Real Life MMD: Should I speak to the boss?

edited 31 May 2011 at 1:08PM in Money Saving Polls
42 replies 18.8K views


  • Racky_RooRacky_Roo Forumite
    215 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    I'm a boss of a gift shop and I say yes, give the input.

    Most businesses don't take lots of money to begin with, so hopefully, the owner has taken this into account and has kept money back from set up cash to pay the wages. It takes up to 2 years to break even.

    As far as pricing goes, he may be doing the traditional 2.5% mark up, which is what most shops do to begin with, then see what customers think of prices before marking them up. Suggesting people think the prices are too cheap may push him into realising you don't have to stick to this formula a bit quicker.

    I would however, make sure you don't come across as a "I know better than you" which is very annoying (even if you are right), just say you've made a few observations.....

    Any good boss will welcome opinions of all his staff and, if they think they know what you are talking about, include them in future stock buying decisions/promotions/displays etc. I think it makes my staff feel valued and that we care about them, and we don't just see them as hired help. Personally I think the staff can make or break a business!
  • You should absolutely talk to your boss!
    DO some research first
    A good employer will listen to your ideas or concerns
    If they are deliberately pricing low - they'll say so and why (this shows that they have a strategy)
    Remember it is up to them what action to take, so don't be dissapointed if they consider your suggestion but do not act upon it.
    If they dismiss your suggestion "out of hand" or give a similar response to those who say "mind your own business" then it's time to start looking for your next job.

    Good Luck!
  • Yes, speak to your boss. But, like some of the other posters said, do some research. This could be anecdotal, or it could be something structured.

    If customers keep saying things like 'blimey, that's cheap', or commenting that the price is lower than they expected, that's probably an indication that the goods are, as you believe, underpriced. Mention comments like these to your boss, who should be interested in what customers are saying to you anyway.

    If you find the same goods selling for more elsewhere, mention that.
    It only need be as simple as 'I was in Smith and Smith the other day, and their paperweights are the same as ours and £2 more!' Let him/her draw their own conclusions.

    I was a part-time worker in a gift store and I gave a lot of ideas to my boss. In a small workplace you grow to love the business, and want to do everything to help it.
    To my boss's credit, even if she disagreed with my ideas, she always listened patiently and gave reasons why she wouldn't take them on board. I couldn't do anything about her decision, but she had the benefit of my ideas. She also took up a few of them and they worked quite well.

    Your co-workers will soon come round and start pitching in their own ideas if they see you taking the plunge. Don't be afraid of being an upstart or stepping out of line.

    You could suggest that if your boss is setting out to undercut the competition, he/she advertises it.

    Good luck! And if your boss blows a fuse, just explain your reasons calmly, that you love the business and want it to succeed. Try 'Please, there is no need to shout' if things get noisy.
  • nomoneytodaynomoneytoday Forumite
    4.9K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    I would talk to the boss, but in a structured way.
    Rather than "it's too cheap" show the margin on other items, elasticity pricing, costs of known price items etc :)
  • JayDJayD Forumite
    610 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Combo Breaker
    As long as you make your suggestions in a clear and tactful manner, then I think you should certainly discuss them with your boss. But do remember that no one likes a smartie pants! A lot will depend on how well you explain your ideas and if they are substantially backed up by some evidence - plus the sincerity with which you present them.
  • You don't actually say your boss isn't paying the wages - you are implying you don't know how he pays the wages based on the takings you see. As this is a new business he is more than likely funding it himself until it either folds or trade picks up. If he is underpricing products that may well be from lack of experience or because he wants to get people through the door and buying stuff at any cost. Whilst it is best not to be as forthright as to say you don't know how the shop survives, you could - depending on your relationship with him - mention that a couple of products seem a lot cheaper than elsewhere. That way you will find out whether he is intending to have a bargain basement kind of operation, or if just that he has no idea what he is doing. Hope this survives - we need rural shops to bring life back into the smaller communities.
  • CimscateCimscate Forumite
    145 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    nicotg wrote: »
    You seem to be a lot more enterprising than your boss, why don't you open your own shop online & later an outlet nearby so you can take on the customers when he goes bust.

    Excellent idea!!!!:beer:
  • edited 16 June 2011 at 3:17PM
    pjsmiffypjsmiffy Forumite
    61 Posts
    edited 16 June 2011 at 3:17PM
    If some Items are selling VERY well but the profit per item is low then yes you should speak to the boss.

    If (S)he is not paying you then you should be looking for another job and the worst that can happen is you don't get a reference. Consider any unpaid wages lost money and RUN.

    I would suggest that the type of shop hinted at you should look at products like local jams and honey.

    It goes without saying that you should always speak to you boss in a respectful manor (not Grovelling or superior) and probably very informally say a passing comment (this is selling well I have seen it for £.... down the road)
  • cjb02cjb02 Forumite
    608 Posts
    Pmarmalade wrote: »
    Obviously the above responses reflect the different personal thoughts and experiences across different work environments and different personalities within them.

    It would appear the negative commenters perhaps don't like to take advice from others or work in a place where their superiors don't like to be shown up. I work in a place where innovative suggestions are encouraged across the board with no risk of looking silly.

    Your boss will fit either of these two types or, more likely, fall somewhere in between. Do you feel (s)he is friendly and approachable? Do you have a good relationship with him/her?

    I think a couple of comments above are naive to assume the business owner always knows best and has thought of everything. Sometimes you're too close to something to see the problems, or you're too personally attached to fully rationalise. The worst business minds are probably the ones who aren't able to take constructive criticism or take a step back and see things from another person's perspective (especially that of their clients/customers!).

    I say judge it based on your relationship with the boss and how well you feel they'd be open to suggestions. But letting him/her know your thoughts is always going to be a risk so know that you might not have a job at the other end as much as you could be appreciated for your ideas and efforts. Whether you are going to make this step or not - always be looking out for other opportunities if things aren't going well there so that if the worst comes to the worst you have ideas lined up.

    totally agree.
  • maybe it's a front for money laundering.
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