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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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3. Visual Audits


A fast-food breakfast sandwich always helped my drive to work. I had a relatively long commute to work, but aside from breakfast calories and an oversized cup of coffee there was a local FM radio station with a mildly entertaining morning show. The show hosts helped lighten my mood and I always enjoyed listening to their program. I worked in radio long enough that I normally don’t like morning shows, but I always liked feeling they were awake as early as I was.

In retail, things were cyclical, repeatable and predictable. My days had so many routines that I felt like I woke up to the same day every morning. When I worked the morning shift, I would pull up to the store an hour before opening. I would usually be greeted by one of my hourly employees waiting on me. One cashier in particular, Katelyn, would always be taking slow drags off her morning menthol cigarette while I pulled into the parking lot. While I always like to be 15 minutes early for everything, I tried to never show up earlier to work than need be.

Our store had a rather smart policy that not even managers were allowed to enter the store alone. This was to protect our employees from being robbed while they were alone, and also protected the company ←21 | 22→from managers stealing anything from the store when no one else was looking. This buddy system always helped. Katelyn never minded...

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