I went Christmas shopping this weekend, arriving at Macy's around 10AM. Even at this early hour, the cashiers were already overwhelmed with lines of customers six to eight deep. Nor was this phenomena entirely peculiar to Macy's the lines were everywhere.
Newsflash to retailers: long lines mean lost sales. The prospect of standing in line at shop after shop was discouraging enough for me that I abandoned the attempt, as I'm sure did many others.
In this dire moment for the economy, I suggest that retailers think outside the box. Temporary staffing agencies are ready and waiting to provide retail cashiers on a moment's notice.
Too expensive, you say? Not if you think in terms of what those lost sales are worth. Given the typical retail markup, it would take no more than one or two otherwise lost sales per hour to pay the entire cost of that extra salesperson.
Temps won't be sufficiently well-trained or sufficiently presentable, you say? You underestimate staffing agencies. The good ones and, yes, you do need to develop a relationship with a good one, not just call one at random when you are desperate the good ones do plenty of screening.
You say it will upset your regular workers to have temps come in? Tough. In the current environment, we're talking about survival. The first 80% or so of your sales just covers your costs. It's that last part you need to justify the existence of your business, and to grow and prosper. If your company culture is antagonistic to temporary workers, put the word out that your company culture has just changed. You need those sales that are walking out the door in frustration.
Out of curiosity, I tried googling for temporary staffing agencies specializing in cashiers. Near the top of google's sort was Cashiers Unlimited, an Orange County CA staffing firm. But you need not find a specialist by our estimate about a third of all staffing firms provide salespeople, so a few calls should get you the help you need.
The end of year is a time for reflection, redemption and self-correction. Scrooge became a better man this time of year. So did George Bailey. Retailers, I beseech you, as the voice of recession present, or as an observant angel if you prefer, add some temporary cashiers immediately. The hour is not too late. You may yet turn the tide of declining sales. You may yet save your business, even perhaps boost the economy. Just get some more damn cashiers.