Friday, February 3, 2017

Dreams of Dollar General

Lately I've been noticing the improvements at the nearby Dollar General and struck up a conversation about it with the first employee I spotted. It turned out that he was the newly-returned manager, who had rolled up his sleeves and gotten busy with making that DG the best little neighborhood store he could. He was eager to talk about his management philosophy and the changes he'd made.

I want to work for him.

He explained the reson behind one of my pet peeves: The same kind of product is sometimes located in different areas of the store. This makes it a bit tough to comparison-shop, since unless you're very familiar with the store you won't realize that there's a different band of the same product an aisle over. It turns out that isn't a DG decision. The vendors choose where their product will be placed.

My first thought was to put little labels on the shelf, next to the prices, saying, "More X in the Y section." I had another thought on the walk home: Approach the vendor. Let's use the Nestle and Hershey chocolate syrups as an example. Nestle surely would like shoppers who see Hershey syrup to know that Nestle syrup is an option, right? While Nestle wouldn't want to give up the spot near the other hot drinks -- the tea and coffee -- perhaps cutting that shelf space in half and taking up a second space in the baking section would be appealing. Ditto for the Hershey people.

One would have to be mindful about available space, of course. Is there room for some Nestle next to the Hershey, and vice-versa? But I'm sure this manager knows his store like a captain knows a ship.

I had previously rejected Dollar General as a possible employer because when I spoke of problems to employees, they'd just sigh and say, "That's up to corporate." This gave the impression that Dollar General had a very rigid corporate structure of micro-management. But now I have hopes. It would be lovely to get some retail experience, particularly with the possibility of management experience.

Now my eyes are open to the possibilities.