Half Price Books
Half Price Books, Records, Magazines, Inc. – Lewisville, TX
We are now hiring full-time positions for hard-working, dynamic individuals who like working with books and people. No retail experience needed; we… Glassdoor
Half Price Books, Records, Magazines, Inc. – Dallas, TX
We are now hiring full-time positions for Customer Service specialists. You must be hard-working and reliable, with a good work ethic and a positive… Glassdoor
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- Comp & Benefits
- Work/Life Balance
- Senior Management
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
I have been working at Half Price Books full-time for more than 5 yearsPros
The benefits package that came with full-time employment was fantastic when I started working here over 5 years ago. One hour lunch, paid on the clock. Vacation time adds up very quickly and there's rarely an instance a time-off request gets refused as long as reasonable notice is given ahead of time. The stores still function on most holidays, but everyone is given a paid holiday added to their schedule every month, with exception of Christmas and Thanksgiving. The insurance is affordable and covers just about everything. Employees are also able to take out advance payday loans through their store, up to $1000. To top it off, there is a company-wide quarterly profit share. You never know what people are going to bring in to sell and there's no shortage of interesting materials to sort through. The majority of the employees are fun and intelligent people who make retail into a fun experience. For every customer who gives you a hard time, there's an employee who will make you laugh and smile.
Sounds, pretty good huh?Cons
The benefits package that came with full-time employment was fantastic. "Was", being the key word.
One hour paid lunch, no more. Instead they decided to beat the national minimum wage increase and just re-calculate your pay scale so that 35 hours a week will add up to what you were being paid for 40 hours.
Vacation time still adds up but requests are sometimes overlooked and managers don't always make sure to give you your paid monthly holiday. Insurance is not what it used to be as the cost is increasing while the benefits are decreasing. And the profit share? Well, it appears to be a thing of the past as we haven't received one in the past 2 quarters. There's no way to be sure though because corporate doesn't feel it necessary to communicate with anyone. I guess we'll just figure it out on our own.
"Stores are closing, but the company is okay." Kinda like, "There's a hole in our boat, but that's okay because we have buckets." It's not good. It's not okay.
Things are changing in the world of Half Price Books. The company is taking on internet business, and it appears they may have bitten off much more than they can chew. The store I work in is not staffed very well. According to the grapevine, that's another corporate decision. Five years ago, we had almost twice the amount of people working in our store. With the new internet business we are being forced to add more procedures to our daily routines and we are not going to receive anymore staff to help with the increased work load. This is resulting in less employees picking up more customer service on the sales floor and telephone, and getting less books on the shelves to sell which in turn results in less income for the store.
Imagine this: 4 people open a store; 1 on register, 1 buying books, 1 answering phones as well as customer service requests and pricing/shelving books while trying to assist the register or buy counter becuase the other (1) is stuck pulling orders for the internet sales. 4 phone lines ringing, 3 college students wanting a dozen textbooks they don't even know the right name of, and by the way, there are 5 people waiting on offers for their stuff. How fast can you dig through 4 tubs of paperbacks while answering a phone and simultaneously expressing your desire to help the guy who can clearly see you're on the phone and yet insists that you help him with his list of books. There are times when the staff just wants to throw our hands up. We need more people to do this job properly.
No one can seem to get on the same page as to current buying, selling, pricing, and stocking policies. One person comes in and says this, another person calls and says that, and then the email from someone else, says something else. Communication is a huge failure for this company.
Digging through some peoples things can be miserable. People don't use discretion when they bring us things to purchase. We have to dig through dead bugs, various animal hair, urine, feces, mold and lots of dust on occasion.
Many people don't understand the math behind the buy policy and feel it's unreasonable and borders on being unethical. Some customers become very offended and irrate and we don't get paid enough to deal with that.Advice to ManagementAdvice
First of all, quit training our customers to think we owe them a special discount. Everything is already half-price or less. If they don't like our prices, let them go to another store and pay more. They'll be back when they get the sticker shock at Barnes and Noble. Every time we turn around there's another special discount or sale. EVERYTHING IS ALREADY ALWAYS DISCOUNTED AND ON SALE! That's what we should say when customers ask us what our specials are or if any sales are coming up. We have a sale EVERY DAY. THAT tells them that EVERY DAY is an opportunity to save a lot of money shopping at Half Price Books. They don't need a SALE. Can I get a discount on my discount? Seriously? Marketing needs to push that concept instead of telling the customers that they are entitled to even heavier discounts. It's costing us. I see the numbers during sales climb like crazy, and I understand that when we advertise a sales event it increases our numbers at the register, no doubt. But imagine if we advertised EVERY DAY as being a sales event at Half Price Books? It's true, and it's one of the reasons I love this store. Every single day is an opportunity to find something really cool for a really good price.
Who is in charge of buying distro? Apparently they don't have to follow the same guidelines that we at the buy counter in the actual stores do. They pay well over our highest percentage mark, and usually for items we already have a stack of or just plain junk that no one wants. I shouldn't have 28 copies of the same book from distro, sell none for 6 months, and then receive more copies. We are getting more and more distribution, and that means more and more of the same stuff. Our customers know of us as a place where they can find rare and hard to find stuff. That appears to be changing as we become more and more like "The Jones'". Put a leash on distro buyers. Our shelves do not magically grow to accommodate every worthy book purchased at the buy counter. We run out of space, so we end up trashing and donating variety in order to make room for more of the same costly cookie-cutter distro goods. Perhaps it would be beneficial for those individuals who do make those purchases to have some actual in-store buy counter time. Matter of fact, I'm pretty sure it would be nothing short of insightful for all of the corporate employees to have a regular routine day on the sales floor. It's easy to pass down policies and protocols in theory when you're not the one who has to execute them. That would help retain some unity in decision making instead of detachment and unrealistic goals on corporates behalf.
It's fair to say that if the companies money isn't my money anymore (in regards to PBB), I may as well pay higher at the buy counter. I had always been adamant about considering cost of goods and encouraging wise buying but it's not worth dealing with angry , dissatisfied customers. You get what you pay for, and you''ll get your moneys worth out of me and not a penny more. I am but one person, and I can only do so much. There are no book emergencies, but try explaining that to a line of customers who've been waiting for 20 minutes just to ask for help because every staff member is tied up helping someone else find a book, buy some books, or backing up the register.
We keep opening new stores. We have been closing stores. We have been remodeling stores. We have been updating stores. We've got one teaspoon of mayo. How many sandwiches can we make? Point being, we appear to be spreading ourselves far too thin. Quit opening stores and focus on fixing the ones that are falling behind. I want to take over the world too, but slow down. We're international now via the world wide web and the internet business is looking quite promising, regardless of the dent it puts in sales floor staff. One thing at a time.
There's talk as to what the future holds for us here. Mergers. Sellouts. External hiring. We're wondering what new disappointment lies around the bend. We are concerned that the company we worked for no longer exists. Not the one Ken and Pat envisioned anyway.
We send pallets of boxes full of books to the warehouse. Sort through them. Look at SIPS. You can see how much it sells for regularly, what stores it sells best in, and if it even sells at all. Sort the books that sell well. Send them back to stores that have the best chance of reselling them, just like distro, but it's product that has been purchased at a lower cost, and for that matter, has already been purchase by the company.
Why aren't we in the recycling business too? We could be profiting off of our garbage but we're giving it to someone else. That doesn't make sense.
Find a way to get Marketing to change our Half Price Books Marketplace. Customers come in the store and tell us WE DO have certain books because they saw it on our website. The website is misleading to a lot of people. The confusion it creates becomes frustration on the customers behalf and that transfers onto the store employees as hostile. We shouldn't have to bare the weight of that complaint. Find a way to make it more obvious to people who peruse the website that the inventory is NOT their local stores inventory. I can see the details and it makes sense after really looking at it, but that's because I'm familiar.
You're detached from your roots. You should really think about trying to find them again.RecommendsNegative OutlookNo opinion of CEO