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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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5. Armed Robbery


Shoplifters might have been a constant nuisance, but at least in the stores I managed no one was ever physically hurt by someone simply stealing a t-shirt. None of our employees were ever attacked or harmed. Shoplifting happened a lot, and most of us were desensitized to it. No amount of training ever prepared us for when we were being robbed at gun-point. None of us ever thought it would ever happen to our little store.

During training, every associate at every retail store I have ever worked at was taught procedures for retail security and how to handle an armed robber. It’s sort of like when your teachers told you what to do in the event of a fire. We all know the drill, but none of us ever expect to see it happen in-person. We tell ourselves how we are going to handle it, and what we are going to do, but until it happens, none of us are ever prepared for it. We were told to stay calm, do exactly as we’re told, and just give them whatever it is they’re asking for. Our job was not worth the risk, regardless of how much cash is in the register.

In all my years in retail leading up to this point, I had envisioned exactly how I would handle a robbery. I always thought of the famous ←35 | 36→scene in a famous movie from the 1980s where a character was held up at...

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