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Management Lessons of a Failed Company

Christopher M. Tingley

This book is a look inside the day-to-day life of a retail manager as he witnessed from the front lines a company take the country by storm. Through a model of selling low priced clothing partnered with celebrity endorsements, the company’s rise was as big as their fall. After over a decade of teaching, the author, now a marketing and strategy professor, recalls his former life in retail. In a light-hearted and funny first-person narrative, the author takes you on a ride through his time with the now defunct clothing retailer Steve and Barry’s. He shares the lessons he learned from inside the store while watching mistakes made along the way. Through stories of being robbed at gunpoint, finding a dead body in the dumpster, and working to the point of exhaustion, the reader is given a firsthand account of the best and worst practices in store management. Designed to introduce students to business, management, entrepreneurship, and retail, it allows students to answer the question "Do I really want to be a manager?"

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1. The Cost of Training


One afternoon I was sitting at the car dealership, trying to hide playing a video game on my laptop. Most of my day was spent looking for “ups,” which was what we called any customer that walked on our lot. It was far too often that there weren’t nearly enough ups for the number of salespeople that worked in our store. I had a lot of down time at that job, and after a few weeks I spent much of my time at work submitting job applications. I doubt there was a restaurant, retail store, or bank with a job opening that I hadn’t applied for. I had even applied to work as an actor at one of the stage shows at the nearby amusement park.

One Tuesday morning, I heard my cell phone ring and it was a recruiter calling from a company called Steve and Barry’s University Sportswear in reference to a job. One of the many applications that I had submitted was to be a store manager at one of their local stores. At that point I had filled out so many applications that if I were to say I was expecting the call it would be as far from the truth as to say I even remember applying. Nonetheless, I pretended to be excited when I answered the phone. I naturally told the recruiter how eagerly I was awaiting hearing from them. As my sales manager taught me, the job ←5 | 6→of a...

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