This weekend has been a busy one. I worked both Saturday and Sunday not at my own store, but at a brand new one that is opening in nearby Maryville. Above is a photo of the front entrance…not a great one, but one for me to remember.

In front were 4 to 6 huge dumpsters that were systematicly taken away and emptied throughout the days. 4 of them were mainly for all the cardboard boxes that held all the clothing and accessories we were to setup these next few days.

We took in the trucks, not through the back loading dock per usual, but through either set of double doors you see. We had 2 large semis full of merchandise yesterday and another today containing around 60,000 units: 40k yesterday and another 20k today.

I think I worked off about 5lbs both days making laps around the store, delivering the boxes to their respective departments. By the time both trucks were finished unloading I was already exhausted, but the fun stuff was just beginning.

When our product gets delivered to us, the items are contained in two distinct types of boxes. I call them “bulk” and “mixed” boxes. “Bulk” boxes carry only one type of item. These are usually the new items for the store, whether it be a new style of sweater, swim trunks, underwear, whatever. “Mixed” boxes primarily carry replenishment, additional units of merchandise that have been sold and are currently still carried in-store. They usually have numerous types of merchandise in them, which means quite a bit of sorting has to happen to bring all the similar pieces together.

You’d think it would be easier for the DC to put all similar items in the same box considering those items probably lived in the same area at the distribution center (just making a common sense assumption), but somehow one piece of numerous items seems to make more sense. Go figure.

You’d also think that considering the store has 0 pieces of merchandise within it’s walls that we’d have the luxury of having “bulk” boxes of the similar items, considering all the product would be “new”.

Boy, was I wrong. 99% of them were “mixed” boxes, which meant each department had to sort every single item of those 60k units. Fun times.

It wasn’t really all that bad considering we were starting from a clean slate so to speak. It just felt like the DC took the opportunity to unload a lot of extra units on us versus setting aside bulk-wrapped units….and it took a lot of time, LOTS of time.

I was slated to help setup the boys department but yesterday’s truck only had about 6 boxes worth of stuff for us and so after quickly dealing with those units, I went to help with girls. All I have to say about that department was wow.

There wasn’t a whole lot of leadership going on in this area by the “department leader”. If it weren’t for her little nametag with the stars I probably wouldn’t have known. If I had known more about how she had set up the department… I would’ve jumped in and taken charge. But a lack of knowledge of the surroundings and product coming in (girls is not one of my departments), made me hold back on the overall picture and take charge of the sorting process.

Most of the crew were brand new to the store/brand, as most (minus management and key staff) were hired and trained only weeks before. So that means many were still hesitant at digging in and taking initiative. Once I sat and got a process going, many saw what I was doing and followed suit. Some more quickly than others, but that’s granted.

Today I to work in my slated department (boy’s) considering most of it’s product came in on this truck. At my store, I care for and set 4 of our 6 departments with boys being one of them. So it and the product felt like an old friend. Except this friend was much bigger than mine, about which I was very jealous. The shop came together very quickly considering there was only two of us working within it.

The whole experience was exhausting, but well worth it. I had a fun time.

There’s still much to finish before their opening on Thursday though. I return to my store tomorrow, as our regular shipment days begin again.

It’s a fond feeling taking something that started out empty and making a whole experience out of it. I can sit back and remember that i was there and made an impact on it’s beginning and future (considering I also trained a number of their folks to do the jobs I perform at mine as well). I also got to meet a number of new faces and found it all very cathartic.

Definitely a time I will remember for a long while.