So for anybody who was not already aware: yes, I did get the job at Teavana. Handily, it would seem – the manager practically begged me to stay interested when she called me for an interview, and told me I did “amazing” at the end of said interview. The paperwork was a pain in the butt (they want you to do everything electronically! no, I can’t “upload” a voided cheque because I don’t have a SCANNER, wtf?), but it’s finally all in, and I should be in their system with an employee number and stuffs by next week. I had my after-hours training shift on Wednesday, and my first real shift on the selling floor last night.
(Most of this is about that, less about the tea. I seriously wish there was a non-tea blog option. Maybe I should just create a non-tea tea entry called “tea retailer/experience blog.”)
Anyway, I think this is the one I had in the store last night. It’s awfully hard to remember, because the assistant manager is the one who made it for me, and we got interrupted by customers before he could get it going. Afterward, we were trying to determine what the heck he had made me, and we were pretty sure that I’d decided on this one. I will not rate it for now though, just in case.
(As a note, I do plan to continue rating Teavana teas. My employment information is not connected anywhere online with my real name, and so far I think people can see I neither exclusively rag on, nor exclusively praise their teas. So I think I’m safe.)
It’s super juicy and fruity, which I like. I am, after all, someone who probably would have been the target audience for the juice-like teas in the sample carts if I hadn’t already been a tea drinker on my own when Teavana came to Canada. (As a side note, I had to refill one of the sample carts last night, so for anyone who is wondering…it’s 1/8th of a cup of rock sugar in 32oz in those samples. That is from the American “recipe” cards we were sent.)
Having been sitting in my Timolino in the fridge overnight, it’s a bit more sour than I remember it being yesterday (I’m thinking this blend has hibby…), but it’s still refreshing. You cannot taste the rooibos at all, so, taste-wise this may as well be an herbal…but again, that does not particularly bother me personally, and there is little price difference between the rooibos and the herbals. I recommended this one to a girl last night; I hope she likes it.
I spent a large chunk of last night pulling tins off the wall and giving them a good ’niff. A lot of the rooibos and green teas look decent, and I have a whole list to try. Then again, Pineapple Kona Pop still smells amazing, despite being middling at best, so I hope I am not getting my hopes up.
As for Teavana…it’s a little early to tell, but it’s going okay so far. My manager seems pretty laid-back/forgiving, so that helps. Hours so far look good. Pay is shockingly bad, and staying past my probation on THAT looks iffy; but that’s weeks from now, so we’ll see.
Training went well; we covered selling from the tea wall, sampling and pushing the cast iron on the unsuspecting. (Har.) I flinched at some of the up-selling tactics, but it’s mostly stuff I’m familiar with from previous work – I’m just more sensitive to it with a product I have so many personal opinions about. I thought for sure that I would have been hired with a bunch of other tea freaks, but on the contrary – most of the other new hires barely had an idea how to brew tea loose, so significant parts of my “training” involved explaining things to my new co-workers, or giving them tips. I deliberately angled to do the “front of the class” role-play second (after someone else stumbled through it, and before everyone else could try – the perfect position to show people up, basically), which I felt a bit guilty about. But my mother and the manager at my other job I discussed this with assured me that I’d done the right thing “to get noticed and get ahead.”
My closing shift last night went okay, despite some moments walking around feeling lost and useless. The scale hates me; I don’t seem to have gotten the order you do things in worked out. I discovered that most things do have a price tag after all, just not on the paper tags where you’d obviously think they were. I’m most awkward at the tea bar, and only got through drink orders based on my own experience making my own tea, but I’m sure I’ll get smoother. Most people said, “Really?!” when I told them it was my first day. Overall, it was probably one of the most relaxing days at work I’ve ever had, despite being my first shift, because most of the questions people had about tea were a breeze for me to answer, and I can fudge my way a bit with product-related questions for now – it’ll lose me sales until I know the product better, but I tend to learn product fast anyway.
The assistant manager told me, “I thought you’d need a lot more guidance, but you seem to have picked up on everything pretty fast. But then, I heard you killed it in training.” He then gave me “improvement advice,” which mostly consisted of telling me that I don’t over-pour enough(!). His exact advice was to start with an over-pour of 8 grams(!) because most people will say yes to it. Ugh. My only over-pours had actually been out of sheer awkwardness (being new to it), and/or the customer saying, “No, that’s fine,” before I could dump any back out.
Now. As painful as that is to me… I was amazed at how well the selling process honestly seems to work on people who aren’t already tea drinkers. It actually works the way they tell you it does in training, which I’ve never seen in retail before. I was trained on “transitions” to get people to follow you from the sample cart to the cast iron and through the store, and I was astonished to find people trotting after me in groups like children after the Pied Piper when I used them, obediently sipping every sample I gave them. This shit actually works? I had multiple people follow me throughout the store, exclaiming delightedly over everything I showed them before I took them to the wall to show them the teas in the samples, and then they bought them – both of them. I was astonished at how people were perfectly willing – even eager – to buy whatever I told them to buy to replicate the samples, to listen to all my instructions, and not question a thing I told them. No one even seemed to clue in to what a selling tactic it is to mix two teas (sometimes almost totally unrelated – hello, a white and a mate?) and then require you to buy both to get the same taste. I had to keep reminding myself that these people are not stupid, just clueless, and trusting us to tell them what to do. Which makes me a little sad. Because they will get a bit taken at some point by a retailer that is, naturally, also looking to make sales. My first purchases at DAVIDs, I got talked into multiple unnecessary tins, too…
(Oddly enough, people don’t seem quite as willing to listen to advice that they should. I mean, people bought nearly any tea I showed them, but only nodded politely at my firm advice that they upgrade to a better infuser than a tea ball. Argh.)
So some bad points, but not as bad as I’d truly feared. I hope I continue to like it.
Also, I need to find out what my staff discount applies to, because it’s a whopping 40%.