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 Feedback Requested: Lawrence Merchandising Services (CRS/Lawrence) (Stravina)
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LuptonInVirginia
Contributor

Virginia
USA
97 Posts

Posted - 08/26/2015 :  9:18:26 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Nick,

The only opportunities I see on my portal is almost always for places far away. I used to get everything in my town automatically assigned to me and I was fine with that. The only jobs I didn't like were jobs in Walmart or the Excell cards BUT I did those because LMS compensated us well. I didn't mind doing the crappy jobs.

But now, I get no extra work because I have to compete with three to five reps and I can't win in the race to the opportunity board. I don't know how I can get to the opportunities any faster other than checking the board every 20 minutes throughout the day - something I'm not going to do.

LMS brags about how great their company is and how it's growing in leaps and bounds. But judging on how they're treating their field workers, not to mention the apparently revolving door of FSCs in Minnesota, they're growing off the backs of employees they're not paying a sufficient wage.

Mark
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LuptonInVirginia
Contributor

Virginia
USA
97 Posts

Posted - 08/26/2015 :  9:20:45 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Also, in regards to their tablet, I was told we could keep the tablet in the trunk of our cars while we're doing services for other companies. Which would work, I suppose, but I drive a TRUCK.

Mark
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Nick_S
Valued Contributor

Los Angeles, California
USA
166 Posts

Posted - 09/11/2015 :  12:06:29 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Mark, I HATE those Excell calls . . . I can do without the stress and major aggravation those trading cards cause me. UGH!!! Since I only get paid $10.03 per hour, I much rather pay LMS at $10.04 per hour NOT to give me those calls. LOL!!! Yet in my case, $10.03 per hour IS NOT well enough compensation for the Excell work I am forced to do. Yet something is going on with that revolving door of FSCs in Minnesota.

I do remember about a year and a half ago, I used to get regular emails (ALWAYS in the early afternoon) telling me that there were opportunities available in my area. About 75% of the time, the opportunities were still available when I would check my email in the evening. However I no longer get those regular emails . . . I only get them once in awhile. Yet nowadays, I have to logon to NI to see about 99% of the opportunities when they are available . . . I am not sure why they no longer send me emails when opportunities are available on any given day. :-(

Yet lately in my area of town, the DM sends out emails to notify us if there is coverage needed at a local Target store when the regular representative is not able to work or until they get a new representative, however I have not been quick enough to respond to those emails as of yet. So now I have just set my phone to alert me every time I get an email . . . so hopefully I will be able to pick up some extra work on occasion, by being able to respond back to the DM email within a couple minutes of receiving one of those emails. Yet for sure, I seem to be competing with several representatives in my area for those coverage calls.

I do not like Walmart calls either, because it is often hard to find the correct contact person to help me and often the go-to person there is very rude and unfriendly and they ALWAYS seem to be frantically pressed for time, whenever I talk with them. Then when I get the help that I need, it is hard working on the sales floor due to the ultra high volume of customers in the store at any given time. Yet since most of the calls I have seen for Walmart are only about 60 to 90 minutes, I no longer volunteer for any of those calls. When I get those calls, nobody else volunteers for them, so I get them as a default (when I get them), since I am the closest representative to that particular Walmart. Yet I have found the best way to do the calls at my local Walmart is to be there as soon as the store opens, that way the go-to person is often not as busy and there are not so many rambunctious & annoying customers in the way.

Thank you for the update on knowing that we can at least keep the tablet in our trunk. Yet I still wish I did not have to be responsible for it, as some of my calls working at other companies, bring me to so pretty bad and crime infested areas of Los Angeles. One regular store I service 1 to 2 times per month, about 3 months ago, one of the vendors got his car broke into, and they stole his laptop. :-( Yet I did see on Amazon just now, the tablet I received from LMS (an iPad Mini 3 with WIFI cellular) costs around $350. YIKES!!! Yet on a side note, I am surprised that LMS would spend this type of money on a representative that was not willing to use their own tablet . . . yet personally I have found that doing my jewelry calls at Target is pretty much the exact time it takes to service my store, plus or minus about 10 minutes. Yet if there was an epidemic of representatives fudging their time, leaving early and not doing a satisfactory job, I would think that that the ETL at their store would start complaining to LMS right away . . . thus is another reason why I do not think that we need to be GPS monitored. Even when I visit other Target stores, I can tell within about 5 minutes, how well the representative is keeping up the jewelry and sunglasses . . . and I am sure that the ETLs can see the exact same thing that I am (quality work that takes time to do OR sloppy work that was done in less time that the call was for).






Nick
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LuptonInVirginia
Contributor

Virginia
USA
97 Posts

Posted - 09/11/2015 :  11:25:00 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Nick, I am surprised they are willing to cough up that much money to send out a tablet to every rep. I was down to only one Target and I wasn't getting any of the other side projects outside of that store other than the BHN jobs, and I only got them because most sane people avoided that work. So to spend that kind of money to make sure I don't "cheat" them out of a few minutes a week seems stupid. I wonder how many new reps will get theses tablets, quit and then not return them? How much money is LMS going to lose on the revolving door of employees? It's almost like LMS doesn't seem to realize a high percentage of reps quit within a few weeks.

But that's ok because I gave up and quit. 14 years, down the drain. I don't like to keep working for companies that will pay me less as I work longer for them, with no opportunities for advancement and the whole time pretend they are doing me a favor. LMS has become one of the worst companies I've worked for in the 17 years I've been doing this. I wouldn't recommend this company to anyone.

Mark
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Nick_S
Valued Contributor

Los Angeles, California
USA
166 Posts

Posted - 09/13/2015 :  12:34:11 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LuptonInVirginia

Nick, I am surprised they are willing to cough up that much money to send out a tablet to every rep. I was down to only one Target and I wasn't getting any of the other side projects outside of that store other than the BHN jobs, and I only got them because most sane people avoided that work. So to spend that kind of money to make sure I don't "cheat" them out of a few minutes a week seems stupid. I wonder how many new reps will get theses tablets, quit and then not return them? How much money is LMS going to lose on the revolving door of employees? It's almost like LMS doesn't seem to realize a high percentage of reps quit within a few weeks.

But that's ok because I gave up and quit. 14 years, down the drain. I don't like to keep working for companies that will pay me less as I work longer for them, with no opportunities for advancement and the whole time pretend they are doing me a favor. LMS has become one of the worst companies I've worked for in the 17 years I've been doing this. I wouldn't recommend this company to anyone.



Hey there Mark. Yes that is a lot of money for LMS to fork out for our GPS monitoring ankle bracelet . . . OOPS!, I mean that is a lot of money for LMS to fork out for a tablet for each representative, for those representatives that do not have or choose not to use their own personal smart phone or tablet to enter their LMS work online while at the store. Overall, I am not sure if every representative will receive a tablet or will they be issued just the representatives that do not have a tablet/smart phone or will be just be issued to the representatives that choose not to use their own personal tablet/smart phone for their LMS work.

I see the opportunities for the BHN calls, but I have never done them before and do not know how much know-how is involved to do them, however they seem like they are an hour or less? But 90% of the time, those BHN calls I see are often at least an hour or more drive (one way) from where I live. So I have no interest in them and always delete those emails.

In regards to the representatives that leave and keep their tablet, I read in the agreement on Friday that if a representative leaves the company and does not return the tablet, that LMS will report the cost of the tablet to the IRS as taxable income of that representative/employee. Yet I must say that there are 3 distinct stores in the Los Angeles area that they seem to ALWAYS be hiring a representative at one of those 3 stores at least 2 to 3 times per year . . . I am not sure why they seem to have trouble keeping a representative at those 3 particular stores.

Overall, I have mixed feelings about LMS. On the plus side, I enjoy the fact that doing the regular and seasonal services with the jewelry and sunglasses is always as easy as falling off of a log. I love the fact that there is always a minimal of paperwork to print or read at any given time. Best of all, I love the fact that we get paid for administration time, which is often minimal, which is fine with me. Yet I currently work for another merchandising company and other merchandising companies where I do not get paid for administration work at all and there is often a ton of paperwork to print out, organized and later read, and the time it takes to enter the field report online. Though I often get paid about 3 to 6 cents per printed page I print (which still is too low considering the wear & tear on my printer and the high cost of ink), I still do not get any compensation for the time it takes to print out the paperwork or organizing it or reading it, since 75% of the time, it is always new work to do at other stores each and every month . . . so it forces every representative to always read new call instructions each month in order to get the various calls completed each month. Whereas that is not the case with doing the monthly jewelry and sunglasses calls at Target each month. Though I have been a merchandiser since 2010, I eventually got tired of not being paid for administration work at various companies. Along the way I made sure that I did not apply for any work at merchandising companies where there was usually a lot of paperwork that needed to be printed out and read in order to do their calls, because so far I have not come across any merchandising company out there that requires their representatives to print an enormous amount of paperwork each month where they fairly pay the representative fairly (if they pay them at all) for the cost of paper, printer wear & tear, and ink.

So for now, I think I will be okay working for LMS . . . GPS ankle bracelet and all, but I do have a personal goal to be totally out of the merchandising business within the next 2 years, as I have slowly found that I just do not like interacting with rude and annoying customers at a store, and having to deal with customers bratty, bad, rambunctious children (that tear-up the store) when they more often than not, let their children run amuck in the stores AND think that their children can do no wrong when they are in the store shopping with them. Yet one MAJOR pain I have in my side about doing merchandising work is having to tell people that I do not work in the store and that I am only a vendor AND I CAN NOT help them. All of the stores I work in, I make sure that I totally DO NOT dress like the employees in the store and I ALWAYS wear a hat, just so I DO NOT look like an employee. Yet STILL if I work in ANY store for at least an hour, at least 2 people will come up to me asking for help. I just do not understand why just because somebody sees a person working in a store, they ALWAYS assume that the person working in that store is an employee of that store. I really think that high schools should spend at least a week teaching children that ALL people working in a store ARE NOT necessarily an employee of that store. Yet this annoyance alone makes me HATE merchandising! LOL!!! However since I have now grown to have a poor & nasty demeanor over this issue, this is why I now know I HAVE TO get out of this profession of being a merchandiser. :-(



Nick
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RobertH
Valued Contributor

Pinson, AL
USA
186 Posts

Posted - 09/13/2015 :  7:16:48 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I had no idea that LMS now worked the trading cards in Target for Excell.

Little more than 10 years ago, I worked part time working the cars directly for Excell. They were planning to create a full-time territory with a car and expenses for the rep once Target opened a few more stores in this area.
Well, "this area" turned out to be Clarksburg, Tennessee to Panama City, Florida including a little slice of Georgia. I really wanted to take the job, but I knew there was absolutely no way I could do the quality work I and they expected with the 30 minutes in-store time they decreed I could spend. So I passed. Within a year, after about 3 or 4 reps had come and gone, they split the territory in half- which was very doable- but wouldn't offer me the position because I had turned them down.

Truth is, I would LOVE to get back into servicing trading cards. I have over 11 years' experience working them in various stores. But it is next to impossible to do them right if you're going to outsource the service to companies who treat the product as just another line to work. But I also get that it's far cheaper to go third party than it is to pay a full-time professional to work your product. Excell is, I guess, the last of the trading card distributors to realize this.

Robert
Over 30 years in the Field
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Nick_S
Valued Contributor

Los Angeles, California
USA
166 Posts

Posted - 09/14/2015 :  12:09:50 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by RobertH

I had no idea that LMS now worked the trading cards in Target for Excell.

Little more than 10 years ago, I worked part time working the cars directly for Excell. They were planning to create a full-time territory with a car and expenses for the rep once Target opened a few more stores in this area.
Well, "this area" turned out to be Clarksburg, Tennessee to Panama City, Florida including a little slice of Georgia. I really wanted to take the job, but I knew there was absolutely no way I could do the quality work I and they expected with the 30 minutes in-store time they decreed I could spend. So I passed. Within a year, after about 3 or 4 reps had come and gone, they split the territory in half- which was very doable- but wouldn't offer me the position because I had turned them down.

Truth is, I would LOVE to get back into servicing trading cards. I have over 11 years' experience working them in various stores. But it is next to impossible to do them right if you're going to outsource the service to companies who treat the product as just another line to work. But I also get that it's far cheaper to go third party than it is to pay a full-time professional to work your product. Excell is, I guess, the last of the trading card distributors to realize this.



Robert,

I think that LMS only does Excell when there is a nationwide launch date for certain trading card items and where there is an issue for the regular Excell representative making it to certain Target stores to set product on the one day only launch date. I think the last time I had a mandatory Excell call was around October of last year, since no other nearby representatives would accept the call when it was listed as an opportunity about 2 or so weeks before the one day launch date. If I am not mistaken, the couple or so one day only launch dates they had for Excell this year that involved LMS, someone else always accepted them as an opportunity at my Target store . . . which was always fine with me. Yet as far as I can see, LMS only helps Excell when the regular Excell representatives can not make it to every Target store on those one day only new merchandise launch calls. In the meantime, I continue to hope that LMS does not permanently get Excell calls and pass it onto the representative that works in each Target store, unless it is solely on a volunteer basis.

I am glad that you had no issues servicing the Excell calls. Yet in my case, my LMS POG NEVER matched the in-store POG and I never had enough time to move enough stuff around to even come close to setting the product to match the LMS POG (in the time they gave me to work these calls), then ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS there was far too much product crammed in the POG at my store BEFORE I even added the new merchandise . . . and I ALWAYS found it very frustrating that I could not set the new product via the LMS POG. Yet I do have peace of mind still right now, since I have not done any Excell work in almost a year.

I am glad that you understand and can easily work the Excell POGs. I also commend you on your commitment to doing a superior and quality job for Excell. Yet everything Excell is poison to me, LOL!!!, and I do not think that LMS should ever make these calls mandatory to us Target representatives, as I know that there are other LMS Target representatives that hate and find these calls just as frustrating as I do WHEN they are mandatory for us to do.

Nick
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Nick_S
Valued Contributor

Los Angeles, California
USA
166 Posts

Posted - 09/14/2015 :  12:15:35 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Does anyone know if LMS is still doing the Boots skin care product work? I thought that it was a quarterly call, to always zone, straighten, dust, and clean the about 16' Boots section at Target, however I have not seen those calls posted on NI for about 5 or 6 months now.

Nick
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Laura_In_Az
Star Contributor

Tucson, AZ
USA
307 Posts

Posted - 09/14/2015 :  8:08:14 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Boots is defunct. No longer with LMS, as far as I know, per email several, several month past.
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Nick_S
Valued Contributor

Los Angeles, California
USA
166 Posts

Posted - 09/15/2015 :  09:30:46 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Laura_In_Az

Boots is defunct. No longer with LMS, as far as I know, per email several, several month past.



Thank you, Laura. When it comes to hearing about things going away at LMS per se, I never hear anything from LMS corporate. As I recall, we used to service the Malt-O-Meal cereal 3 to 4 times (I think) a year at Target, but I have not had a call to do Malt-O-Meal in over 2 years, yet I was never notified that LMS is no longer doing this service. Since I do not receive that much email from LMS on a monthly basis, I find it easy to keep up on all of my email from them, yet I did not receive any email during the past 6 or so months, telling me that LMS was no longer doing Boots. As it is, it seems like my prior DM left under mysterious circumstances about a month ago . . . but out of the blue I got an email from my new DM stating that they would be my new DM . . . yet there was no formal good bye from my previous DM or an email from anyone else at LMS corporate stating what happened with my prior DM. Yet I guess that is just the way it goes, LMS only seems to want to tell us about the good stuff going on with the company, and do what they can to avoid telling us about the bad stuff. :-(

Nick
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Laura_In_Az
Star Contributor

Tucson, AZ
USA
307 Posts

Posted - 09/16/2015 :  7:55:03 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Malt-O-Meal is also not with LMS, as far as I know. The last one I did in Target was with RMS, not LMS.
Regarding Excell calls: I kind of like them. I try and stay focused on the end game which is get the NEW items on the floor on the street date. If the display is so overstocked I have no problem getting rid of pegs of current stock to make room for new product. I just backstock it and clearly mark the box it is in. I taught myself how to make pog labels on Target's computer so have no problem getting the correct labels up. I do two stores regularly so make the labels in the first store for both stores. I do try to put the items as close to POG as I can, but neither of my 2 stores is ever 100% correct. Sometimes I see the excell rep in a Target and we talk. He has never complained about my choice of locations for the new product so I guess I am okay with him.
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RobertH
Valued Contributor

Pinson, AL
USA
186 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2015 :  7:01:55 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I've tried numerous times to get on with Excell, but, apparently, those muct be pretty good jobs because the folks in the positions never leave. The FT position they offered me back in 2003 or so wasn't very good (as I've described elsewhere) but, frankly, my standards for what constitutes a "good" job now have lowered quite a bit.

The PoG thing never bothered me. In fact, I've helped to create several of them through the years with various companies. As Laura said, it is next to impossible for any two PoGs, even in same-size sets, to be identical, and she's right again that, as long as the new stuff is out where the customers can buy it, you aren't going to go very wrong.

Oh well.....still a few years before retirement, so I'll keep trying I guess.

Robert
Over 30 years in the Field
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Nick_S
Valued Contributor

Los Angeles, California
USA
166 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2015 :  11:18:46 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Laura, well maybe RMS took over the Malt-O-Meal contract sometime in 2013, as I do recall that my LMS Field Trainer showed how to do the Malt-O-Meal call in Target back in 2012.

Laura and Robert, I am glad that the Excell cards are working for you two. Again, I just wish that LMS did not make these calls mandatory to us representatives that do not like them and or choose not to do Excell calls. Yet in my case, 99% of the time, my store entire Excell section was always overstocked with tons of stuff even before I could cut-in the new stuff they gave me to cut in. :-( Yet I will not complain, since it has been about a year since I worked an Excell call.

More power to the people that like the Excell calls! :-)

Nick
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Gene Grubbs
Contributor

Illinois
USA
95 Posts

Posted - 10/01/2015 :  2:57:51 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Anyone doing the Blackhawk gift cards for Lawrence?

Contacted about servicing them at a Meijer store and the affiliated gas station.

Describes it continuity service, so would I be wrong to assume that work in assigned to one person, who then has the option of taking other assignments as well?

What kind of hours\frequency would be typical?

Thanks
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RobertH
Valued Contributor

Pinson, AL
USA
186 Posts

Posted - 10/01/2015 :  4:24:23 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Nick:

What it sounds like to me is that you inherited a store with either inconsistent or poor service from the regular Excell representative. If the rep was doing a decent job, there really should not be much in the way of overstock, as the amount of trading cards released, both sports and non-sports, is far less now than it was when I worked this category. But a skipped service call or two can surely result in way too much product to be easily worked out.

Robert
Over 30 years in the Field
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Cathy O
Contributor

Richmond, MI
USA
79 Posts

Posted - 10/02/2015 :  07:55:05 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I do the Black Hawk gift cards at Meijers, not very difficult. I was worried at first but after my first visit it's quite easy. My visit is every other week.

Cathy
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Gene Grubbs
Contributor

Illinois
USA
95 Posts

Posted - 10/02/2015 :  2:06:16 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Cathy

Thanks for the info.

Do you service the gas station and store both? How much time per visit is allowed?

I have another visit for a different company that I do EOW in that store, so that would fit in great.

Gene
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Cathy O
Contributor

Richmond, MI
USA
79 Posts

Posted - 10/04/2015 :  7:33:03 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I do both the gas station and the store. One hour in the store and 15 minutes in the gas station. The gas station puts out everything as soon as it arrives so not much to do there but take the picture and straighten. A little more involved in the store but back stock is kept in the fixture that has all the cards on it so just have to take before and after pictures and what is out of stock. We're supposed to do the information on a cell or tablet if they give you one while in the store but my store has absolutely no service inside so I log in while in the parking lot and then enter everything when I get home.

Cathy
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Gene Grubbs
Contributor

Illinois
USA
95 Posts

Posted - 10/05/2015 :  4:58:33 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Cathy,

Thanks again.

I like that the backstock in stowed in the display, as I have had some shorter jobs where trying locate the product ate up most of the allowed time.

Gene

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MCBarb
Star Contributor

USA
1684 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2015 :  12:55:10 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Wow, they have really changed things since I used to work for them. I had to do paperwork that was different than applying with any other company. I am almost done. I guess we have to go to NI and login to see if there are any jobs.
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