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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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8. Black Friday

Extract

Outside of my hometown in Pennsylvania was a large shopping mall that was shaped like a handgun. Its shape always led to conspiracy theories of influence from organized crime. The mall was always busy because shoppers from outside the state would arrive to enjoy not having to pay sales tax on clothing. The number of restaurants and retail outlets that opened a short distance from the mall seem to grow every year. It wasn’t until years later that I realized the irony of leaving home to find a management job in retail a few states away.

I was in middle school when I first truly discovered Black Friday. Black Friday was the day after Thanksgiving when everything went on sale. In the digital age, much of the shopping we do is on our phones from the comfort of our own living rooms, but Black Friday used to be a national sport. It was my favorite sport to participate in. At my hometown mall it was always a spectacle. I always felt they should sell concessions just for viewers. I made it a point to go out on Black Friday just to watch frenzied shoppers trying to get their hands on the biggest sale item, whether it be a new video game, toy, or a big discount on bath ←55 | 56→towels. Black Friday was like the big game for me, and has been my favorite holiday ever since.

Working at Steve and Barry’s we knew that...

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