I sent her a sample DMCA letter I use, but apparently the issue was that she actually did give permission years ago for archiving so there aren’t really DCMA grounds to remove it.

  19. Art_ticulate*

    O, OP 4,I feel you. I worked at a now defunct department store right out of high school, and I also have intense anxiety, so pushing credit cards on people is so very Not My Thing. The store tried to incentivize it by giving you a whole $1 bonus for every card application you got! (Even in 2002, this was insulting).

    Now that I’m out of retail, I feel for the employees being forced to ask me to apply for cards. I’ve taken to telling cashiers that I already have one, which ends the sales push. If I really want a card from a place, I’ll go online and find out what the terms/APR, etc. are and apply there instead.

    Maybe you could try approaching it this way, saying something like: “Will your purchase be on your (whatever) card today?” If they say no, respond with “Would you be interested in starting one today?” And then drop it if they say no again.

    But in all reality, no one would blame you for looking for a different job.

  20. AdAgencyChick*

    OP2, I sympathize. I’m going through a somewhat analogous situation, although my coworker isn’t so egregiously wasting her time as yours — however, for a couple of months now she has been trying to get out of a tedious task by simply dropping the ball and either strongly implying or outright saying that my team should pick it up.

    Do you and the problem employee report to the same manager? If not, I think you can just start telling this guy no, I can’t help you with that any more. And then let him fail! No skin off your nose, right? (If you need his work in order to get YOUR work done, talk to your boss and present it as, “I’ve been solving the problem of not getting the TPS reports from Wakeen by doing them myself, but it’s becoming unsustainable. What can we do about that?”)

    If you work for the same boss, then I think you do need to tell your boss what you’re doing — but the key is not to present it in terms of “Wakeen should be fired,” but rather “This situation is causing me to be unable to do my own job well. I’d like to go back to doing my job.”

    Basically, if you take the easy solution of “just have the other poor stiffs cover for Wakeen” off the table, then what’s left on the table is solving the problem by firing Wakeen, by making him do his job, or just letting the work not get done — but in none of these is it YOUR problem.

    (This is how I’m dealing with coworker above — I told my boss what happened, she was horrified, and I went back to coworker and said that my team would not be doing her TPS reports any more, and that I had the full support of my supervisor on that. Coworker got really angry at me, and she continues to drop the ball in an effort to get still other people to help her, but she knows she can’t pass off her job to my team any more, which is all I needed.)

    1. JessaB*

      This, sometimes the only way to deal with a problem employee is to LET them fail, so management finally gets a clue.

  21. MadameLibrarian*

    #2 – I’m sorry to say it, but black magic is one of many occupational hazards in today’s workplaces.

  22. Momofkings*

    “You could also talk to your coworker directly and repeatedly and tell him to start pulling his weight and stop leaving magical documents on the printer.”

    This line cracked me up and made me think of Harry Potter. “Magical documents” may explode, cause warts on your face, give you a nasty rash,or other unsavory problems! Have your wand out and ready when dealing with them.

    I know it’s a serious issue, OP2, but that line made me giggle. :-)

    1. Kelly L.*

      Shouldn’t he at least be copying them by hand on parchment? Wizard kids these days!

    2. INFJ*

      Maybe he’s hoping these “magical documents” will lift themselves off the printer and float over to his desk!

  23. Any mouse*

    Here’s the thing about working at a retailer that offers a credit card…pitching it is a job requirement.

    You said that you don’t feel comfortable offering to some without them talking to a financial adisorder because of your past problems and I get that anxiety.

    But not every customer has credit card problems and most are going to say no.

    I’ve had to ask and I felt uncomfortable but I started with just the basic do you want to sign up for our store credit card. Most people will say no.

    Actually I was supposed to start out with …will you being using your Teapot Store card today? And follow up.

    It may not be communicated clearly by your store manager but the stores themselves have goals to reach. If the store doesn’t make goals there are consequences. So another way to look at it is being a team player.

    I promoted the card the way I was comfortable which was pitching it no more than twice. My supervisor was muchatting more aggressive and wanted me to be as well but I stood my ground on his way being a worse tactic for me.

    If you just can’t offer credit cards because of your personal ethics and it is going to mean getting written up (make sure of this) I’d suggest startung a job search and if you do want retail then make sure to see if the store has a credit card. If they do don’t apply there.

    1. JessaB*

      My ethical issue goes to the second ask. If you ask and I say no, leave me alone. And if I work there I’m willing to push a card once. The problem lately is that stores want you to get like 3 firm “no” responses before they consider that you offered it. AND that the metric is not offer on every sale or get fired, but SUCCEED x times. Especially in this age of card breaches, and people with awful credit due to the economy.

      1. nofelix*

        Yeah this is why I hated sales; your work is not judged on quality of execution, but on the decisions of other people.

    2. Kelly L.*

      Right, but it shouldn’t be. This is awful policy that comes from higher-ups who don’t know what it’s really like “on the ground.” No one wants to ask and no one wants to be asked. They set these goals, but they’re not actually possible–i.e., the cashiers aren’t failing because each individual cashier sucks, they’re failing because it’s a flawed model. And it’s only going to cause endless churn in cashiers and more customers fleeing to online shopping.

  24. Raine*

    #4 — Do cashiers even get any kind of one-time flat fee payment for each person who signs up for a credit card? I cannot imagine that Target (or Office Depot) or any of these places where cashiers are working close to minimum wage are getting one-time compensation (much less commissions) on the store credit cards, debit cards, or insurance they are forced to push for products.

    I’d love to hear more about the dynamics and realities, though this probably isn’t the thread. (I once had a guy at Radio Shack push extremely hard for me to buy insurance on a set of like $10 ear plugs. He must have gotten some sort of pay for that.) And I have horror stories about rental car company techniques to pressure drivers into insurance coverage they already have through their own insurance, a credit card, and/or their company if they’re traveling for work.

    1. sparklealways*

      A lot of places will give a small bonus to employees for signing people up for the card.

      At a certain retail establishment that I worked at who puts on a parade every Thanksgiving, there was a monthly scorecard. The amounts started at $1 and I think went up to $30-$40, but you would need to get about that many people to get that amount.

      That was a few years ago, not sure if they still have that or what it is now.

    2. Jubilance*

      It depends on the store and the management. There are some stores that offer bonuses, or do contests in their stores to drive card sign-ups.

      The same applies to stores (meaning individual locations) that push heavily for a card sign-up. They may have a store or district manager that is obsessed with that particular metric and pushing it hard, while a store in a different area doesn’t do it.

      1. Hibiscus*

        When I worked at Nordstrom Rack, everyone had to open at least 1 account a month. Staffers who were primarily cashiers had higher goals. You got $5 per account opened, and I think $3 if they tried to open but were declined.

    3. Former Diet Coke Addict*

      I mentioned this upthread, but there are some stores that assign shifts/work based on who has the best rate of sign-ups for things like this. One chain I worked at assigned the most/best shifts to the employees who had the best rate of upsells. Another chain did bonuses for people who achieved a certain number of sign-ups (though it was pretty minimal, like $25 or so if I remember correctly–they had the “Bonus Structure” in the backroom but no one ever achieved the rates that could get you thousands of dollars in bonuses, it required you to sign up something ridiculous like a thousand people to the credit card). Another one tracked the percentage of purchases made that used the loyalty card and you would get reprimanded for dropping below a certain percentage, but I don’t recall you’d get anything special for staying on top of it.

  25. Sally*

    #4, I feel your pain. The retail chain where I worked was also pushing the store credit card. I felt so slimy asking people to sign up for it. The worst was when people would enthusiastically take me up on it and then like 30 other credit cards would fall out of their wallet when they were fishing for their driver’s license. Or, when I would run someone’s application and it would be declined, it would break my heart and I would want to gently tell them to stop signing up for these things! I was far from a high producer, but I flew under the radar by getting a few sign-ups. I would just ask, ONCE, if “you would like to save blah blah percent today by signing up for a blah blah card.”

    1. Erin*

      Yeah, I was okay asking once. It’s when management would tell me to “not take no for an answer” as the OP alluded to that I had a huge problem with. I don’t mind asking, but if they say no, I’m going to respect that, just as I would want the cashier to do if the situation was reversed.

    2. Mona Lisa*

      Those ones are the worst! I personally have a $50 threshold before I’ll even offer the card, and I get so many people at that number who are so eager to sign up just to save $7.50. I feel awful and heartsick because it feels like I’m messing up their credit for them to save less than $10, but there’s not much I can do.

      1. Dan*

        You shouldn’t feel awful and heartsick, because you’re not messing up their credit. The new account ding is only temporary; in fact, if it reports a revolving line of credit, it actually helps them.

  26. Erin*

    #2 – Having worked for an organization that pandered to horrible older members because of their “standing” you’re in a tough spot. It’s very unlikely they’re going to do anything about this. I would take Alison’s advice on refusing to cover his work. This is something you and all your coworkers will have to band together to agree on, though.

    #4 – I’ve also been in a similar spot with your situation. Again, unfortunately, there is not much you can do. But it’s retail! You should be able to get another retail job, no? (Possibly a huge assumption on my part, admittedly.) But this is par for the course here and I highly doubt there really isn’t anything you can do to push back. I’m sorry! Keep it up to the best of your abilities for now and start job searching immediately.

    1. VintageLydia USA*

      I laugh at the idea that retail and food service jobs are easy to get. Not to mention this is super common and virtually every chain retailer makes their cashiers hawk their cards.

  27. always anon*

    #4: When I was super young and in college, I had a store sales rep pressure me into signing up for a store credit card by saying it was just a loyalty card and that I’d be getting all the sale prices (the way you would at a pharmacy or grocery store). This was before the 2009 law went into place, and I unfortunately had no one growing up who could teach me about credit or credit cards, and I was really intimidated by how pushy the sales rep was being so I ended up signing up for what I thought was a loyalty card, but turned out to be a credit card. When I complained about it a few weeks later, the sales rep told me “if your financial background is good enough, the loyalty card automatically transfers into a credit card”.

    Which, okay, is sketchy to me now, but at 19 I had no idea this was not how things are done, and this is why at any retail job after, I never pushed cards on people.

  28. WellRed*

    I never had to sign people up for credit cards, but PAID rewards cards (I’m looking at you, Borders). The were a good deal for the loyal shoppers who were there frequently, but that’s it. And don’t even get me started on the, “Would you like to donate a children’s book to charity” What started as an occasional drive became a constant push, along with donating coffee/book/whatever to soldiers overseas.
    I worked there part time for fun, so didn’t really care about making numbers.

  29. Amber T*

    Can I ask a similar question to OP#1?

    My real name (which isn’t Amber) is a common first name with a unique spelling. My last name isn’t unique, but not that common either. If you google my full name, after the obligatory LinkedIn/Facebook/Pinterest links, you end up getting a lot of stuff from my high school/college days (awards won, scholarships, cool stuff that made the newspaper but no one cares now that my track team took fourth in a county championship 10 years ago). Nothing that links to me directly is anything I’m ashamed of.

    BUT there happens to be a teenager who’s very vocal on Twitter and Facebook and some other social media who will probably regret some of her SM decisions later in life who has the same exact name, same exact spelling (we even have the same middle initial). Her stuff, which previews on the homepage, includes things like “F*** my mother” and “my brother is an ****” (without stars – full words).

    If you actually click on any of her links it’s obvious that we’re different people, but I don’t know how much checking they’ll do. I had asked my current manager after I had gotten my job if she google’d me, and she hesitantly said yes, which made me go into a word vomit of how it’s not me and it’s a teenager and blah blah blah. She laughed it off and said figured it wasn’t me but it was concerning.

    I don’t think there’s anything I can do, but any thoughts? I’m not really in a field or in a point in my career (still pretty early) where I can make professional videos/articles/anything published with my name on it.

    1. Liana*

      How early in the results do the teenagers’ links show up? If they’re not on the first page or two, I honestly wouldn’t worry about it too much. As you saw with your current manager, she figured it wasn’t you to begin with, so that’s promising. Alternatively, have you thought about getting a Twitter handle and posting the occasional tweet that makes it clear you and TeenAmber are not the same person? If someone is Googling you and they see two very different Twitter handles show up, they’re probably much more inclined to believe the more professional one belongs to you.

      1. Amber T*

        Some show up on the first page, definitely on the second. Her twitter handle is FirstnameLastname, where mine is a combination of my initials and numbers (I like to stay somewhat anonymous, and I never tweet anyway). The problem is she has many more followers than I do (I think I have 5 and one of them is my mom). I guess it’s time to break out the tweeter again?

        1. BuildMeUp*

          You can have your display name on Twitter be your full name if you want to, even though your handle is different.

          If you’re considering tweeting more often, I would follow some news/info type accounts (some related to your industry if possible) and go in every day or two, find something interesting, and retweet it. You can also “quote” instead of retweet, which shares the tweet and allows you to make some comment on it – which could just be something like, “Excited to see this movie!” or “What an interesting article about teapots.” That way your twitter is active without you needing to invest a ton of time or share anything personal. This should also get you a few new followers, and maybe it will push her twitter farther down in the search results.

    2. EddieSherbert*

      Oh, that is a tough one. Can you see the teen’s photo on any of these (i.e for FB/Twitter)? If so, maybe consider creating a Linkedin profile – with YOUR photo. That might make it more obvious that it’s not you.

      If you’re just getting started in your career, you can still have a Linkedin. For job, a lot people will put “student” (if they are) or “looking for a career in X” (if they are).

      Again, that only helps if you’re willing to have your photo out there (and a lot of people are not, which is okay too!)

      1. Amber T*

        Just looked again… google shows you images for your search, which include two from me (my LinkedIn pic and my Google+ pic). The order of the links is –
        – her twitter (ugh whyyyy, thankfully without previews)
        – my LinkedIn
        – a blurb about my high school graduation several moons ago
        – her pinterest (using firstnamelastname)
        – my pinterest (using initials/nickname)
        – her instagram

        I guess it’s fortunate that both pinterest pages are visible right away since it shows there are two different people.

        1. Jennifer Brooks*

          Amber, it’s worth remembering that not everyone will see the same search results you do, if you’re using Google, because they do some customization based on location and past searches and what you last watched on YouTube and the like. (I don’t know how the other search engines work.)

          1. Jennifer Brooks*

            PS: That’s my real name up there. There’s a LOT of us in this country. And one of us has had a long career in pornography. I get a complete pass for any youthful bit of bad judgement! (Happily, most of that bad judgement happened before the World Wide Web became a thing.)

    3. KellyK*

      Probably the same advice that people are giving to the OP. You can start a blog, if you have anything to blog about that you don’t mind potential employers seeing. It doesn’t have to be work related. Cooking or crafts or travel–anything innocuous that you’re interested in that will help bump sweary teen off the page. You can do the same thing with Twitter, and since those are 140-character posts, it might be less effort than full blog posts. You can also do Amazon reviews, answer questions on Quora or Yahoo Answers or one of the StackExchange sites. And if you like running or walking, enter a bunch of 5ks.

      1. Amber T*

        Ugh probably a good idea. I actually have a lot out there (don’t we all) but using my nickname and no last name. I don’t love the idea of even my cooking blog being visible to everyone I know, but it’s better than angsty teenage tweets?

    4. Temperance*

      Could you use your first and middle full name on your resume?

      My actual first name is a Kardashian-style K monstrosity, and many wmen who share my name are … out there. One of them is a negligent parent. The other one doesn’t pay her bills. It hasn’t impacted me even one bit. (I get emails for them, regularly, which is how I know their drama.)

      1. Amber T*

        How common is that? None of my names are particularly short, I’d be worried it might be too much of a mouthful. But if seeing Firstname Middlename Lastname isn’t that unusual that’s a relatively easy change to make.

    5. neverjaunty*

      There’s also a Friday Open Thread which is the best place to ask questions (and follow up) on things other than the initial letter – might try posting this over there?

    6. Anon Moose*

      If its not ridiculously inappropriate for your industry, and you tweet more professionally vs. personally, what about including your real twitter handle as part of your signature line? I used to include a LinkedIn profile link in emails/ end of cover letters, so I think adding a twitter handle wouldn’t be that weird.
      It still won’t stop the google results, or some people overlooking that its not your social media by not reading. I would also maybe be a constant reporter if this teen says anything egregious and it violates Twitter’s guidelines. Get those posts deleted if you can.

    7. Lily in NYC*

      The only other person in the US with my name (it’s not even her real name – she just uses my first name, which is not Lily) is a creepy doll collector and has much more of an internet presence than I do. A guy I dated briefly said he almost didn’t ask me out after he googled my name because everything that came up was really bizarre (I’ll admit I am a little scared of dolls in general). I have no advice but I feel your pain!

    8. Bowserkitty*

      From my own experience in social media checking – we would look into social media accounts at OldJob but believe me, if we found anything juicy we’d dig more before making a verdict. Trust me, anyone who goes into it just a little bit will be able to figure out it’s a completely different person! :)

    9. Dot Warner*

      Since you have a common name, employers might be Googling you with your profession as one of the search terms, e.g. “Dot Warner teapot designer.” I also have a bunch of name twins and a previous employer said that was how they’d found one of my off-list references.

      As for your Twitter, try following professional organizations and bloggers for your field and retweeting them. That should help make the distinction between you and the other Amber.

  30. Mona Lisa*

    OP #4, I also work at a retail chain that requires us to push the brand CC. We’re supposed to ask every person at the register if they’d like to sign up, but I have certain thresholds before I’ll pester people about the card:

    1. They have to be spending more than $50. (It’s reeeeeally not worth it to save the 15-25% otherwise.)
    2. I won’t ask if I notice they’re paying with cash or a gift card. Those people are not going to completely alter their method of payment to get a CC discount.

    I do push the card if:
    1. They’re buying A LOT of items (usually in excess of $150-200) or a particularly expensive one (suit).
    2. They mention they’re a frequent shopper or I’ve seen them multiple times because the card can get you decent rewards if you’re coming through every couple of weeks.

    I have the same reservations as you do about pressuring people to sign up for a credit card that they don’t need/want especially since the people who seem the most eager to try for it are the ones who probably shouldn’t. However, I remind myself that the retail cashier is probably not the person whose opinion the customers will trust on finances. I’m not going to change their minds; I can only present the options they have and let them make the decisions. We’re supposed to “push past the first no” by introducing benefits and trying to convince people it’s something they want, but I’ve rarely had that work. I usually bring up the card once to fulfill my obligation to the company and then let it go. Even with all of my own rules in place, I had the highest CC rate at my last store and still do pretty well at my current one even though I only work 3-5 days a month.

    Best of luck to you, OP! I personally wouldn’t let this be something I lose my job over, but you have to decide what you can live with at the end of the day.

  31. Bowserkitty*

    #4 – Reading some of the comments here reminded me of when a friend of mine had started working at Kay’s, she’d been there about 2-3 months. My best friend and I went in to visit her and she asked us if we’d sign up for her card to help out her numbers, we didn’t even have to buy anything! I was definitely ready to help her out until I saw the form required my social…and I realized suddenly I was not signing up for a mere loyalty card.

    She was that desperate for sign-ups she neglected to tell us it was for a credit card. :/ (I didn’t do it.)

    1. Jadelyn*

      Some of us at my old retail job would call around our families and friends and ask them to come in and apply if it was near the end of the month and we hadn’t made our numbers yet. Then they could just close it the next day.

      1. Bowserkitty*

        Doesn’t the mere check of credit have some sort of effect (albeit minor) on your score? That’s what I was worried about at the time.

  32. lmma*

    OP1: I would google from a public computer to confirm the search results. I know that whenever I Google myself that I can get some very specific results because I am using my own computer. Yet when I search from my work computer – those results may not show up for a number of pages.

  33. The Bimmer Guy*

    When solicited for credit-card applications at stores, if a clerk continue to push, I just say, “I’m in the middle of getting approved for a mortgage, so I can’t make any other credit inquiries.” That gets the clerk to stop without feeling uncomfortable.

    1. Morning Glory*

      When I was going through that process I loved using that response. Especially when my bank (which I went to a lot during the process) asked me every time if I wanted to open a credit card. They definitely understood as soon as I told them. I still use it sometimes, though not at my bank because they already know I closed :/

  34. Observer*

    # 4 I both agree and disagree with your take on the issue.

    I agree with you that pushing credit cards is out of line. As Alison says, you may be able to push back on this but you may also need to decide if this is something you can afford to risk your job over. No one can tell you what you “should” do here.

    I dis agree that it’s not proper to even ASK (once!) people if they are interested without them talking to their financial advisor. It’s like any other item subject to abuse – people need to know how to say no to excess and they need to have some basic understanding of what excess means. There are some obvious exceptions, of course. So, you wouldn’t ask a child or someone who has just had 5 credit cards declined, etc. But for a routine transaction it’s reasonable to assume that the adult making the purchase can respond appropriately to a question about their interest in a new credit card.

  35. pomme de terre*

    One of the nicest customer service experiences I ever had came from pushing back on an unrelenting clerk who was trying to get me to sign up for a store credit card.

    I bought a bunch of stuff at Nordstrom Rack, and the clerk would not stop pushing the store credit card, even after I said I was not at all interested. (I would have walked away, but it was stuff I needed on a tight timeline.)

    Afterwords I wrote a politely worded email via the general address on Nordstrom.com saying I liked shopping at there because they generally have very good customer service and thus was really disappointed to get such inferior service at the Rack. Even if you’re shopping at a lower price point, you should still be treated respectfully. And I said I know that often it’s not the clerk’s personal choice to be so unrelenting but rather something that their managers are pushing them to do, so I was more disappointed in the store than angry at the clerk (although that guy was the worst).

    Within 24 hours, I got a personal call from the Big Cheese at my local Nordstrom’s apologizing for the aggressive clerk and letting me know that they’d mentioned my email in their weekly store meeting and told the clerks that they needed to relent when someone was clearly uninterested. Any other time I’ve been there since, I get a “Interested in a store card? No? OK,” and that’s it.

  36. SquirrelsJustWannaHaveFun*

    OP #1: As someone who still has an essay about the Xena series finale out there on the interwebz that I wrote while in high school, I understand your pain. I’m just lucky it’s under my maiden name.

    1. Irene*

      I got my resume format examples from websites and the entries are of recent dates. I agree, a resume should be short and to the point. I am glad I asked for advice from “Ask A Manager”. Now on to study the “modern” resume. Thanks!!
      Any tips from others would be awesome :)

  37. Anon Moose*

    #4 Oh yeah, I had to do that as cashier for a certain retailer who had recently been in the news for a data breach on their cards. Yes the store managers STILL wanted us to push people to sign up. Even asking, “Do you have a ColorCard?” made for some terrible interactions where I was apologizing for the store’s data breach. Which would then reduce our speed ratings for checking people out (and you were spoken to if you had too many red ratings). So it was a lose-lose situation. Mind you, my data had also been stolen, since employees were incentivised to use ColorCards to improve their employee discount so we were also angry but couldn’t say it and just had to keep smiling and asking while being berated for things that weren’t our fault.

  38. kristinyc*

    RE: #4

    When I was in college, I worked at Sears. They were all about pushing the credit cards. Staff got $2 per credit card app, so there was at least some incentive to do it, but it still felt gross. One time, a customer came in to pay off her Sears Mastercard (the better version of the card – it had a lower interest rate and could be used anywhere). A manager happened to be walking by during that transaction, and after the customer left, he berated me for not trying to get her to sign up for the store card, and then wrote me up for it. Yeah, I quit shortly after that. Ridiculous.

  39. Anonsie*

    Related to #5 – For the life of me, I still don’t understand what purpose the objective ever served. The objective is to get the job, that’s why they’re applying. What valuable information was being conveyed by writing a one-sentence summary to that effect?

    1. Irene*

      Well, in the “olden days”, I guess we applied at locations that maybe had several openings, or for future openings, so the “Objective” would let the company know what position a person would be interested in. That is my guess.

  40. Katie F*

    OP #4:

    I worked at a Barnes & Noble Cafe some years back. While they didn’t push the credit card yet, they did have us pushing the membership cards and to upsell (we had an “average purchase total” goal we were suppsed to try and upsell to). I generally worked in the morning, and we’d see the same people every day, who wanted the exact same thing.

    I would routinely get dinged by my manager(s) for not upselling these particular customers, and explained over and over that they had said no so many times that asking again just made them angry, I preferred instead to keep them ocming back for what they actually wanted. At one point, the store manager took over and three separate “regular morning customers” ended up asking her if they could speak to the manager about how pushy she was! It was actually pretty funny, and it kind of made her back off me a bit, because I didn’t mind upselling to people who weren’t daily regulars, just hated upselling to people I already knew would A. say no and B. get angry at me in the process for pushing.

    It was also during the time that B&N began to remove or scale down some of the benefits of their membership card, and it was weird trying to talk people into renewing and having them ask about the benefits and having to admit that the company wasn’t giving them the same as what thy used to get. The popular reaction to that was so bad I think they ended up backpedaling on a lot of it. But for a while they had everyone pushing and pushing and pushing and I saw SO MANY customers get so angry because the booksellers weren’t supposed to take “no” for an answer.

    I’ve always wondered what data supports the pushy sales method, because I never see it work at a level that justifies its use.

    1. Dan*

      They were probably making faulty correlation assumptions about early members. Just because two things are correlated doesn’t mean one causes another. I’m guessing they had some early data that said that loyalty/card customers spend X% more on average than non card holders.

      But here’s the rub. I’m guessing in the early days of the program, the first people to sign up were those that were already heavy shoppers, so they were happy to save money on purchases they were already making. So the SVPs look at those numbers and say “Holy Crap! Our card holders/members spend lots of money, and the non card holders don’t! If everybody gets a card, they’ll buy more! Let’s push the card!”

      If the team working on the loyalty/card program has data scientists worth what they’re paid (these are guys with six figure salaries or close to it) they need to be explaining to management that by changing how the products are marketed (pushed) they’re changing the meaning of the underlying data.

      It’s no different than restaurants with servers who say, “If you don’t give me a 5, I’m getting fired.” (Uber for that matter too.) That kind of behavior (and I blame corporate, not the servers or the drivers) really pisses off the data science guy in me. You can’t get reliable data when you try to influence the numbers that strongly.

      If we’re just going to “doctor” the survey responses, what’s the point?

  41. Former Retail Manager*

    OP#4…I haven’t read everyone else’s comments so my apologies if this is repeat info. I was a retail manager for over a decade. They can fire you for this, just as they can fire you for basically anything. It is considered a performance issue. All that said, in my experience, how strictly this is enforced/acted upon, depends to some degree on store management. I also worked for a company that had daily, weekly, and monthly sales quotas (wait…I mean goals….*eye roll*) and I had plenty of employees, myself included, who either didn’t like to sell or sucked at it. That said, I never got rid of anyone for this reason. If an employee didn’t like to sell, I would limit their time on the register to slower times with fewer customers and would put them in a different role (floor service, restocking, etc.) during busier times and let those people who liked to sell and were good at it do it. If Big Boss came by for a visit, I told everyone that they’d at least need to ask each customer once, enthusiastically, and if they said no, then that was that. Make no mistake, I took plenty of heat for this and I didn’t care. I pushed back every single time, but I realize there are many spineless managers who will not.

    My point is….I don’t know what other positions your employer may have for you, other than cashier, or if it would be feasible for you to move into one of those positions, but I think it’s worth a chat with your manager and asking if it would be feasible. If you work for a Big Box retailer, you could easily move to a department or other support role that doesn’t involve hocking the credit card. Best of luck!

  42. Almond Milk Latte*

    I misread #2 as “spending his time on magic and potions” and thought we had a FAR more interesting letter on our hands.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I really, really want that letter.

      I’ve been shopping a book around, and yesterday a publisher asked me what my favorite letter I’ve ever received was. My brain went into a movie-style montage of the magical curses letters, the aggressive hugger letter, the coworker moonlighting as a prostitute from the office bathroom letter … there were so many wonderful memories :)

      1. Jamie*

        I don’t know what your favorite letter is, but I can tell you one of my all time favorite answers hands down

        You are not in a brothel line-up. You’re in a two-way business discussion.

        It deserves to be in the pantheon of American idioms. And stitched on a sampler.

        from this post https://www.askamanager.org/2012/05/im-afraid-im-about-to-be-offered-a-job-i-wont-be-good-at.html

        Four years ago and I’ve never once run across the word brothel since without hearing Alison say that in my head.

  43. Professional Sweater Folder*

    I’m sorry, I don’t get what the issue is with the fan fiction. Unless it’s got a really inappropriate title and/or summary, there should be no issue. It should be no different than if you wrote a piece of original fiction. Not all fan fiction is smut, and if an employer is ignorant enough to believe that, do you really want to work for someone who is going to make broad generalizations without investigating further? Especially someone who works in a legal field, no matter how conservative.

  44. Anne (with an "e")*

    #4 I would not worry about this new policy too much. I would ask people if they would like the credit card. Whether they decline or accept is not your fault. Whether people can handle credit or not is not on you. I would be polite and not too pushy when you asking (but it sounds like you don’t need to be told that part.) It is now part of your job to ask this. I am certain that >95% of people will understand that asking is just part of your job.

    To me, worrying about another person’s true ability to deal with credit or not in this situation would be analogous to a car salesperson worrying about their customers eventually being involved in a car accident. If a person buys a car and is then later involved in an accident, it is not the car salesperson’s fault. Ever.

  45. Matilda*

    I don’t really have advice to OP #4, but I commiserate. I hate places that do this. I worked for a store that based how many hours you got by how many credit cards you signed people up for and I therefore was always at the minimum amount of hours more or less. I provided great customer service and got my work done, but I couldn’t push the credit card. We had a woman that was promoted to supervisor based solely off the fact that she was had super high credit card sign ups, but one, she got many of those because she badgered people until I’m pretty sure they said yes to make her stop talking to them (which I guess is a technique) and two, she was a terrible supervisor. Good luck!

  46. Faith*

    #4 – I didn’t read all the comments, so this might have been said before. ” I can’t lose my job, but I don’t want to feel responsible for someone having credit trouble because of me. ”

    Not everyone has issues with the branded cards. I generally decline, but if I’m buying a lot, I may get one for the discount. I use it once, and typically cancel. Sometimes, I’ll mark the date a year out so I know I would be eligible to get another one.

    So please, don’t beat yourself up about credit trouble. We’re all responsible for ourselves.

  47. Artimus Fowl*

    Regarding bad things on the net with your name on them, it is very hard to get things off the internet once they’re there. Your best bet is to flood the first page of google results with good things so no one notices the awkward 20 year old fanfic. Open a linkedin account. Open a twitter account. Start your google plus account. Doesn’t even matter if you don’t do anything with them. Have you ever written an article in a magazine or presented at a conference? Make sure those are linked to from linkedin, and make sure each of these sites links to the others. Links are used to determine what gets highest ranking in google. If you want to really go all out make yourself a website which includes your name in the url (www.lastname.com or http://www.firstnamelastname.com) and also links to things you want to come up high in google. You can also do benign things on famous websites. Make a wikipedia account under your name and fix a single typo. Write a review of something on amazon. Basically just flood google with either good looking professional things, or benign and meaningless noise that everyone leaves on the internet on occasion.

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