Rude to ask if there is stock in the back?

DON"T DO IT, the smell of blood just sets them off worse. Then they’ll start asking you to fill out a rain check, phone other stores for the item or ask you to call them when the next order arrives. DO NOT feed the trolls.

Can’t imagine why it would be rude to ask.
Rude to argue or accuse of lying, its a STORE for hell’s sake why on Earth would they NOT want to sell the item to you?

mmm Boots, that was a memory Honeydew!

Years and years ago, I worked for a supermarket. The “back rooms” were actually tiny - just big enough to maneuver a forklift and pallet jack or two, and hold a stack of empty pallets. The only large back room was the one housing the cardboard compactors. The “drugstore” backroom was also large - that side of the store handled diapers. Some of the packages were so large that we could only have two on the shelf at a time, so we did have a sizeable mountain of cartons of the things, and were perpetually keeping an eye on that aisle to keep it stocked.

Food deliveries arrived by truck on pallets corresponding to the aisles. The truck driver (Chicago-area Teamsters union) would unload the pallets from the truck, and the store staff (different union, and unable to enter the truck) would use pallet jacks to haul the pallets to the aisles. Once the truck was unloaded, the driver would take back yesterday’s empty pallets.

The net effect is ZERO back stock - if it was in the building, it was out on the sales floor - either on the shelf, or somewhere on that 4x4 foot pallet, stacked 6 feet tall and shrink-wrapped.

As to the original topic, no, it’s not rude to ask if it’s in back. Just don’t keep hounding a clerk when they say “no.”
DougC Sounds like you’re in the Chicago area - 15-20 or so years ago, when I was there, the butchers shut down for the day at 6 PM or so, that was it. No ifs, ands or buts - the meat was put away somewhere in back and you had to wait until tomorrow. A side benefit - the cases could be very easily scrubbed daily since they were always empty at night.

Maybe I’ve just been lucky, but most of the time when I ask for an item and it’s not out on the shelf, the employee will volunteer to check the stockroom for me. I have yet to encounter one who was rude or huffy about going back to check on an item. Sometimes they take a while, but I figured warehouses are huge and it takes time to look for a particular item. Or they’ve taken the opportunity for a smoke break.

Speaking for BestBuy make sure you always ask. The warehouse is used for overstock items and with the merchandising being so tight on the floor sometimes the shelf can only hold one or two.
BBY also cross-merchandises a lot of product meaning it can be in several locations. One model of printer can be located in the computer aisle, in the digital camera aisle, and on an endcap.

eh, whenever I ask for something at Worst Buy, they tell me all the stuff they get is stocked within hours of getting it. Mayb it’s just lazy stockers. They do, however, check to see that I was looking in the right spot, but that just insults my intelligence, since they look in the exact spot I was looking then shrug “we’re out of it”

You’d be surprised how much you overlook. I’d guess about 50% of my job working retail was “checking the shelf, just in case” and finding the item where the customer spent hours looking.

Where does one look for stock that is “not there”? If you think warehouses are alphabetized by product you are sadly ignorant of how modern inventory functions. Locator systems are only as accurate as the people who maintain them. You are basically asking the inventory version of “proving a negative”, since in a serious inventory sense we inventory folk all know it is statistically far more likely that an item that shows in stock is not than an out of stock item will actually be present.

Depending on the method by which inbound product is processed the stuff “in the back” is not offically there. Check ins for purchase order reciept reconciliations can be a trying and painstaking process when recieving many SKU’s in small quantities. Someplace like a mentioned before recieving plastic shipping bins of mixed goods, will not make the truck driver sit around while they count everything. They will verify that there are the correct number of bins and that there is no apparent surface damage to the bins that might indicate rough handling. or shrink wrap torn off of pallets that should be wrapped that could indicate pilferage or that the pallet was knocked over in shipping. Having someone digging through recieved product that may or may not be properly checked in yet is a guarendamnteed way to fubar your inventory in a heartbeat.

This process is how the store turns around and determines how much they need to pay on a purchase order. If you make a habit out of pulling this “back stock” and then are unable to verify reciept, you short the vendor. Do this too many times and the vendor will refuse to do business with you.

This is how the store I worked did it. You scanned in the shipment that just arrived and then it’d take some time to update. If you sold stuff that wasn’t there yet, you’d FUBAR the inventory system.

That’s just it… it really depends on the store. Some places have the whole inventory is not officially back there… some have no space for anything… some make sure everything is out and keep no stock back there.

The most likely places to have stuff in the back can be grocery stores (not all, but sometimes. Such as when they have sales they may have extra of some stock or even if you ask they may give you rain checks for a later time, even if the sale isn’t on.) or knick knack stores, like Carlton Cards or Hallmark… all those little statuettes and ornaments often have duplicates in the back. Sometimes because there is not enough space out front and they have shelves sorted (sorta) so they can be found. With the ornaments especially if there is at least still one hanging on the display they may have more boxes in the back, not yet filled out front or they will get the box to the last one and sell it to you. (I know I worked for Carlton one Christmas season)

Sounds like a vendor that doesn’t NEED my service. He/she is there to provide goods; he/she cant provide I go elsewhere and spend my cash on people willing to meet my needs.

Also it isn’t up to me as the customer to keep his records. This society is so wierd for want of a better word… we cant seel stuff because the computer is down… he cant sell it because the computer wont show us where the item is! Thats just fucked up.

The shop where I work has everything out on the floor. The only stock out the back has either come in that day, or is excess. Most of the storeroom shecking I do for customers is if they want more of a product than we have on the shelves.

I have been yelled at for not IT-ing stock from other stores. I am happy to ring other stores and ask them to hold a copy for a customer, or order it for them. But I can’t have anything sent to my store from another, as it is expressly forbidden by the company.

I am always surprised at the number of customers who think that I am actually in charge of Whitcoulls, and am able to simply flaunt policy as I wish. meh, normally I just make them my manager’s problem.

Er, it’s not you the customer keeping track of anything. It’s the store’s vendor, who the store buys/gets stuff from who is keeping track so they can charge the store properly.

I don’t think it’s rude at all to ask if there is stock in the back.

As a customer, what does annoy me is getting the “I don’t think so” or “probably not” with no effort to actually go check. I have no problem walking away happy as a clam if I get a definitive “No, everything has been put out.” (or, of course, if they don’t know, go to check, and come back with the item - or not).

Large scale retail like a walmart does not work at the price you get without computers.
Computers are just as much part of the warehousing/reciept/locating process as a forklift.

Without them you would have probably 40-50 inventory clerks racing around walmart doing cycle counts, those 50 employees cost money, which is passed to you the consumer. Even then the combined errors and variances of those clerks would drive up prices another percent or two.

So in a nutshell, we trade the ability to consistently track, move, and price our inventory hundreds of times more efficently for the occasional inconvenience of system downtime.

I used to work at a large bookstore (the sort with the cafe inside) and I went into the back all the time to check for books customers were asking me about. In fact, if the computer said we had one copy of something, I would inevitably end up checking a) the shelf it belonged on, b) the endcap, in case it was on display, c) any nearby overstock shelves and finally d) the back room. If it weren’t in any of those places, I would check nearby stores from the same chain.

Some employees would rather not bother, but it’s never rude to ask as long as you’re at least semi-polite in your phrasing – which I assume you are, since you’re concerned about politeness. :slight_smile:

If I’m more than slightly interested in the item, I ask if there might be more in stock.

If I’m only slightly interested, I won’t. I’m not going to make the sales person run around for something that I’m more likely than not not going to buy. That’s a waste of everyone’s time.

If I really, really want something, I’ll ask if more is coming in. But that almost never happens.

I can do no more than repeat what everyone else has said: ask away, but don’t try and argue with what the employee tells you. That just pegs you as a Grade A moron.

I must clear up this myth, though:

This is just not true. Stores are there to make lots of profit for the owner. Often, the best way to do this is to provide good service to the patron, but the store is by no means obliged to provide it. Perhaps you may feel that a store that does not endeavour to provide good service does not deserve your patronage. Sensible customers do not give such stores their patronage.

But, that does not change the simple fact: stores do not exist to provide services to customers. They are there to make money.