Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wrong move for Waterstone's

Can I return to one of the issues of the moment in the UK, namely the job losses at Waterstone's. They company wants to use more part-time staff. How will this be good? How will these staff have the product knowledge? Tables that were there on Monday and Tuesday may have been changed by Wednesday. How is the new shift meant to know? Having worked in two bookshops I know that one of the ways you pick up stock knowledge is simply by being there every day.


Anonymous said...

Having worked in three bookshops, two of which were Waterstone's, I agree with you. If part-time staff are well-managed and well-directed, or were previously full-time long term, then it can work fine. But I'm worried it will de-skill the job, by leading to the employment of more students who don't really care about bookselling and see the job as a stop-gap. What does irritate me is that waterstone's go on and on boastingabout how their knowledgeable staff are their finest asset, even using it as an advertising slogan a couple of years back if I'm not mistaken, meanwhile making decisions like this.
Sorry to be anonymous, but I frankly fear the might of the Stone :)

LF Barfe said...

A small independent near me has gone part time. They open for a week every month and do the rest of their business online.

Come on, Rog. You expect better of the big W after all you've seen in the last 12 years or so? There are still a lot of good people doing their best in the branches, but the top-down leadership has been the worst kind of cost-of-everything-value-of-nothing pish for aeons now.