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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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14. I Quit


I wrote the words on a piece of paper with a bold black sharpie. “Dear Beverly, you told me to get my priorities straight. That’s exactly what I’ve done. Sometimes the only way up is out. I quit.”

Leaving Steve and Barry’s wasn’t an easy decision. I had always given employers a two-week notice. I had just resigned the night before a big event. Leaving the company had been on my mind for some time, but I couldn’t help but feel like I had made the decision too quickly. I worried if my decision was made in haste, or if it was fueled by anger or exhaustion. I felt both joy and guilt that I should have been working tirelessly through the night to prepare the store for what was surely going to be a huge event. Instead, I was sitting in my apartment watching old reruns on TV.

The next morning, I decided to drive by the store just to see if there was any commotion, but quickly talked myself out of getting out of bed. I hadn’t gotten a full night’s sleep in so long that my own legs were telling me not to get up. I turned on the local network news affiliate channel to see if any reporters were covering the store event. I watched for an hour or two, and never saw the store mentioned. The next morning, ←99 | 100→I picked up the Sunday paper and never saw one mention...

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